The new Subaru STi 2.5L vs the legendary BMW M3, a Ferrari F430 tackling the Touge, the new MX-5 and AMG SLK55 battling their rivals at Tsukuba, plus a second Touge shootout - all on Best Motoring 18: New STi.
NEW STI FAST ON 4
How good is the new Subaru STi 2.5L? Can it compare to the famed BMW M3 and its European rivals? Keiichi Tsuchiya and Naoki Hattori compare the Subaru STi Spec C against its predecessor, as well as its Japanese arch-rival the Mitsubishi Evolution IX RS in a series of slalom tests. Following this, the Spec C takes on the best from Europe: the BMW M3, Audi's S4 and the C55 from AMG.
Tsuchiya tests quarter-mile and 0-1000m speed, high-speed stability, high-speed slalom (both with 200km/h entry speeds) and finally a top-speed comparison give the new STi a thorough evaluation against its European rivals.
SUPER TOUGE RUN: FERRARI F430 & HONDA NSX-R
The Gunsai Touge is famous for its modified car shootouts that have given cars such as the JUN Prelude and J's S2000 iconic status in the Japanese scene.
However this time the prestige of the car overshadows the course. After putting down a lap in a Honda NSX-R, Keiichi Tsuchiya takes to the tight, winding and challenging course in a Ferrari F430. Watch a full-lap of the Touge through the in-car camera as the Drift King man-handles the Ferrari around the circuit. It's extraordinary viewing.
NEW MX-5 VS RIVALS
With the launch of the new Mazda MX-5 (the 2006 Wheels magazine Car of the Year), Best Motoring compare it to its market rivals with a 5-lap track battle around Tsukuba Raceway.
With Keiichi Tsuchiya in the new MX-5, he battles against the previous model MX-5, Toyota MR-S S Edition, Mazda RX-8 Type S and Honda S2000.
On a very wet and greasy circuit, some of the convertibles have trouble staying on the black stuff, with plenty of half-loses and near-misses, including one nearly clouting the tyre barrier after a high-speed off.
The two MX-5 models are then compared individually around Tsukuba, before all the combatants are tested around a Motorkhana course.
SEARCHING FOR BEST DRIVING FEEL
This time Best Motoring compare not the fastest time, nor the best handling. They're looking for the car that has the best 'driving feel' and is the most fun. Tested over the Touge and a slalom course, the Porsche Boxster S, Corvette C6 Coupe and Lotus Elise are compared to the current benchmark, the Honda S2000.
BONUS: SLK55 AMG PREMIUM CONVERTIBLE BATTLE
Having seen the Roadster track battle earlier, BMI steps up in the convertible price range to compare the AMG SLK55 against the best open-tops around.
The AMG takes on the Honda S2000 Type V, Porsche Boxster S, BMW Z4, Nissan 350Z Roadster and the Chrysler Crossfire Roadster at Tsukuba in one of Best Motoring's no-holds-barred shootouts to see who's king of the high-priced kids.