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Handling test Audi, Ford, Lotus, VW, Porsche, Mini in a comparison test

Achim Hartmann
Audi, Ford, Lotus, VW, Porsche, Mini in comparison test
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E s smells scorched on this hot Thursday. Above Hockenheim and the Boxberg wet handling course hangs a dense aroma bell made of boiling oil, smelly brake pads and smoking tires - six compact athletes are sweating at the limit.

Mini Cooper S Works Cabrio performs a load change dance

The handling specialists Audi TT RS Roadster, Ford Focus RS, Lotus Exige Cup 260, Mini Cooper S Works Cabrio , Porsche Boxster S and VW Golf GTI have a hot-headed curve discussion, rated by auto motor und sport crew. The comparison test chapters drive, brakes and driving behavior have been slightly modified for this and the lap times in Hockenheim and Boxberg have been added. As well as the sub-item sound. The Mini John Cooper Works Cabrio with its 1.6-liter little engine starts roaring wickedly, wants to show it to the multi-cylinder competition, but has a reputation for loosing its calves. As if he wanted to cool his glowing turbo, he throws himself into Boxberg's watered curves, performs a wild load-changing dance with his short wheelbase. The uncomfortably brisk electronic limited-slip differential almost pulls the steering wheel out of the pilot's hand. The clock shows a hard-won 1:05.74 minutes.

Lotus Exige Cup 260 could compete in the one-make cup

The VW Golf GTI is already raising its hopes; As cheeky as a VW can sound, it picks up the mini-track and turns resolutely on itBrake with the rear - without the ritual drifts of its predecessor. Since generation six, the driving dynamics control can no longer be switched off, only the traction control. Gone are the days of the GTI cornering poses, what has remained is the predictable character. Despite the support of XDS, the lock function of the ESP, it only lasts for 1:06:07 minutes. And the Mini John Cooper Works grins maliciously - until the Lotus Exige Cup 260 warms up. With sports tires, fire extinguishers and bucket seats including docking options for Hans, the neck protection from Formula 1, he could compete in the one-make cup. The same applies to jeans buyers: shrink it so that you fit into the Liliput racer.

Porsche Boxster S in the endless drift

The 1.8-liter howls heartbreakingly Compressor, mechanical noise breaks out in the Lotus Exige Cup 260. These exit noises would encourage any mechanic to search for errors. The engine hardly has to swing up to the 8,000 rpm level of the 260 hp, before the accelerator twitches - and the rear. More than VW Golf GTI level is not possible with the slippery sports tires: bitter 1.06.09 minutes. The Porsche Boxster S has to save the honor of the mid-engine group. After the facelift, he turns in much more harmoniously. But then the grip on the rear axle breaks off - softly but clearly. An endless drift follows, the water-shy Bridgestone desperately seek a hold. Traction? It feels like 200 of the 310 hp excess power. With the rear, the time goes by, 1:05.90 minutes let the Mini Cooper S smirk again. Until he suddenly stands in the shade.

The Audi TT RS doesn't know spinning tires

The high-build Ford Focus RS rolls up with a van-like presence. He starts grumbling deeply, the turbo kicks in emphatically, but more discreetly than expected. The driven front wheels must have two departments, one each for propulsion and turning. Without twitching or slipping, 440 Nm is good for a respectable 1.04.77 minutes. Only the all-wheel drive power of the Audi TT RS can top that. He only knows spinning tires from stories, the gentle force of his 450 Nm heaves him out of the corners. Only the inconsistent fluctuation between understeer and oversteer irritates the driver, but not the clock: 1:04:53 minutes.

All cars start with a full tank of fuel and a crew of two

Change of location to Hockenheim. The selective short connection, the so-called short course, has to be mastered. The chassis and tires remain in the road trim; Neither rebound nor compression are adjusted, and the air pressure is only measured when the tires are cold. All cars go out with a full tank and two men on the track. The lap times that can be achieved are also achievable for experienced hobby racing drivers. The Ford Focus RS starts the fast lap. Its turbo blows up with up to 1.4 bar of boost pressure, 305 hp push the family athlete broad-chested to start-finish. And although its chassis wobbles, the Ford Focus RS (the Ford Focusin the driving report) into the tight ant curve almost at right angles - almost like a rear-wheel drive car. The Ford Focus RS takes the crossbar literally and proudly sticks out its massive buttocks. Nevertheless, he manages a respectable 1.19.20 minutes.

VW Golf GTI faster than Mini John Cooper Works Convertible

The VW Golf GTI and Mini Cooper know from the experience of their predecessor models S that this time can hardly be cracked. Following its rally genes, the Mini Cooper S turns sharply, suggesting an irrepressible will to win - until it drifts into large radii with paralyzing understeering. The limited-slip differential only helps when exiting a bend, and the Mini Cooper S Works fires its gearshift volleys over the next straight. In the end, the stopwatch shows almost two seconds more than on the Ford Focus RS (1.21.26). The driving fun icon VW Golf GTI ( the VW Golf GTI in the test ) is two tenths (1.21.04) from the Mini John Cooper Works, although it is around 100 kilograms heavier. It is much easier to drive and stays on the closer line. That at least earned him the Order of the People's Sportsman.

The Audi TT RS Roadster flies around the course in 1:18.10 minutes

The Audi TT RS (the Audi TT RS in the test) would have deserved it if it were not twice as expensive as a roadster. The fact that it weighs 100 kilograms more than the VW Golf GTI is compensated for by higher performance and better traction. No other person in the field catapults himself out of the apex in such an authoritarian manner without bending an ideal line. The five-cylinder turbo is bursting with strength, the braking point flies up surprisingly quickly and the Audi TT RS Roadster around the course in 1.18.10 minutes.

The Porsche Boxster S takes the ideal line precisely

This requirement forces the Porsche to be careful. Panting he goes about the round, unrestrained the boxer turns up, throaty the retro roar barks through the sports exhaust. Aiming at the bend, occupying the ideal line, unnecessary steering. Accurate, eager for feedback and ready to change loads, but without mid-engine capers. The driver can use the pushing rear end for spectacular drifts or fast times - the latter ends in 1:17.19 minutes. The final race track authority, the Lotus, will show whether the Boxster remains the fastest.

Only ideal-weight figures fit into the Lotus Exige Cup 260

Its seats are so tight between the cheeks that only ideal-weight athletes' figures fit in. You have to be strong, because driving the Lotus Exige Cup is a craft, braking is like lifting weights, and changing direction means traversing. Why do the English cling to the anachronism of servo-free steering? It's a riddle to anyone who has had to counter-steer in a cross-shooting Lotus Exige. There is also a six-speed box, which is against a quick downshiftlocks. That costs time, and so the gap to the Porsche is almost soberingly small: not even a second (1.16.40). That's only enough for third place in comparison. The Audi TT RS, faster and easier to drive in the wet, came in second. The water-shy, but nimble and predictable Porsche wins the laurel wreath.

Ford Focus RS is the best front-wheel drive in the test

As the best front-wheel drive, the Ford Focus RS lands behind the Lotus Exige, but ahead of VW Golf GTI and Mini John Cooper Works Convertible. A hard-won and sweaty, respectable success of the Audi TT RS Roadster. An athlete at the limit who rubbed tires, planed brakes and deep fried his loader - you could smell it.


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