Speed Test Spy Shots Ford Mustang Svt Gt 500
From the May 2003 affair of Car and Driver.
Picture some banal auto affective bottomward the accumulation bandage when- kablammo!-it is accidentally fueled with kryptonite, accursed with gamma-ray paint, or attacked by a radioactive torque wrench.
Suddenly, it has the ability to angle acceleration banned with a distinct downshift, the abeyance to bound alpine mountains afterwards falling off the road. A quick birr to the abutting tollbooth and- zing!-it emerges swathed in Technicolor plastic, a assistant to the alive classes with a amount that won’t breach accustomed mortals.
Far-fetched? Meet four such schlepnick sedans that acquire had the blah afraid appropriate out of them. Whether it was from a gamma-ray axle or aloof an aggressive pencil and accelerate rule, these cars bear straight-line bolt and switchback activity all out of bash with their junior-petite ambit and $20,000 amount range.
Consider the newest American hero, the Dodge SRT-4. From awfully apprehensive roots in the abject Neon, DaimlerChrysler’s year-old Achievement Vehicle Operations has extracted a just-add-gasoline club racer. Step one was stripping the “Neon” badges and auctioning the Neon’s 150-hp, 2.0-liter four and beefcake in the cast-aluminum DOHC 16-valve 2.4-liter in-line four from the PT Cruiser, forth with a Mitsubishi turbocharger and an intercooler the admeasurement of Superman’s cape.
The SRT-4’s added displacement and atmosphere put the five-speed chiral on the angle for 215 application and 245 pound-feet of torque. Springs, shocks, anti-roll bars, brakes, alike the advanced knuckles, acquire been fortified. Dodge seeks $19,995 for the no-extras archetype pictured here. (Side airbags are the alone advantage at $275.)
The Ford SVT Focus becoming its propers by vanquishing its super-hatch antagonism in our “Desert Foxes” comparo (March 2002). That was a three-door model. Now Ford’s acceleration division, the Special Vehicle Team, has issued a five-door version. No abounding up here-the five-door has the identical exoteric and autogenous ambit as the three-door and apprenticed the calibration with aloof 60 added pounds.
Also the aforementioned is the action generated by the bang of an added 40 horses and 10 pound-feet of torque in Ford’s DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter Zetec four from the ZX5. Enlarged assimilation ports and a compression bang from 9.6:1 to 10.2:1 are amid the ability tweaks. The SVT agent hitches its 170 application and 145 pound-feet to a six-speed stick.
Enhanced with a six-CD-shooter stereo ($675), a ability sunroof ($595), and xenon gas-discharge headlamps ($450), this one formed out of the SVT lab at $21,350.
Like the Dodge, the Mazdaspeed Protegé gets its superpowers not from a aglow pinky arena but a aglow turbocharger. Mazda alleged in Callaway Cars of Old Lyme, Connecticut, to blooper some added engine-room zoom into aftermost year’s Mazda Protegé MP3.
The adjustment alleged for no changes to the agent internals, so the Garrett T25 turbo puffs aloof 6.9 psi of aiguille addition into the DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter four. The affable breeze pushes the MP3’s 140 application up to 170 and torque to 160 pound-feet. Longtime Mazda adviser Racing Beat gets acclaim for millstoning the Protegé’s anatomy to a razor’s edge. Doused in brownish carrot-juice acrylic (Mazda calls it “Spicy Orange”), the no-options Mazdaspeed wants $20,500 for its boredom-fighting services.
Nissan’s latest Sentra SE-R had Bigfoot’s shoes to abounding aback it debuted in 2002. The aboriginal SE-Rs were a admired of artery and sports racers, and Nissan abounding to squelch skepticism with a Spec V adaptation buffed up by a DOHC 16-valve 2.5-liter four notable for its Hail Mary 100-millimeter stroke.
Good for 175 application and 180 pound-feet of right-now torque, the agent pushes the city through a six-speed chiral and a circling limited-slip animosity that gives it wall-crawler traction. Bedlam with a $699 sunroof and a $549 stereo acceptance to addition with the absurd name of Rockford Fosgate (see, he wrote his name on it), this Spec V will acreage on your driveway for $19,066.
Only one of these four minimarvels will still be continuing afterwards our California artery brawl. Readers, don’t about-face that folio yet!
The Spec V absolutely becoming adequate marks on the analysis sheets. It ran in the average of the assemblage with a 7.3-second birr to 60 mph and a 15.6-second quarter-mile at 90 mph—even admitting the six-speed’s abbreviate gearing, accumulated with its bromidic 6200-rpm redline, agency it takes two time-consuming accouterment to get to 60 mph instead of one as with the others.
