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A little RS review 5 weeks in

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I wrote this on another forum so you wont know all the names. You might be intrested too though:

Although in a total storm I have now experienced a track day in the RS. First off I should say Rocking ham was a disappointment, Ken etc did warn me but it needed to be done, nothing else was on so that’s that. In this weather there were a lot of spins, yellow and red flags during the day, I don’t think anyone got hurt but I would occasionally have to sweep around the side of a stranded caterham around a corner. Standing water covered the track and windscreen wipers were on maximum setting so all the speedway banking sections were taken very gingerly at cruising speed in low revs, the fear of doing damage to the new pride and joy was constantly on my mind and simply not worth the hassle. Most the other areas of the track however had plenty of run off and in wet weather and tighter sections there was a good chance to see how the car reacts.

I have only driven the CSL on track so that is going to be my base of comparison.

The car is mighty but manageable due to the long gearing and low down torque. I have realised on the road I hardly ever breech 4krpm and I think that’s down to the fact that 4krpm feels like the redline in the CSL. On track, for the 30 mins where it started to dry out before the rain came back I found out what this car could potentially do and it is savage. 8.5krpm in second and third gear then a bit in fourth happens in the blink of an eye and the process of flat shifting, and slotting each gear in is a revolution. I thought this would be the most challenging part of the car but I have taken to it naturally and it’s added a new dimension to the experience however for me the biggest difference between the RS and the CSL is the dynamics.

The CSL did under steer but it was always easily controlled and with a prod of throttle could be transferred in to oversteer. Generally it happened when you went in to some of the tighter sections of the track a bit too quickly, or start to push on out of them just a tad early pushing the nose of line. The RS has the same tendencies but to a much more dramatic effect. It may be down to set up, the weather or my lack of experience of the car (most likely all three) but I found it very hard to control the understeer. I tried trail braking, getting off the throttle to push weight forward and stabbing the throttle but 8 times out of 10 I couldn’t carry the speed through the corners that I wanted too. There is a knack to this and I need to get on a nice dry circuit with Mr Wilds to see what it can do. Any other advice on geo etc would be appreciated, I don’t want a full track set up for the road like I did in the CSL but something in the middle I would have thought. Anyway, it should be noted that the power I could put down on cups, in the wet out of corners really was quite astonishing. 325 section rear tyres, an engine squashing them to the tarmac and a long controllable throttle mean you can exit like a slingshot. If it was dry I would have used second gear a lot more than I did and I know I could have got the power down. This car is going to be ‘fairly unpassable’ in the dry I think.

Steering feel is a revelation and now I understand its purpose. The CSL has very light steering which is fed through a thick wadded steering wheel. There is feel but not to the acute level of the Porsche. The RS tells you everything and the consequence of that is you know how to push the car. It tells you when you are doing things wrong but surprisingly it let you know when you do things right and this is what the BMW did not offer. It can be very satisfying and really one of the main reasons why I love this car.

I have dismissed the engine noise in the past to be a little quiet and subdued from inside the cabin, not having the same all consuming shriek as the BM but I don’t think I have been driving it right. On track, ringing its neck, wearing a helmet, strapped to your fantastically supportive seat it feels and sounds like a race car. The noise bubbles through the helmet and echos around in there, its deep and has depth, not the same as the CSL but from the cabin at least, in my opinion better! I look forward to standing at the pits watching another fly past so I can hear it shriek and over run.

The brakes are a little disappointing. Speccing PCCB’s was discussed at length on here and the biggest 2 negatives that most occasionally came up were a) the feel and b) the abs kicking in early. I would agree but it’s the feel which gets me. The car is so complete in everyway, such a tight and keen devise that serves its purpose to perfection, but the brakes don’t feel like they belong on this car. They are progressive in the sense pressure is exponentially transferred, but you get nothing back, especially under light pressure. I wonder if it’s the stock pads and another like RS29’s would solve the issue? I doubt they need bedding in further, I have now covered over 1600 miles.

