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In the Headlights – USA Vs Europe {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

4 Jul 2018

Don’t worry, you haven’t woken up in some terrifying world where Trump has finally snapped and Europe is now at war with the USA. But it is Independence Day today, so we thought we’d choose a couple of US cars to go in ITH this week and a couple of European cars to counter them. I think it’s a fantastic line-up of cars actually, from a pocket rocket hot hatch to a monster hardcore supercar with some US muscle in between. What would you choose? All of them of course!

Mercedes-AMG GT R

Taking the already impressive AMG GT as their base, and the GT4 race car as their inspiration, Mercedes-AMG set about designing a supercar that was faster, harder and more brutal yet retain the GT S’s everyday usability. Not exactly an easy task, but one they seemingly have succeeded in. If you’re looking at just Nürburgring lap times, the GT R the lap record for rear wheel drive cars for a while with a 7:10.92 time which says a lot. Starting with the bodywork, there are wider carbon fibre front wings and steel extensions at the rear - this increases the car’s tracks considerably and the suspension has adjustable coil overs and adaptive dampers tuned for the type of driving expected of the GT R.

The twin turbocharged 4.0 litre V8 gets new wastegates, exhaust ports and turbos, runs a higher compression ratio and gets tweaks to the ECU to release an impressive 577bhp. Given that it weighs 15kg less than the GT S there’s an obvious jump in performance too – 0-62mph drops to 3.6 seconds and top speed raises to 198mph. Not huge differences, but then the GT R isn’t all about raw numbers. You see at the rear, the wheels now steer along with the fronts – not by much but enough to assist in a huge way with how the car handles. That big V8 allows its gases to escape the vehicle via what can only be described as Noise Cannons. There is a central twin pipe, with another pipe in the diffuser either side of it and the noise they make, especially in Race mode when all the pipes and valves open, is nothing short of biblical. The GT R really is one of a kind, long bonnet ahead, sitting on the rear axle making noise erupt at the command of your right foot. Yes please!

Cadillac CTS-V

In a time when European manufacturers like BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Porsche are all downsizing their supersaloon engines to 4.0 litre V8’s with turbos, it’s refreshing that there’s still a bit of good ol’ fashioned big block bonkersness going on in America. The CTS is Cadillac’s big saloon – think BMW 7-Series or Porsche Panamera size – and despite having a rather old image, they now have their V models which are properly developed sports cars including this CTS-V. It gets a whole raft of visual changes from the standard car, like a more aggressive nose, vented bonnet, rear diffuser and lip spoiler and bigger wheels, but the biggest news is under the bonnet. Sitting proudly in there is a 6.2 litre supercharged V8 producing a mammoth 641bhp and an insane 855Nm of torque. That’s enough to propel this big saloon to 62mph in 3.7 seconds and hit a limited 199mph. Crazy numbers and a crazy car, but one that is certain to make you stand out in the sea of German saloon cars…

Ford Mustang GT V8 Convertible

How do you replace an icon? That’s the challenge that faces Ford every time they need to design a new Mustang. The most popular performance car in the history of the automobile, the Mustang has always been cool, fast and a little bit brash. For 2015 the Mustang got a lot of firsts – the first independent rear suspension in place of the rear axle, and the first RHD models to be sold in the UK. You can get a new 2.3 litre turbo Ecoboost engine, but in our eyes a Mustang must have a V8. This facelifted GT model has a 444bhp 5.0 litre V8 lump, with scintillating performance and a soundtrack to match, and as this is the convertible model your ears get uninterrupted access to that eight-cylinder burble. Thanks to the new specification, it also rides well, handles fantastically and even has an interior you can enjoy sitting in for hours. The Mustang has finally gone global, and the established European players should be very afraid, but it’s still a proper US pony car at heart…

Mini Mulgari Icon 02

The Mini John Cooper Works hatchback is a pretty fantastic car. 231hp, aggressive bodykit and millions of spec options. But some prefer more – more bespoke, more performance, more style and that’s where Mulgari come in. they’ve been tuning and personalising cars for a while now and have recently turned their attention to the Mini JCW with their Icon 2. First up they tune the engine to produce 280hp (in a Mini!) with an ECU remap and larger intercooler. Next they get on with the mechanicals – a 30mm suspension drop, uprated bushes, braided brake lines and lightweight 18” alloy wheels. Then it’s time for the visuals with a new front splitter and rear diffuser, tinted rear lights and slash-cut 90mm exhaust tips, while the bodywork gets all the trim painted in an accent colour along with the brake callipers and interior parts. When you add all these bits together the Icon 2 is a seriously good looking Mini, with epic performance and a real bespoke design.

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Want to win one of these awesome cars? Better get a move on then – they’re only in the competition until midnight on Sunday!

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