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XCAR Review of 2013: AugustWe review a year of XCAR content month by month. Today we have a look at August.
-Hi. And welcome to XCAR's round-up of the year, where today, we're talking about August, which was an absolute monster month for XCAR. We did the Peugeot 208 GTi, we did an absolute epic history of the BMW Roadsters, we did an even more epic history of all the Ford GT cars. We looked at the TS-650 by TMG, we drove the Cayman S and the BMW 4 Series. -A quiet, quiet summer, really, for us. I mean, August is the best month to shoot in, but that is just freaking ridiculous. -It's insane. -That is-- -That is insane. -Peugeot 208 GTi. -It was an instant take on the whole GTi thing. It was quick, but it was also very luxurious. It wasn't uber hardcore, but it was very comfy and very lovely. I really like it. Lots of other people really like it because it isn't the whole-- Oh, well. It has to be a sports car. So, it has to ride really badly, and it has to go just a little bit ragged edgy. No. It was comfy and it was quick. Yeah. It was-- it was just a good car. -It's really attractive little car, especially the interior. I thought it was nicely almost-- -Interior is cracking, actually. Really-- -I love the kind with the red theme throughout. -Uh-huh. -And-- -The gradients on the-- on the door handles. Admittedly, some people may think, "Oh, it's a bit [unk] of word art." But it worked for the car. -If you want a sporty car, I think that's a nice little hot hatch touch. You don't want it to look exactly the same as the interior of a 208. And I think it did pretty well with that. -Yeah. -Well, moving on, we had two enormously epic shoots back- to-back at Castle Combe. We started with a history of the BMW Roadsters covering the 327, 328, 507, Zed 1, Zed 8, and the brand new Zed 4. -Now, this started off as your idea having gone on a BMW Zed 4 launch earlier in the year. -Yeah. -But as a consequence, because the Roadsters, the cars we're dealing with were quite old, we had to book two days at the track. So, also using our contacts of Ford, we also thought, "Well, why not the other day, we do all the Ford GT cars. So, the first day, we did the Roadsters 'cause there was no rain promise. And oh, my God. What a day. Six cars. -Yeah. -We had at least two and a half million [unk] worth of car there. Quite-- -Easily. -easily. -Well, the-- we had the BMW 507 which, on its own, is worth about-- -700,000? -About $1 million. -Yeah. -Yeah. Easily on its own. It's so rare, though. They very rarely come up for sale. I mean, and that was just the middle one. And that was not even the oldest by 20 or 30 years. We had the 328 and 327 from the 1930s, a pre-war BMW. -Yeah. -It's exceptionally rare. In mint condition. I mean, I could not believe the 328, which is a proper racing car, which should be-- it should have been raced within an inch of its life. It's still such a joy to drive. Beautiful cars. It's by far the oldest cars I've ever driven. -Yeah. -And such an honor to get behind the wheel. But such an interesting story to tell of BMW, how it went from being a-- a plane engineer to buying its way into the car industry, to then getting shut down for the Second World War and to really trying again afterwards. So, really, the Roadster story-- especially from BMW's inception to like the late 50s-- it's such an interesting story which you can tell perfectly through its Roadsters. It was a great story to tell, it was an honor to drive those cars. And just to have them all the same day. I mean, those three cars there looked absolutely stunning. You just don't get looks like that anymore. -But what about the-- the GT cars? I mean, wow. -Oh, the Ford GT cars. -That was a great day. -We go from six legendary BMW Roadsters to, well, three awesome Ford GT cars. The GT40, we had the Mark III. They made what? Seven of those? That was with Â£3.5 million. Then, the GT70, the failed rally car. They only made six of those, and then, the new Ford GT. If you-- if you've seen the film-- and if you don't it will be below. I was blown away by the GT40. The GT70, I won't lie. I really hate it, that thing. It was rubbish. I'm glad they didn't make it. It was awful. Though-- -It was a challenge to drive. -I love the GT70. I don't know what you-- I know you two weren't big fans of it. But it was very cool. Once you got to know that car, and you got it on song. I mean, at I didn't know whether-- -It's just like steering a pig, Nick-- -At first, I didn't know whether the rev [unk] was