Here’s how I refurbish my brake callipers cheaply and easily.

One of the main “skills” I’ve picked up over the last seven years has been painting bits and pieces. Especially brake callipers , wheels and general touch up bits you discover when you buy high mileage or lower-priced performance cars. I’ve always loved Audi’s refinement in their older RS models but one thing I didn’t agree with was their brakes. Audi stole some monstrous 8 piston callipers from the Gallardo then painted them black so no one could see them? This was something that I felt really had to change. My first RS4 received some white upgrades, my B5 had some controversial Lime-green callipers and the Supercharged B7 received more traditional red upgrades.

The process is fairly simple I mask off the brake discs or remove them completely if carbon ceramic. Use a 400-600 grit sandpaper to rough the surface of the callipers (just enough to haze the finish allover, not so deep I gouge the paint). Next I wipe the callipers down with some form of wipe to remove all of the dust and any grease leftover. (Soap and water will also work nicely) I then mask up the pads, brake nipples and any other hardware I don’t want paint allover. I use 2-3 coats of primer in light coats and allow to dry to a perfectly smooth finish, once you’re happy with the finish it’s ready for paint. I’ve used as many as 5 light coats to get the desired depth of colour following the instructions on the can. I don’t use “very high temp” paint as I don’t track my cars , if you’re going to track your vehicle then i would encourage this. Allow the paint again to dry to a smooth finish and touch dry (around 20-30 minutes). After this you can apply any decals you wish however you must be confident in your co-ordination and placement as once they’re down and applied they’re staying there. Peel off the decal cover and you can now lacquer you’re callipers. 3-4 coats should do nicely in thin layers taking around 10-15 minutes break in between each coat. Materials cost maybe £30 or so, I tend to use 1 can of primer, paint and lacquer , a roll of masking tape and half a sheet of sandpaper at most. I can do them in as little as 2 hours but take as long as you need to get to a finish you’re happy with.

I like to live dangerously so while the final layers of lacquer and paint cure I very carefully re-fit my wheels and nuts finger-tight, then lower the car back on the floor. I like to give the callipers 24 hours or so to “cure” then I’ll apply a coating. Usually something ceramic based as you would apply to your wheels to prevent brake-dust coating them and ruining the finish. As you can see with the B5’s Lime callipers I did these completely off the car, I rebuilt them before hand which made life easier. I masked up the pistons and bleed nipples. This gave me much more freedom to apply paint from various angles for a uniform finish. My GT-R has some stunning bronze callipers, I may leave these be or at most touch up the odd paint-chip but for now they’re staying as they are. Wheels follow a very similar principle although I would recommend a plasti-dip or vinyl based paint. These are more malleable and likely to “absorb” any road debris. I did the GT-R’s factory wheels this way if you’d like an insight in how they’re done neatly.

I fixed my dull headlights cheaply and easily on my Nissan GT-R.

My R35 GT-R was a “cheap” and cheerful entrance to supercar ownership for me, but it’s not been without fault. My R35 had 76,000 miles on it when I took delivery and it wore these with pride. Having come from German cars which are built and finished like Panzer tanks. The GT-R looks poor and cheaply made, certainly on the cosmetic side. Paint appears to be about as thick as a girls nail-varnish and any sort of stone impact removes paint quicker than you can blink. That being said I’ve very much enjoying improving this car piece by piece until I’m left with a clean “oem plus” package.

Glossy and clear headlights , much better.

My “cheap” GT-R has had a carbon-fibre lip, paint correction, some new shoes and an exhaust upgrade already. It was also serviced this week (social distancing adhered to). So slowly but surely the car is coming on leaps and bounds into what is a very appealing proposition. However the front end was no-longer let down by its battered plastic chin-spoiler. It’s misty and hazed headlights were now an eyesore. From the first picture you can see in the top corner how yellowed they became and to be honest they really started to piss me off. Even more so when the car has been detailed. I noticed them particularly last night and I scratched at them with a fingernail which seemed to “cut” through the haze. This made me curious , I had some compound leftover from making some carbon-fibre bits and I was keen to try it out.

