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Car Review

The Little Car Company Ferrari Testa Rossa J review

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Published: 08 Dec 2021
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

If anyone ever tells you that electric cars can’t be fun to drive, please just show them a picture of the Testa Rossa J. 

It may only have 16bhp being sent to the rear wheels through an open differential, and it may only be able to hit a top speed of around 50mph, but trust us when we say that is plenty fast enough when you’re in something this small, this close to the ground and on such skinny Pirelli tyres. 

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The lack of weight means it gets up to speed impressively quickly, and the batteries are mounted in the nose for better weight distribution. Just try and drive it without a smile on your face, we dare you. 

Are there different driving modes?

There are, and there’s even a modern-day manettino dial to flick between them. Novice mode gives you just 1kW of power (1.3bhp) and limits the top speed to 15mph. For legal reasons, TLCC cars are for those aged 14 and above, but just in case anyone younger gets behind the wheel you can remove the manettino and lock it in Novice for a bit of peace of mind. The next step up is Comfort (5.3bhp) and then Sport (13.2bhp). Full-fat mode is Race with that 50mph top speed and a full 15.9bhp.

We’ve driven the Testa Rossa J at Bicester Heritage’s short test track, for the majority of the time in Sport mode. It’s fantastic fun and feels properly vintage, especially in the way it tackles corners. You’ll get sore arms from sawing at the large, unassisted wooden steering wheel and there’s a real mix of both over and understeer. There’s no way you could criticise it for being uninvolving and you can quite easily get crossed up on a damp surface. 

Is it comfortable?

The circuit at Bicester is far from smooth, but the J copes remarkably well and won’t batter your back like a go-kart. Hitting a pothole mid-corner can unsettle it a little, but catching it or coping with it is all part of the fun, and it’s unlikely you’ll be going quick enough to get into trouble.

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The Ducati-sourced Brembo brakes provide absolutely mega stopping power too, although they’ll lock up if you unceremoniously stamp on them. Oh, and there’s a hydraulic handbrake for big skids. Plus TLCC was even testing a brake bias adjuster on the prototype that we drove. Very clever. 

What’s the range?

The Testa Rossa J’s battery is made up of three separate packs, all of which combine to provide a range of around 62 miles if you’re driving carefully. You won’t of course, because the beauty of the J is that it gives you the confidence to properly throw it about. Thankfully there is regenerative braking that puts a bit of charge back into the battery when you lift off, though. 

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