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My Volkswagen Evora review.


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As mentioned in the Lounge of Joy's 'resurrection' thread, I wrote this little review some time ago and though I might share it as the car is/was rather unusual;

This really should be an MX-5 review. Me and Dr O had booked one from Rent4Ring to enjoy the Nürburgring Grand-Prix circuit for a few laps but we got the mother of all upgrades when they gave us the keys to one of their stunning Artega GTs. After signing some paperwork I daren’t read, and wondering if my credit card would cover the €15,000 insurance excess should we prang it, I hopped in while Fredy (one ‘d’) gave me an introduction to the Artega. It comes with a Passat R36 sourced V6 with a DSG gearbox and roughly 300 horses to propel it. In addition to the VW drivetrain, most of the trim bits and bobs are Wolfsburg sourced too, although it has some unique geeky features. The central console has an iPod style wheel for the wing mirrors, there’s a flatscreen displaying most of the cabin controls, operated by touch sensitive buttons. The dials are mostly TFT too and there’s a neat party-trick where you can flip and customise the dials and displays, in fact the whole dash setup is PC based and user-customisable. The window switches look like old-school winders, but act like levers, with the round grip styled like a tyre. It sounds gimmicky but I liked it. There is a useful space behind the seats and plenty of elbow room. It looks and feels like a VW Evora. But how does it drive ?

Firstly, it sounds great, I appreciate that the industry is moving away from eights and sixes in favour of turbo’d fours but there is no substitute for the aural pleasure of an engine like this. It turns heads. But it’s not all good. I’m not a fan of the DSG box in any car, I don’t care if it saves a split second to sixty, I prefer some stick-stirring involvement. After a few plays with it I got bored and left it in drive. The electric power steering initially feels light but feels meatier on the move. The mirrors, viewed from the driving seat, are HUGE. You will lose people, cars and small buildings behind them. I guess this is an EU safety thing to do with area of mirror glass but it’s a safety feature that is, simply, unsafe. Easily resolved though, I imagine. This particular car was fitted with ‘endless’ brake pads, which although work very effectively, squeal like Justin Bieber on a night on D-wing. The car weighs just 100Kg more than an Evora but it seemed heavier, perhaps a psychological side-effect of the Teutonic cabin. How does it handle ? Well, beautifully, actually. On an early lap of the GP circuit I got a bit lost, forgetting the 2nd curve on the Schumacher ‘S’ and ending up on the wrong bit of tarmac, as Dr O shouted “THE ANSWER’S IN THE NAME, IT’S NOT THE SCHUMACHER ‘C’, Y’BERK!”. The handling was forgiving, thankfully, and I easily heaved the Artega in the right direction. The stats state 0-62 in 4.8 seconds and top whack of around 1.7 leptons, which felt right and it was utterly composed at high speed. Unlike me.

It’s no secret I’m a Lotus fan, but at roughly £70k, you’d be daft not to consider the Artega as an alternative to an Evora S. The trim bits are more Lupo than Metro and it offers an equally exciting drive. I haven’t driven a Cayman for a little while, but a virtual ‘head to head’ in my head sees Stuttgart’s work beaten by the Artega, particularly in the areas of styling and ride quality. Artega have relatively modest (realistic ?) plans for expansion and we wish them the very best of luck. I wonder if they’ll do a right hand drive one ?

Here are a few library pics as Dr O is still in the MotorPunk darkroom developing ours...




This should be the end of the review, but it isn't, I was recently at a *ahem* Spiky Dutch car manufacturer who I believe are negotiating on buying the Artega business, which went under not long after I drove their car (co-incidence ?). It looks like the Artega will live on albeit with a different name, this looks familiar...


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