2.11.09: Second opinion on our RTOTY line-up

Time 12 years ago

img_0432OUR road test of the year may have been and gone for another year – but I’ve got a head full of memories from a weekend of true petrolhead heaven.

This year the editor raised the game, and bagged a couple of true supercars. One of them only being confirmed two days before we were to head of to Wales. A stressful time indeed!

But worth the wait? Oh yes! Audi R8 V10, Nissan GT-R, Mitsubishi EVO X FQ-400, Focus RS and a Jaguar XF-R. What a line up.


First to be man handled by me was the Focus. What a car. I love this range-topping model and would happily drive one every day. That said, the ride is beyond harsh. Never drive one if you have the slightest urge for a pee.

But the engine and performance more than makes up for the ride and the cheap materials in the cabin. It has a brute of an engine with a soundtrack to match. Sticks to the road like a geckos’ foot, and will have you smiling from ear to ear as you forget your moaning bladder. I want one.

EVO FQ-400


Just looking at the Mitsubishi makes me smile. It looks like it has been left with a 15-year-old after a ‘Supermarket Sweep’ event at Halfords.

There are vents, bulges, wings, mesh, carbon and what can only be described as a picnic bench on the boot. But, my word, does it go!

0-60 in 3.5 seconds? Office to jail in one afternoon more like, this thing is silly and in the wrong hands down right dangerous!

The exhaust bangs and cracks like artillery fire, and the rasp of the engine is almost embarrassing.

It is a true rally-inspired car and will make every journey feel like a stage in Rally GB. 3,2,1…Go! 3 minutes later and you arrive at Tesco with ‘check point’ being shouted out by your passenger, not that you can hear them.


I have never been in a Skyline before, and have been staring at the picture of this latest Japanese supercar ever since James said we had one coming. It looks frightening, like it will sprout huge fangs and eat anything in its way.

Not a nice looking car then, more a purposeful design. It is intimidating to say the least, this thing is huge and dwarfs every other car we have here, even the Jag.

Within two minutes of being in it I have already blurted out some very unsavoury words. Once used to the power (if you can be) and the explosive delivery, it is astonishing.

img_0461AUDI R8 V10

I have waited a long time to be alone with the Audi R8 V10. It sounds a bit seedy, but it is rare to get a ‘free range’ drive in one of these things unless your name is Hammond or Clarkson.

I mean, 518bhp, £100,000, V10 wail and a dry welsh country side… pinch me! This car is the business, it oozes style, performance and technology all wrapped up in one of the best looking bodies on the road, ever!

Driving the R8 is nothing short of sheer motoring dreams. The V10 bark has you reaching for the window button at every junction, does it really need a stereo?

It feels planted, secure and truly sorted. Not quite as quick as the GT-R hitting 60mph in 3.9 seconds, but that’s not slow by any means, and will get you there feeling like you have been blessed driving one of the purest and best cars on the road today. Simply perfection!

I love cars…


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James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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