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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.