Fast Blasts

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW IN SNACK-SIZE BITES

01 INFINITI QX80

It’ got a V8, but it also weighs 2783kg

EVER WONDERED what it would be like to drive your house? The Infiniti QX80 provides some clues. At more than 5.3m long, over 2m wide and almost 2m tall, it dwarfs virtually everything else on the road, even other SUVs. Thankfully, the heavily revised styling is much more cohesive than the elephantine original. The upside of the QX80’ size is plenty of space. Even the third row can accommodate adults, so if you need to transport seven in comfort then the Infiniti has you covered. Relative comfort, anyway, as the lumpy ride quality means this monster is no magic carpet – with a full load, it’ possible the ride would improve. Dynamic prowess is surely irrelevant for a car that weighs almost 2.8 tonnes, but though the steering is light and slow, it feels relatively secure. The sweetest part of the QX80 package is undoubtedly its 5.6-litre V8. Even lugging this much weight it sounds sweet and provides plenty of acceleration – in something 1000kg lighter it would be truly superb. Judging by the gauge fuel use seems okay, but then you learn the QX80 has a 140-litre tank. Essentially, if you need lots of space, have your own fuel station and if your idea of luxury is plastic wood and shiny leather, this Infiniti could be for you. For everyone else, buy an Audi Q7. – Scott Newman SPECS: 5.6 V8; 298kW @ 5800rpm; 560Nm @ 4000rpm; AWD; 2783kg; $110,900

02 HSV SPORTSCAT

A pretty damn awesome tow vehicle

IT’ S AN HSV, but not as we know it. Rear-wheel drive, a tray-back body and 500Nm of torque are all pretty familiar, but the elevated driving position, 2281kg kerb weight and 4000rpm redline make it clear the HS...sorry, Holden Colorado SportsCat by HSV is a very different kettle of fish. All SportsCats have more aggro styling, a flashier interior and revised suspension with increased ride heights, improved approach and departure angles and unique Cooper Zeon all-terrain tyres as well as retuned ESP. Our test SportsCat +’ adds even butcher styling, four-piston AP Racing brakes and a rear anti-roll bar that decouples when you select low range. On the road the SportsCat handles like, well, a Colorado. Body roll is reduced and the brake pedal is firmer than standard but it remains a vehicle you’ only drive quickly if your life depended on it rather than for enjoyment. Unless you find an empty gravel road, that is. The light rear end and ample torque means care is needed in the wet, but on the loose the rear LSD and well-tuned electronics make it possible to indulge your inner Neal Bates – within reason. It’ certainly very capable when the going gets really rough. could see a place for it in my garage, but only to tow something actually exciting. – Scott Newman SPECS: 2.8 I4TD; 147kW @ 3600rpm; 500Nm @ 2000rpm; AWD; 2281kg; $66,790

03 ROUSH RS3 AUTO

Otherwordly supercharged power

WHAT’ S NOT to like about excess? That’ certainly the vibe Mustang Motorsport (MM) was going for when selecting how to tune this grand-touringfocused Mustang. And with polished, cast-aluminium wheels and a baritone-esque soundtrack, this version of Roush’ RS3 hits the spot. Your $107,009 (including the price of a previous-gen six-speed auto Mustang GT) gets you a Stage 3 2.3-litre supercharger in Phase 1 guise. The ADR compliant (and complied) package also includes heavy-duty half shafts, one-way adjustable (height) coilovers, a passive exhaust system and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres. Most impressive is the power and acoustics. When wound up this lesser’ kit covers ground at an astonishing rate. What doesn’ work as well is the auto box, which never seems to find the right ratio to handle 670 horses – manual mode, with paddles, is better. Backroad blasts suit the RS3 and the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres offer plenty of bite. There’ surprising dynamic agility, but also a lack of steering feel. The irony is this road-centric offering is that it has a harsher ride than the track-focused RS3, with mid-corner bumps unsettling it more. It’ no back-breaker and, for the price, presents impressive touring ability with pace and factory feel. – Trent Giunco SPECS: 5.0 V8 S/C; 500kW @ 6850rpm; 739Nm @ 5000rpm; RWD; 1750kg; $107,009