The Ger­mans’ splen­didly lit­eral lan­guage is not short of ways to brand some­one a wimp.

Top Gear (Malaysia) - - Speed Week 2018 -

Try Schat­ten­parker, or ‘some­one who parks their car in the shade.’ Don’t like it? You’re quite the Beck­en­rand­schwim­mer – ‘one who only swims around the edge of the pool’. Ex­posed to this patho­log­i­cal in­tol­er­ance of fear or cau­tion, it’s small won­der that Ger­many cul­ti­vates the most di­verse crop of alarm­ingly in­tim­i­dat­ing cars. Wel­come to Team Deutsch­land, lit­er­ally über alles.

We’re up in the clouds be­cause while I could de­tail how these three be­have on the bor­ing m’way slog from their fa­ther­land, it’s hardly box-of­fice. Drag­ging a gazebo wing through the air atop a 691bhp arse doesn’t stop the Porsche 911 GT2 RS re­turn­ing 29mpg. BMW’s new M2 Com­pe­ti­tion is a noisy, firm cruiser. And af­ter con­duct­ing mul­ti­ple races, I can con­firm that ab­seil­ing from the new Merc-AMG G63, walk­ing around its sheer faces, col­lect­ing a toll booth ticket be­fore clam­ber­ing back into its lofty cock­pit and rum­bling away takes con­sid­er­ably less time than un­bolt­ing the GT2’s six-point har­ness, lean­ing out of its car­bon seat, col­lect­ing a re­ceipt and re­turn­ing all six buck­les to the clasp.

So, you join us in neu­tral Switzer­land, on a wind­ing but worth­while de­tour be­tween Ger­many and our even­tual base at Cir­cuit de Cha­rade. This is the Got­thard Pass, tucked in the un­der­belly of Switzer­land’s south­ern bor­der with Italy. Nes­tled in the Alps over 2,100m above sea level, it’s one of those land­scapes so mag­nif­i­cent it’s ac­tu­ally hum­bling, as if hu­mans have no right to at­tempt to tra­verse this craggy, tow­er­ing dio­rama of rock and shrub­bery.

And cows. Cows that think they’re moun­tain goats, cling­ing to the es­carp­ments and chew­ing the scrub­land, off-pitch bells clink­ing gen­tly.

But for the cho­rus of bovine wind­chimes, the Got­thard is eerily silent, un­til a piece of prime Ger­man pork punc­tures the peace.

I think some­one at Porsche fret­ted that the GT3 RS al­ready filled the niche of down­force-happy, stripped 911 pretty well, and a model muf­fled by two large tur­bos might suf­fer for raw kerb ap­peal. In went a ti­ta­nium ex­haust cul­mi­nat­ing in two mas­sive pipes, and the re­sult­ing din won’t so much sum­mon noise po­lice as trig­ger an airstrike. It’s a flat, ca­cophonous chunter, rude and flat­u­lent, more lumpy top fuel drag­ster than per­fectly bal­anced flat-six. Bet­ter get out of here be­fore we set off a rock­fall. Sorry cows.

No apolo­gies for grav­i­tat­ing to the fastest Porsche ever made. What on Earth were they think­ing? A 700 horse­power Bee­tle, de­liv­er­ing more torque than an Aven­ta­dor S to just the rear wheels. It’s a 911 Turbo un­cen­sored, and I’m brick­ing it. I ad­mit it; I’m a Hand­schuh­schnee­ball­w­er­fer – ‘gloved snow­ball thrower’. Oh God. I’d fret­ted about rain. Please don’t snow.

This GT2’s jolly spec slightly eases the in­tim­i­da­tion: Smur­fette meets The Texas Chain Saw Mas­sacre. In­te­rior di­rected by Quentin Tarantino. It’s done 14,000km, and the red suede of its but­ton-naked car­bon wheel has been dyed a grotty mung by umpteen moist palms. Grasp the petri dish, an ex­tra tug on the har­nesses for luck, release the near-solid brake pedal and bwaaaaarrr-tsshh away, mar­vel­ling that a ve­hi­cle so mo­tor­sport could pos­si­bly be road-le­gal.

Dis­cov­er­ing the GT2 has deft, chatty steer­ing and a beau­ti­fully con­trolled ride – de­spite its fully rose-jointed un­der­car­riage – is grat­i­fy­ing, yet some­how a tad triv­ial. It’s like ap­pre­ci­at­ing the stitch­ing on your para­chute be­fore

ex­e­cut­ing a HALO jump over Py­ongyang. Ex­cept this is faster. This is strictly just the de­liv­ery job, but one run through the gears can’t hurt, you Ze­bras­treifen­be­nutzer – ‘ze­bra-cross­ing user’. On the car­riage­way that snakes to­wards the an­tique, cob­bled Got­thard Pass, there are straights long enough to feel the RS’s thrust – ‘ac­cel­er­a­tion’ is too limp for the quan­tity of po­tency this thing con­jures. Up­shifts are seam­less. The speed mes­meris­ing. But not ad­dic­tive.

I kid­ded my­self that the 2 RS makes more sense on the road than a 3 RS, be­cause you’re rarely able to wind out the nat-asp ver­sion to 9,000rpm on the pub­lic high­way. You get into the GT2’s boost sooner… but you’re lift­ing out of it just as rapidly. It’s sen­sa­tion­ally com­pe­tent – now life-af­firm­ing, not a wid­ow­maker. But right now I’d like to try a car that makes me laugh, not swear.

