What do you get with a 3.1-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with a monstrous 897 horsepower and a rear spoiler the size of your average Manhattan apartment? A new record on the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, that's what. The 2011 Monster Sport Suzuku SX4, driven by Tobuhiro "Monster" Tajima, claimed the first sub-ten minute climb at 2011's running of the annual hill climb in Colorado. To put some context to the record: that's nearly 12.5 miles, 156 turns, and an average seven percent grade over gravel and paved surfaces alike. All in under ten minutes, or 9:51.278 to be precise, a time that bested the previous record (also set by Tajima) by more than ten seconds. You'll be able to experience the raw fury of the Monster Sport Suzuki SX4 yourself in Forza 4. Might we suggest a run on the biggest hill of all in Forza 4--Fujimi Kaido--as your first baptism by fire? After all, the SX4 knows its hills…
Though the 2011 Mazda RX-8 will be the last production model of the RX-8 series, it appears to be going out with a bang. The 1.3 liter engine is capable of 232 horsepower, a top speed north of 130 mph, and a 0-60 time of around seven seconds. The six-speed manual transmission and light weight make for a responsive ride and there's no denying the pleasing whines of that rotary engine. It might be going away, soon to be replaced by Mazda's next sports coupe, but you'll be able to enjoy the RX-8's swan song in Forza 4 for years to come.
Here's a tip, Forza 4 fans: Once you purchase a 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor in Forza Motorsport 4, get yourself to the "Aero and Appearance" upgrade menus as quick as you can, because there are some gems to be found. From extra headlamps up front and on the roof to an open bed in the back complete with a pair of thick-treaded tires, the visual options for the already menacing-looking Raptor are a treat for fans of pickups and sweet-looking rides alike. The Raptor will please driving fans too; it's a three-ton monster with more than 400 horsepower and an engine that sounds like it woke up on the wrong side of the garage. In fact, with all that growling power and the unique FORD logo embedded in the grill, it's precisely the last car your opponent will want to see up close and personal in his rear view mirror
The '67 Chevelle SS-396 introduced a number of improvements to the then-three-year old Chevelle model line including improved tires, better steering response and optional front disc brakes. While the three-speed automatic was standard, the Chevelle you'll drive in Forza features the four-speed option, 375 horsepower, V8, which was a dealer-installed conversion fitted into just a few hundred of the SS-396 models at the time. That rip-roaring power pushing a chunky hunk of Detroit steel weighing more than 3,500 pounds makes the '67 Chevelle a classic piece of American muscle car heritage and a car that's just as fun to listen to as it is to slide around a track.
With a storied history in rallying and a body style that's ripe for race replica paints (or whatever style you like, really), the 1977 Ford Escort RS1800 should prove as desirable in Forza 4 as it is by Ford enthusiasts and collectors in real life. Begun in 1975, the RS1800 used the legendary Cosworth 1.8L BDA engine, which churns out 115 horsepower, and powered its way to multiple rally wins and a couple of World Championships
Like other Volkswagen models of its era, the Scirocco dervies its name from the wind; in this case, the Mediterranean Sirocco wind, which originates in the Sahara and can reach hurricane speeds in southern Europe. While the stock 1.7 liter 74-horsepower engine that powers the '81 Scirocco S might not register on the Beaufort scale (the car tops out at a modest 111 mph), the Scirocco S proved to be a worthy replacement for its sports coupe predecessor the Karmann Ghia. The distinctive red VW badge and belt-line moulding set the Scirocco S from its standard model counterpart, along with a five-speed transmission, a front spoiler, and light alloy wheels. Visually and performance wise, it's easy to see why VW customers at the time considered the Scirocco S a breath of fresh air.
With classic sports car lines and a zippy 2.0L engine pushing out 115 horsepower, the 1986 Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio Verde is a treat for the eyes and a smooth ride in the driver's chair. The '86 package featured new skideskirts and mirrors, front and rear spoilers and an optional removable hardtop. Quadrifoglio Verde translates literally to "Green Fourleaf Clover" and, while it's undetermined whether the car is lucky, there's little doubt that if you get a chance to drive one in real life, you're lucky indeed. Get a dose of good fortune with the Quadrifoglio Verde in Forza 4, a reasonably priced, great-looking ride that just begs for attention, whether you're behind the camera lens or behind the wheel.
Though fuel efficiency was one of the catalysts that kicked off GM's Fiero brand, by the middle of its lifespan, customers were demanding more performance from the line. In 1988, the Fiera featured significant upgrades, including a new suspension designed to better support the Fiero's mid-engine layout. Little wonder then that with more power and a more focused design, the '88 version is largely considered the best in the Fiero line. As it happens, it was also the last Fiero produced, despite a prototype for a 1990 version being produced. The Fiero may be gone but it's still fondly remembered; a quick spin in Forza 4 is all the proof you'll need to know why
With its familiar Maserati oval grill and a bold logo emblazoned on the side, the 2010 Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4 makes its presence known straight away. Designed to compete in the GT4 European Cup series, this 433-horsepower machine is bent on circuit race domination, thanks to tight, responsive steering and some serious straightline speed (north of 187 mph, according to the Forza 4 benchmark tool). It's not cheap, of course, but if you're looking for a combination of eye-catching looks, hair-raising performance, and brand cache, the MC GT4 fits the bill.
