ITH – Global Football Competition Special! {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

13 Jun 2018

I love cars. I love mountain biking. I love and play rugby. I do not like, in any way, shape or form, football. But apparently there’s a large global competition starting this week that is great for people who love worlds and, er, cups. (Disclaimer: there are lots of trademarks for *that* competition so you can’t just use *that* name wherever you want. Which is very irritating)

But it appears that many people are fans of Cups on the world stage, so we have chosen four cars to represent four of the countries competing to kick a ball around and win some cups. From England we have the Urban Range Rover Velar, South Korea brings my favourite hot hatch of the moment the Hyundai i30N, Japan has the Nissan GTR Track Edition and from Germany the Merc E53 Estate. Quite a nice spread and hopefully one of those countries will win the world’s biggest cup. It should hold a lot of tea, then. Anyway, the cars:

South Korea – Hyundai i30N Performance

If you’ve followed my reviews, Instagram posts, videos and every other form of social media I have about this car you’ll know that I think it’s really something special. As in, the best hot hatch currently on sale today kind of special. I would honestly have it over any of the current crop of hot hatches, so impressive is the car and its breadth of abilities. No other hot hatch has such an ability to be so diverse in the way it drives from one driving mode to another. Docile and comfortable in Normal, then a snarling, growling, hardcore B-road weapon in N-Mode. 271bhp means it’s more than quick enough (in fact it feels faster than those numbers suggest), 0-62mph takes just 6.1 seconds and it’ll go to 155mph too. But it’s the way it goes down a country road that impresses most, that and the fact that it looks fantastic too. Subtle enough to blend in, but just enough aggression for those in the know to give a worthy nod. Yes, I like this car quite a lot.

Japan – Nissan GT-R Track Edition by Nismo

The Nissan GT-R is one of the most popular cars in the competition and always has been, with epic performance, great looks and all-weather usability. But the latest generation has got a tiny bit softer in order to make it more usable, so what do you do if you want to occasionally take your GT-R on track? Well there’s the 600hp Nismo, but at £150k that’s pretty hilariously priced now. Luckily Nissan obviously realise that and have brought out the Track Edition by Nismo. So you get all the same epic drivetrain as the normal GT-R, but you get Nismo Bilstein suspension, which is far more suited to track use, Nismo body bonding which makes the body far more rigid and helps with the firmer suspension, some lightweight 20” forged RAYS alloy wheels and a carbon fibre rear spoiler. Still usable on the road, but a monster on the track too. Perfection.

England – Urban Velar D300

The Range Rover Velar is a seriously nice SUV – sleek looks, an amazing tech-laden interior and that cache that only a Range Rover can bring. It has been a huge sales success for Land Rover too, with demand outstripping production capability. But as sleek as the looks are, sometimes you don’t want to blend in with the other Velars you might see around town (after all, the likelihood of them going off road is very small) so you go down the more ‘bespoke’ route and that’s where Urban Automotive comes in. They have designed their trademark styled bodykit for the Velar (the first to do so incidentally) and it’s so aggressive you’ll scare people walking past it even stationary. That front bumper is low and juts forward with carbon fibre intakes, a carbon splitter and a carbon grille above it, while there is a carbon fibre diffuser at the rear to house the new exhaust system and black tips. It rides on 23-inch Urban designed wheels that really help with the aggressive look. We’ve featured the petrol versions before and some complained about running costs, so this time we’ve gone for the D300 version. There’s a good chunk of power (296bhp) from the 3.0 litre V6 twin turbo diesel engine, and economy and emissions are much improved over the petrol version, but performance is still more than adequate for an SUV. You’ll never need to overtake anyone anyway as 99% of cars will move out of the way when they see the Urban Velar in their rear mirror!

Germany – Mercedes E53 Estate

When the new Mercedes E-Class Estate was launched it impressed with the sleek looks, masses of space, tonnes of tech and keen drive. But we car enthusiasts waited with baited breath and finally we were rewarded with the E63S, a 600hp monster. Then AMG surprised with a V6 engined AMG called the E43 to give the AMG drive but with slightly nicer running costs. That engine has departed now though and has made way for the new E53 Estate - it uses a slick new 3.0 litre turbocharged straight-six engine which has a 48V electrical system which allows for the engine’s normal 429bhp to be boosted by 22bhp for short bursts, while torque is boosted to 770Nm too. This is known as a ‘mild-hybrid’ system but it’s all about performance, not economy. So you get huge amounts of performance from the car, in fact a lot better than the previous E43, with seamless acceleration and a silky straight-six growl. This could very well be the pick of the E-Class range, with all the performance you could ever need without the painful running costs of the twin turbo V8 in the E63S. Nice work Mercedes!

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So yep, those are the cars. Go get ‘em! Oh and apparently I should shout “En-ger-laaaaand” very loudly now too. I shall not. Yay football!

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