TVR TUSCAN S
Nick Hall gets behind the wheel of the 390bhp Tuscan
It’s fitting that Warner Brothers chose the TVR Tuscan S for its latest animated adventure, Looney Tunes Back in Action, with Bugs Bunny at the wheel, as the Tuscan S is a little larger than life itself.
Aside from the rear wing - added for extra stability at the 185mph - the Tuscan S has the removable roof section that stows across the top of the large boot. This all serves to break up the Tuscan’s smooth lines and the end result isn’t too pretty, but the staccato make-up of the profile is in all in keeping with its aggressive character.
Despite sharing its platform with the Tamora, the 4.2 metre Tuscan S looks a much bigger brute thanks to relatively massive overhangs. At the rear is the huge boot and spoiler and at the front a low front splitter that drops the pepperpot nose even closer to the floor.
The interior is a minimalist TVR masterpiece, with fluid leather-clad surfaces sweeping through the cockpit, enveloping the driver and housing sparse and distinctive machined aluminium switchgear.
As with all current TVRs, every piece of vital information is displayed directly in front of you, including the gear-change lights. It's all designed with sporting intent - you needn't move your eyes from the road for more than an instant to keep track of the vital signs.
The Tuscan S is a four-litre, 390bhp (power creeps up a little further in the very latest cars ) fire breather, with a tuned up version of the all-aluminum inline Speed Six engine. It can storm from 0-60mph in 3.8s and will rasp straight through to more than 195mph, making even a hairs’ breadth gap a safe overtaking opportunity that needs to be taken.
Some may prefer a six-speed gearbox in a car of this ilk, but TVR felt it was an unnecessary and costly addition when the five-speed and twin-plate clutch cope perfectly well with this level of power.
100mph in 2nd!
The defining moment in this car came at 100mph in second gear, without the final red shift light, even blinking into life. Simply put, this machine’s fondness for high speed and intoxicating engine note makes driving it a constant exercise in self-control and it was not by accident that the TVR test car came equipped with one of the most sophisticated Gatso detection units on the market. Journalists and would-be customers tossing their driving licences in the bin at the exit of Blackpool would be bad for business, and it would happen.
It’s the exhaust noise that encourages sheer recklessness given anything approaching a clean stretch of road. TVR informed me they’d taken a lot of time tuning the acoustics, but from where I was standing it looked for all the world like they strapped two massive cans to the rear allowing every rev to reverberate a little more, increasing the rumble to a roar that could wake God.
Under braking the TVR also pops and belches out the excess fuel, spitting out minor explosions that could probably power a smaller car on their own.
The growing tinny roar combines with a bucking steering wheel, which requires a firm two-hands on approach at all times. It just feels aggressive, not in a way that suggests the TVR is about to pitch itself into the nearest tree, but in a way that begs to be driven harder – whatever the speedo says.
Round the twisting roads of Blackpool the TVR proved extremely fleet of foot, too, with the 18” wheels seemingly digging in hard to the corner before relaxing and drifting out to the exit. It’s a disconcerting feeling to begin with and the car feels a little too eager to react, but this is a relationship that improves with time and when you really need it most.
Its kerbweight of 1100kg makes it a serious lightweight when compared to its major rivals from Ferrari and Porsche, and it can change direction quicker than either. Nothing I could do on the road proved too much for this car, but I was blessed with a dry day and in the rain I suspect it would have been a very different experience!
Braking, as you’d expect from racing spec brakes, is awesome, almost too awesome in fact. The fronts are 322mm ventilated discs with four-piston callipers and the rears a single-piston sliding calliper clamps on to 298mm discs - and no ABS remember! Under heavy braking the Tuscan S can rearrange your organs and the lack of weight comes into play once again as the car seemingly shoves its feet into the road and stops on command. It can lead to sensory overload, but the savage brakes fit the car’s character perfectly.
This is not a calm and confident machine, as some supercars are, it is a hard man of sport in the true Vinny Jones style: the Devil on your shoulder demanding a little more and not taking no for an answer. It’s a participation sport more than a driving experience and was one of the most exhausting cars I have driven.
For the record, though, one Tuscan S has already come back to the factory after its owner clipped a kerb and rolled. He escaped without any major trauma, thanks to the integral roll over bars that contribute both to the safety of the car and the rigidity.
The Tuscan S is a car that can compete with any car on the road today. What's more it's a car that positively wants to!
Link : PHers review Tuscans