For some, the Maserati 300S is what 1950s motorsports is all about. As the main challenger to the Ferraris of the era in the World Sportscar Championships, the 300S saw the talents of legendary drivers like Juan-Manuel Fangio, Carroll Shelby and Stirling Moss employed behind the wheel. The four-speed manual gear box and 3.0L, 260 horsepower engine is capable of a top speed of 175 mph and a 0-60 time of around 4.2 seconds. The 300 S is expensive but, with classic looks and great performance, you probably won't mind.
Some see rules and regulations as restrictive, something to hinder performance. The engineers at Audi look at rules and see them as an opportunity to innovate. Take the 2011 #2 Audi Sport North America R18 TDI, Audi’s 2011 LMP1 competitor in the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans. Thanks to a host of rules changes between 2010 and 2011, here is a car that could scarcely be more different from its predecessor. Unlike the R15 of old, the R18 is a closed cockpit LMP1 sports car, the first fielded by Audi in more than 10 years. The R18 is light (thanks to copious amounts of carbon fiber construction) and puts a heavy premium on aerodynamic efficiency, and it’s powered by a 3.7 liter V6 TDI engine, featuring the use of a single turbo (a big change from the twin turbo V10s and V12s from previous years). Despite all of those changes, the R18 manages to have one thing in common with its predecessors: a penchant for victory, as the R18 managed top overall honors during the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans.
A "banshee rotary". The sound of "seven thousand cats being stung by seven thousand wasps." These are just two of the more colorful descriptions from journalists about the 1991 Mazda #55 Team Mazdaspeed 787B’s inimitable 690-horsepower Wankel-type rotary engine. That motor and it’s unmistakable, gloriously chaotic noise is coming to bring a full aural and automotive assault to every track in Forza Motorsport 4. Of course, if you’re a traditionalist, you’ll first want to hit Le Mans and, in particular, the Mulsanne Straight, where the 787B is most at home. The 787B and its Group C brethren regularly hit speeds north of 215 mph, which eventually caused the Le Mans organizers to add chicanes in 1990. And in 1991, the 787B won Le Mans itself, only for Mazda to find its star car banned after a rules change banned Wankel-type rotaries from competition. The 787B now sits in a place of honor at Mazda’s Hiroshima museum and for good reason: Since the team’s victory twenty years ago, no other Japanese manufacturer has managed to win Le Mans, a fitting legacy for a car that needs to be seen, driven, and heard to be believed.
It takes a special car to be awarded Forza Motorsport’s E3 2011 "Car of Show" but, then, this modified Bentley Continental GT knows a thing or two about special. If you aren’t familiar with the story, during last year’s Forza Motorsport 4 E3 party in Los Angeles, Turn 10 transformed a downtown parking lot into a miniature SEMA show, with a host of cars lining up to be judged by our panel of car experts. With some incredible competition (including Quinton "Rampage" Jackson’s customized Dodge Challenger) on hand, choosing a winner was difficult but, in the end, the gorgeous matte white widebody found on this Continental GT--custom built by LA-based Platinum Motorsports--managed top honors. It’s more than good looks too—the car’s 6.0 liter engine is capable of more than 700 horsepower, making this car both a beauty and a beast. In other words: Best in Show.
You know a car owned by a guy who calls himself "Rampage" is going to be special. In the case, of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson’s 2010 Dodge Challenger SRT8, “special” means vaguely sinister and completely awesome. Highlighted by the deepest, baddest set of rims you’re likely to see on this continent, Rampage’s Dodge Challenger is a black and red menace that’s meant for cruising but capable of so much more. In Forza 4, Rampage’s Challenger is pure B-Class fury in its stock form—with a 6.1 liter engine that belts out more than 550 horsepower and 497 foot-pounds of torque. In essence this car is an automotive extension of the man himself: intimidating, powerful, and impossible to ignore.
This was the car that put Audi rallying on the map. Introduced in late 1985 as a Group B entrant, the quattro S1 began a string of incredible performance that helped define the near mythical status that Group B regulations still enjoys among rally enthusiasts. The quattro S1 was one of the most powerful Group B cars ever made, with its turbocharged engines producing power north of 460 horsepower. Little wonder that, in addition its rally popularity, the quattro S1 also held multiple world records on the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb during the late 80s, and is still widely regarded to this day as one of the most incredible race cars Audi has ever built
The Panoz Racing Abruzzi debuted in the American Le Mans Series at the 12 Hours of Sebring race. The production version of the Abruzzi has been dubbed “The Spirit of Le Mans”, and for good reason. The V8 that powers the car is capable of 500 horsepower, which makes it right at home on La Sarthe’s long straights. In addition, new owners of this exceedingly rare production model (just 81 will be made) take ownership of their car at the Le Mans circuit and receive training on the Bugatti Circuit at Le Mans from professional drivers; an exceedingly special introduction for an exceedingly special car.
