BAC Mono: Road legal but track focused driving nirvanaThe BAC Mono aims to give drivers the ultimate driving experience in a package that's as good looking as it fast.
-Now we've seen loads of concept cars over the years and although they always look great on paper or on a spinning stand at a motor show, in reality they never quite live up to our expectations. Cool designs get watered down in the name of practicality and the performance is never quite what we were promised. For once though this might change, the British-made BAC Mono looks like it might well be the first time a car makes it all the way through to production with its futuristic looks intact and its performance as promised. We spoke to the designer of the BAC Mono Ian Briggs. -A futuristic product that's a new way of thinking about how the car gets used. It's been like that in the motorcycle world for years that's been everything from a single seater, a Monoposto motorcycle from where the name Mono comes from all the way through to motorcycling sidecars, every spectrum from nothing to do with transport and only practical but that's never existed really in the car world. There's always been very practical and true to sporty but there's never been the kind of no-holds barred and so I want it to be clearly when someone sees it they read that guy takes his performance serious. He takes design serious. He loves his engineering and he's driving around in this piece of science fiction design. -Science fiction design is exactly right but seeing sketches of the Mono is only one thing. Seeing it in real life is something else. What you have to keep in mind is that this isn't a concept car. This might be the only BAC mono on the road at the moment, but you can order yours today. A small factory in the English county of Cheshire will produce 50 BAC Monos in 2012 with production being ramped up in 2013. Everything is hand-assembled and made to measure. After 75,000 pounds you can have yours in pretty much any color you want. What's even more impressive is that the BAC Mono is fully road legal. So when we go offer to the world's first crash test drive on public roads, we jump to the chance. After being slotted neatly into the single carbon fiber seat and being showed the controls we took to the roads of Northern Wales to put the Mono through its paces. And as amazing as it looks, it's nothing on the performance. The 2.3-liter Cosworth engine delivers 280 brake horsepower and has a top speed of 170 miles an hour. 0 to 60 has been clocked at 2.8 seconds and the driving position is so low that even at public road speeds it's a thrill to drive. All of the controls are on the steering wheel and a small LCD screen gives you all the information you need. There's no radio, no sat nav and despite its futuristic looks there are no electronic driver aids here either. So it really is a pure driving experience. What struck us was how easy it was to get used to. BAC had built the Mono to look and feel like a Formula car but is easy to drive as a regular road car. If you're interested in taking your driving to the next level, this is the perfect stepping stone on the way to a professional racing car. For us though it was just an amazing day out driving. The Mono is just so much fun to be in and might be one of the best looking road cars we have ever seen.