XCAR Review of 2013: JulyWe review a year of XCAR content month by month. Today we have a look at July.
Hi and welcome to Exco's Roundup of the Year where today we're talking about July and as you've also begun to realize, this was also an action-packed month where we drove the Audi R6, the 350SL Mercedes, the R8 V10 Plus by Audi Rage and the Mercedes Benz G Wagon. But starting with the Audi RS6. -The Audi RS6, it's a big lump of very fast Audi and good God by very fast, I mean, very, very ,very, very, very fast. It's super car quick, it's so fast, it pissed off a newspaper and that's quite impressive in itself. You expect an Audi to be big and a bit quick but you don't expect it to have that much throttle, that much thrust, that much push. -It's the second-fastest car really, that Audi made-- -Yeah. -after the R8. -Yeah, well, there's that and the RS7. -The RS7, yeah. -Yeah. -and then, 'cause they're basically the same thing. -It's a kind of their mental sleeper car thing, is it-- -Yeah. -I mean, the RS6 we got to see, when we were out on the launch, we got to see all the-- kind of, versions of the RS6, and they had the Lamborghini V10 engine-- -Yeah. -didn't they? -Lamborghini V10 in the second jam with 2 turbos in it-- -It's mad. -and that had more power than the one-- the-- than the new one but it is a little bit slower. -It's a bit lighter, isn' it, the-- the new one? -Yeah, it's a bit lighter though. It's-- it has a 4 liter Twin Turbo V8, same -one you get in the Bentley Continental GT V8. It's-- yeah, it's mega quick. Those-- those turbos just ooh. -We saw how fast the-- the GT V8 was and then this is a lot lighter. -Anyway, moving on to Mercedes 350SL. -The entry-level SL is supposed to be the pinnacle of luxury, the luxury GT Cruiser and it was all right. It was a bit dull to look at and for 80 grand, which was how much it cost, I would have expected a lot more. But it was comfy, it just felt a bit strained, I think the weight of the roof and all the toys in it had everything on it, ascoff, heated and cooled seats, all the toys, satin [unk], absolutely everything but it just-- it felt a little strained, it felt like it was trying too hard, it wasn't effortless enough for a GT. -I liked the-- the kind of way we went with the story because you talked about genetics and the fact that the SL was kind of a-- it was a descendant of the kind of the SL-- -The SL, the 300SL, yeah-- -The gold one. -Yeah. -Exactly. But it didn't really have kind of-- despite being a descendant of that, it didn't really have the attributes that the SL had that kind of made it the car it wants. -No. What it had though, was-- it had presence and it had the prestige that comes with that batch and that, that means a lot to a lot of people. For me, personally, it didn't do it for me. It was nice. -You can barely hear the V6-- -No. -It wasn't so-- it wasn't the sportiest car and-- and as you mentioned, it wasn't the lightest car. -No. -It was, what, 1800 kilos? And for something whose name is "sport-light", it felt like-- I felt a little bit cheated if I'm honest. But you know, it was a good car, it handled well but yeah. -Well, from Audi to Mercedes back to Audi. We've already mentioned, a little bit, Audi R8 V10 Plus. -That was, for me, the absolute perfection, I mean, we took it to Wales where we've taken a lot of cars but there was something about that day, it was absolutely perfect. The weather was perfect. The light was perfect. The kind of matte blue paint on that V10 was just absolutely stunning and an absolute pleasure to film. It just-- it looked so good, so aggressive. And we've all seen the R8 before, we know what it looks like but I don't know that-- that-- that V10 Plus added something new to the mix and the sound that it made. I mean I just thought that's one of our best films. -[unk] better than you think-- -Yeah. -I thought, it's some-- -It is devastatingly fast. You get the noise, you get everything you'd expect from a super car but at the same time, you can see out of it. -And [unk] it's effortless speed, as well. -Yeah. -And the four-wheel drive gives you such confidence running into corners. -The corners that we took, I mean I took our photographer out in Wales while we were doing some of the onboard stuff and the confidence, you can take corners, it pushes you as a driver, it tells you, you can do this, you can get this faster and faster and you do it and it will do it without any complaint and it will make you feel like a better driver. That's the kind of car it is and wow. -To sum it up, it's a car that is fun at 60 or 160. And that's a very hard thing to do. -[unk] score, I'll give it 10. As I've driven an Audi R8 through town and, I mean-- we've talked about this on previous instances of our Roundups what kind of reaction cars get but driving an Audi R8 through town, I've never had so many teenage boys jump in front of it with their camera phones-- -Nah. -to try and get a picture. -Right. Well, from unequivocal, empirically qualified luxury-- -Yeah. -to the very niche market and very subjective beauty of a Rage. -The Rage Comet R, what an absolute car. We had that on the hottest day of the year. In-- -Sweltering day. -It was just unbelievably hot and we had it at Wild Tracks Park which we use a lot for off-roading and that kind of thing. They have a go-kart track there. We took out on the track, we took it out on the road and we took it on their motor cross track. And they were actually very concerned about us taking on the motor cross track because they didn't think anything with four wheels would be capable enough 'cause they've had things break down, break the suspension on there and so they-- they mentioned to us, we don't think we'll be able to compete on that but the Rage Comet R answered all those questions resoundingly because it just did everything-- everything it did, it did it with aplomb. It did it aggressively, it did it-- it did-- it was so competent and so unbelievably fast, I mean just the sound of that car was like the engine revving to 11,200 rpm. I needed earplugs when I drove it on the track. It was just so unbelievably loud. -Yeah. There was nothing it couldn't do and not only couldn't do-- couldn't do better than most things on four wheels. -And the thing is you can set it up anywhere you want. I mean, they told us themselves that they set it up on the track for fun so you could do lift off oversteer and I personally have never driven anything with lift off oversteer that was as exciting as that. It was more fun on this track than the [unk]. You could get it sideways so easily yet it was so controllable and then 20 minutes later, some new tires and some new shocks and they took in on the motor cross track and it flew. And I'm not saying that as a metaphor, it flew. And we watched it fly over and over again. -That one particular jump where the car cleared easily 6 feet of air over a really, really tough jump. We had, the driver who came along from Rage, do that a dozen times? -[unk] times. -easily. And it was absolutely fun. The thing that had me worried most about was driving in really think sand, not because the car couldn't but because it didn't go quite as fast as it did everywhere else and it-- you say, "Aaah it looks so much more exciting when it's going fast." I mean, this is stuff that you can barely walk through, that you sink down to mid-calf and they're driving through it with no problem. From an actual car that is off-roads, off-roading in a new way to off-roading in a more classic way, Mercedes G Wagon. -It's a car that hasn't really changed in the same way the Defender hasn't changed all that much but the Defender costs a lot less. The G Wagon we had in 350 Blutec Diesel, 211 brake horsepower something like that. That was--that was a good Â£80,000 but it was a great car. It had loads-- it had bags of character. And everywhere you went, people smiled at you. It drove terribly on road but it has a global fan base that people absolutely love. It is-- -Effortless cool, though. You describe that in the video you talked about, effortless cool and it is cool. I mean it doesn't matter about the price, its look, people love it, it does look very cool and I love the fact that a car, can kind ofc, not change design but still be as popular 30 or 40 years later. -That's it for July. The links to the videos are of course below and hopefully you'll join us again tomorrow where we'll be talking about August.