Technically, the 1992 Alfa Romeo 155 Q4 can be termed a "compact executive", but this car has the heart of a touring car. Introduced in 1992, the 155 was a larger replacement for the Alfa Romeo 75. The Q4 version features a 2.0 liter turborcharged engine capable of 187 horsepower and, unlike the front wheel drive 155, sports an AWD drivetrain. Capable of a 140 mph top speed and a 0-100 kph in around 7 seconds, it’s little wonder that the 155 had success in touring car racing. It’s a fun drive with a body style that’s begging for a race replica livery in Forza 4.
If you wanted to purchase a 1995 Ford Mustang Cobra R in the mid-90s, Ford required you to show a valid competition license beforehand; a small but telling comment on the raw power of this special example of American automotive muscle. Long sought after by Forza’s rabid Mustang community, the Cobra R is big and beefy—with an SVT-modified 5.8 liter Windsor V8 that pumps out an impressive 300 hp and 365 foot-pounds of torque. This is no grocery getter or everyday commuter—in order to save weight, SVT said bye-bye to luxuries like radio, power windows, air condition, and even a back seat. Instead, the car’s thicker stabilizer bars and heavy duty springs were designed to make the Cobra R a beast on the track. Llittle wonder, then, that the Cobra R has achieved such legendary status among lovers of the blue oval brand: just 250 of the model were made, so saddling up in Forza 4 might be your only chance of ever driving one of these American beauties
More power, better handling, and new technology are all hallmarks of Holden’s latest E Series—the 2011 HSV GTS. The Australian manufacturer has truly thrown out the stops for the GTS, with a 6.2 liter V8 capable of 436 horsepower and an engine note that has spawned praise from tons of automotive critics. So it’s definitely got the muscle for straight-line speed, but the GTS’s MRC suspension will automatically change the damping settings of the suspension several hundred times per second, resulting in a responsive ride that’s fantastic through the turns. It’s also a great-looking car, featuring a dramatic front end complete with a unique vase-shaped grille. When you think about it, the HSV GTS is a lot like your stereotypical Australian: it’s good-looking, sounds great, and is a lot of fun to hang around with.
The Polo GTI is a handsome hatchback that features a lot of muscle underneath its small packaging. A 1.4 liter twincharged engine combines both a turbocharger and a supercharger and belts out 177 horsepower and 184 foot-pounds of torque in the process. The result is a car that manages 0-60 mph in less than seven seconds and can reach a top speed north of 140 mph. Couple that performance with fuel efficiency that’s been improved as much as 25 percent from previous models and it’s easy to see why this new Polo GTI has been so hotly anticipated by VW fans
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the original DB4GT Zagato, Aston Martin--in collaboration with Zagato--created an elegant and vivacious concept car. The V12 Zagato (Villa d’Este) debuted at the prestigious Concorso d’Eleganza Villa D’Este in Italy and won the "Best in Class" award for Concept and Prototypes. The next month, the car went on to compete at Germany’s Nürburgring, including the 24 Hour race where it performed flawlessly. The V12 produces 510 bhp, the brakes are ventilated carbon ceramic and it uses a carbon fiber driveshaft. With a top speed north of 185 mph and equipped with a full roll cage and a plastic driver’s-side window this car is ready to race. All it needs is a driver and maybe a custom livery to make it your own.
Dominating the 1972 Manufacturer’s World Championship and driven by such legends as Mario Andretti and Jacky Ickx, the 1971 Ferrari #2 Ferrari Automobili 312 P holds historic status in endurance racing. The car was developed in response to the FIA’s decision to limit engine displacement to three liters, down from five. Despite the belief the car used a further-developed F1 V12; it was powered by a horizontally opposed 12-cylinder boxer engine with twin overhead cams for each bank of cylinders. The boxer engine reduced the overall height, as well as the car’s center of gravity. Developing 440 bhp at 10,800 RPM and weighing in at just over 1,400 pounds, the 312 P had a formidable power-to-weight ratio of .316. The cars distinctive post-mounted rear-view mirror and wedge-scoop design set it apart from its contemporaries, just as pork chops and sideburns did with facial hair of the era.
Ultima has completely reinvented the notion of a kit car. No longer is a kit a flashy body slapped onto an old VW chassis. What Ultima has created is a truly world-class supercar that has reset acceleration and deceleration records and taken top honors for the fastest lap time set by a production car on the Top Gear circuit (a full four seconds faster than the Koenigsegg’s CCX). Yeah, and you build it yourself. The GTR’s 7.0 liter Corvette Z-06 motor develops 565 horsepower and it weighs only 2,200 pounds. You do the math. The fact is, it will rocket you to sixty in less than three seconds and is into the 9’s on the quarter mile. At a glance, the GTR may seem a bit simplistic, but the performance and design will take you where others cars only aspire. The Ultima GTR is that rarest of automotive beasts: an ultimate track day car that is still street legal at a fraction of the cost of an equivalent supercar
In 1969 the SS badge on a Chevy Nova meant something more than just a trim package. It meant a hearty 6.5 liter, V8 pumping out 375 horsepower. At a glance, the SS still wouldn’t turn many heads, but it would snap your neck back when you press the pedal on the right. The phrase “All Go and No Show” comes to mind. Granted, you can dress the Nova up and ride in style, but the SS’s intent was to leave the competition eating its exhaust, plain and simple. Dressed up or bone stock, you will enjoy its heavy-hitting power and relatively light chassis down the strip or around the track.
