ITH – Supercar Vs Superhatch Rematch {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

7 Feb 2018

The eagle-eyed among you will realise that we’ve done this Supercar Vs Superhatch theme before, and you’d be correct. But when an ITH theme is so incredibly popular and we’ve got cheaper tickets now we thought we’d go for it again!  You can choose a tuned hot hatch, be it the crazy 500bhp Litchfield RS3, or a Golf R with all the options ticked from their new Performance Pack. Or if you’re feeling a little more flush and have a desire for some supercar action we’ve got two of those to choose from as well. To help us this week we spoke to Nargess Banks - motoring writer, Forbes and Wallpaper* and she gave us her unique auto and design insight into the four cars. And of course I can’t keep myself to myself so I’ve jotted down my penny’s worth as well. Enjoy!

McLaren 570S

Nargess Banks: I am a huge admirer of McLaren for its focus on creating edgy, exotic sports cars with design driven by performance. This is a more practical and affordable McLaren yet with the same rawness of design. Like the rest of the family, this is industrial design, product design and vehicle design in one package.

Tim Oldland: When you see a McLaren on the road it’s instantly recognisable as a Woking car (more so when the doors are open!), as a company that’s only 7yrs old it really is an incredible achievement. But what’s even more impressive is the sheer depth of ability that the 570S possesses. With everything in Comfort you can cruise around with supple suspension, safe handling and something as easy as an Audi TT to live with. But flick those dials round to Track and everything changes, the suspension gets firmer, damping more controlled, the steering gets quicker and the throttle response goes to almost telepathic. At that point the 570S will embarrass a lot of cars far more expensive and supposedly faster. Incredible.

Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet

NB: It is one of quickest four-seat convertibles, yet this powerful and complex machine is also practical thanks to the PDK dual-clutch transmission which allows for driving in fully auto mode. What I also like is how it manages to evolve the classic proportions of the 911 without sacrificing elegance.

TO: There are few cars out there that can properly be described as ‘the perfect all-round supercar’, but if you look it up in the dictionary I’m pretty sure there’s a picture of a Turbo S Cabriolet. It’s got it all. There’s an incredibly powerful turbocharged flat-six engine producing 575bhp so you have sub-3 second sprints to 62mph covered and a 205mph top speed. It’s AWD so you can access the performance in any weather. You’ve got a lightning quick PDK transmission so shifts are instantaneous. It’s got rear seats for kiddies to sit in. And this is the convertible so you can even drop the roof and enjoy the few days of sun we get and your ears get uninterrupted access to the engine noise. Absolutely amazing.

Golf R DSG Performance

NB: The concept of a small product with super powers is exciting. This car stays true to the superhatch genre with its perfect blend of power and torque. It is quick as well as practical to win both heart and head.

TO: The Golf R has always been the perfect blend of performance and practicality on a budget, but sometimes you want a little bit more. So VW has created the Performance Pack, which consists of bigger wheels, larger brakes, a bigger roof spoiler and the limiter is removed so it tops out at 166mph. Then we’ve also added the optional Akrapovic titanium exhaust system which gives the R a much-needed boost in the sound department. This really is the best Golf you can buy.

Litchfield Audi RS3 Stage 2

NB: There is little to say about this car other than with a little extra cost and with minor effort the UK tuning specialist Litchfield can add 25 per cent extra power to boost the already fast RS3 for, I suppose, the ultimate superhatch.

TO: The Audi RS3 is a staggeringly good car. Now it’s not exactly slow as standard with 394bhp, but this RS3 has taken a trip to Litchfield Tuning for their Stage 2 package – that means it has an ECU remap, a new air filter and a beefier intercooler to allow it to handle the insane 500bhp that it now has. All that power means it now gets to 62mph in 3.6 seconds – that’s supercar quick and should be amazing. What a crazy/fantastic world we live in with 500bhp hot hatchbacks!


Few, if any, of our guest writers have affection for boxy estate cars. Nargess, to that end, is a mould-breaker.

The reasons beyond her secret love affair become clear after a momentous journey from France to Iran.

“The car was a Peugeot 504 Familiale, purchased in Paris for an epic road trip to Iran when I was four. It was a pristine white, long and (in my innocent eyes) elegant, and with two bench-style passenger seat rows dressed in soft leather and a fabulous shade of turquoise. The boot was big enough for our luggage and camping gear and my sister and I could lounge around, a row each for the few months we quietly made our way to the Middle East. I still have a soft spot for boxy angular estates and it sealed my love for being on the road.”

After a brief stint with a Peykan - “made (badly) in Iran post-revolution” - her family returned to England and purchased a soft yellow Citroën 2CV.

“It was possibly an emotional buy as it broke down frequently but was tremendous fun,” she explains. “It was followed by some nameless company cars until I recall my mother’s smiling face as she drove home one day in a navy Audi Quattro. It was so cool, technical and exotic.”

Studying art and design, and then design history and theory, sparked her interest in industrial design in general, yet writing about cars happened by chance.

“I was hired temporarily to help edit a technical motoring magazine in London. A few months turned into a year, then two, and I found myself connecting to a world so alien from my background, meeting brilliant car designers, creatives, thinkers. Few journalists covered car design then - a term often mocked as ‘styling’. The potential was there though…to view this very public object within a wider context of car culture, and in connection with architecture, products, urban design, materials, technology, ecology, society. These elements are so relevant as we head towards the more progressive future of motoring. I still love good classic car design, but am hugely excited about the future of mobility. There is so much potential. We live in exciting times.”

There’s little positive talk of mobility in London, although her 3-Series convertible makes the most of all opportunities for open-air driving…even in traffic.

“Living in London and with the absence of a garage, a hard-top convertible makes sense. We like the option of open-air driving and few manufacturers offer a compact car like the 3 with a retractable hard-top. It works for our lifestyle. The most love/hate relationship I’ve had with a car is my first - a hand-me-down Citroën Xantia in a murky green and with checkered fabric seat covers and plenty of hard interior plastic elements. Affectionately nicknamed The Toad, it was comfy and roomy and a brilliant companion on our many, many road trips.”

Talking of which….

“I have a terrible, terrible sense of direction and have been stuck in sand dunes, driven through rocky rivers seeing elements of the car float by, balanced on the thinnest mountainous roads too terrified to look down, autonomously chauffeured through Shanghai’s manic streets, done lots of lovely ice driving, taken an epic road trip from Paris to Beijing… explored the world, discovered locations and exotic routes which I would never have imagined otherwise.

"Yet, my fondest memory has to be researching our book The Life Negroni a couple of years ago - a hybrid of all I love: cocktails, history, social history, liquid history, architecture and design, travel and a sprinkling of cars. It was a huge adventure involving road trips across Europe to source, find, meet the people and places that became part of our story, all in a Bentley Continental the colours of the Negroni.”

So if BOTB ever came knocking on her door on a Tuesday, would the Bentley win out?

“The Rolls-Royce Wraith is hugely cinematic, and I would love to experience the sheer drama of the Bertone-designed Lamborghini Countach - the pinnacle of motor car design.”


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