Over to Top Gear magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Charlie Turner for a few words on this month’s spectacular 4WD special – and don’t miss the video below for a glimpse at what happened during this month’s cover shoot…
“If you drive those cars across the lake in that formation, you’ll create a bow wave under the ice.” Ted, our resident ice expert and ice-driving legend, looks troubled.
I look worried. He continues: “The bow wave will deform the
ice, and it’ll crack. And then I’ll be the proud owner of a Lamborghini, a
Ferrari and a Bentley... cool.” The sudden realisation of the insanity of this
month’s cover feature becomes all too real.
As we gingerly manoeuvre the best part of £1m worth of cars around the frozen lake, trying hard not to create a weak point that would lead to the formation of Sweden’s most expensive ice sculpture, I begin to question the sense of our current position.
But there is method in our madness. With power becoming an increasingly available commodity, these days, it’s less about how much power you have, and more about how much of that power you can put down; all-wheel drive has become synonymous with modern supercars. Remember when Bugatti told the world the only way to truly harness the potential of a 1,000bhp car would be to make it four-wheel drive? Oh, how we scoffed – right up to the point we drove it... and the supercar was redefined.
Lamborghini is another long-time exponent of all-wheel drive, and watching the sublime Aventador drift its way round our ice rink, throwing its power from corner to corner, it’s clear Lambo has AWD mastered. With the world’s premium automotive brands all heading down the luxury SUV route to fulfil the demand from China and India, AWD know-how is becoming an increasingly valuable commodity. A new Lambo SUV, anyone? Now there’s a thought… form an orderly queue.
If you’d said to us a few years ago that Ferrari would launch a 4wd, four-seat shooting brake in 2011, we’d have laughed in your face. But, having driven the FF for lap after lap on ice we could barely walk on, we’re all left grinning by the big Ferrari.
It’s not just the supercar superstars that need to get their power down, though. Hot hatches are increasingly turning to 4WD to gain a performance advantage over their rivals. It’s fitting, then, that Audi has sprinkled its quattro magic over the A1 – the most hotly anticipated hot hatchlet of 2012.
With its 249bhp and a limited run of 333 ice-white units, we dispatch our man in white to deliver the verdict.
Fire up the quattro…