Celebrating 20 years on the market as “the small car with big-car attributes”, The Clio has been a top-selling compact, replacing the Renault 5 line. While the Clio has always been appreciated by its exacting owners as precise, sporty and efficient, the Clio RS takes it to a new level. The 2.0 liter 16-valve is peppy and, thanks to its Brembo brake calipers, it will start and stop with the best in its class. Its distinctive nose is endearing and may even prompt others to grin back at it. The Clio RS suspension has been upgraded with widened front and rear tracks which deliver stable and grippy handling. At nearly twice the cost of a base Clio, you can rest assured the additional investment has been put to good use with your performance pleasure in mind.
The ’66 Country Squire from Ford had a little magic in it. That’s probably not a surprise though, is it? One look at the Squire’s classic station wagon styling may be all the convincing you need of its magical properties. But did you also know that the 1966 version was also the first model in the long-running Country Squire line to include the so called “Magic Door Gate”, a special tailgate that flipped down like a traditional tailgate while also opening like a swinging door? While you might not be able to access this strange, mystic portal in Forza 4, you won’t have any trouble enjoying the Country Squire’s smooth, confident gait on the track. Take advantage of the Squire’s wide body and cut someone off the next time you’re racing online. After all, isn’t that one of the reasons station wagons were invented?
The closest thing to an M8 BMW ever developed will not only knock you back in your seat at almost any speed, it will do so with the style and refinement that only a BMW provides. In 1995 the 850CSi was BMW’s ultimate driving machine. The car came with a 5.6 liter V12, included sleek reshaped bumpers and an improved suspension with electronic enhancements such as stability control. The car’s V12 doled out more than 400 foot-pounds of torque and 372 hp. As part of BMW’s Art Car program, American artist David Hockney created a bold pop art-inspired print design on the 850CSi; making it the fourteenth BMW model to be honored in this way. So as a canvas for design or for delivering stunning performance on the track, this luxury sport tourer is art in motion.
Enjoying bodywork penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro from Italdesign-Giugiaro, the Alfa Romeo GTV6 was heralded by automotive journalists for excellent handling, outstanding brakes, and the SOHC V6 2.5 liter engine that made for a thoroughly fun driving experience. The fantastic-sounding engine powered the rear wheels through a transaxle creating a nearly perfect front/rear weight balance. Furthering the race-bred technology was the use of a deDion rear suspension and inboard disk brakes. Winning the 1982-85 European Touring Car Championships proved to the motoring public the car's capabilities. Alfa Romeo produced limited editions like the Maratona, Balocco, or Grand Prix editions, while after market companies like Zender also provided excellent performance options. In 1986 the GTV-6 retired at the top of its game, including impressive performances in World Rally Championship races. In addition, 200 very collectible models were made, produced only in South Africa using a 3.0 liter version of the famed V6 engine. All GTV-6 versions are enjoyed today, just as they were when first rolled out, with many found in club racing or concours events.
The Wiesmann brothers’ coupes and roadsters are "manufaktur der individualisten," and truly it takes an individualist to fully appreciate their unique creations. Combining retro proportions with state-of-the-art BMW-sourced running gear, the GT MF5 is a sporting coupe that certainly means business. Compared to the roadster variants, the GT coupes are somewhat geared towards grand touring duties, but if you think that makes them softer, the beefy twin-turbo V8 begs to differ. The MF5 variant is the most honed driving weapon yet to roll out of the factory in Dülmen, Germany. The MF5 is already light, being primarily composed of fiberglass composite over a bonded and riveted aluminum monocoque chassis, giving it excellent performance—the sprint to 60 mph takes well under four seconds and 100 mph is crested in less than eight. To keep things planted, Wiesmann has fitted the MF5 with a prominent rear wing and an underbody diffuser for additional downforce.
Chevrolet’s Corvair line covered the entire decade of the 1960s and its popularity led to the range covering a wide variety of models—from two-door coupes and convertibles to passenger vans and pickups. The Monza coupe was a more powerful version of the standard Corvair compact and, in 1969, the Monza managed a healthy 110 horsepower. The Corvair’s unique rear-mounted air-cooled engine led to some interesting stylistic choices, including a lower overall profile and the absence of a front grille. And if the twin tail lights in the rear remind you of the Corvette, well, that’s just the way Chevy intended it. Just over 500 Monza models were made in 1969, the last year the Corvair was produced by Chevrolet, making it a handsome collector’s item for Chevy enthusiasts and muscle car fans alike.
Forty years ago the Mercedes 300 SEL 6.8 AMG achieved a class victory and second overall placing at the 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium. The 2011 Mercedes-Benz #35 Black Falcon SLS AMG GT3 has been given the exact same livery to honor that performance. This time it was driven by a team including Kenneth Heyer, son of Hans Heyer who accomplished that victory, with co-driver Clemens Schickentanz. In 2011 the team ended up taking a respectable third. The car went on to take second at the Bathurst 12 Hour Race as well. The car’s deep carbon-fiber splitter and huge rear-wing complement its distinctive long nose and extremely low roofline. Mercedes is back in the racing scene and its performance is as you would expect: among the best.