The results of my first pass with the compound.

The lights aren’t perfect but they’re a far cry from how they were. I used nothing more than a damp micro-fibre cloth and the cutting-compound. I massaged this into the lights with moderate pressure in small circles then allowed to haze when dry. I came back a few minutes later with a clean cloth and buffed to a clear shine. I repeated this phase 2-3 times per unit until I was content the yellowed staining was removed. The lights obviously still have some age related marks from thousands of high-speed miles but they’re now the correct colour and don’t detract from the cars appearance.

The product I used is pictured above, it’s typically used for polishing carbon-fibre products. Repeat the process a few times and finish with a sealant (preferably UV resistant). It’s not an expensive job but it’s one that can improve your car overall. I’ve no idea whether this happens to all R35’s or just those based in the UK. But I hope this is of use to a few owners wherever they may be.

My R35 GT-R first service costs.

Disintegrating Ferrodo DS2500 pads. Just want you want with over 600bhp.

So I’ve started my journey into R35 GT-R ownership, with my first few bills starting to line up currently. I’ve bought a pair of front Alcon rotors which will be fitted later in the year. I’m currently shopping for pads to accompany the new rotors and I’ve a pair of new rear Alcon discs to come. I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time with a brand new set of front Alcons costing me £400, a far cry from the £899 I’ve seen them listed for online. (380mm CBA specs). I ordered the recommended Mobil oil a genuine Nissan filter and crush washer totalling £73. So for servicing parts the R35 platform is very reasonable. However normally a full set of Alcon brakes will cost you the best part of £1800, which isn’t cheap add £500-£600 of pads and you’re going to haemorrhage money very quickly.

I love new car parts whether for performance or servicing.

A good friend of mine reached out as he gave me a lot of support and guidance when sourcing the GT-R. He offered me his services and he’s truly a master technician, anything from oil changes to bespoke tuning he can do it , if he can’t he knows someone who can. I’ve no qualms supporting renowned tuners and automotive shops but it’s the smaller, skilled workshops that need us most. Years of training and personal financial investment deserve reward with loyalty and respect. It’s important to note for most jobs you’re getting just as much if not more attention to detail as you’d receive anywhere else. Needless to mention labour rates are also somewhat lower and I’m always proud to know my money is benefitting a family whether in education, housing or even go-faster parts.

So to summarise I spent £73 on the parts required and £30 in labour. £103 total it’s a cheap labour rate but it enables me to get more done. For example when it’s diff and gearbox service time in another few months it’ll even out the cost of the expensive dual clutch oils required. I will also be having a front lower arm replaced and brakes built at least on the front. With times like the Covid-19 Virus I think it’s more crucial than ever to support the local “Indy” and specialist garages, as small business owners are likely to be hit hardest. If you’re looking for a specialist you can find Carl via the link below. He will be looking after my R35 for the duration of my ownership with everything backed by relevant documentation. These cars can be as expensive as you want to make them and I’d like to show that they can be cared for safely and correctly without spending more than you have to. All the time using high quality parts and skilled technicians, a bit of a no brainer I think.

Is the Noble M600 the last of a bygone era?

The Ferrari has long been revered as the ultimate drivers car despite it leaving Maranello some 33 years ago. It was an ungodly recipe of minimal mass and bi-turbo charged V8. It was badly made poorly finished pure and simply because it was a racer with number-plates. The 2.9 litre boosted V8 was a laggy old brute producing 470bhp (500 all day long) with 577nm to match. Thanks to smatterings of carbon fibre, thin plastics and virtually no interior, the F40 weighed in something around 1300kgs. What resulted was a Rosso Red projectile that looked at fast as it was, with lashing of green electricians tape holding interior panels together. On the face of it the F40 looks to offer little but because of just that it gives you pure driving Nirvana. It’s a car you would man-handle and wrestle with when the boost came in from the massive turbos. But that was 1987 before Health and Safety, if you died you died back then, you knew what you were get into. Modern cars are bestowed with a multitude of electrical safety features, airbags, navigation and tech which makes them fat and heavy like me.

