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First look: Lada declares a Russian revolution

Ra Ra Rasputin: Lada danced to a different beat at this year's Paris show.

Lada breaks the green theme with a turbocharged mid-engined sportscar

8 Oct 2008


SITTING incongruously alongside a brace of clunky Lada Nivas that appear to have remained blissfully unchanged since the 1970s, Russian car-maker Avtovaz appropriately provided one of the few concept sportscars at the otherwise green-dominated Paris motor show.

Though not quite a supercar, the all-wheel drive Lada Revolution 3 sat as inconspicuously as possible in one of the more remote corners of the sprawling Paris Expo, but nevertheless caught our enthusiast's eye as a welcome relief from the apparently endless parade of hybrids and electric city cars.

Details were limited and what was provided was in the sort of broken English you would expect of the comic newsreaders from the much-lamented TV spoof program Fast Forward, but beggars can't be choosers.

Lada was effectively taken over by Renault earlier this year with the French car-maker taking a vital stake in the increasingly important and booming Russian market by purchasing a 25 per cent stake in the long-running brand, so it came as no surprise to see the Revolution 3 powered by a Renault engine.

It would have been even better if it had been one of the Regie's V6 units, but at least the 2.0-litre turbo - running on petrol even! - is mounted behind the driver and features Aussie-developed Motec electronic controls.

132 center imageWith 183kW of power at 6000rpm and 310Nm at 5500rpm driving all four wheels through a standard six-speed manual gearbox, the 1013kg two-seater accelerates from rest to 100km/h in a respectable 5.9 seconds.

Refreshingly, neither the fuel consumption figure nor the carbon emissions were provided, nor requested.

Although built around a steel spaceframe chassis, weight is kept down by the use of plastic panels, which were painted an interesting mix of orange, black and silver on the Paris show car, which is based on a production model already sold in Russia.

The body features a Honda NSX-style nose, some bold but somewhat raw side sculpting that blends into large air intakes and vents, a large low-mounted wing is bolted onto the back with big race-style metal struts and a roof-mounted scoop feeds extra air into the turbo engine.

Some LED headlights and tail-lights provide a nod to modern road car technology.

Technical details naturally include independent front and rear suspension, ventilated 315mm composite brake rotors front and rear with four-piston calipers, 7.5x18-inch alloy wheels and rack-and-pinion steering.

Both occupants sit in racing seats with four-point fixed harnesses. No, we didn't bother asking about airbags.

It may not have been the most refined car to appear in the hallowed halls of Paris, but this Lada was a surprising delight for old-time enthusiasts. We say, 'Viva la Revolution'.

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