A ground-up developed monocoque and components that took extensive advantage of 3D printing technology are presented in the open-top AMR One. A small, agile, and very advanced design team has engineered every part of the car to take advantage of the FIA’s energy efficiency-focused regulations. The car employs an in-line, 2-liter, 6-cylinder turbo engine that produces upwards of 540 horsepower. It achieved a top speed of 187 mph at Le Mans in testing. Presumably, it is capable of even higher speeds. The AMR-One has front and rear triple-damper suspension and carbon-fiber brakes to control that power. As an experiment the car went where no others have gone before.
As Jaguar’s fastest and most powerful series production car to date, the XKR-S is no poseur. Its aggressive and sleek lines are straight out of the jungle yet not without grace. The super-charged 5.0-liter V8 brings over 540 horsepower to the table and 502 foot-pounds of torque to keep you slammed back in your seat. That’s enough juice to make the XKR-S Jaguar’s first full production car to become a member of the elite 186 mph (300kmh) and higher club. Keeping all this power grounded and sticky is an adaptive damping and stability control system with unique programming and revised rear-suspension geometry. Inside are plenty of leather and all the high quality accoutrements you would expect. The XKR-S strays from Jaguar’s typical design approach, but that’s part of its appeal.
The 1995 BMW M5 represents the final year of the E34 series. This was the fastest production saloon car in its second evolution. It embodies both luxury and performance like no other car of its time. The M5 was hand- assembled and designed for the BMW owner that wanted to lead the pack in a 4-door luxury sedan. While never well suited to the track due to its excessive weight, the M5 is the ultimate touring car. The quick-revving, 3.8-liter, 24-valve, straight-6 engine delivered north of 300 horsepower and the 6-speed transmission was one of the few available in the mid-1990s. Together with its stiffer lower suspension, the car’s performance will rival many sport coupes in its class. These cars are highly sought after by BMW enthusiasts; find out why in Forza 4.
Maserati performance is only topped by its luxuriousness in the 2011 version of the venerable Quattroporte. The Quattroporte, meaning “four-doors”, is powered by a Ferrari-built, 4.7-liter, V8 delivering 440 horsepower and linked to a ZF 6-speed automatic; the GT S’s emphasis on sport driving acumen is evident. As one expects from the Italians, Maserati provides a gorgeous sounding motor. Its volume and tone can even be adjusted via a valve-controlled exhaust. In normal mode you can revel in the car’s power in near-silent luxury, but in sport mode the roar of the Ferrari-built engine will provide a concert of throaty rumblings. The quick shifting close-ratio gearbox delivers rapid power at any speed. Even though the GT S is obviously a touring saloon, its cornering aptitude will surprise you.
There are so many reasons to appreciate the Mazda RX-7; if not for its performance-per-dollar value, then for its innovative design. The Wankel-powered RX-7 is the only vehicle to utilize the awesome, unlimited revability of the rotary engine. The ’85 GSL-SE introduced the 13B engine, the largest, most powerful RX-7 rotary motors to be developed at the time. The car also received bigger brakes and stiffer springs and shocks. Since the motor was situated behind the front axle it was referred to as front-mid engine. The result was a perfect 50/50 weight distribution. Altogether, the car weighed barely 2,500 pounds and, with its live-axle rear end, turned a .77 on the skid pad. Combined, these factors produce a formidable sports car. They are a rip to drive and one of the most affordable sports cars around. Tune one up in Forza and watch it blow away more powerful cars.
At a glance, the 1972 300 SEL shows itself to be a composed, beautifully appointed luxury saloon. Under the hood, however, is the big 6.3 liter V8 from the 600 limousine. It could push the car to a top speed of 137 mph. In utter comfort, mind you. It was, in fact, the fastest sedan in the world in 1972 and did 0-60 in 6.5 seconds. Its air-ride suspension was self-leveling based on the load. AMG was just a small local tuning company back then. They produced special competitive versions of the 300 SEL and had an impressive, albeit short, racing career. The most famous was the “Red Sow” or “Red Pig”. Sadly, the early seventies energy crisis meant the end of the 300 SEL 6.3. It will not be forgotten though, especially when you can wheel it anytime in Forza 4.
Named after the sophisticated French resort town patronized by the likes of Napoleon and Queen Victoria, the Biarritz convertible defined elegance and grace in the automotive world of the late 1950s. It also redefined the term “land yacht”. The car was almost 19 feet long and more than seven feet wide. The huge tail fins, the tallest ever made, and the unique “rocketship” taillights were just a few of the styling cues that set this car apart. Powered by a 345 horsepower triple-carbureted 390 V8, this 5,000- pound luxury cruiser could reach 130 mph. Turning radius was a mere parking lot width of 24 feet and the air-ride suspension while providing a comfy ride gave the Biarritz a distinctive float. Elvis, even had one custom built for him. Some things have changed since the 50s but back then one thing is for sure: in some cases, size does matter.