Step up Noble. It’s 2013 and the purists deserve something exciting and frankly quite dangerous. the Leicester based firm who’ve already enjoyed success with their M12 and M400 cars were going big this time. Not so much a sports car but a full bore supercar harking back to the “good old days”. Take a Volvo V8 strap some massive turbos to it, let Yamaha fettle with it and throw it in a gorgeous low-slung body. What results is a handmade British supercar that’ll give you 650bhp and 225mph sounds great right? But wait there’s more 0-60 in 3.7 seconds courtesy of an old touring-car like manual gearbox with the selector nestled closely to the wheel. I love Noble’s simple yet beautiful design, the body manages to be understated yet beautiful and the side profile is to die for. I like that it’s a bit of a parts-bin special yet choreographed perfectly to stimulate your senses and scare yourself to death if handled poorly, it’s a monster in a metallic and carbon suit. Albeit one without ABS so should your inputs be heavy-handed you’ll pay the price.

I actually really like the interior too. Carbon fibre and alcantara everything it seems with a few leather bits for comfort. The highest praise any car can receive is comparison to the F40. The daddy of what we know today as the supercar, 200 plus miles per hour, functionally sculpted body panels,low to the floor big brakes and an exhaust note to make your hairs stand on-end. As you can tell I adore the M600 and considering Tom-Hartley have one for sale for under £180,000 you’ve got to admit it’s a bit of a bargain. We saw an F40 burn to a crisp in Monaco recently which itself is a tragedy, most will reside under dust sheets and never get driven hard again. Why not capture the spirit of the F40 in a modern rendition, without guilt nor the multi-million pound price-tag. I doubt we’ll ever see another car enter the supercar elite in such a minimal and pure guise, the M600 will always be a very special thing no doubt a future classic.

Do turbo-chargers add or detract from driving pleasure?

With us continually being reminded of our global footprint , greenhouse gasses, emissions and just general existence pillaging the world. We’re now reliant on turbocharging and smaller capacity power plants to deliver our frills. I’ve been very lucky with my warped perception of “priorities” in life means I’ve owned a lot of different cars, many of which have been turbocharged. Although many manage to be technically similar in their displacement and manner of turbocharging they’re all fundamentally different. We’ll start at the beginning (age wise). The B5 Audi RS4 harps back to a bygone era, take a fairly big engine, bolt some massive turbos to it, erm that’s about it really. Obviously much more from a technical standpoint but the way it behaves it may as well be the case. You had to play hide and seek with the boost , plenty of it there but you just had to be … what’s the word? Ah patient. I could probably write this article whilst waiting for a torrent of turbocharged torque to hurl me back into the base of my seat. Once you’d found boost you had to work the gearbox to keep hold of it , rev-matching your way down the cogs and then revving it out to squeeze every last Nm out before changing up. Thrilling don’t get me wrong, but imagine a mistimed downshift into a mighty surge of boost. Like you’re about to drift off into a deep sleep and someone punches you really hard in the middle of the face.

Now we go a little more modern with the Ford Focus ST/RS. The 2.5 litre Swedish 5 cylinder from Volvo was a torquey little bastard. Not so many revs about it but meaty useful torque down low and in the midrange. Boost from the single turbo came in fairly smoothly and was a thrill to squeeze every ounce from it. Minus the somewhat interfering torque-steer under-steer and any other sort of input you could do without. But that’s a chassis failing not the turbo charger, yes there were times like any boosted car you find yourself in the wrong gear or it goes into limp mode you realise how reliant your engine is on forced induction. The focus was a great laugh and a lot of fun for teenage me to narrowly avoid ditches with, but perhaps a better drive train would’ve increased the efficiency and therefore enjoyment.

