Most car manufacturers and tire manufacturers have their own test tracks to test new products from all sides. We had the privilege of being there for a day and driving many new models on the circuit and oval circuit at Bridgestone near Rome.
All roads lead to Rome. And a little further, because south of the Eternal City lies the Bridgestone test site. It is usually the tire engineers who test new tires there on a high-speed oval and on their own race track. But we had access to the site for a day to test the year’s most important new cars in extreme conditions, from city cars to racers.
Opel Rocks-e: the city car
The Opel Rocks-e reaches its limits at 45 km/h. Not enough to perform on the oval track or the Bridgestone circuit, although the two-seater has enough to sow them all in Rome’s urban tumult. And 100% in electric mode. Its output of 6 kW still enables it to have a range of 75 kilometers. For the time being, the Rocks-e is not yet available in Switzerland, but that should change over the course of the year.
The Genesis GV60: a 100% Korean electric model
The new Genesis GV60 is just as electric. Unlike the Opel, which is 2.41 meters long, the Korean is almost twice as long at 4.52 meters. When it comes to horsepower and kilowatts, the gap widens even further. The GV60 develops an output of 360 kW (490 hp), which is 60 times more than the Rocks-e. And the pleasure is as palpable on the circuit as it is on the oval, to the point of believing in a race car rather than an electric SUV. We quickly forget its weight of over two tons.
The Audi A8: the high-end hybrid
The same observation with the Audi A8 60 TFSI quattro. Despite its length of more than five meters and a weight of more than 2.3 tons, the top sedan also surprises with its agility on the circuit. The torque of 700 Nm certainly plays in its favor. And the all-wheel steering also makes a significant contribution to this. However, we would not have thought that the longest representative of this test day would deliver such sporty performance despite its 462 hp under the hood.
The Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG: once again sporty and light
One would have thought more of the new Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG, which has even more horsepower under its endless hood. The seventh generation of the Stuttgart manufacturer is like a reminiscence of what SL means, namely sport and lightness. And the least we can say is that the roadster is decidedly sporty. On the tight course, the 585 hp catapult the SL to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. We simply couldn’t reach the top speed of 315 km/h between the two corners because the straight isn’t long enough.
The Bentley Continental GT Speed: one of the last twelve cylinders
It wasn’t long enough for the most powerful and fastest of the cars present that day, namely the Bentley Continental GT Speed. For the time being, the British are still relying on a twelve-cylinder, while Bentley has already announced that it will become a brand specializing exclusively in electric vehicles. So we enjoy even more the sound of the twelve-cylinder and the power that the nearly 2.3-tonne top-of-the-range coupe unleashes when accelerating to almost 300 km/h thanks to an output of 659 hp and a torque of 900 Nm before you fully depress the brake pedal when cornering. But it’s only a reprieve, because after the corner we start driving again with our feet on the accelerator.
The BMW i4: electric pleasure
Equally impressive is the acceleration of the BMW i4. Its output of 400 kW (544 hp) accelerates the Bavarian electric to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. However, its speed is electronically limited to 225 km/h. But the on-track performance is much more impressive anyway. Its weight is by no means a handicap, because thanks to its torque of 795 Nm, it accelerates out of corners like a featherweight sports car.
The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS: Scream!
Like the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS. With its 500 hp 4.0-liter engine, which also powers the GT3, the mid-engined racer is definitely stepping out of the shadow of its big sister, the 911, despite the 10 hp difference, which Porsche says can be attributed to the exhaust system. Speaking of exhaust and sound, as soon as you crank the engine to 9000 rpm and the Cayman “screams” like there’s no tomorrow, you wish the ride would never end. .
The C8 Corvette: For the first time with a mid-engine
Unless another racing car awaits us, above all the latest Corvette generation, which for the first time has a mid-engine. Not to forget the eight-cylinder naturally aspirated engine over 6.2 liters, which has long made the Corvette unique. In terms of track performance, we made another significant leap forward. The 495 hp muscle car drives around the curves of the test track with extreme precision and is now firmly in the league of Porsche & Co, except fortunately for the price.
The Volkswagen ID. Buzz: the electric Bulli
But the secret star was the new Volkswagen ID.Buzz. The design of the new Bulli is based on its ancestor, the T1, but has nothing in common with the original Bulli on a technological level. Purely electrically, it is equipped with an 82 kWh battery (77 kWh net) and thus develops an output of 150 kW (204 hp), which enables a range of 300 to 400 kilometers. Even the passenger cell no longer has much in common with its predecessors. On the other hand, it is very spacious.
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