24.10.09: RTOTY’09 blows us away

Time 12 years ago

Can you tell they're excited?

Can you tell they're excited?

I REALISE this blog will make me about as popular as the barman at last orders, but I can live with that.

This weekend, well, in fact the next four days, sees the Car Dealer team and a few select friends head to Wales in our favourite cars of the year.

The reason? Well, to fill the mag with some pretty pictures, some rambling words and to get away from it for a while. We call it our Road Test of the Year – my wife calls it an a lads’ weekend away.


Last year we did the very same thing – you can read about it here – but there was one problem then. We didn’t have enough time.

So, when we planned, RTOTY 09 we wanted to make sure we had enough time to relax and enjoy the amazing cars on stunning Welsh roads.

For RTOTY 09 we’ve assembled quite a collection. On the menu is Audi’s stunning R8 V10, the frankly ridiculous Nissan GT-R, Mitsubishi’s £50k Evo X FQ-400, an electric blue Focus RS and last but not least a Jaguar XF-R.

The first three on that list all complete the dash to 60mph in less than four seconds – the Audi in 3.9, the Nissan in 3.5 and the Evo matches it in exactly the same time.


The Focus is by no means left lagging behind. Its 5.9 second dash to 60mph is masked by incredible handing and oodles of torque.


The Jaguar, well, that’s yet to arrive. I’m writing this in our Best Western Hotel near Lampeter (which, by the way, is lovely). Deputy editor Rich is set to rendezvous with us on Monday for pictures and the road test proper.

I’ve had a go in all of the cars already and know it’s going to be a near-impossible task to pick a winner.

The R8 has a soundtrack that really should be battling with Cheryl Cole in the Top 10 – how they’ve made exploding petrol sound this good is beyond me.

On damp, autumnal Welsh roads it dances on the leaf mulch, wheels searching for grip but at the same time singing a tune that even Simon Cowell would praise.

The GT-R is completely and utterly ludicrous. Power is simply overwhelming; and my first pedal to the metal moment had me uttering expletives that’d make Roy Chubby Brown blush. It’s a whole new world of fast.

To put it in perspective, it’s as quick as a 911 GT-2 but less than half the price. It’s huge too – I really can’t get over the size of it. In fact on some roads it’s a bit too big.

The Evo X FQ-400 is equally mad. That 400 represents its BHP output – and that’s from a 2.0-litre powerplant. Crikey.

37718966It smells like Iraq probably did after Saddam’s henchmen set light to the oil fields as it spits and backfires, imitating a rally car. You don’t want to be stuck behind it for very long that’s for sure, unless you want to be covered in half-burnt 95 RON.

The Focus RS is pretty special too. Yes, it looks like Max Power has been let loose in the Ford workshop, but somehow it manages to carry it off. And the bang for your £27k buck is hard to ignore.

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Working out our favourite is going to be tough – especially considering we haven’t even tried the Jag yet – but my word is it going to be fun.

If you want to keep up to date with the latest check out my Twitter feed for more pictures and 140 character reviews.


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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