Now onto the GT-R which is a tough one to describe. A lot of turbocharged vehicles lag a bit , give you some shove, run out of breath and then you change gear. The VR38DETT does it a little differently. If you’re farting around in auto you can find bits of lag here and there it does exist. However it will kick down proactively and give you mountains of torque whether you’ve asked for it or not. (I may have gone a bit sideways on a roundabout, when it decided to drop from 6th down to 3rd halfway round , you know for fun). The boost from the GT-R reminds me of a Cyclone, it comes in hard and aggressively, yet somehow gets harder and more aggressive as the revs build , you’re actually quite relieved to change gear. But then it happens allover again it’s a terrifying but thrilling and beautiful way to experience turbocharging. How these lunatics think “nah these are too small” and bin the stock turbos for hybrid upgrades I’ve no idea. Anyway now I’ve waffled for ages to my point, I’ve owned a few naturally aspirated engines which are revered for their high revving nature. They’re fantastic and I love them for it , very exciting in their own right. But for me torque is king it’s the force at which you accelerate and how unpleasant this force gets to be, determined by the number of foot-pounds or Newton-meters you have. A boosted car can always be easily tweaked as to where you’d like your boost and what sort of delivery you crave. This increases driving pleasure and engagement overall. As I’ve mentioned I’ve been fortunate enough to experience 3 different types of turbo-charging and how massively different the boost was introduced. I oddly liked the mammoth lag monster B5 because you knew it was going to hurt you it was just a matter of when. The Focus as a young lad was also great fun as it was minimal lag some boost occurred then I needed to change gear to get some more , like sticking coins in a vending machine. The GT-R is just a lunatic enhanced with strong amphetamines, it gives you more than you’d think was possible, especially in tuned guise the surge is prolonged and mighty. When you’re scaring yourself routinely you know you’re on to a winner. Let’s change the song lyric for the purpose of this exercise. “How do you like your boost in the morning?” Let me know in the comments below , or if you prefer naturally aspirated that’s great too.

I loaned my car to Carwow for a day.

So it’s March I’m minding own business chilling at work not doing a great deal. I get an interesting message from a friend of mine, who happens to be the admin of RS4OC(UK). He asks me if I still want to have my car featured and that Carwow has reached out. The original plan was to use my supercharged RS4 against something at some stage, but as you know it went bang. As I’m sure you’ve seen I was pitched the idea of going against the new BMW M8 competition which consistently pins 3 second 0-60 sprints. The deal was sweetened further when it was announced there was going to be a prancing horse present.

As a petrolhead I couldn’t say no to some exposure to a Ferrari never mind the privilege to race one. I’d not owned the GT-R very long at this point so I was still figuring it out. My car had a replacement gearbox in 2011 and then a Litchfield clutch upgrade in 2015. This car clearly had a propensity for breaking itself when launched, despite my launch counter showing 0. So when it came to it the car was babied off the line with 0 revs and sent. For those of you saying “it’s just one it’s just one” it took around 10 takes to get all 3 cars launched correctly, so it would’ve taken its toll if repeatedly launched. That may not bother you but if so you’ve a much larger wallet than I do. The Ferrari was stunning and it’s Novitech exhaust system reminded me of the big F1 cars from my childhood. There’s just something about a Maranello supercar that makes you feel like a little boy allover again, they’re special that’s for sure.

