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Wednesday 16th November 2011

Driven: Artega GT

Little-known German Lotus rival bundles Fisker styling and Passat R36 V6 to stunning effect


You probably haven't seen one but get ready to want one
You probably haven't seen one but get ready to want one
Comparisons are sometimes too easy to make. That's why they're such an overly used tool in many a hack's literary toolbox. The Artega GT is crying out for them though.

Take that V6 motor and DSG gearbox first. Artega did. It took it all the way from Wolfsburg (where it was being used in the VW Passat R36) and squeezed it into the back of its own aluminium monocoque chassis.

Mid-engined six-cylinder sports car with a double-clutch semi-automatic gearbox? That's comparable to a Porsche Cayman with PDK, surely? And an alu monocoque bathtub chassis using another company's engine and gearbox? You can't tell me you're not thinking Lotus Evora right now...

Henrik Fisker designed it and it's a beaut
Henrik Fisker designed it and it's a beaut
But the Evora may not like the comparison, Artega seemingly able to out-Lotus Lotus when it comes to the 'add lightness' thing and the GT weighing a whole 105kg less than the Evora. The Artega is similarly cosseting and mature inside but manages to give off a much more convincing junior supercar vibe thanks to some impressive visual muscle.

Take a look at those forged 19-inch wheels. The rears are impressively wide with 305-section tyres more normally seen on a Lamborghini or Corvette. The doors are a proper size too. And with an Alcantara-lined roof this high it's almost simple to hop in and out of the GT in a way that Lotus owners either dream of. Or maybe just laugh at.

Either way, it's a pleasure to slide into those cream leather bucket seats. Park your clutch foot up and leave it against the dead-pedal. Push the Artega-badged VW/Audi key into the same generic slot you'll see on anything from a lowly Golf to an Audi RS6. Fighter plane style multi-function LCDs wink into life either side of the beautifully sculpted speedo and rev counter. The needle denoting rpm gently changes from blue (cold) to green (warm) as I check out the myriad other controls and gadgets.

Neat touches abound throughout cabin
Neat touches abound throughout cabin
A GPS navigation rear-view mirror? Also an eight-button LCD centre console, which is tilted away from the driver in this car, absurdly. This will be sorted out for 2012 cars, incidentally. With only a single hour with the car there's no time to waste on buttons or widgets though.

The 3.6 V6 rumbles and burbles away in the manner of a much bigger engine as we dawdle out of Nürburg towards my favourite roads, the track out of bounds to us sadly. The engine note isn't intrusive, but it's definitely insistent. At just over 1,000rpm there's enough poke under the pedal to induce a chuckle. By 1,500rpm it's obvious the 305 rears are more than just a styling statement. For all the docility and smoothness of the DSG transmission there's actually a serious quantity of low-down shove behind the pedal. Jinking through the corners, holding the car against the hairpin curves, I'm enjoying myself.

Mini supercar attitude is perfectly pitched
Mini supercar attitude is perfectly pitched
A straight opens up. I resist the urge to click the paddle-shift early, instead holding the pedal down. The air behind my head vibrates. There's such presence there as we accelerate - not like a Cayman or a Lotus. More like an E39 M5 or Mustang 5.0. It's a deep and heavy rumble at peak torque, turning into a rolling howl as the needle turns yellow near 7,000rpm. Not bad for a Passat engine.

For a moment the needle itself flickers red as I plant the car deep into the rev limiter... or rather, I don't. The DSG just slips the next gear into place without any fuss. The acceleration is, literally, seamless. Having upshifts performed automatically will no doubt drive me mental on a racetrack, but I can't argue with the logic of the DSG on the street. No over-revved engines, no mis-shifts and even better fuel consumption too.

'Street' spec perfectly focused for us
'Street' spec perfectly focused for us
Because, as I've been reminded several times in the build up to being handed the keys, this Artega is 'just' a street car. I'm not to go crazy. It has the 'comfort' suspension, the luxurious interior and the 'normal' four-pot Brembo brakes and discs. But the thing steers so effortlessly over every surface, and I didn't have any trouble stopping either.

Apparently I'm not the only one trying to compare the Artega to more mainstream and established rivals. A 'sport' optioned yellow Artega (with different suspension, tyres and brakes) has recently crushed the Audi TT RS and Cayman S to the tune of over a second a lap at a Sport Auto Hockenheim group test. That will be the next version to test. I have the perfect place in mind. And I promise, not so heavy on the comparisons next time...







 

 

 

 

 

Dale Lomas
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Author Discussion

carl0s

Original Poster:

434 posts

116 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
I really, really like that. It looks a little bit like the MP4-12C, sort of.

Some pictures of the inside would have been nice.

Price? I bet it's dear. I won't be picking one up for £10k in a few years anyway I don't think.

bosshog

1,059 posts

164 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
carl0s said:
Some pictures of the inside would have been nice.

Price?
seconded.

andrew.delamare

74 posts

143 months

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Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
Yeah.. no price...

