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How would you build the perfect car?

By Scott Newman, 27 Feb 2021 Features

How would you build the perfect car?

Newman cherry picks his favourite elements to build the perfect fantasy car, what's yours?

Fantasy garage: it’s every petrolhead’s favourite game. Three cars, five cars, 10 cars, various budgets, various rules and regulations, solo or with friends, if you’re anything like me you spend far more time than is sensible ruminating on all the different permutations of how you’d spend fictitious money.

We’re not playing that game.

Rather than filling your imaginary garage with cars that already exist, the task today is to create your own.

READ NEXT: These are the cars journalists would actually buy

After all, if you’re going to indulge in flights of fantasy you might as well truly spread your wings, as the odds of me ever affording the contents of my dream garage are directly correlated with my odds of being the sole division 1 Powerball winner. Twice.

The only rule is that it has to be realistic, so no V12 Toyota Yarises or rocket-powered G-Wagens, though there is another column in madcap creations. It has to have at least a chance of passing all the relevant emissions and safety regulations, but from there the world is your oyster.

Obviously a key consideration is the type of car being created. The logical conclusion is to create each fantasy garage contender from scratch, but given this is MOTOR and there’s only this page to work with, I’ll focus my attention on my ultimate sports car. This will mean different things to different people, but personally this has to be a car that could be driven to work or long distances with little trouble, relish a weekend thrash but be equally happy on a track day.

Most importantly, it has to be entertaining in each of these environments. For some such a car will already exist in the form of a 911 GT3 Touring or AMG GT R or McLaren 600LT and all are fantastic machines, but because I’m a fussy so-and-so, none of them really hit the spot. So without further ado, let’s build my ultimate sports car; please send in your own creations to the usual address!

First up, it has to have two seats, none of this 2+2 nonsense. I don’t have children to accommodate and even if I did, if more than one needed ferrying we’d take the family car, so while those extra pair of pews might be a cornerstone of the 911’s success, all they’re going to do is mess up my packaging.

Material choice was a tricky one – carbon fibre is stiff but cost and refinement can be issues – until I remembered Gordon Murray’s iStream Superlight system. This uses an aluminium tubular frame with honeycomb recycled carbon-composite chassis panels to create a structure that’s very light, very strong and, Murray claims, cost neutral when compared to stamped steel.

My target kerb weight is 1350kg. Because of this modest weight, I don’t need to go overboard with the engine to achieve the desired performance. Again, your tastes may vary and you might desire the howl of a V12 or scream of a straight-six, but for me it has to be a V8. Starting from scratch is prohibitively expensive, but modifying BMW’s N63B44 4.4-litre unit could do the trick: ditch the turbos, dry sump it, tweak the internals to allow 7500rpm and hopefully figures of 325kW/500Nm should be well within reach.

I’m tempted by ZF’s eight-speed automatic but having sampled an Audi B7 RS4 in our 2020 Yearbook issue, that car’s six-speed manual is the target that has to be achieved. Tyres are Michelin Pilot Sport 4S measuring 255/35 ZR19 front and 275/30 ZR19 rear as the car still has to move around at reasonable speeds. It’ll also keep the bills down when they need to be replaced. Ahem.

The most important bit of all, though, is the chassis. If this car is going to shine on road and track it needs to not just ride and handle but behave in a manner that’s progressive and confidence-inspiring.

In summary, I want a two-seater coupe with the attitude of an AMG GT, the soundtrack of an E92 M3, the brake and steering feel of an LFA, the ride/handling balance of a Civic Type R, the fun factor of an F-Type R and the stamina and usability of a Cayman. That’s not too much to ask, surely?