The M8 is no doubt a look into the future of modern performance cars. Admittedly the test car is well known to have been back to BMW for a software tweak. It launches like nothing else I’ve ever seen and it does it every single time. There was no point risking my gearbox or clutch to try and chase it as what really is the point? No one will buy a £30,000 Nissan GT-R if they’re considering a brand new M8. The fact my car was 0.2 seconds behind the Ferrari Lusso without mine even being launched is a testament to how good a car the GT-R was in 2009 and what a used car bargain they can be 11 years on. I challenge anyone to stay a car length behind a Ferrari at full chat on an autobahn and feel disappointed. I’m immensely proud of what my car achieved that day and the rolling launches were humbling to see it stick with the big newer cars. It was a great insight into automotive journalism and the industry I one day long to work in. The only real negative was that during one of the launches a stone got wedged against one of my rear brake discs and scored it badly. Currently discussing with Carwow the replacement of these so I’ll keep you guys posted. Honestly I had a great day and got to look at some very special cars.

In the near future my GT-R will have downpipes fitted and the map tweaked to suit. Somewhere in the region of 650-660bhp at the crack which is more than enough for me. If I’m feeling brave I’ll get some drag times and see what the improvements are. However as a daily driver the GT-R has been such a laugh and I can’t wait to have it back after social distancing in the UK has ceased.

Is Audi losing customers by discontinuing manual sports cars?

I’ve written before how the current generation of the RS6/7 are pure and simply missiles for the road. Albeit ones you can stick the kids in for the ride. As I wrote the other day about the demise of the manual gearbox and how it’s being torn away from petrol heads. The likes of BMW and Porsche have listened to us and continued to deliver the gift of selecting cogs yourself. I’m wondering now if Audi would ever listen and offer limited runs of manual cars? You know for those of us who are dinosaurs and will sacrifice a few tenths for greater involvement and drama. I feel the BMW M2 competition in manual guise would be a rival for Audi’s TTRS. But when you add Quattro and an auto box there’s no reason to really bother, certainly not in terms of fun and involvement.

I’m a petrolhead and I adore driving, the involvement, the excitement, the way a perfect rev-matched gear change can wash away a rotten day in the office. I loved my RS4’s all of them in their own way, for the power and how they brutally delivered it. My Supercharged B7 scared the crap out of me in the lower gears. Add the thrill of letting go of the wheel with one hand to change gear, before smashing into the redline was an absolute joy and one that I’ve missed ever since. Coming from a very powerful Nissan GT-R with a dual clutch box, all I can say is yes it’s efficient and will give you a gear whenever you want it. But it’s not exciting , the speed might be, but the recipe of driving isn’t all about the pace you conquer roads at. It’s about the journey, how the car makes you feel and what it’s doing at any moment. You rev-match to keep a car balanced and some of the older generation will know you’re severely punished by some cars when you mess it up. Audi’s auto boxes develop with every revision and I know from experience they’re smooth and very pleasant. They fit the idea of the RS6 and RS7 perfectly, as 90% will bumble around on the school run and to Waitrose. But the Smaller cars like the TTRS and the RS3 could be exquisite little rocket-ships with 3 pedals and honestly I would really love to see it. I’m not bothered about 0-60 or draggy times now. I like the GT-R for what it does but 3 pedals and more input is where my heart really lies.

Porsche offer the 991 GT3 with a manual gearbox and they sell like hot cakes. One of the best modern driving machines ever produced and they’re forever getting battered round the Nordschleife. Again my first thoughts are “ooh a tweaked TTRS or an R8 V10 plus in manual would be an absolute lunatic”. Again I’m not saying these would be mass produced units but surely the choice would be nice? Porsche owners cried out as soon as the manual box was cut from the flagship models and they responded by re-introducing them. I feel the longer we go without 3 pedals the more “loyal” Rennsport fans may venture elsewhere. I know you usually buy an RS model for the daily usability, but surely we don’t have to sacrifice all the fun of driving to do so?

The E46 BMW M3 is the old-school bargain for the RWD connoisseur.