Tom Har­ri­son has caught up in the G-Unit. “I bloody love that car,” the fringe twitches ex­cit­edly. Stephen Do­bie has wan­dered over from the M2 for a leg up into the AMG. “Is that a flat-bot­tomed Al­can­tara steer­ing wheel?” he vom­its, and re­coils back to his stumpy BMW. Leav­ing Tom to em­brace the Porsche’s hex­a­belts and mouldy wheel, I trum­pet away in the Benz.

Eat your heart out, Tay­lor Swift – this is rein­ven­tion. An en­tirely new, be­spoke plat­form, out­fit­ted with all of Mercedes’ lat­est lux­ury and anti-crash whizzbangs, shelled with a 121mm wider but ut­terly faith­ful G-Class body. Only the door locks are shared with the veteran – plus their ri­fle-bolt op­er­a­tion sound – but the mil­i­tary-bling chic has been pre­served in­tact.

Perched tee­ter­ingly high in a multi-mo­torised throne, you lord it over in­con­gru­ous S-Class widescreens and ar­chaic in­di­ca­tor tur­rets. The scut­tle is shal­low, the wind­screen a flat in­sect grave­yard. For the first time, there’s

space for both el­bows, and bur­rows to charge your smart­phone – much more im­por­tant to most own­ers than dis­cov­er­ing those three tog­gles op­er­at­ing lock­ing diffs. Lurk­ing next to your knees, more but­tons, this time fa­mil­iar from AMGs with­out al­ti­tude sickness. But­tons that stiffen the sus­pen­sion, un­cork the four side-exit pipes, and in­ject caf­feine into an AMG GT R’s 577bhp heart.

The old G63 re­ceived de­tuned V8s be­cause its chas­sis could barely tol­er­ate a cross­wind, but there’s no at­tack of Der Sen­si­bles here. This is per­haps the quin­tes­sen­tial AMG ex­pe­ri­ence, and the finest-sound­ing car on Speed Week. Flat­ten the throt­tle and the thing rears up, snort­ing, nose jolted to the sky, spare-wheel hous­ing skim­ming the tar­mac. Don’t for a sec­ond think it’s grown up all ac­cu­rate – there’s more play in the steer­ing than a Six­ties Hol­ly­wood car chase, the trac­tion con­trol has the tol­er­ance of a Vic­to­rian schoolmistress and the brakes achieve half as much re­tar­da­tion as the mighty aero­dy­namic drag.

I pre­sumed I’d hate the G. I thought it’d be a vac­u­ous, over­mus­cled anachro­nism; Dan Bilz­e­rian on di­a­mond-cut wheels. But de­spite its sor­did vul­gar­ity, it’s in­fec­tiously glo­ri­ous. Shock­ingly comfy, too. Men­tally not­ing to shot­gun it for the dreary French au­toroutes, I si­dle over to the M2.

We’re on the clas­sic Got­thard now. Nar­row, low-fric­tion, and tricky to sight. A baby M car should be Goldilocks here.

But hang on. The new M2 Com­pe­ti­tion is ba­si­cally a jumped-up 1-Se­ries fit­ted with the 3.0-litre, twin-turbo S55 en­gine from the M4, plus its car­bon front brace to tighten up the turn-in. The cur­rent M4 is a vin­dic­tive bas­tard. Al­low­ing its en­gine to chuck 404bhp and 550Nm (up 39bhp and 50Nm from the M2) at a shorter wheel­base is an uned­i­fy­ing thought when the drops off the edge here are mea­sured in min­utes, not feet.

Needn’t have wor­ried. The Comp vin­di­cates this en­gine – it’s the M4’s shunty gear­box and diff that make it a puck­er­ing dal­liance in the wet. Even with a £2,125 pad­dleshift ’box that we’d hap­pily swap for the cash and the au­to­blip­ping man­ual, the M2 is friendly and faith­ful. It does in­deed en­ter cor­ners with more bite, and the throt­tle re­sponse is pal­pa­bly crisper. It even sounds more au­then­tic than any M car of the last decade. For my money, it’s the best M since BMW went turbo – less blud­geon, more bal­ance. Not so scary af­ter all, even for a War­m­duscher – ‘in­di­vid­ual who can’t tol­er­ate cold show­ers’.

Three re­mark­ably old-school cars, then, all punch­ing way above their weight. A golfer’s coupe play­ing hy­per­cars, a 400bhp hatch­back in a dress, and an army wagon mas­querad­ing as Ken­drick La­mar’s wrist­watch. With­out due re­spect, each one is lairy enough to zap your pulse. But let’s at least ka­put the myth that Ger­mans have no sense of hu­mour.

“Bet­ter get out of here be­fore we set off a rock­fall. Sorry cows”

Over­steer? Un­der­steer? Re­vers­ing? What­ever it is, he sure looks com­mit­ted

G-Class at­tempts to latch anony­mously onto the back of the sports car pack. Fails

911 fol­lows M2 fol­lows G-Class. Oh hang on– that’s a moun­tain

Wor­ried your GT2 RS might at­tract too much at­ten­tion? Fol­low a G63...

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