Better yet was its 0.88-g skidpad performance, additional alone to the Mazdaspeed, and a gold-medal lane-change acceleration of 68.5 mph. The analysis subject’s abridgement of alternative anti-lock brakes ($749, which additionally buys side-impact airbags) continued the endlessly ambit to 192 feet.
On the clue and forth the snow-frothed slopes of the Sierra Madre, the abeyance kept a bound rein on anatomy cycle while the acclamation pistons cranked out audacious midrange torque to abashment the Focus and the Protegé. In turns area the SRT-4 aerial an central annoy and smoked it, the Sentra’s limited-slip accessory kept the paws to the pavement.
But in a allegory analysis that is all about comic-book transformations, it makes faculty that the car that feels the atomic adapted will ride in the caboose. The Spec V never seems annihilation added than a Sentra with added tinsel.
Tire boom is anytime present, and 65-mph cruises were accompanied by an awesome moan. The animate is carefully adapted with a latching dash-top box for aerial stowables, and the beam animate has a flip-down eyeglass holder. But the dashboard’s abounding seams are havens for dust, and the corrective accents on the doors were bedimmed and scuffed. With 3300 afar showing, the Sentra looked like a Hertz-rental-fleet veteran.
The longest anatomy in the analysis perches on the beeline wheelbase. It’s not a compound for either adorableness or autogenous comfort. The Sentra’s back-seat riders are the affliction off for space, and seats all about are annealed and formless. Alone bisected of the aback bench folds down, the pass-through actuality partly chock-full by a stereo bass chiffonier with an eight-inch-diameter speaker.
More awkward is that Sentra pilots consistently acquainted afraid blame the speeds. The car ashore to the advance through curves, but the breakaway point was never accessible to pin bottomward and wholly acclaimed already it was hit. Beneath braking, through quick left-right transitions, and beyond asperous surfaces the rear end was consistently fidgeting.
Turn up the gas, and the Sentra’s cruise from balmy understeer to bristling fishtails could be abrupt and snappish. The acquisitive agent hustles the car to the abutting ambit afore the anatomy can abstract the antecedent one.
The Sentra’s controls didn’t affect heroism, either, alpha with an insulated, high-friction council rack. The big council caster is absolute abundant to abode the tires, but axis it is like ambagious up a grandfathering clock, “as if you could feel all the alone pieces moving,” commented one driver.
Decried in the Spec V’s aftermost actualization as actuality “joystick artificial” (“Budget Banditos,” November 2001), the shifter feels tighter but still has unacceptable plastic-on-plastic feel and bang in its roots. Additionally pernicious is the about-face pattern. Go for fifth accessory in a rush, and you generally animation off and bottomward the continued aisle to reverse. The third gear’s synchro grouched aback hurried, and there was accessory beef at canoeing speed.
The Sentra went in for the Captain Wonderful analysis but came out as Lieutenant Lukewarm.
2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V175-hp 4-inline, 6-speed manual, 2800 lb
Base/as-tested price: $17,739/$19,066
C/D TEST RESULTS60 mph: 7.3 sec
1/4 mile: 15.6 @ 90 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 192 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.88 g
C/D empiric ammunition economy: 18 mpg
In its antecedent activity as the MP3, the hot-rod Protegé addled us with its quick reflexes but aghast with its abridgement of muscle. So Mazda alleged about and begin a turbocharger for it. Things are absolutely attractive up, but whether by blow or design, the Protegé’s makers acquire larboard abounding amplitude to grow.
Fundamentally, the Mazdaspeed is aloof the aforementioned feather-footed ballerina as the MP3–except that it cleaves 1.2 abnormal off the MP3’s 8.3-second 0-to-60-mph time and 0.9 additional off its 16.5-second quarter-mile. That closing ambit now passes at 90 mph in the Mazdaspeed instead of 84 mph in the MP3.
The Protegé’s active burke now answers the alarm with added than aloof noise, abnormally amid 3000 and 4000 rpm, area the MP3’s non-turbo 2.0-liter was about as agitative as a bottle of Listerine.
Turbo lag is affably short, but the agent charcoal thrashy about its 6500-rpm redline. Worse, ability commitment is sometimes chapped and beneath predictable. Advance can vanish with a fizz aback the pedal lifts, afflictive an abashing whiplash through the driveline. The turbo can consistently be heard as that dog blare beneath the hood.
Occasionally, the Mazdaspeed’s agent surged beneath amount and again rocked with a agitated shudder. Ammunition problems and computer hiccups were appropriate as accessible causes. No best Listerine, the agent improves its cachet to that of boxed wine.
In allegory tests, the Mazda Protegés consistently assume to action the sharpest steering, the best weight balance, and the everyman centermost of gravity. Likewise, the Mazdaspeed rewards absolute drivers.
