Most cars today avoid doing anything terribly well so as to avoid doing anything terribly badly. Then there are Mazdas. I love my Protege5. The agile chassis is a joy around town, BUT refinement and rust prevention were clearly not on the engineers’ to-do list. I love the RX-8 even more. Outstanding handling, surprising utility for a sports car, BUT the rotary is torque free and can drink a Corvette under the table. And then we have the MazdaSpeed3. You already know what I’m going to say about the MazdaSpeed3. But I’m going to say it anyway.
Tag: Hot Hatch
Driving the Renault Mégane R26.R on the snow-covered L-10–a public road-cum-rally track near the famous Nürburgring–is an unforgettable affair. And not simply because summer tires and slush don’t mix. This particular Mégane is a stunning piece of machinery in any condition: no Stateside machine comes even remotely close. And unlike most European unobtainium, it’s no sculpted, Teutonic monument to cash-flow either. It’s French. Cheap gas, Japanese quality and the Detroit-centric Eisenhower Interstate System have given Americans no reasons to contemplate, let alone lust after, French cars in the modern era, but not having this Ferrari-killing hatchback on crack is a bummer. The Mégane R26.R is so wrong it’s gotta be right.
Here’s some encouragement for the folks freaking out about BMW’s front wheel drive heresy. Ford has found a way to make 345 horsepower work in an FWD chassis, shattering the conventional wisdom that 250 hp marks the reasonable limit for front-drive performance. Well, at least until the 500 lucky owners of this limited-edition mega-hatch start adding up their tire bills in a few years. According to Ford, the RS500 should be looking at a 5.6 second 0-60 time and a top speed of 163 mph. And no, you can’t order one at your Ford dealer in the US.