ITH – Monaco Glitz Vs Practical Bits {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

26 Apr 2018

Slightly unusual premise this week for ITH, but there is method to the madness. You see The Man With the Best Job In The World ™ Christian Williams flew down to Monaco this past weekend for Top Marques and to have plenty of driving fun and japery with TGETV, Archie Hamilton and few other chaps in supercars – hence the Monaco Glitz. And as I was stuck at home doing DIY the other half was more practical stuff – but given that I had 603bhp under my right foot I didn’t feel too hard done by. Let’s take a look at the cars in this week’s ITH lineup…

Monaco Glitz – Alfa Romeo 4C + Monaco GP trip

Of all the cars in the lineup, irrespective of price the Alfa Romeo 4C turns heads like no other. The combination of small size and proper supercar looks, along with a truly rude exhaust note means that people genuinely believe it cost over £100,000 when they see it. The ride may be a little hard but get it on the Route Napoleon and string together a set of twisty bits and you’ll have a grin from ear to ear. But this prize has a little extra… Just picture the scene. You take delivery of your 4C after an agonising wait and have been rolling around your city in it, destroying back roads and even took it to the old circuit at Reims as a weekend trip. It looks great in the optional triple layer yellow paint and has loads of great options on it as you were clever enough to tick the £20k cash option when you checked out. So you’ve been driving the 4C around, but today you’re driving to the airport, where you park up and board a flight to the south of France… That’s right, it’s mid-May and you’re about to experience Part Two of this prize, your mate is in the passenger seat and you’re on the way to one of the most memorable trips of your life – watching the Monaco Grand Prix over the whole weekend, from a superyacht moored in the Marina. Good food, great company, sheer luxury all around, Monaco is unlike any other Grand Prix and you’ll probably spot more hypercars and supercars just driving around over the weekend than in your whole year combined. The guys at Auto Vivendi have been running this trip for years now and it’s one trip that people just keep talking about.

The Lamborghini Gallardo was in production for a staggering 10 years with over 14,000 produced, making it the most successful Lamborghini ever. So it must have been quite a daunting task to replace it, but replace it they have… Taking the stunning design language seen on the Aventador, the Huracan takes the fight directly to the supercar rivals with a shape that could only be a Lamborghini. Low, aggressive nose, kicked up rear and angles all over, the Huracan looks positively evil. With the new 5.2 litre V10 the performance is electrifying, hitting 62 mph in 3.4 seconds on the way to a 199mph top speed. As this is the LP580-2 model that means two things – the engine puts out 572bhp (580PS, hence the name) and that power goes to just the rear wheels (that’ll be the -2 bit) via a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox. This means this is the purists Huracan, weight is down thanks to the loss of those front driveshafts and the steering is sweeter – okay you don’t get that all-weather security but it’s a precision driving machine and you have to respect it. Then you can understand just how sweetly it handles and you can relax and enjoy your favourite twisty roads echoing to the sound of that glorious V10.

Practical Bits – Alpina B5 BiTurbo

It’s a pretty strange place we petrolheads find ourselves in these days, with hot hatches having 400bhp and family saloon cars having 600bhp, it truly is a power war gone crazy – not that we’re complaining! So far Mercedes and BMW have had the super-saloon market to themselves with the AWD V8 twin turbo E63S and identically-specced new M5. But that hasn’t stopped Alpina making their own contender. So they take an AWD V8 twin turbo 5-Series and work their magic, resulting in a 600bhp monster that looks subtle yet menacing, is comfortable and refined inside and yet tops out at a staggering 205mph. The rivals can only manage 174mph if you pay a fortune for their respective ‘Drivers’ Package’ so should you find yourself on the autobahn you can exert your superiority over them with ease. The B5 BiTurbo may not have the aggression and brutality of the M5 but Alpina go their own way with a comfy yet controlled ride and super luxurious interior. I’d go for the Touring personally as I like to load up my mountain bikes and other stuff, but honestly there’s very little the B5 can’t do. Best all-round car in the world? Probably…

Practical Bits – Mini Clubman John Cooper Works

If you want a practical AWD small estate car with a bit of class and quality your choices are pretty limited. Mercedes has the CLA45 Shooting Brake, but that’s mighty expensive. VW has the Golf R Estate, but there are loads of those around now, and Seat has the Leon Cupra Wagon but it just doesn’t have that cache. Thankfully there’s another option now courtesy of Mini with their Clubman that has been visited by the Gods of Fun Stuff – aka John Cooper Works. There’s a fruity little 2.0 litre turbo under the bonnet which puts out 228bhp and that power goes to all four wheels, so you can put it down in all weather (useful as we’ve seemingly had all four seasons in one day here in the UK today). The Clubman now has four full sized doors too so practicality is boosted, yet they still included the nod to the past with the rear barn-door style rear doors. This may not be the most practical, or fastest, but it’s certainly the most fun small 4WD estate on sale today.

Now don’t forget these cars are only available until midnight on Sunday, so go get ‘em!

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