The svelte, three-spoke caster feels acid abundant to braid a lane into millimeter-sized cutlets. The council is light–no sneezing in a sweeper or you may bound for the weeds–but “tugs itself to the centermost with a adequate faculty of the straight-ahead,” wrote one driver. The seedling-tall Sparco shifter has ever abundant detents but never gets afraid up or lost.
Once the abeyance sets in a turn, the pilot can esplanade the car at its administration absolute with the throttle. No bobbing or wandering, affluence of grip, no surprises. The alone absolute cheap-car DNA is in the annoy thrum, the thunks from abeyance impacts, and some wind noise.
The Mazdaspeed carries on the MP3’s role of actuality an busy stereo-delivery device. The Kenwood Excelon receiver and its assorted accessories will put up a 450-watt (0.6 horsepower) bank of sound. So don’t alike try to avoid the radio. It craves attention. The automatic folding faceplate performs a little ballet every time the car is switched on. Its agenda affectation ceaselessly winks with pixilated TV commercials for the car, for itself, and, apparently, for interstellar travel.
“If the cold was to abstract the driver,” fumed one, “it has succeeded.”
Titanium-hued, Lycra-looking inserts accomplish the seats resemble jerseys for a pro-football team. Adorned pseudo-suede inserts on the doors, aerial ribbons of orange stitching, and corrective trim artificial prove that someone–perhaps with a appropriate aftertaste for colors–was afraid details. The aback seats are the best ample to address for duty.
Given that the essentially slower MP3 won the “Budget Banditos” comparison, how appear this Protegé alone ante third here? Afore putting pen to bent letter, baby reader, agenda that there was no SVT Focus or SRT-4 in that beforehand test.
Also, aloof three credibility abstracted the top three finishers in this test. A acrid decision, but until Mazda serves up an agent to bout the moves, we acquire to adjourn to those added transformed.
2003 Mazdaspeed Protegé170-hp 4-inline, 5-speed manual, 2820 lb
Base/as-tested price: $20,500/$20,500
C/D TEST RESULTS60 mph: 7.1 sec
1/4 mile: 15.6 @ 90 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 170 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.89 g
C/D empiric ammunition economy: 18 mpg
A accepted Ford Focus is an allurement for the agents to argue. Some actuality adulation it for its European-tuned suspension, scissor-cut styling, and able interior. A few abhor it for its disturbing seats, wonky dashboard, and active engine. Every time it’s nominated for a allegory test, the voters abstracted like alkali and oil.
But esplanade an SVT Focus on the ticket, and the anti-Ford agitation quiets to a murmur. The tinkers at SVT acquire injected a advantageous attempt of steroids into the Focus afterwards mutilating the patient. As transformations go, this is conceivably the best artfully accomplished one here.
Like abounding things that canyon for art, the Focus is subtle. The superhero apparel is for sophisticates: fog lights, a black-mesh awning in a chunkier bonanza fascia, a winglet on the hatch, and metal-flake-painted admixture wheels. In this accumulation it stands out like a Zegna pinstripe at a Grateful Dead concert.
Equally able is the abeyance tune. A beanbag of acquiescence absorbs frost joints, pavement cuts, and Botts dots. A able-bodied anatomy keeps the pedals, seats, and council cavalcade from jiggling in sympathy, and annoy babble is all but absent.
Yet aback apprenticed into apex-dusting duty, the anatomy doesn’t shirk. Friction-free advanced struts and tautly bushed rear links axis the understeer and bulb the rear end. Aback the alongside afloat starts, the motion is advised and controllable.
The blubbery council caster is a tight, telegraphic articulation with the advanced wheels. Pick the bedrock you appetite to cast from the white line, and the Focus will point you there.
© DAVID DEWHURST – Car and Disciplinarian 0305-serial-gallery-5jpg-photo-66485-s-986×603
The piper gets paid for the adaptable ride with some added anatomy cycle and ablaze bobbing beyond teeter-totter surfaces. A fast-changing camber on a coil alley does added to agitate the disciplinarian than the suspension, but acumen is the aberration amid accelerated fun and a accelerated frown.
The 2.0-liter whirls to its 7100-rpm redline bound and with appreciably little vibration. It has to; there’s adored little ability anywhere abroad on the rev band. The car’s last-place drag-strip times acquaint the tale–60 mph in 7.7 abnormal (a 10th faster than the three-door “Desert Foxes” Focus), the quarter-mile in 15.9 at 89 mph.
To run with this crowd, the Focus spent abounding two-lane afar ashore in third gear, area dabbling the burke out of a bend is best translated into advanced thrust. South of 6000 rpm the agent does little added than affair a annoyed fizz aback prodded. During gearchanges, the agent hovers at aerial revs, falling too boring for fast accouterment to be smooth. Are emissions-control elves at work?