Functional, sporty, safe, and well-equipped, sum up the 2012 Scion tC. It’s an entry level car with a unique look that features sound performance for a fair price. Under the hood is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder connected to the front wheels via a 6-speed transmission. It will do 0-60 in just under eight seconds and gets very reasonable mileage. For 2012, the body received a much more chiseled look and as with all Scion’s the list of dealer options is very long.
The terms “sport” and “wagon” rarely come together, but Volvo has been building some of the safest and most exciting sportwagons for years. With a turbo-powered 5-cylinder engine making 240 horsepower and rear-wheel drive, you might forget you’re in a wagon pretty quickly, until you remember you might be hauling the kids and family dog with you. The 850 R will hit 155 mph flat out and fares pretty well in the corners. It’s no lightweight, though, so copious braking is recommended. In all, if you have to drive a wagon but still desire performance the 850 R has got you covered.
Born with the goal of being a 1,000-plus horsepower car that weighs less than 3,000-pounds, the Hennessey Venom GT is based on the Lotus Elise—complete with the Venom 1,000 horsepower, twin-turbo motor, then lightened. Certainly these are reasonable goals, so long as destroying a Bugatti Veyron’s 0-200 mph time is your primary focus. As a result, the Hennessey Venom GT does 0-200 mph faster than many average cars car do 0-60 mph: 15.3 seconds to be exact. That’s almost 10 seconds faster than the Bugatti. The G-forces felt under full acceleration nearly equal that of a fighter jet doing an inverted loop. The all-aluminum 6.2-liter, twin-turbo, V8 delivers an astonishing 1,200 horsepower, put to the pavement via a six-speed transmission connected to the rear wheels. The car is almost entirely carbon fiber composite and weighs in at a mere 2,685 pounds. The Venom GT has the highest power-to-weight ratio of any car on the market and only five will be built this year.
Wayne and Garth never had it so good. The coveted Pacer X model had style and performance even the Mirthmobile couldn’t match. The X model came with a front-sway bar, sport-steering column, vinyl bucket seats, and additional chrome to go with the Pacer X decals. Yes, the decals did actually make it faster. Performance like this can only be improved by blasting “Bohemian Rhapsody” while in the driver’s seat. The “Flying Fishbowl” runs on a 232-cubic-inch 3.8-liter, inline six and had an available two-barrel carburetor. You could also opt for the punchier 258 I6, but both delivered only 100 horsepower in a 3,000-pound car. Though of modest performance, the Pacer X was a pinnacle of 70’s styling and deserves an honored place in any collection.
The SuperSportVan is the latest creation in a long-standing series of Ford-built custom transit vans dating back to 1971. The first, the Transit Supervan, was based on the Ford GT40 and could reach 150 mph. A later version, the 1984 Supervan II, was built with a Cosworth racing engine and hit a speed of 178 mph at Silverstone. The 2011 Ford Transit SuperSportvan is a bit tamer and dons Le Mans bonnet stripes and an eye-catching livery on the outside. Inside is the 3.2-liter, 198-horsepower Duratorq TDCi engine taken from the much larger Transit Jumbo. What’s the point? It’s a one-off design to show that Ford engineers can have fun too, and it was unveiled at the 2011 Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham, UK. It also presents a vast canvas for designs and further customization for Forza 4 fans
For 2012 the Wrangler received a new engine, the Pentastar V6. It delivers significantly more horsepower, a total of 280 ponies and more torque, 260 pound-feet to be exact. That’s a 40 percent increase in power, and a 10 percent increase in torque. More juice is good! And it even gets better mileage. The 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is by far the most comfortable and amenity-loaded Wrangler ever. Inside the cabin you will find redundant steering wheel controls, a refined dash and center console, as well as things like heated seats and mirrors. Jeep has not forgotten why most people buy Wranglers either, so its capability off-road has been enhanced too. In the Rubicon model you will find sturdy Dana 44 axles front and rear, a locking rear differential, and stock water-fording capability of 30 inches. The Jeep’s wide stance and short wheelbase also make it a blast to drive on pavement. While it’s truly at home on the trail, you will find its track performance more than just capable.
One of the first “race on Sunday, commute on Monday” factory cars, the Lotus Cortina built its reputation on the track and in people’s daily lives. Henry Ford II assigned Lotus’ Colin Chapman the task of building a Ford that was performance inspired and could give Ford some racing credibility. The Cortina did so in triplicate, winning rally and touring car championships right and left and being driven by the likes of Jim Clark. The Cortina provides a peppy 0-60 time of just under 10 seconds and adroit cornering. Partially in part to its dainty 2,060 pounds of weight, and, without doubt, credit needs to be given to its 115 horsepower which are generated by a twin-cam 1.6-liter 4-cylinder, with thirsty and throaty sounding dual-Weber carbs. While this car can carry four people in relative comfort, it is most happy when being revved high and thrown into a corner with full gusto.
