Marcos TSO GT2 Coupé
PetrolTed takes a long, lingering look at this stunning TVR rival
Marcos TSO GT2 Coupé
Yesterday at London’s Canary Wharf Motorshow, Marcos’s main man, Canadian Tony Stelliga proudly launched the TSO GT2 Coupé. The car is the latest step in his ambitious, yet increasingly credible, plan to revitalise the troubled marque.
After years of lurching from one financial crisis to another, the company is on a sound financial footing thanks to Stelliga’s success in the telecommunications industry. The large injection of funds has allowed the company to make the transition from some run-down sheds in Wiltshire to a modern facility adjoining Prodrive in Warwickshire.
Stelliga has assembled an impressive team around him. On the engineering front Chris Meek has guided the design of the Coupé, further pushing the marque into a new era with a modern drivetrain (albeit one with great history). Bodywork by Damian McTaggart -- formerly of TVR -- has kept references to Marcoses of old whilst creating a cohesive, well balanced and brawny design. While the overall shape and proportions may be shared with many a concept, the team has succeeded in producing a car which has an identity entirely of its own.
That extends to the interior too. A further development of that seen in the earlier TSO dropheads, the Coupé gets a wonderfully aromatic interior fully trimmed in leather as standard. They’ve forgone the obvious route of slapping slices of tree on the dashboard and successfully used aluminium to create the contrast with the soft trim. In these days of complete lack of inspiration among mainstream manufacturers, the GT2’s interior is a lesson to many that true elegance is achieved through simplicity and the right combination of materials.
The running gear is a close relation to that used in the Chevrolet Corvette. Unimaginative some might say, but it's one of the most proven drivetrains in the world and one capable of reliably producing gut-wrenching torque.
The setup is brawnier than that used in the Australian predecessor to this car as launched earlier this year. UK buyers get a 5.7 litre V8 producing a semi nuclear 475bhp or 420bhp in base form. The Germans über-saloons might be indulging in 500-horsepower wars and Marcos is rapidly heading for similar numbers but without the executive paunch – the GT2 weighs in at a more svelte 1,170Kg. The more powerful configuration also benefits from softer tyres and a different suspension setup. Buyers opting for the 475bhp version will also get on-track tuition as part of the deal.
That grunt and that weight combine to give the GT2 a claimed 0-60 time of just four seconds (proved several times according to Marcos). In-gear flexibility (in any of the six gears) is said to be impressive thanks to the spread of the torque from very low in the range.
The UK coupe comes with an exhaust developed in conjunction with exhaust specialists Blue Flame. The result is said to be pure music with four distinct tones to be heard as the revs rise.
A large – if awkwardly accessed – boot provides plenty of practicality. While you won’t get a bag of compost in over that rear lip too easily, you will find plenty of room for luggage for a trip around Europe. And that’s exactly the sort of trip this car looks perfectly designed for. Easy cruising with explosive grunt available for safer overtaking J
Build quality was excellent on the show car with only minor blemishes visible despite typical late night working to finish the job. Despite being a show car, it is a fully running model ready to hit the road. Full production will start next month. We fully expect the order book to fill up quickly.
Marcos has carved itself an important niche in the UK market from which to further propel its growth both here and worldwide. Exciting times are ahead for Marcos owners and the owner of Marcos.