The mk7 Golf GTI will bow out with a slightly conflicted special edition
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Radical, purveyor of hardcore racing cars and the occasional similarly uncompromising road rocket, has come up with a new luxury car. Well, we say ‘luxury’ when we really just mean that the company has produced the usual bewinged racing car for the road, only this time with a roof. If you like your road car raw like sushi but prefer not to need a full Arctic survival kit to drive it, then this is the solution. It even has an interior light. Underneath this nod in the direction of comfort, the engineering principles remain the same as other Radicals, albeit heavily tweaked. A tubular spaceframe chassis, a fibreglass body and a mid-mounted motor. In this instance, it’s a naturally aspirated Ford V6, producing 380bhp and 320lb ft, which, in a car weighing just 900kg, means the RXC manages 0-60mph in 2.8secs and tops out at 175mph. Which is more than respectably quick. There’s also a 7spd paddleshift Quaife ‘box which cracks though changes in just 50 milliseconds. All of which means the power delivery and speed is cumulatively brutal, appearing as one long stretch of seamless velocity. But that shouldn’t come as much of a revelation: just look at the thing - like a Le Mans racer with road tyres. Pleasingly, none of it is just for show. Those wings and foils generate 900kg of downforce at speed. Other hardly surprising highlights stretch to the steering, which is predictably precise and makes the RXC sublimely easy to carve through corners, though it’s an incredibly quick rack, meaning you rarely need to apply anything more than half a turn of lock. Interestingly, the RXC comes with adjustable power steering so that you can alter the level of forearm assistance, but this isn’t perfect. It doesn’t quite have the delicacy of the Lotus Exige, and because it’s biased more towards track than road, there’s no self-centring, meaning you have to make a concentrated effort to keep the RXC straight if pottering on A-roads. What is surprising is how well it rides - there’s a compliance (especially over longer undulations) that is genuinely unexpected. Of course it’s still stiff, but it doesn’t hunt cambers in the road too badly, and this breeds comfort and confidence. Which in turn means it feels like you could do some proper miles in it without breaking yourself. The windscreen wiper works very well (an important and often overlooked feature), and despite the woeful conditions during our test drive, the interior didn’t mist up at all. Even the dash layout is clear and simple, and it feels well made.
Of course there are other compromises - road noise is intrusive, and, at £94,500, it’s an expensive toy. But you’ll come away genuinely impressed with how forgiving, resolved and drivable the RXC is. We ran a Radical SR3 SL as a long-termer, and it was always hard work, no matter what the conditions. We’re not saying the RXC is easy to drive, but it certainly isn’t as scary as you’d imagine.