A turbo-charged, four-cylinder, four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, four-door sedan, sold in limited numbers makes the Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 a treasured piece of JDM history. It also makes for a barrel of fun to drive. While providing comfort and sophistication for its passengers, the VR-4 ignites off the line, cuts into corners, and brakes with precision. The engine develops a potent 237 horsepower put to the wheels via a center differential that detects wheel slippage and re-directs power to the axle with the most traction. Four-wheel steering engages at speeds more than 31 mph and turns the rear wheels up to 1.5 degrees to enable optimum turn angle and cornering stability. Throughout the VR-4 you will find technology that caters to a driving experience matched only by much more expensive sedans
The uncontested champion of the “Easy to Park” award, the Smart ForTwo is the first micro car to be introduced to the U.S. Just 106 inches long, it is by far the smallest production car made. Made for two full-size adults and couple bags of groceries (at the most), it was not designed for the family or for performance. It is a practical urban errand runner where efficiency is the goal. The ForTwo’s looks will usually spark a conversation and its popularity has been surprising. The 3-cylinder engine is located in the rear of the car and pumps out a mild 70 horsepower coupled to an automated manual transmission pushing the rear wheels. If you think the Nürburgring is narrow, try the Smart ForTwo; the world becomes immensely bigger when driving one
Subaru brought new game to 1990 dealer showrooms, putting aside their smaller, quirkier wagons and sedans for the new Legacy line. These cars were much more substantial in size, quality, and amenities. The Legacy RS Turbo was the most powerful model and has a strong following among Subie enthusiasts. It’s off road racing record is considerable and proved its endurance and ability to perform, and this was prior to Subaru’s dominance of the WRC. The highly desirable EJ20G engine later used in the WRX made more than 200 horsepower and provided a new level of performance. Subaru all-wheel drive keeps the Legacy RS steady and capable under any conditions on any track.
Getting right to it, the Chrysler 300 SRT8 has a huge Hemi under the hood. More than 450 horsepower horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque connected to the rear wheels makes for a tire-smoking good time. It also makes for some pretty amazing performance; like 0-60 mph in less than five seconds and under thirteen second quarter mile times. Performance like this used to be born of modifications and aftermarket parts. Now Chrysler is giving it to you right out of the box. Even fuel economy is boosted. Do you remember the days when more horsepower meant lower mileage? Those days are past, now comfort and sophistication meet monster muscle and performance in the 300 SRT8, not surprisingly Chrysler has made them go delightfully hand in hand.
The beauty that is embodied by the Austin-Healy 3000 MkIII is equaled only by similarly hand-crafted boats and motorcycles of the era constructed by skilled craftsmen who put their heart and soul into everything they built. Curvaceous and sparkling wood, leather, and steel combine in a car that has a large collector following, not just due to its form but also its performance. Under the shapely hood is a 147-hp, 2,912-cc, six-cylinder overhead-valve engine with dual SU downdraft carburetors. The gruff, low-toned rasp created by the exhaust unmistakably denotes its period and homeland. Strangely, this Austin-Healey was built by neither Austin nor Healey, but by Jensen. The “big” Healey--or “Squealy” as it was often called--delivers an exhilarating open-air ride and grippy cornering. Throwing this car sideways with the tires squealing will make you want to don a driving cap with goggles and wail, ”Tallyho fine fellows!” in your best English accent.
Corvette Racing has truly made a name for itself since they began competing in 1999. In addition to more than 80 wins, several manufacturer championships, and “Green Challenge” wins, Corvette Racing and the #4 have won their class at Le Mans multiple times, including the last two out of three years. They are always a threat to winning the GT class and finished second in the ALMS overall standings in 2011. The team’s consistency earned them one victory and nine top five finishes in the ten races of the ALMS season. Pushing the Corvette and its E85-fueled, 5.5-liter, 485-horsepower, LS5.5R small block are driver’s Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen. Richard Westbrook joins in the fun for the three endurance races of the ALMS season. Take your turn at the wheel of this seasoned and proven racing competitor in Forza 4.
Only 252 of these sleek and sensuous cars were built in an attempt to fill the gap between the Mercedes-Benz 300SL and the much more affordable MG’s and Triumphs of the era. The beatific lines were penned by Count Albrecht Goertz who designed the earlier 503. These cars were hand-built and, even at a price of $11,000, BMW was losing money selling them. However, the car made a statement for BMW and, when the likes of Elvis Presley bought one, production remained worthwhile. The 507 is powered by an overhead-valve, aluminum-block, 3.2-liter, V8 with dual-carburetors. Total horsepower is about 150. Power is transferred to the wheels through a four-speed transmission. Hydraulic front-disc brakes and an independent suspension with dual A-arms control the cars speed and handling. The 507 could do up to 136 mph depending on what final-drive ratio was ordered and 0-60 was an impressive 8.8 seconds. The chances of seeing a 507 anywhere outside of a museum these days are pretty slim, so take it on the track in Forza 4 and experience the next best thing.
Yes, a pre-war Ford in Forza Motorsport 4. It’s difficult not to appreciate this car. While hard to find nowadays, the Ford Coupe has been an icon since its inception and sold millions in its time. The flathead V8 alone is a piece of history. It could be said that hot-rodding began with this car when our veterans came home from World War II and wanted something affordable they could work on and build up. The design reflects the Art Deco period, with its bold and sweeping lines and minimal flashy exterior components. The original, begging-to-be-modified flathead V8s puts out a mild 60-85 horsepower. Although weighing in at only 2,970 pounds the De Luxe Coupe is fairly light and responds well, once upgraded to modern componentry. But, just tooling around bone stock is like taking a trip back in time. Either way, the De Luxe Coupe offers a completely new Forza experience. Aaahooooogah!
