ITH – 4xPhwoar – The Interview {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

20 Dec 2017

Yes, I’ll admit this is somewhat strange. I’m writing an article about myself picking the cars for this week’s In the Headlights and going by the responses on our Facebook page the choices are already causing some raised eyebrows! But as weirdly narcissistic as this is, let’s get down to explaining my choices for this week’s ITH 4x4 cars…

Lamborghini Urus

Now this one might be surprising, given how in last week’s BOTB TV show (watch here if you haven’t already seen it) I wasn’t exactly complimentary about the Urus. But that was based purely on looks and I’m well aware that looks are subjective so can put them aside. If you focus on all the other aspects of the Urus it really is a serious bit of kit. It promises to be every bit as good on road as it is off it and from the promotional material Lamborghini are talking up the off-road credentials a lot. There are snow and sand settings for the drivetrain to go with the standard rain, ice etc and it has four wheel steering to go with the complex all-wheel-drive system. It may be massive, but with 641bhp it certainly isn’t slow either. This could possibly be the most all-round capable car we’ve ever had, I’m certainly eager to drive one. Mainly because then I won’t have to look at it!

Ford F150 Raptor

What can be said about the Raptor that hasn’t already been said? The Raptor is designed to be a seriously capable off-road desert running 4x4, with expensive shocks and dampers, big wheels and tyres and lots of clever electronic trickery to help out. This 2017 Raptor is a victim of downsizing though, with the old V8 replaced with a 3.5 litre Ecoboost twin turbo V6 – but power is up to 450bhp so no need to worry about the performance. It is a pretty huge vehicle though – the Raptor dwarfs even the latest Range Rover at 19ft long! So not really the kind of car to drive around the city, but that’s not what the Raptor was designed for. It’s one of the most capable vehicles off road thanks to the massive chunky tyres and clever AWD system, but again you won’t be taking it down your local green lanes…

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

I’ve always been a fan of the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s looks, it was a great looking large SUV and I very nearly got one last year when some super cheap lease deals came out on the 3.0d model. But despite being a fantastic car I would’ve always yearned after the SRT model with its huge V8 and burbly soundtrack. It wasn’t the most dynamic or sporting of SUVs but with 461bhp it was quick enough. But America being America, that wasn’t enough for Jeep. They wanted a more extreme version of the SRT so looked around the Chrysler Group parts bin for something to power it, and they found it in the most unlikely of places. So now there’s the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk which is powered by………the Dodge Challenger Hellcat engine. Yep, that’s right – not a detuned, softer version, oh no – the full-fat, mega-bonkers 700bhp supercharged 6.2 litre V8. In an SUV. So that makes the Trackhawk faster to 62mph than the Lambo Urus, for half the price. Yeehaw!

Fiat Panda Cross

Okay, so this one has been causing quite the uproar since we added it, so this is my chance to explain why there’s a £20k Fiat Panda in our competition this week. Well to start with, this week’s In the Headlights is about the best 4x4s you can buy and believe it or not, the Fiat Panda Cross is actually one of the most capable off-roaders on sale today. There have been off-road tests done by magazines where the Cross has beaten Range Rovers, Land Rovers, Land Cruisers, all kinds of ‘proper’ 4x4s – think of it as being like a mountain goat, light on its feet, tonnes of grip, nimble and agile enough to get itself out of any sticky situations. And somewhat ugly. Many have said it’s not a dream car, but if you live in the wilds of Scotland or the mountains of northern Spain the Panda Cross is the perfect car for you – and tickets are just £1.25! And if you want, you can also add the £20k cash option and just buy another as a spare!  

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Now at this point I’d usually include an interview with the ITH endorser, but as it’s a tiny bit weird to ask myself questions we put them out to our players on Facebook and Instagram – here we go!

Q: Where did your interest in cars begin?

A: My dad was a petrolhead too, with lots of interesting cars when I was growing up, so I guess I got it from him. I never really had an allegiance to one type of vehicle either, basically anything with an engine had my interest! I then went on to get an Engineering degree and worked for automotive companies throughout the UK as a Design Engineer for many years. I now also run a Design Engineering Consultancy and a company where I recreate classic car parts and 3D Print them. It’s all about cars!

Q: What’s the most powerful car you've driven and at what speed?

A: The two aren’t actually the same car in this case – the most powerful car I’ve ever driven is a tuned Nissan GT-R which had 900bhp. It was pretty terrifying if I’m honest! The fastest I’ve ever driven was on a Vmax200 event where I hit 203mph in a Lamborghini Aventador. It’s a surreal experience, in that Lambo it was so stable that it felt no different to 100mph in my own car!

Q: What is your 3-car fantasy lottery garage?

A: Wow, this is a tricky one. First up has to be a Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic - £150k of pure luxury, like an SVR in a sharply tailored suit. Then as a daily sports car it would be a Singer Porsche 911 – utter perfection but still totally usable. Finally as it’s a fantasy garage, it would have to be a pretty sizeable win but it would be the McLaren F1. It was my poster car when I was growing up and is just amazing. I’m lucky enough to know someone with an F1 and have been taken out in it – with that V12 screaming away next to your ears there’s nothing better.

Q: Out of all the cars you've reviewed so far, which one would you take home and why?

A: Probably the Aston Martin Vanquish S. It’s easily one of the most beautiful cars ever made and has a naturally aspirated 5.9 litre V12 putting out 600hp – the days of incredible n/a engines like that are almost at an end along with the incredible noise they can create so I would love to own something like that. It’s such an event to drive as well, with a stunning interior, that soundtrack and the looks that you get. Nothing negative at all – only smiles, waves, thumbs up and open mouths.

Q: Bacon sandwich...Red sauce or Brown?

A: Red sauce of course, but has to be Wilkin & Sons Tiptree Ketchup. Delicious.

Q: What is your favourite car in the line-up you'd love to win? And what is your favourite car that was added to the ITH since it started?

A: The car I want most is the new Audi RS4 Avant. I’ve got children and do a lot of mountain biking, so if I can have a performance car that I can also use for family/sport duties then all the better. My favourite since the beginning is the previous RS4 model, because it had everything I’ve just mentioned, and a V8!

Q: In the constant battle for top dog in sport saloons, who do you think is at the forefront of all other companies?

A: It’s certainly been a busy year for sports saloons, with the new BMW M5 and Mercedes E63S launched. It’s crazy to think that 600hp is now ‘normal’ for these cars. I think that Mercedes is killing it at the moment, the E63S is a stunning car, can be had as an estate, has a RWD drift mode or AWD stability normally and sounds like thunder. The M5 doesn’t really do it for me unfortunately. I’m looking forward to the next generation of Audi RS6 too, the current car is still fantastic but coming to the end of its life.

Q: What new or updated model are you looking forward to most in 2018?

A: Probably the Alpine A110, it’s apparently incredible to drive, small, nimble and lightweight. I think sports cars really need to get lighter otherwise they’re just going to keep adding power and weight, which doesn’t help with handling at all.

Q: Two American 4x4's in the ITH line up this week. Are you a secret redneck and how are your line-dancing skills?

A: Well I wouldn’t say I’m a redneck, but I am a huge fan of American cars. They’re big, brash, noisy and usually not that great to look at – a bit like me! As for my line dancing, if I went on Strictly Come Dancing I’d get a 10 from Bruno. Wait, no, a 1…..

Q: What products do you use to keep your head so nice and shiny Tim?

A: I get my head professionally detailed weekly using a ceramic wax coating. The shine lasts for days.

 

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