Also are they going to do a RHD one?

also if there are more pic's I wouldn't mind seeing boot and engine bay ones.

Dan Trent

1,048 posts

56 months

PH Editor Bloke

[news] 
Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
Greetings all.

Just to follow up on your responses the German list price for the Artega GT, including local taxes, is 88,500 Euros. To put that into some context a Cayman R in Germany costs 69,340 Euros.

I'll see if our man can come up with any further interior pictures too and add them to the story if anything's availabe.

Cheers!

Edited by Dan Trent on Wednesday 16th November 06:06

sanctum

191 posts

63 months

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Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
I see the "cross-eyed basking shark" look is back in fashion.
Advertisement

andy_s

9,937 posts

147 months

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Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
I think it's a beauty. They seem to have planted it in a good spot price-wise, looks wise, performance wise - good luck to them.

whythem

686 posts

65 months

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Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
Been watching these for a while now, like it alot. I think its prettier than the Farbio/Ginetta.

hellem

25 posts

137 months

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Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
It's been in production for at least 2years (5?) Priced at 88k€ al taxes payed so close to Ginetta and others See http://www.artega.de/. My take: today the best sorted car in that segment

RudeDog

1,346 posts

62 months

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Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
I like this a lot too but whether the firms likes it or not, it IS always going to be compared with the Cayman and the Evora. Its an underdog of a car brand and no matter how good it is to drive its not going to sell that well at the price Dan Trent has indicated. It needs to be cheaper than the Cayman and Evora while at the same time beating them on the road. All IMHO of course smile

300bhp/ton

29,629 posts

78 months

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Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
Wow it looks stunning....



Edited by 300bhp/ton on Wednesday 16th November 08:56

marcosgt

7,632 posts

64 months

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Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
RudeDog said:
I like this a lot too but whether the firms likes it or not, it IS always going to be compared with the Cayman and the Evora. Its an underdog of a car brand and no matter how good it is to drive its not going to sell that well at the price Dan Trent has indicated. It needs to be cheaper than the Cayman and Evora while at the same time beating them on the road. All IMHO of course smile
If it was going to aim to steal sales from them, perhaps, but often people buy these marques especially because they don't want just another Porsche or Lotus.

When Marcos was having it's '90s glory time, most people buying the new cars could easily afford better name marques, but they wanted a bit of exclusivity.

I can see Evora hints in this (I like the Evora personally), but I'd have this over a Cayman any day!

M

Hellbound

2,254 posts

64 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
In 2008 CAR Magazine listed it as £60k, and Evo listed it as £64k along with a score of 4.5/5.
At whatever price, it really shows how things should be done. No faffing about, understated and high on quality.









kambites

41,533 posts

109 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
Another sports car with no manual gearbox. frown

stew-S160

6,546 posts

126 months

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Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
Another fan here.

Hellbound

2,254 posts

64 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
There are a handful on sale on Mobile.de. The cheapest used car starts at 62k EUR while the New cars range from 90k EUR to 105k EUR depending on spec.

Not cheap so you're paying for exclusivity. Would I have one over a Porsche 991? Hmmm. No. Shame it isn't closer to £50k!

German reviewer even mentions the Evora. Great sound and moving footage here.

http://youtu.be/CRGvo8_SrHE


What's quite impressive is that you can buy a near as new Evora for half the price of the Artega GT. Companies like Artega won't be able to compete when Lotus finally start putting their own engines in their cars.

Edited by Hellbound on Wednesday 16th November 09:17

ManOpener

2,927 posts

57 months

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Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
Absolutely lovely looking thing.

marctwo

3,434 posts

148 months

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Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
That looks great and sounds terrific. Maybe needs a couple of turbos?

dandarez

5,910 posts

171 months

[news] 
Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
'...You can't tell me you're not thinking Lotus Evora right now...
But the Evora may not like the comparison, Artega seemingly able to out-Lotus Lotus when it comes to the 'add lightness' thing and the GT weighing a whole 105kg less than the Evora.'


I'm NOT thinking Evora, I'm thinking British - the GINETTA G60 - which whooped the Evora recently in AUTOCAR's test.
As for the Artega weighing a 'whole' 105kg less than the Evora, the Ginetta G60 weighs nearly 400 kg less than the Evora!!!

Autocar have a video of it up now.
http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-video/ginetta-g60-vid...

A Scotsman

970 posts

87 months

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Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
Some fool seems to have put the steering wheel on the wrong side !

ikonic

138 posts

86 months

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Wednesday 16th November 2011 quote quote all
Interior is a little dissappointing. The heater fans in particular look like they're taken from a 90s era Golf.

Having said that, I'm very impressed.

On lazy days I often imagine what sort of car I'd be building if I set up my own independent sports car company.

Taking into account economics, cost, engine etc. (ie. being sensible and for a limited budget) I actually think this Artega is pretty close to the sort of spec and look I'd be aiming for, albeit at a slightly lower price closer to £50k.
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