What is it like to drive?
Top Gear has only sampled the GTAm double-espresso variant, and it came with a few surprises. One, how utterly delightful it feels on the road - taut, supple and really quite useable - and how brutal it can be on track. But this is a car that’s been built to deliver, rather than showboat. From the moment you turn the wheel even a quarter of a turn, you realise that this is a car that reacts with your eyes, rather than your wrists. It’s not exceptionally featherweight, but the reactions of the steering and the way the car is set-up makes it feel more like a tonne of metal than half as much again.
Get the tyres and brakes up to temperature, and you’ll be able to start pooling blood in one side of your body on longer corners, snap yourself into the harnesses in braking zones. Apexes become hard to miss, understeer something you have to bait the car into. The engine is wonderful, but not startling - which in itself is a bit of a surprise - but the GTAm actually does all of its impressing throughout a corner. The way it can be hauled down from inappropriate speed time and time again without the brakes catching fire and falling off, the way it turns in, the way it maintains a line, the body control. It is not, it has to be said, a hooligan. Force it to drift and it becomes unsettled, allow it to power oversteer on the way out of the corner, and it becomes balletic. It won’t do a burnout, and if you try and donut the car like an idiot, the ‘box will knock itself into neutral. Both of those things are not conducive to a fast laptime, so the GTAm is unimpressed. But drive it as hard as you dare, and it comes with you every single time.
The interesting thing here is that the car isn’t actually as light as it feels but the geometry of the suspension manages some industrial light and magic to make it seem truly featherweight. There are new (lighter again) springs, different shock absorbers and bespoke bushings, and the impression is always that you have grip to spare. Yes, if you boot it mid-corner it’ll steer from the rear, but it’s not as sketchy as it sounds - there’s no mechanical diff, so it’s been set up this way. The best way to describe this car is that it’s benign, but utterly joyous - and the better you are, the more you’ll get out of it. It’s not the easy muscle car feel of the QV, but something more subtle and unique. Alfa Touring Car for the road, anyone?