|Murtaya road test - Supercar or not?|
Posted by Madabout News on Sunday, September 7th, 2008 at 09:48 AM
Words and pictures by Chris Pickering
There’s nothing quite like the buzz of driving the right car, on the right road, at the right time. Unfortunately you never know when it’s going to occur and frequently the best driving machines are those too extreme, too impractical, for daily use. You find yourself about to drive home in your regular hack on a sunny Friday afternoon thinking “if only I was in the other car…”
Well, it’s just possible that Adrenaline Motor Sport have the solution. They describe their Impreza-based Murtaya as ‘an everyday supercar’. That’s a bold claim for a small company from rural Cornwall, but is it justified?
The first hint of credibility comes from the Murtaya’s performance figures. With a mildly tuned 2.5-litre Impreza WRX engine, the car sprints to 60mph in just 3.5 seconds. Nought to 100mph takes an equally impressive 7.5 seconds. That’s major league supercar pace – comparable to a Koenigsegg CXX or Pagani Zonda. With the right gearing, top speed isn’t far behind either, at a brisk 170mph.
It’s also a good-looking car. The Manga-like slashes and gashes on the front end and its muscular haunches perfectly beef-up the classic front-engined roadster silhouette. Throw in a striking Subaru-esque blue and gold livery and the Murtaya perfectly encapsulates its Anglo-Japanese origins.
2008 Murtaya demonstrator
It’s with some trepidation that I sink into the deep, figure-hugging bucket seats. After keying-on for a few seconds to prime the fuel pump I engage the starter motor and the flat-four ‘boxer’ engine crackles into life. Perhaps not surprisingly, it sounds much like the donor Impreza at idle. However, prod the throttle and the custom built track-day exhaust adds a lot more bite to the Murtaya’s bark.
The gearbox feels chunky and precise as I select first. Likewise, the clutch is smooth and progressive – it’s certainly not a temperamental racer. In fact, pulling out onto the roads surrounding Adrenaline’s South East Agents Arden Automotive it feels as docile as any car I’ve driven. That’s all about to change however.
As we find some quieter roads, the first chance comes for the Murtaya to really open its lungs. There’s a moment of calm as the turbo builds up pressure and then the scenery suddenly lunges into fast-forward. A brief instant of respite comes as I go for the next gear, accompanied by a loud chirp from the wastegate, but then warp speed is promptly resumed.
Being put through it's paces
The car accelerates at a ferocious and seemingly relentless pace that makes the claimed performance figures seem entirely plausible. The remapped WRX unit has more than a hint of old-school turbo-lag, which has a potential to catch out the unwary. Yet driven accordingly it provides a responsive and truly addictive rush.
Fortunately, the Murtaya’s chassis seems more than capable of handling the power. Even with the electronically controlled centre differential set right back, traction is rarely an issue. Neither is the initial understeer that characterises the donor car – instead the Murtaya remains well balanced and beautifully neutral.
The steering initially feels somewhat light, but it weights up nicely on turn-in and provides excellent feedback, despite up to half of the car’s 300 lb ft torque reserve being sent to the front wheels.
You can feel the tyres following the contours of the road, but they glide rather than crash into the dips thanks to the Murtaya’s bespoke suspension system. Body roll is well resisted, despite the lack of anti roll bar and although the ride is firm it’s not bone shaking – a fact that’s all the more impressive when you consider that the car was still set up for a recent track day.
Its nigh-unbreakable composure, combined with impressive amounts of lateral grip and savage straight-line performance make the Murtaya a devastatingly rapid point-to-point machine. It offers a huge bang-per-buck ratio; one that may put it well towards the top of the pack, but it’s not alone in the kit car industry for doing so. Instead, the car’s real trump car comes from its usability.
There doubtlessly are those who commute long distances, year round, in a Caterham Superlight or a Sylva Riot – and long may they continue – but, for the rest of us, the Murtaya takes away that masochism.
Supercar performance? every day
For a brief top-down blast it delivers the same sort of thrills and yet, after that, you can raise the mohair hood (or GRP hard-top), turn on the air conditioning system and listen to the premium iPod-compatible stereo. All the major creature comforts are covered in the options list, as well as various performance upgrades and an array of trim choices. There’s also a decent-sized secure boot and the prospect of the Subaru underpinning’s legendary reliability.
And those aren’t the only factors to consider: As with any kit, the Murtaya will be dramatically cheaper to insure than a production car with anything like the same performance. Without a CO2 rating it qualifies for the pre-2001 road tax classification and, with significantly less weight, fuel consumption should be lower than the donor car too.
Build-wise, the Murtaya also promises to be a winner. The majority of the donor parts used are unmodified and those that do need adjustment are re-worked at the factory. All the major mounting points come pre-drilled and a detailed instruction manual with plenty of photographs is included.
The car is available in three forms – the ‘road’ and ‘lightweight’ spec convertibles, plus a ‘race’ hard top. There are also various build options, including a comprehensive kit (from £13,512.50), a 3-stage modular package or a ready built vehicle (from £21,950 on the road).
According to AMS, it’s possible to construct the basic rolling chassis in just one day. And when the rest of the car is completed, the factory will give it a free pre-test check and even SVA it for you at a cost.
So… have they done it? Is the Murtaya really a car that can take on big-names for the cost of a family hatch and also transport you to work every day? The answer appears to be a resounding yes; Adrenaline really has created the every day supercar – one where your cake is not just had, but also thoroughly consumed.