In the dry, I know from the road and my Silverstone experience, the brakes are fine and when you get heat in to them you can claw some of the feel back but on a soaking wet Rockingham when you are being rather tentative and looking for braking feedback it did make the position more difficult. Again it is probably something I will get used to but any pads or set up advise would be appreciated.

I suppose the big question is am I pleased with my purchase? I suppose I should make a judgement call around now, 5 weeks in while the value is still strong. Is it worth it to me or do I cut loose and fill my back pocket?

Answer is its not going anywhere. It is a fantastic bit of kit which is absolutely perfect for me. It drives like a dream, its faster than I thought could be possible for a 3.8, 450bhp car and like the CSL punches above its own weight. Money no object this car would be in my garage and would most probably be the pick of the fleet. Nothing I have driven has come close in terms of excitement, and it looks the part, in-fact, in my opinion - best looking car on sale.

The inside is plush, comfortable and has all the tools to make a perfect everyday car, however after 5 weeks of thought and 1600 miles I have decided I need another car. This car needs to feel special, I think Greg was the one that first put this too me. Driving it everyday will spoil it. I need something more normal (and economical) for driving to the office (ill post another thread about that this afternoon).

So an 12 out of 10, a very pleased Sam and still happy I didn’t have the extra £40k in my pocket and go for the old one. Is it worth 6 times the CSL at current values? No, but it is certainly worth double which is what it would be if both were new.

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Nice and honest review. +++

Some people post up how great their car is all the time .... until they sell it and then you hear of the foibles.

So if you had you're time again would you order this car or would you order something more track focused AND a nice road car?

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p.s. For what it's worth I think the car will grow on you as you get used to it. It's a beast and you won't have tamed it yet (if ever!).

As you do more track days in it, I feel you'll improve you ability to get the most from it and the grin will grow ;)

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Nice and honest review. +++

Some people post up how great their car is all the time .... until they sell it and then you hear of the foibles.

So if you had you're time again would you order this car or would you order something more track focused AND a nice road car?

Good question. I don’t think there is another car out today that covers all the bases like the RS. I suppose the closest thing to it would be the Scuderia and although a lovely car, I don’t really want to be associated with Ferrari brand today and im very pleased I went for a car with a stick shift.

So in answer to your question, yes. The car is perfect for me really. Talking to other Gt3 owners today both the brake problems and the handling are solvable with a little tweaking, practice and probably a bit of tuition.

It was my first day on track and there are many more to come.

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Good to hear. I'll stand by my second post above then +++

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Great review Sam +++

Having Wildsie in the car (get him to drive it with you as pax) will make a massive difference to your understanding of what it can do.

Oh, and there's nothing, nothing like the sound of an RS flying by the pits on full chat :D

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Really.. a thread resurrection from 3 years ago, have you had a play with the new GT3 then and thinking of changing?!?!

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I drove something else nice this weekend, something possibly nice enough to make me say good bye to the mighty RS. :(

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Was it a red Vauxhall Astra Techline? :eek:

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Oh yes. Just look at it Woppy, look at it. You know you want to.

astra-tech-line.jpg

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Come on then what did you have a play with the Fezza?

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McLaren

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It has 4 wheels. 2 are them are wider than the others ;)

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RS3! Brilliant!

I heard that has wider wheels on the front than the back?

this is the other way round...

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;)+++

'73 RS Touring perhaps?

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It has 4 wheels. 2 are them are wider than the others ;)

What sports car doesn't have that config these days, come on we need more than that to go on!

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What sports car doesn't have that config these days, come on we need more than that to go on!

Stupid bloody question.

RS3 driven in reverse :P

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Four Hundred and Fifty Eight. Black. You heard it here first.

Yours (up),

Poirot.

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Is that because you are saying goodbye to something or that you are about to say hello to something new?

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Is that because you are saying goodbye to something or that you are about to say hello to something new?

I think both. Will be making a decision over the wk end...

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