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BAC Mono: Room for one

The BAC Mono is one of the world's most driver-focused road legal cars. We took it out on the road to see what it's like in the wild.

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When manufacturers use the term driver-centric to describe their cars, they will point to minimal interference from driver aids or fewer "toys" in favour of a more pure experience. They try to speak to that part of you that drives for the sake of driving, rather than to get to a destination. In reality that person does have somewhere to go and will, probably, need to be able to ferry passengers. Even the Ariel Atom in all of its track-hungry glory has an extra seat to take someone along for the ride.

The creators of the BAC Mono describe it as driver-centric. When they say that, they aren't talking about sparse cabins and sporty suspension. They mean that nothing on this car is there for any other reason than to keep you stuck to the road and rocketing toward the horizon. Climbing into the cockpit, there is nothing in the cabin before you place the removable steering wheel in its place. There's nothing to look at: no dials, switches, or levers. Save the pedals tucked deep inside the nose, there's only a pocket just big enough to accommodate a smartphone.

Air-conditioning and a radio are omitted, as have windows or even a vestigial windscreen as they aren't needed for what the Mono is designed to do. That is, of course, to give you a road-legal driving experience that is second to none. A passenger would create imbalance, distraction, and would impair an optimum driving position. The Mono isn't interested in showing off to anyone except the driver.

The statistics tell one part of its story: sub-3.0 seconds to 60 mph, 285 bhp, 170 mph, but what really makes this car special is how those numbers live in something that looks so spectacular.

There is often a functional beauty in vehicles designed for speed. Aerodynamic requirements create pleasing curves and interesting lines but rarely do they come together as well as they do here. Its design is breathtakingly awesome to look at, surgically precise at cutting through the air and pins all four wheels to the road.

The Mono puts itself among that very short list of cars that can function on the razor edge of extreme track performance and still turn heads around town.

Driving the Mono was an unforgettable experience, and even though I didn't push its capabilities, on public roads it felt like the most pure drive possible. What really punctuated the experience, though, were the crowds that gathered every time we stopped.

Even standing still this car radiates an essence of high, focused performance; the drive confirms it. That makes the BAC Mono damn near perfect.

Engine 2.3-liter
Power 285 bhp
Torque 207 lb. ft.
0-60 mph 2.7 seconds
Top speed    170 mph