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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
O Learned Denizens, a quick introduction before I dive in with questions.

Living in Staffordshire and owning a 55k mile 5.0 naturally aspirated 2011 car. A Brit returning from a spell in California; while over there I had a 4.2 NA V8, in a similar colour. The current car is a beautiful rich blue that verges on purple, the US one was a blue that was more turquoise.

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The 5.0 NA is some kind of sweet spot for me. The 4.2 was nice but a little insipid - mainly because of its muted soundtrack and the soft performance feel associated with the auto gearbox. I developed the habit - which I still have - of using "S", shifting with the paddles and moderating the throttle pedal as if I were shifting manually. It gives much smoother shifts than either of the settings and makes the drive more engaged.

The UK 5.0 has more flowing suspension than the US 4.2 and rather bafflingly rides better over surface imperfections on the 20s it came with compared to the 19s on the American car. I think this is something to do with the Acceleria Phi-R tyres, since it changed a lot when I put Pirelli Sottozeros on 18s on for the winter - the winter tyres were worse, which was a surprise to me with all their extra sidewall. I want to detest the budget Acceleria tyres, but I can't. I'm also baffled by that.

If you really exercise the car (I can recommend the A702 between the M74 and Edinburgh) then for sure it feels like it needs more vertical control or else it will put the sump down on the ground. But this happens at speeds to which I won't admit in a post containing my registration number, and backing down just slightly makes things fine again.

The car is a fantastic grand tourer in that the relaxed suspension lets you eat up miles when you're not in the mood but delivers balance and enough control when you are.

I enjoyed the 4.2 as much as I decently could in the US. I ended up developing a liking for Corvette autotest events. Corvette drivers generally have much more speed than talent and so the autotest courses tend to be quite wide. Even with the open differential, with everything switched off and with me choosing the gears, there was some fun to be had. I used to run Michelin Pilot Sports on the front and Conti All Seasons on the back to make the car saturate loose more readily.

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You had to pick a number for these events, so I chose 37 as an echo of the original Monte Carlo Mini driven by Paddy Hopkirk, now residing at the Heritage Museum at Gaydon. I haven't found an equivalent to Corvette autotests yet, although I might take a sniff at Curburough some time soon.

Questions to follow!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the welcome!

It's all smoke and no pace, my driving. I used to do a lot of development driving on World Rally cars for Prodrive and I could figure out what the event drivers would like and dislike, but I was laughably slow in comparison. It was eye-opening sitting with them and I never tired of it.

I'm nothing like as useful on a motorcycle. Sigh.

My day job is brakes, steering and suspension engineering so I still keep my hand in.
 
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