In the Spotlight – TVR Griffith {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

9 Sep 2017

Any petrolhead knows of TVR – throughout the 90’s they provided an unbeatable combination of styling drama, incredible performance and value. Yes they were also infamous for a few other things, but I’m not going to talk about that – that was TVR of old. Computer gaming magnate Les Edgar now fronts new TVR , backed by a consortium of millionaires and bar the name this is very much a new generation of TVR. There’s barely a single thing that harks back to the past and that’s with good reason – Edgar wants TVR to be thought of as a sports car manufacturer to rival Jaguar, Porsche and Mercedes and they can’t have any strings holding them back.

TVR chose the Goodwood Revival to launch their new car, which was surprisingly well hidden until then - press didn’t even know the name until Edgar dropped the curtain. But when it did we saw for the first time the new TVR Griffith. Okay, so they are harking back to the past a little bit with that name, as it adorned one of their first sports cars and one of the most loved older models from the 90’s, but I can’t think of a more evocative name to grace the new car.

TVRs of old had a very definite look – generally the most extreme they could get away with, culminating in the crazy Sagaris. Those cars definitely adorned the walls and computer screens of lots of boys, but they limited the brand to a very specific type of customer – they have plans for the new Griffith that elevate it above the standard small British sports car manufacturer. So when it came to styling the new Griffith, TVR needed to end up with a stylish, aggressive, coupe that wouldn’t look out of place outside the Hilton, at a car park enthusiasts meet of carving up the corners on the Route Napoleon. Read the comments of Twitter and sites like Pistonheads and you’d be led to believe that the new car looks like a bland bar of soap with wheels – but I guarantee that 99% of those commenting thus haven’t seen the Griffith in the metal. This is partly TVR’s fault I must say, as the press pictures they’ve released are some of the worst I’ve ever seen and do the car no favours at all. This is apparently as the finishing of the show car took a lot longer than planned, so it missed the slot for the professional photo shoot. The resulting images were taken in the workshop and then heavily photoshopped – not good.

But see the Griffith in the metal (carbon?) and it is a truly stunning car. The biggest criticism has been thrown at the nose, yes it’s not dramatic but it has a clean stylish look, with a wide grille opening and a fairly traditional triangular light unit, with an intake directly below. Hopefully with time people will accept the nose as a very classy looking car, especially as it leads into the incredibly long bonnet. From the side you can see there’s a big space between the front wheel and the door, this houses a deep scallop or cooling and of course one of the standout styling features – the side exit exhaust pipe. This not only sounds great but frees up a lot of space aft of the rear axle which is now taken up by a monster diffuser (more on that later). At the rear there are a set of sweeping tail lights and a very sharply creased bootlid which incorporated a pop-up rear spoiler. The black and machined alloy wheels (another contentious point, but I like them) are 19-inch front and 20-inch rear. There are certainly hints of other cars about the styling, Merc SLS at the front, Toyota Supra concept at the rear, but I genuinely think it all comes together to make one beautiful shape. I can see this tempting F-Type buyers and 911 buyers alike.

But as impressive as the styling is, the new Griffith is as much about what’s under the skin. To start with we have to discuss the heart of any sports car – the engine. TVR has taken the 5.0 litre V8 from the Ford Mustang (the ‘Coyote’ engine) and taken it to Cosworth for development, so it now has 500bhp and mounted it well behind the front axle making it front-mid engine like the McLaren -Mercedes SLR. That power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed Tremec manual gearbox. So we have a front mounted naturally aspirated V8, manual gearbox and RWD? Sounds like a winner to me.

The chassis uses the iStream system pioneered by legendary McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray – this means a steel framework which has carbon fibre panels bonded into it to give incredible rigidity and crash resistance, while the body panels are also carbon fibre which enables the Griffith to weigh in at a lithe 1250kg. To put that into perspective the Jaguar F-Type is over 400kg heavier. This gives a power to weight ratio of 400bhp/tonne – that’s equivalent to the McLaren 540C and Lamborghini Huracan.

The Griffith promises to be incredibly stable at speed as well thanks to the use of Ground Effect Aerodynamics – this is where the underside of the car is completely flat and is used as the primary aerodynamic device. On the Griffith you can see that at the rear the huge diffuser stretches the full width of the car and has a complex double-vane design, this is so that the air exiting the underside is controlled and produces downforce at the rear enabling the car to stick to the ground when cornering. The intakes and vents around the front wheels also provide downforce at the front. There is also a pop-up rear wing to help with additional airflow management over the rear of the car.

The first 500 cars off the production line are Launch Edition cars – this means they have every option ticked, come in bespoke colour options and have custom elements to the interior – and will cost £90,000. When full production starts there will be cheaper and more expensive versions of the car – some say it will start at £65,000 with a non-carbon body but that hasn’t been confirmed. If that is so it will represent incredible value for money.

Either way I really can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the new Griffith, it promises to be an exhilarating experience in every respect. And don’t forget it’s available in this week’s competition until the end of the week – get your tickets here for just £5.75.