The Focus was able to acquire three people, their luggage, and two big boxes of analysis gear. The breach aback bench is amid the best in the group, and it folds down–once headrests are plucked–to anatomy a baby sea container. No added car actuality bigger utilizes the amplitude amid its bumpers.
The able aluminum pedals attending accurate but accepted too glace beneath wet shoes. Added than a few corners got overcooked in a agitated choir of squeaking soles. Gearchanging with the six-speed was added padded, beneath mechanically adequate than the Mazda’s five-speed stub. The agent sometimes produced a harmonic fizz in the shifter.
Call Roush, alarm Yunick, alarm Caterpillar. Addition amuse get this handsome and sweet-handling car some added punch.
2003 Ford SVT Focus170-hp 4-inline, 6-speed manual, 2860 lb
Base/as-tested price: $19,630/$21,350
C/D TEST RESULTS60 mph: 7.7 sec
1/4 mile: 15.9 @ 89 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 170 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.87 g
C/D empiric ammunition economy: 20 mpg
Our aftermost Neon tester (a bloodless 150-horse, 2.0-liter R/T) accomplished the “Budget Banditos” allegory in aftermost place, sucking wind to a Sentra Spec V, amid others. That was afore SCCA racer and DaimlerChrysler Achievement Vehicle Operations administrator John Fernandez and his aggregation acicular their Snap-on ray accoutrements at it.
They acquire created a superswift aberrant that shreds 60 mph in 5.6 abnormal and the quarter-mile in 14.1 abnormal at 102 mph. It blurs the blast poles at 153 mph and pulverizes 70 mph into anchor dust in aloof 167 anxiety (only six added than a BMW M3). Mustang GT and Nissan 350Z drivers, accompany your pinks if you dare.
All slots and screens, this Dodge’s face no best says, “Hi.” It says, “Feed me now.” Airflow priorities are evident. The administration mimics a Carrier air conditioner. Incoming gases do one abounding lap about the agent compartment, from the airbox in the advanced larboard corner, about the aback of the block to the rear-facing turbo, advanced to the nose-mounted intercooler, again bottomward the hatch. The awning beat is the one antagonistic fakey-doo.
The air’s continued adventure contributes to turbo lag. Put your bottom in it, and the abeyance is burning but palpable. Already the addition barometer registers anger, the 205-wide Michelin Pilot Sports charge attending for anchor area they can. Axle hop at low speeds and annoy smoke out of corners are accepted ancillary effects. The SRT-4 was voted best in charge of a limited-slip device.
Every sniffle, snort, and bustling backlash blurts bare from the accompanying tailpipes. “Emphatic,” commented one driver. “It takes you aback to your aboriginal car, the one you collection for two years with the bankrupt blind off,” said another.
The SRT-4 can be boomy and backbreaking on a freeway mush, abnormally in aggregate with its stiff-legged ride. Watch out in rain—the tires hydroplane easily. Ammunition abridgement will additionally abash continued trips. We averaged a bald 14 mpg.
Inhaling a clue or abundance pass, that’s area the SRT-4 wants to be. It advisedly glues all four to the corners, announcement none of the agrarian appendage wagging we acclaimed in the R/T. Choose a line, about-face in, clasp on the ability until the Michelins alpha squawking, and aloof authority it there.
A agilely abounding caster demands added aisle corrections than in the Focus or Mazda, but it does the job. The advanced end thrusts area you aim it, and the aback end follows, accomplishing what it can to help. The brakes can abet bug-eyes, but they never melted, alike on long, arched descents. At the track, the SRT-4’s cast of antithesis and backbone brings home award-winning money.
The car’s buckets acquire fat fingers to anchor the torso, but the behind loses absorption bound and avalanche asleep. Stick to sprints, or acquisition article with softer and better-sculpted cushions.
The trim fit central was accidentally adequate for an American econobox. A faux-carbon-fiber affair is omnipresent—in the shift-boot vinyl, the steering-wheel rim, alike the seat-cover fabric. The SRT-4 sports adorned argent gauges and an electroplated centermost animate bezel. Still, awkward pennies are axiomatic in the ragged cast curve on the artificial about-face ball. The aback windows are manual.
An adequate accommodation amid causticity and refinement, the SRT-4 absolutely earns its tickertape battery by actuality annihilation at all like its amiable adapt ego.
2003 Dodge SRT-4215-hp 4-inline, 5-speed manual, 2920 lb
Base/as-tested price: $19,995/$19,995
C/D TEST RESULTS60 mph: 5.6 sec
1/4 mile: 14.1 @ 102 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 167 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.85 g
C/D empiric ammunition economy: 14 mpg
Spy Shots Ford Mustang Svt Gt 500
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