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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Quoted from TopGear:
You've probably read a bit about this car already, but here's another line of thought just to confuse you.

First, a little background. I'm a big fan of fitness for purpose. If you make a supercar, you need to make it super. If you make a daily grind hatch, you need to make it practical and durable. Everything has a little niche, and compromises to make, to steal a customer or two.

So one of the hardest cars to make would be a properly sorted fast and practical saloon, mainly because 'fast' and 'practical' don't tend to sit well with each other. It's the milk and orange juice equation. Fine on their own, but try to mix them and you end up with a queasy mess.

And yet, right now, we have several extraordinary cars that manage it to varying degrees of success. The Merc C63 is properly mental. The RS4 (I know it's out of production), is a brilliant, brilliant thing. The BMW M3 brings together so much tech and knowledge that the sheer speed it can amass is almost inconceivable.

And then we have the Lexus IS-F. And I love it. Why? Because I'm not a racing driver. I realise that real life is as important as the weekend blast of the car journalist. I constantly think what it would be like to live with this car for a couple of years, how successful it would be as my day-to-dayer.

It isn't particularly hardcore, really. Not when faced with the M3 or the C63. It's actually more like the RS4 - a better all-rounder that loses perhaps the last five per cent of speed in pursuit of the real world. The steering has an awfully dead feel to it, and there's a dearth of seat-of-the-pants information. But there's an ease to the eight-speed auto and creamy-smooth V8 that means you could live with this car.

It's mega fast and terribly exciting when you make that V8 reach upwards, but what many people aren't focussing on is the fact that this makes a fantastic fist of being a memorable car because of the way it goes slowly. Try that in the goad-tastic C63 or M3 and I guarantee you'll be getting faster and faster at every corner. Not a bad thing in a sports saloon, but different.

The IS-F is also a bit of an oddball choice. There'll only be about 150 coming into the UK per year and that's very appealing to me. It's got exciting technology in that engine and gearbox that make it a bit different, though it's not all perfect. I could live with this car for a year or two. Now I just have to work out how to afford it...

So what compromises would you make? Are you prepared to forgo your spine for handling, or do you get annoyed when the fourth cupholder isn't within reach? I'm somewhere in the middle...

Posted by Tom Ford at 2:30PM on Monday 25 February, 2008
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