TG Speed Week: the Scotland Showdown
We’ve got two days in Scotland to reach a definitive verdict on our favourite performance car. Time to loch and load...
Posted: 31 Aug 2012
SP: I mainly remember being scared. Even when you're just following the Radical down a bumpy lane, you can see what a fighty little bugger it is, rear end hopping about incessantly. And then there are the creaking noises, the never-ending thud of cat's eyes against underbelly, the faint smell of burnt fibreglass....
OM: I do rather wish the steering was less hyperactive and it had more straight-line stability. Sadly, the Radical is proof that a race-bred car doesn't work brilliantly on the road: the anti-Nürburgring principle. It runs super stiff, unbushed suspension, and a faster rack than any of the other lightweights, which means that the front wheels govern your direction almost as much as the steering wheel. This is unnerving, and makes your muscles ache. But it has a truly spectacular gearbox - one that goes ‘pffft' when you pull a paddle - and tremendous mechanical grip, though this might not make up for the fact that a malfunctioning ECU caused some, ahem, ‘minor issues' with idling and turbo boost. It needs more development time and miles, a less aggressive steering rack and a calmer nature on bumpy roads. I love it, but it's not a winner.
SP: Talking of aggressive, just look at the Exige S. It's the kind of car schoolboys scribble in the back of exercise books: all wings and diffusers and pointy bits. It looks brilliant, right until you open a door. Some might call the Exige's interior minimal, but I'd say it's just... not there. £60,000 for a car without an inside.
OM: You're missing the point. Think of it as a halfway house between the Radical and the 911. It has a roof, but only half an interior. Better still, think of it as the best pure driving car here.