Will cars like the Honda Civic Type-R be future dinosaurs?

Remember that episode of Top Gear when Clarkson drove the Aston Martin Vantage V12 through the Welsh mountains? He said cars like that were the last of the line and it mad his sad.

The Type-R isn’t int he same category, of course. But driving something quite so outrageous and bonkers has made me think we may not be seeing many more hot hatchbacks like this in the future.

As electric, driverless and fuel cell cars slowly take over – and believe me, they will – people will start to look back on motors like the Golf R and Focus ST and the Type-R as crazy transportation machines ‘they’ used to enjoy going crazy in way back in the past.

It’s kind of sa, I know. I can’t see us driving a petrol-powered Type-R in the future. The name will survive but the fact is, we simply won’t have the need for screaming hot hatchbacks in the future.

Sad? Maybe, but we can’t wollow in nostalgia. Time has come to move on…

Still a rocket ship hot hatch – the Honda Civic Type R Black Edition

Here it is then – the last of the current Honda Civic hot hatchbacks. The Type R has legendary status – a Golf GTI for people who like a bit more bling.

And there’s certainly plenty of that about this GT Black Edition. Unlike the understated VW, the Honda has a whopping rear spoiler, red tweaks to the aero bodyshell and a in-yer-face interior.

The aggressive styling suggests peak power and after just oe day behind the wheel, I can tell you it won’t disappoint. Thanks largely to a super slick gearbox, it breaks the six second barrier to 60mph and keeps on going to 167mph.

The Type R is also blistering quick around corners and feel like it has just come off the Nurburgring. All that before you even press the R+ button and increase the race feel of this brilliant little car.

More tomorrow after I’ve had a lie down…

 

The bipolar Biposta… Is it a Fiat supercar or what?

The madness of this particular Biposta is that it’s a car that doesn’t quite know what it is.

On the one hand, it’s £37,000 of uncompromising, full-fat rally car, minus proper door handles, sat nav, air con – or even a radio.

On the other, our test car doesn’t come with the bonkers dog ring gearbox – you have to pay extra for that pleasure.

So instead, our test car features a fairly conventional, dash stick like a normal Fiat 500. Surely you’d expect that for this sort of money?

Just who is going to buy a Biposta remains to be seen. I think the enthusiast will want ALL the extra lightweight, slick gearchange kit included in the price.

Seems a bit rich charging £37k then asking for more for the fun bits!

The Fiat 500 handbag finally gets a brick to give it some clout

 

A car with a 1.4-litre turbo engine has no right to be this fast. But because the stripped out Biposta weighs just 997kg, Fiat would claim it can provide enough thrills to justify costing more than a BMW M235i.

Less is more in this case. Which explains the lightweight Oz alloy wheels and carbon-fibre shells for the two seats. There’s even a titanium frame where the back bench normally sits in a Fiat 500.

Sadly, our May test car isn’t fitted with the track-inspired, dog-ring gearbox. That’s an option enthusiasts would go for. Me? I prefer a gearstick that actually works properly on the road.

The best bits so far? Overtaking a bemused Golf GTI driver and the sound from the Akrapovic exhaust. Especially meaty when the ‘Sport’ button is pressed.

Why would you buy a tiny car costing this much when there are better options out there for the same money? Simply – it’s bloody great fun.

 

Fiat 695 Biposta – madness on four wheels

Flipping cars today from a Morgan to a Fiat 500 might seem the more relaxing option. Except when it is the Abarth 695 Biposta.

Created as the world’s smallest supercar, the 695 is pretty exciting in ‘standard’ form. Then you can start personalizing with a dog ring gearbox (the only car with such a road legal option), a five-point rally harness – or what about polycarbonate windows to save weight? Soon the price can top £50k.

We’ve been sent the model with a normal, five-speed gearbox. It still lacks some basic kit (radio, air con) and is also delivered minus the back seat and proper door handles.

The suspension isn’t too harsh, the noise from the twin exhausts is sublime and once the turbo kicks in, it’s impossible not to drive this Fiat fast…

Morgan – the perfect new-old car

I have a raging cold. The cause of my sniffling is a Morgan Plus 4. I spent the Bank Holiday weekend driving one around Cornwall in the St Mawes Classic Car Rally.

Around 30 cars took part and my £30k ‘classic’ didn’t look out of place up against the Ferraris, Aston Martins and other items of spectacularly expensive beauty.

And that’s the joy of a car like the Morgan. It’s a new-old car that ticks both boxes. With a timeless number plate, it’s almost impossible to know the Morgan was only built six months ago.

Of course, if you want to spend £400,000 on something a little more exotic that’s fine too. But having travelled in both this weekend, I can say the Plus 4 is just as entertaining.

If only you could hear the stereo above 65mph, it would be the perfect weekend motor…

 

Can you squeeze a rugby playing Vunipola inside a Morgan Plus 4? a

Rumour has it that Welsh rugby winger George North loves Morgans. Unfortunately, he has a deal with Land Rover – and also finds it very hard to squeeze inside a Plus 4.

North will go in to battle on the Lions tour of New Zealand this summer with England forwards Mako and Billy Vunipola. Today I interviewed the brothers and it’s official:

There’s no chance of squeezing that pair into my Morgan!

For the rest of us, the Plus 4 has a lot more room than a Caterham Seven. There’s a space behind the seats where the roof folds away that will take two weekend bags.

Generally speaking, the Morgan is a lot more civilised too – although Car Couture will test the 60th Anniversary Seven in July. That’s not to say it isn’t very noisy when pushed hard.

Even so, I could hear the music system at speeds up to 70mph. Believe me, that’s a major bonus in any Morgan…