ITH - Mega Horsepower - The Interview {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

27 Sep 2017

We all love a good bit of horsepower and we seem to be living in a golden age of big-bhp cars. So this week we’re celebrating mega horsepower, from a 600hp family estate to a 375hp hatchback to an insane 720hp supercar. These incredible cars were picked by motoring journalist Rory Smith and here are a few words on why he chose these four:

McLaren 720S

McLaren has achieved a great deal considering it was only established as an automotive manufacturer in 2010 and the 720S is their most complete car to date. Often referring to itself as a ‘start up,’ the company’s racing and road car pedigree – with legendary machines such as the F1 – is something to behold.

As the latest car in the marque’s Super Series, the 720S is a radical car – both in performance and looks. With 710bhp, a 212mph top speed and 0-62mph time of just 2.9seconds, it’s an extremely competitive car, at the forefront of the world supercar stage.

RS6 Performance

The RS6 has always been on my list of cars to own. I think it’s the fact it has a 4.0-litre V8 under the bonnet and can touch 62mph in 3.7seconds yet you can still fit the family and a dog in the boot I you wanted – not that I’ recommend driving full tilt I you did. The previous generations now look like real street sleepers, with more subtle styling cues than the current model, which makes it all the more mysterious, particularly for onlookers who don’t know that much about cars. I’ve seen a few people do a double take at the traffic lights when they hear one burbling away.

The current generation is a lot more aggressive looking but still incredibly impressive. They can look completely different depending on which colours you spec – I’ve seen a few in ‘Kermit the Frog green,’ for example while others opt for a more conventional grey with silver wheels, which is a little more family friendly!

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63-S Coupe

I’ve struggled to get my head around super-SUVs over the past few years – on paper, it doesn’t seem logical to make something so large, so fast. But the reality is, more people are opting for SUVs than ever, so you might as well make them fun. The Mercedes GLC 63-S is up there with the maddest of machines. It weighs two tonnes yet its hand-built, bi-turbo AMG V8 churns out 503bhp and can reach 62mph from standing in just 3.8seconds. 

Looks wise, it’s a challenge for the marque to make something so big look sporty but Mercedes have done so with the usual smattering of carbon fibre, interior details and 20inch rims. Despite the car's off-road capabilities, most are spotted around the West End of London rather than the countryside! 

Ford Focus RS Mountune

The Focus – in all its guises – is the ultimate everyday hero and at the top of the spectrum, there’s the Focus RS Mountune – an all-out 375hp monster that’s capable of competing with Audi’s RS3 and Mercedes’ AMG A45.

With a 4.5second 0-62time, the Mountune is a real hot hatch. With a huge turbo, an increased exhaust note and a return to four wheel drive, it’s a sports car contender that’s within reach – just as any fast Ford should be!

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Biography

So keen was Rory to write about cars that he purposefully made the move to the Sunderland Echo - fresh from university in Newcastle - in the hope of covering events from the Nissan factory.

“It was the only reason why I joined the Echo,” he laughs. “I could have joined newspapers in Newcastle but they didn’t have Nissan on their doorstep and I was so keen to start my motoring career that it seemed the natural choice.”

They were exciting times indeed, with Nissan launching the Leaf while Rory was working on the paper.

“It may have been a pretty pedestrian car but it shook the world in terms of its capabilities,” he explains. “No one was doing electric en masse yet they mastered the manufacturing process and it was a hugely exciting time.”

Far from being wet behind the ears, Rory had already spent time working on the New Indian Express in Chennai before returning to his studies.

“I went travelling and somehow persuaded the editor of the Express to give me an internship,” Rory reveals. “I guess that’s all the qualifications most journalists need - how to blag their way in somewhere!”

His time in India saw him write more about motorbikes than cars, purely because the latter were fairly non-existent.

Thankfully more glamorous writing gigs have come his way, writing for the likes of Conde Nast Traveller, Wallpaper*, Gentleman’s Journal, the Daily Mail, British Airways and a host of car magazines for marques such as Bentley, Aston Martin and Maserati.

“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have so many incredible motoring experiences,” Rory says unapologetically.

“One of my favourite road trips was when I picked up a Maserati Quattroporte GTS from the factory in Modena and drove it over the Alps back to the UK. I took it to the Festival of Speed and drove the hill climb. That was pretty special.

“I also joined the launch of Land Rover’s new Discovery in Utah. It started with a charter flight from LA to Utah and then a helicopter to the hotel. We then drove it across the moon-like terrain of Utah which really put the car through its paces. I know Land Rover have taken a lot of stick for the car’s styling but it really is a hugely capable seven-seater. There’s not much that comes close.”

Of course, it’s all a far cry from the cars which used to turn Rory’s head when he was a child.

“I must have been five or six and just remember seeing cars which were different to the rest - a Ford Escort RS perhaps, or a Sierra Cosworth. My family always had modest cars but these really stood out. I’d love to say we had some amazing genetic motoring heritage in the blood but in all honesty it was just something that was inside me from a very young age.

“Even now I still get the thrill of seeing something outlandish. I’ll walk through Mayfair and see all manner of incredible cars and I’ll feel the same as I did when I was a little boy.”

Unlike most Londoners, Rory’s been running two cars although only recently he’s once again become a one-car man.

“I did have an Audi A1 as a mile-muncher but that’s gone now. I have kept my Mk1 1991 Eunos Roadster, the Japanese version of the MX-5. It’s in racing green with tan interior and I completely adore it. I’m slowly in the process of getting various things replaced but I’m all about the original. No tan hood for me. It’s got a black hood so that’s what I’m keeping.”

And if BOTB were to surprise him with the car of his dreams, what would that car look like?

“It would look exactly like a Maserati A6 GCS from 1954,” he says immediately. “No hesitation at all. It’s just the most beautiful car that’s ever been made.”

If he was forced to choose something from the current line-up?

“I love the look of the BMW M2. Given my age and the fact I need something small and fast to get around London it would be a perfect fit. I’d also like an RS6 - there’s just something incredible about all that power.”    

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