XCAR gets an exclusive first ride on public roads in Radical's self-titled "World's most extreme road-legal coupe."
Nick WilkinsonVideo Producer / XCAR
Nick Wilkinson is XCAR's Producer, so can either be found huffing serious quantities of exhaust fumes armed with a camera or making a montage of some kind. His background is in video, and as a film and motorsport nut finds himself in heaven most weekdays
Watch this: Radical RXC: Worlds most extreme road-legal coupe
As a car manufacturer, on the track, you can't get much more proven than Radical. In just 16 years it's managed to sell over 1,600 racecars, designed a car for Le Mans in under a year, and holds the production lap record for street-legal vehicles at the Nurburgring (a frankly terrifying time of 6 minutes and 48 seconds). The Radical ethos is based on lightweight sports cars that use superbike technology, resulting in supercar pace at a fraction of the cost. To say Radical does its talking on the track is a gross understatement.
With its most successful model, the SR3, Radical began to toy with the idea of its cars on the road, as it could be converted to become road legal. With the SR3 SL, or street legal, in 2012 Radical explored this further.
Radical's newest, and certainly maddest, creation, the RXC, has been designed from the ground up with both road and track in mind. Although, one look at its exterior, and it's not hard to guess where this car belongs.
The RXC is absolutely bonkers. The one we encountered in its garish yellow paint job didn't help this impression. To think that this LMP1-style car, with a multi-adjustable rear wing and seven-speed sequential Quaife paddle shift gearbox (built specifically for this car), can pop to the shops for a pint of milk is simply staggering. And I've been informed it takes speed bumps really rather well.
At the moment, it's powered by the 3.7-litre Ford V-6 unit found in the new Mustang. It produces 350 bhp as standard (although we're told this can be tweaked to 380bhp). If that doesn't sound like enough for you, there will also be a V-8 version coming soon, which Radical's team has designed in house. That means practically all of that car will have been designed and built under the same roof, which is truly impressive and not something many manufacturers are doing. This version should be comfortably over 400 bhp, although in a car that weighs just 900kg, 350 bhp doesn't sound too bad at all.
The RXC doesn't just walk the walk, though, and the wing isn't there for show; this car can pull its weight. As a matter of fact it can produce its own weight, that's 900kg, of downforce at certain speeds. The standard unit can go from zero to 62 mph in just 2.8 seconds, with a top speed of 175 mph. It means business, and costs just a fraction under £100,000.
We visited the Peterborough outfit at the end of the RXC's track development, and were just in time to witness its first ever drive on public roads. Marketing manager Roger Green, who has raced Radicals for many years, and assisted in the car's development, took us for a drive. I had assumed we would talk more about the RXC en route, however, it soon became clear that sound deadening hadn't been on the top of Radical's list when trying to make it go faster round the track.
What I did find astonishing, though, was the ride. Looking at the RXC, I had braced myself for a broken back, but even before we'd taken it on the road, Radical had seemingly found a pretty fair balance; I was genuinely comfortable for the few hours I rode in it. I even ate a sandwich in it (ham and cheese).
Not that the ride is something you focus too much on, because the speed, acceleration, and sound on this thing...well, looking at it, its not exactly unexpected, but it forces your breath back inside you as you're glued into the Corbeau racing seats. It is an astonishing vehicle, and one we at XCAR can't wait to test ourselves.
The RXC is the first Radical with a roof. It was designed with one eye on the Middle Eastern market, where the option of air conditioning and a roof is a must. Radical said their aim was to design the world's most extreme road-legal coupe, but one that could sit two grown men comfortably, be at home on the road, and still destroy everything in sight when it mattered. A little ambitious it seems. Yet, from where I'm sitting, I'd say Radical has succeeded on every count. Now I just need to switch seats. To the one with the wheel, that is.