Launched in 2001 the E46 M3 was an engaging and thrilling driver’s car. With 338bhp and an 8000rpm redline this was a car to be driven hard. You could spec the E46 with a manual or the new SMG gearbox. A lot of people weren’t a fan of the SMG, the robotised manual box was clunky and you could lurch between shifts. However if you modulate throttle input during the shift you could smooth it out somewhat. The 3.2 litre flat 6 was taken from the 330ci. Featuring a double Vanos system, variable valve timing, a lightweight crankshaft and a few other pieces which rewarded drivers with an atmospheric redline.

Early cars can now be had from as little as £7000 which is staggering seeing as these were once a £40,000 drivers car. The important running-in service needs to have been done and always check that the delicate rear subframe has been reinforced. Vanos systems and big ends have also been know to fail so be weary of mileage or look for replacement parts in the service history. The E46 came with either 18 or 19” wheels although it’s common to see “CSL” setups also. Tyres aren’t massively expensive for premium grades. I would opt for Michelin Pilot Sport 4S personally. For me I’ve always been tempted by “cheap” BMW “tail-wagging “ fun and I feel if I’ve not got a 1M soon I may have to indulge in an E46.

The S54 engine has one of the raspiest engine notes I’ve ever heard, i absolutely love hearing them scream up to redline. Promptly followed by selecting the next cog myself , the manual is perfectly befitting of the E46. Perhaps improved with a short-shifter to hone your experience. Spend as much as you can afford on your E46 and I think it’s a vehicle that will really look out for you. I’ve seen thousands turned into cheap track monsters, so for scaring yourself on a wet Sunday morning I think this is the perfect proposition.

The cabin looks dated but what really can you expect for something aged nearly 20 years? I would re-trim the steering wheel and gear-knob , throw some buckets in it and enjoy as many power slides as possible. I would also spec CSL wheels with the carbon fibre air-box and an exhaust of some sort maybe a smidge over £10,000 but do you really care? A sorted E92 M3 would cost you minimum another £5/6k and substantially more to run. What would you spend £9/10k on it not an E46 M3? Let me know your thoughts.

Is the new Vantage a real Aston Martin?

A Mercedes Bi-Turbo charged V8 coupled to a brand new skin. Astons future risks letting go of their heritage, the Vantage has always been a great sports car. Not the fastest thing going but as I’ve said before, beautiful architecture and an exhaust note to die for. We’ve lost the naturally aspirated power- plant in favour of forced induction. The 4 litre bi-turbo delivers 503hp and 685nm, big figures for Aston’s new “sports” car. 0-60 is now taken care of in as little as 3.4 seconds and 195mph is also within your grasp.

The new deal with Mercedes doesn’t just involve powertrains. The Interiors are also tweaked with Benz parts. The outdated technology from previous Vantages, which were usually stolen from Volvo’s parts bin, have now been replaced with Mercedes last generation parts. The new interior is a beautiful place to be. But I must admit I can play “spot the Merc parts” with relative ease. I feel this is more of an exercise in cheques and balances than a traditional Aston Martin. I imagine the new Vantage will be massively more reliable than the older models but I just feel there’s a little bit of a spark missing. That handmade feel Astons have been renowned for seems to be missing. The Austin allegro steering wheel is what bothers me most. I know Ferrari re-invented the wheel with thousands of buttons, but it is at least the correct shape. When you’re driving a demanding and spiralling mountain road you’ll find it hard to modulate your input, purely because of the shape of the wheel. This to me doesn’t inspire confidence or focus.

The new Vantage is reminiscent of the “Tron” movie to my eye. I love the back end but I can’t say it’s beautiful. Striking is the more the word to me, it’s by no means a bad looking car though. I love to see cars develop and progress but it never hurts to look back at your heritage. Look at Porsche’s 991.2 it’s a handsome car but has also retained the traditional style yet modernised and improved it. The Aston to me doesn’t look like a modern rendition of a Vantage or even an Aston Martin at all. The DB11 manages to carry the torch on from the DB9 well. The traditional grille has been updated and they’re very much a pretty car when compared to its new baby sister.