One of the most prestigious brands in the automotive world has decided to enter the city car market. Aston has done so by taking the successful Toyota iQ and dressing it up to more aptly address their significantly upscale market. The iQ or Cygnet is a front-engine around town ultra-compact that is capable of up to 106 mph. The 97 horsepower four-cylinder delivers optimum mileage and with the Aston accoutrements provides its passengers distinctive creature comforts. While similar to the Smart For Two in shape and size, the Cygnet is a four-seater. It also differs by being front wheel drive. So for those who want the convenience of a city car with its super short wheelbase, incredible turning circle diameter and fuel sipping mileage but still desire luxury to enhance the experience, the Cygnet delivers.
Penned by MG Designer Syd Enever, the MGA was “the first of a new line” of MG’s to come out following the TD chassis. The seats are slung lower, due to the floor being attached to the bottom of the frame sections, opposed to the top as they had been previously. The MGA repaired falling traditional MG model sales upon its initial release. Previous models of the MGA were powered by a fairly low-compression 68 horsepower inline four-cylinder. In 1958 the high performance Twin-Cam was added. It had a high-compression DOHC aluminum head that delivered 108 horsepower. The cars were also fitted with Dunlop four-wheel disc brakes, a huge improvement over the four-wheel drums of earlier MGA’s. The Twin-Cam came with knock-off steel wheels that were unique to the model. Those wheels and a small logo near the vent were the only distinguishers of this Twin-Cam model. Top speed was found to be 113 mph and 0-60 could be accomplished in 13.3 seconds.
The Ghibli Cup was the highest power-to-weight ratio car of its time, with its 330 horsepower, 2-liter, dual-overhead cam, 24-valve, intercooled, twin-turbo V6 and 3009lb curb weight. To handle all that power, the Ghilbi comes with Brembo brakes and a four-way adjustable suspension. The car’s name was taken from the original Maserati Ghilbi of 1966 even though its style is not reminiscent of its ancestor. The body is very close in design to the much more contemporary and recently retired Biturbo. This luxury sport coupe delivers exhilarating performance and Italian style in a functional package.
If the AMG version isn’t enough to satisfy your need for power and sophistication, the AMG Black Series takes the C63 a step further. This car offers up more than 500 horsepower by borrowing the engine from the SLS AMG supercar. Utilizing the same seven-speed automatic found in the C63 which provides four shift modes and launch control, 0-60 can be accomplished in 4.3 seconds and a quarter mile can be cleared in around 12 seconds. Maximum air flow is achieved through a gaping central air intake and a front splitter that comes to a precise point. Flared fenders accommodate wider tires in front and back. To say the least, this car not only looks the role, but has the machinery to back it up
It was deemed the “Yellowbird” by Road & Track editors during a two-day event at VW’s Ehra-Lessien track where the journalists were collecting data for a story called, “The Fastest Car in the World.” The blow-off valve for the twin-turbo, (the only twin-turbo 911 in the world at the time) chirps like a canary, further validating the name. During that event it reached 211 mph. Alois Ruf custom built the car for the event. He took a standard 930 and replaced the steel doors, hood, and decklid with aluminum ones, modified the engine significantly (including two huge turbos) and installed the Ruf five-speed gearbox that helped build his company. The car weighs only 2,662 pounds, coupled with 469 horsepower and 408 ft.-lb. of torque. Only 29 were built and they are known to outclass almost any high performance car of the time
Toyota produced 5,000 GT-Four RC ST185’s to meet homologation requirements for Group A Rally competition. The 1992 racing version was named the “Carlos Sainz Edition” in honor of the Spanish drivers racing achievements including becoming Toyota’s first world rally champion in 1990. While this is not the racing version, it does deliver 10 more turbo-charged horsepower than the normal GT-Four for a total of 232 horsepower, and with its distinctive hood and front bumper the GT-Four RC is a much sought after model. The ST185 was the most successful rally car Toyota built, winning the driver’s championship in 1992-1994 and earning the manufacturer’s championship in 1993 and 1994. The WRC was previously dominated by European car makers and Toyota’s success precedes the later winning WRC histories of Subaru and Mitsubishi.
“Herbie” was a 1963 Beetle. Disney’s “The Love Bug” was not just a fun-loving story of a car with a human personality but was also an exciting touring-car racing movie full of exotic European cars. In short, it’s a must-see for any VW or racing aficionado. For many, the arrival of the VW Beetle in America in 1963 meant an affordable car with great mileage and a look that was not only endearing, but immensely popular. Initially known as “The People’s Car” – a car capable of carrying two adults and three children at a speed of 62 mph-- and based on Ferdinand Porsche’s 1931 design, the Beetle gave the average family a real car for the price of a motorcycle. For 1963 the “Bug” had a 40 horsepower flat-four connected to a transaxle pushing the car from the rear and was stopped by four drum brakes. It’s interesting to think where vehicle design would be today without the Beetle. The car’s influence is profound and its popularity unceasing, proven by being known as “the best-selling car of all time.”