Is there any category of motorsport that has done more for the world of great driver’s cars than Group A rallying?
We’re struggling to think of one, and while rallying itself has changed hugely since the 1990s golden era for Group A, the cars themselves have never been in such demand as they are today.
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That’s something we thought we should celebrate, so in the March issue of evo magazine, we take six of the key players – the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI Tommi Mäkinen Edition, Subaru Impreza WRX STI Type RA, Ford Escort RS Cosworth, Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evo 2, Nissan Sunny GTI-R and Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 – to one of the UK’s most famous rallying locations, Kielder Forest.
Henry Catchpole takes us for a short trip through the history of each model before Adam Towler drives all six to see what they’re like in their perfect environment. The weather wasn’t great, but that’s the whole point of rallying, and days at work don’t get much better.
Elsewhere in the issue we take a look at some of the more modern offerings in the all-wheel-drive performance category. The BMW M135i xDrive, Mercedes-AMG A35 Saloon and SEAT Leon Cupra R ST Abt we have for comparison might all have different body shapes, but all pack 2-litre turbocharged engines and all-wheel-drive systems, just like those Group A cars. Which is the best to drive? You’ll have to read Antony Ingram’s verdict to find out.
evo 271 also packs a grand tour in McLaren’s very own grand tourer, the McLaren GT. With a mechanical make-up so similar to that of McLaren’s other models, can the GT provide the true touring experience despite its mid-engined layout? Adam Towler is the man behind the wheel for the long slog back to the UK.
Richard Porter’s encyclopedia of the performance car makes a return with the next few letters of the alphabet covered off, and in this month’s ‘Me and my car’, we speak to a man with a giant-killing gymkhana Mazda MX-5, proving power isn’t everything even in the world of motorsport.
There are plenty of drives too, with not a crossover in sight; evo 271 offers you verdicts on the refreshed Jaguar F-type, the new flat-six Porsche Boxster GTS, two V8 beasts in the form of the Ford Mustang GT500 and Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster, and the quiet pace of the track-focused Nismo Leaf.
Throw in updates on our Fast Fleet, a look at some upcoming sports cars and our comprehensive Knowledge facts and figures section, and you should have a good idea of what to expect in this month’s issue.