The Driven Blog’s Car World Cup 2014

Car football Smart ForTwo

THAT’S RIGHT IT’S a tenuous link to the football world cup. But let’s enjoy it!

The world cup is kicking off (that’s football metaphor number one, try to keep count) which means absolutely nothing to me but I understand is a big deal to many countries all around the world. So for me and my fellow petrolheads to get excited about it, we need to introduce the automobile.

Unfortunately, bringing cars into the equation means having to relegate half the countries taking part. So apologies to Nigeria, Uruguay et. al. Let’s start with the group stages which, in order to ensure fairness, were randomly picked from a hat. Literally.

Group A

Brazil – VW Kombi
VW Kombi Last Edition Brazil

OK, so it’s technically German. But the Brazilians took the Kombi to their hearts, and until the end of last year they were still building brand new examples in the country.

Italy – Ferrari LaFerrari
Ferrari LaFerrari

The ultimate expression of what Maranello is capable of, “The Ferrari” features Formula One technology, unbelievable speed, an astronomical price tag and elitist exclusivity.

Result – Brazil 1-3 Italy
Sadly for the hosts, this was really only going to end one way. The Kombi has masses of experience on its side and fought hard, but it simply cant live with the talent of the Ferrari.

Group B

USA – Corvette C7
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C7

The C7 Stingray is by far the best Corvette ever. A genuinely good sports car and not just “good, for an American car”. This Corvette can hold its own against Europe’s best.

Germany – Porsche 918
Porsche 918

The 918 is Porsche’s answer to petrolhead’s phobia of all things environmental. Proper supercar performance with hybrid technology to create proper green credentials too.

Result – USA 2-3Germany
The Corvette put up one hell of a fight, but in the end its old-world charm could not best the Porche’s combination of new technology, style and ability.

Group C

Croatia – Rimac Concept_One
Rimac Concept_One Electric Croatian car

This all-electric concept supposedly boasts 1088bhp, a 0-62mph time of 2.8 seconds, a range of 373 miles and a price of $1million. We hope it makes production!

Belgium – Gillet Vertigo
Gillet Vertigo Matthius Traband

A car familiar to Gran Turismo players but not many others. The Gillet is powered by a 420bhp Maserati V8 and was even raced in the FIA GT championship.

Result – Croatia 0-3 Belgium
A bit of a walkover for Belgium given that Croatia never really even made it off the bench, despite promising so much. We’ll see if they can finally deliver in 2018.

Group D

Japan – Subaru WRX STI
Subaru WRX STI

Subaru resurrected the Impreza, (except its not called the Impreza anymore) as the bewinged four-door saloon rally fans the world over came to know and love.

Netherlands – Donkervoort GTO
Donkervoort gto

The Netherlands answer to the Caterham 7, but significantly more powerful thanks to a 340bhp 2.5-litre Audi engine. Significantly meaner looks too.

Result – Japan 2-1 Netherlands
Different skill sets but similarly brutish characteristics produced a evenly fought match. In the end though, the Subaru’s four-wheel-drive agility and added practicality wins out.

Group E

Korea – Kia pro_cee’d GT
Kia pro_cee'd GT

Korea’s first proper attempt at a warm hatch and its really rather good. Not the fastest or sharpest, but it looks good, is well built and is an ominous sign of things to come.

Russia – Lada Niva

Lada Niva

It seems like its been around since the invention of the wheel, but the Niva is still on sale today. The communist answer to the Land Rover is classless and tough as old boots.

Result – Korea 1-0 Russia
Not the most exciting meeting but Korea did just enough to overcome the Russians and make it through.

Group F

Spain – SEAT Leon Cupra
SEAT Leon Cupra

Spain’s answer to the VW Golf GTI is SEAT’s first credible hot hatch in a decade. Style, speed, VW build quality and a Nurburgring lap record to boot.

Portugal – Asterio V8 F1 Revival
Asterio V8 F1 Revival

The V8 F1 Revival promises 400bhp from a 3.0-litre V8 engine, paddle shift gearbox and plenty of carbon fibre. At least that’s what the broken English on the website seems to say.

Result – Spain 4-0 Portugal
This Iberian meeting ended in a victory for Spain, perhaps unsurprisingly given that Asterio pretty much gave them an open goal.

Group G

England – McLaren P1
McLaren P1 Bahrain

Yet another “ultimate expression” car. Hybrid power, Formula One technology and a powerful aero package make this just about the fastest road car money can buy.

Mexico – Mastretta MXT
Mastretta MXT

A car more famous for the diplomatic crisis it very nearly caused thanks to a certain BBC motoring show, than for its achievements as a car itself with its 250bhp 2.0-litre turbo.

Result – England 3-1 Mexico
A somewhat forgone conclusion maybe, with the McLaren’s combination of high-tech and old-school thrills, but the Mastretta didn’t exactly embarrass itself either.

Group H

France – Renaultsport Megane RS
Renaultsport Megane RS

The finest hot hatch on sale today, and therefore probably the best hot hatch of all time. It’s getting old but continues to successfully tackle new pretenders to the throne.

Australia – Holden Maloo
Vauxhall Holden Maloo

Yes, I know the car in the picture is a Vauxhall, but it’s essentially the same. Chop the back off a very powerful rear-wheel drive saloon and you’ve got a ‘ute’. And it’s drift-tastic!

Result – France 4-3 Australia
Two very different cars with very different characters resulted in something of a goal-fest. But ultimately the Megane’s agility outweighs the Maloo’s brute force.

 

So that leaves us with quarter finals that look like this:

Quarter final 1
Italy vs Germany

Quarter final 2
Belgium vs Japan

Quarter final 3
Korea vs Spain

Quarter final 4
England vs France

Check back next week to see how they turn out.

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