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[NEWS] Matt Prior: Chassis set-up is the secret ingredient to driving greatness

Matt Prior: Chassis set-up is the secret ingredient to driving greatness

2 gunther werks 993 speedster 2022 first drive review tracking rear
Gunter Werks has perfected the chassis set-up of its 1993 Speedster

The Gunterwerks 911 made our tester realise just how important a car's chassis is

Now that I’ve buried my head into an edit of the video I recorded while driving the Gunther Werks-modified 993 Porsche 911, I note there’s a detail I daftly left out of last week’s written review.

Despite the huge amounts of mechanical grip offered by the 911’s more balanced weight and super-wide tyres (especially the 295-section fronts), plus the 435bhp and 7800rpm of its engine, at one point I look at the speedo as I accelerate between corners and realise I’m doing 50-60mph.

That’s a notably modest speed at which to be enjoying – and I mean really enjoying – a car of that performance potential. I didn’t think I was backing away from it or trying not to extract performance. I was just driving to the visibility and engaging with the mechanicals.

There’s a real skill in car set-up, making handling engaging at all speeds, and some car makers do it better than others.

The early-1990s Toyota Supra was the first car about which I remember reading that the driver was left numb from the process unless they were going at a tremendous lick. The recent Toyota GR Yaris is a car I love at all speeds but, as I’ve written, gets better the faster you go – and it can go very fast. And I don’t take a huge amount from, say, a modern Lamborghini, except on a race track.

It’s nice, then, to drive a car of tremendous potential that delivers it at a pace at which you can enjoy it. I think it’s an undervalued asset.

Scooting around

There’s a full review of the Niu MQi GT Evo – a long name for a compact machine – over on the website of our new sibling title, Move Electric. It’s a battery-electric scooter with pace pretty much equivalent to a 125cc petrol, which reminds me again that battery-electric power really suits smaller machines.

The Niu can reach 60mph easily, 70mph at times, and travel comfortably for 50 miles on a charge (riders who travel farther tend to buy big bikes rather than scooters anyway). And if you have to park where there’s no power, you can lift out the batteries and carry them indoors to charge – also a handy security feature, given that scooters are so frequently pinched.

I don’t really need a scooter (although need hasn’t stopped me buying stupid automobiles before), but if I were to use the train more, it would be a great way to get to the station.

Prior’s crystal ball

We suggest silly stories for each Christmas issue and one, in 2017, was for some of our journalists to theoretically propose the revival of a dead car brand.

A leading industry executive was then tasked with passing judgement on our suggestions, and those put forward for Austin-Healey, Rover and Saab by my esteemed colleagues all fared better than my only-slightly-tongue-in-cheek suggestion: Hummer.

“I can see it working. But I can see it not working,” I joked. Harshly, I was told that it had limited anorak appeal, even less customer appeal and no business plan.

Well, that’s as may be, but how are Austin-Healey, Rover and Saab going now, eh lads? Because I present to you the new, not entirely as I had envisaged but very much on sale, GMC Hummer SUV and pick-up truck.

I might not know how to make a car, but I do know what people want, and evidently it’s a 1000bhp, four-tonne, battery-electric 4x4.

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