I’m left confused and worried about the future of Aston Martin. A brand I’ve always had a love affair with, if not one riddled with the occasional financial trouble. I feel a little “sold out”, this is a car I think scaled down in order to sell well. It’s the modern man’s vantage which doesn’t tie in with the rest of the family. I think if you removed the badges and parked it next to a previous generation or a DB9 you’d struggle to tell they’re related. If not for the vantages smaller proportions. This new car is very fast and immensely capable, the new engine has character thanks to some tweaks at Gaydon to differentiate it from Mercedes offering. But line this car up with her German cousin and the AMG GT-R will obliterate it unfortunately. I hope some prettier automotive architecture comes out of Gaydon in years to come. I don’t care who makes the engines, neither will most enthusiasts. But you buy an Aston Martin with your heart, which is often captured by their beauty. Sadly this new model hasn’t captured mine at all.

The new BMW M8 competition is a projectile for the road.

BMW have long been pioneers of the purists wet dream cars. All the way from the E30 M3 right the way to the latest F80 M3 CS. However from time to time BMW like to create a land-yacht with power to match. In 2005 they crammed a 5 litre V10 into their E63 M6, the power plant shared with the E60 M5. What resulted was a handsome large coupe bestowed with an F1 derived V10 and 500bhp. The SMG box had a few issues, but modulating the throttle during changes could smooth this out. A car that was happy pottering to the golf club and back in a docile manor. Yet hit the sport mode to wake the engine up a bit and it was a savage. A well orchestrated blend of comfort and godly amounts of power resulted.

The New M8 competition has a reworked version of the 4.4 litre bi-turbo charged V8 seen in the last M5. 625hp and 750nm is now at your disposal. The quoted 0-60 times of the M8 are 3.1 seconds, however I’ve seen these gain traction and shave a further few tenths off. The M8 is one of those rare beasts where everything seems to have come together for a thrilling and engaging experience. Albeit delivered with sumptuous comfort and grand-touring potential, if that’s your thing of course. The interior confused me a little, everything exquisitely finished. Lashings of carbon fibre , leather and diamond stitching virtually everywhere. The “bucket” seats are an odd mixture of a comfy sitting chair and a performance bucket. They’re well bolstered and fairly supportive but very soft and squishy whilst doing so. The M8 feels just as expensive as it is, I wouldn’t say there’s a sense of occasion to it as you’d get with an Italian rival. But if you told me I had to cover hundreds of miles in it I’d be happy to do so.

So what exactly are you getting for your money? Spec the BMW Drivers package on top you gain some track education and 189mph enabled in your M8. You get the lightweight 20” “competition” alloys and lashings of carbon fibre. The carbon mirrors and rear spoiler compliment the M8s sculpted carbon roof. The “double bubble” roof design harks back to the M6 gran-coupe and is a beautiful piece of automotive architecture. If you spend £20,000 on the “ultimate” package here’s what you get. Carbon ceramic brakes (important for stopping a 2 ton car), M carbon engine cover, ventilated seats , carbon fibre interior package, better M sport exhaust, M exterior styling pack, TV function , Bower and Wilkins sound upgrade and a host of other goodies you probably wouldn’t notice honestly. However that makes this a £143,000 car. Which is a Herculean amount of money for a BMW. Yes it’s their new flagship land-yacht and yes it’s very very fast. But when you’re spending that sort or money you’re usually looking at something a little more prestigious.

The M8 is a handsome car, although BMW’s ever expanding kidney-grilles are probably right on the cusp of being a little too much here. I love the finish on the exterior. The carbon has helped to create a purposeful beast. However I’m going to throw a spanner in the works now. A 3 year old Ferrari GTC4Lusso can be had with as little as 10,000 miles on it for £145,000. For the sake of a couple of grand and being a cash buyer I know what I would choose. Both are great cars though and you’ve got to commend BMW for the staggering performance in the new M8 competition.