screaming at me to stop, or begging me-- -Something-- -to give more. But when-- once you got it, once you've been tuned in to that car, once you got to know it. And that's what I like about those kind of cars. You need to get to know it to understand its limits and what it can do. And you know, a GT70 can beat a GT40 in a drive race. -It can. Only-- -Only if the GT40 has been driven by me. -Yeah. Only if the GT40 is being driven by a man with-- with fists of Martin. -In my defense, in my defense, I'm not very good. No. It was-- it was-- I short-shifted at first, and-- -That was a mistake. -I was-- it was a total mistake. -You could not stall the GT70 without having it restarted by a battery, and as it had a racing clutch that made it a little tricky. -Yeah. -I had to push it down the home straight of Castle Combe. Literally, from the last corner, I had to push it all the way out to where the crew was. Luckily, I still had a momentum there, so I could jump out and keep that momentum going. But still, it felt unreal. Seeing those cars next to each-- -Yeah. -other was like a dream. -We had all the real GT cars together for one day in a video-- which I think is pretty impressive. And it would be great if you could check out and let us know what you think. -Yeah. Please do. 'Cause-- -Right. -a highlight of my life that day. -It's right up there. From not traveling at high speeds to genuinely traveling at high speeds, you and I flew out to Germany to drive the TS-650, which is a modified Lexus but modified by TMG, the company that has been providing Toyota with its motor sports since-- what? The 70's. And they've done everything from the Rally teams to their Formula One teams, but of late have come on hard times they're not really doing much. So, this is an experiment to see can TMG be the tuning division of Toyota in the same way that AMG is for Mercedes or that M is for BMW. And this is their concept car. The TS-650, 654, 650 PS-- slightly less in horsepower. They have this one car, and they invite us out to Germany to drive it. -My God. This does not drive how you expect the Lexus to drive in this like it. So, you mean, you expect luxury performance from a Lexus. You expect it to be faster than a normal Sedan. You expect a little bit of go, taking out of equation the LFA, obviously. This car is insane. If this is-- if this is any indication what TMG can do for Toyota as a brand, what it can do for Lexus, I'm all for it. If they can make this car to this-- you know, at a reasonable price to do this kind of performance-- it will blow everyone away. It's-- the brakes on it are directly out to the LFA. So, it stops like nothing you've ever dreamed before. And it's a two-ton car, you know. They haven't stripped back on the-- the comfort element. So, it still has all the modicums that you'd expect a car of that size. But the engineering that's gone into making this car is just purely motor sport-driven. I mean, TMG are German. They-- you know, Lexus obviously is Japanese, but the TMG group are completely based out of Germany. And they know what they're doing. They have a very small devoted team who know how to turn a car into a faster car. And that's exactly what they've done here. Stripped it out completely, rebuilt it, and they've made an absolute beast. -Moving on, we've talked about the old Cayman, but we got to drive the new Cayman. -The Cayman S, the brand [unk] new one based on the same platform as the current Porsche Boxster with an engine that's slightly more powerful and with slightly more everything. And it is-- yeah. It's really good. It's-- I think it's better than the 911 Carrera that we had in the orange one. I think it's better than the Boxster S. It is bang in the middle. As sports cars go, you can go far. Well, there's not much more I really can say about it because it is-- it's just brilliant. It's really good fun. Looks good. Looks as good as the old one. Just saying. But it-- -On the Porsche range, Boxster, Cayman, 911 isn't the most bang for your buck. -Yes. -There you go. -The end. -The end. So, from there to the BMW 4 Series, the replacement for the Series CoupÃ©. -The Obama nation, as people call it, because they're cutting the 3 Series convertible in coupÃ©, and the 4 Series will do that job like the style job just as the Audi A5 does for the Audi A4. As a car, it's jaffing brilliant. We had the 435i. It's nice to look at. The 35 is a cracking motor. -Anyway, for now, that's the round-up for August. Hopefully, you'll join us again tomorrow for our round-up of September.