By: Jacob Hampton
If BeamNG.drive is known for having one major negative among fanboys of games like Need For Speed and Forza, it’s the “serious lack” of many different supercars. However, there are three of these fantastically-fast vehicles in the standard game as of right now: the mid-engined Italian 1981-1988 Civetta Bolide, the front-engined German 2015-2018 ETK K-Series, and the rear-engined Japanese 2013-2016 Hirochi SBR4. These three vehicles are the pinnacle of performance in BeamNG.drive, with their great handling, high top speeds, and equally high prices. However, which one of these three machines is the best? That is what we are about to find out in this BeamNG.drive Rivalry.
The oldest of the three supercars, both year-wise (it’s over 30 years older than the other two) and game-wise (it was released in the original 0.3 version of BeamNG.drive, in August of 2013), is the Civetta Bolide, a car that is shaped similarly to the 1973-1984 Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer. This “flaming owl” (what its name means in Italian) has been infamous in the BeamNG.drive community for being very uncontrollable and incredibly easy to spin out. Its low nose makes it susceptible to scooping up high-riding vehicles like the off-road Gavril trucks, and it’s the only one of these three cars to not use turbochargers. Powered by three V-8 engines (a 200-horsepower 3.2-liter, a 277-horsepower 3.5-liter, and a race-tuned 400-horsepower 3.9-liter), two transmission-and-differential-combining transaxles (5-speed manual and adjustable race 6-speed manual), and only rear-wheel-drive, the Bolide seems to be at a major disadvantage to the other two when factoring in its twitchy handling.
However, the Bolide is the lightest car of the three, weighing 2,965 pounds in 350 GT form, and maxing out at 3,042 pounds with the 390 GTR Group 4. Even though it might be the slowest supercar, with only 4.7 seconds to 60 and 190 mph being achievable in the fastest 390 GTR, that still is plenty fast in a game where some vehicles take 32 seconds to hit 60 mph and only have top speeds of 24 mph. Priced from $59,000 to $210,000, the Bolide has the widest spread in price range of any car in the game, and is by far the most expensive of the three supercars.
The only shooting-brake-styled supercar of the three (and the only non-European supercar), the 2013-2016 Hirochi SBR4 (Shooting Brake, Rear Engined, 4 Cylinders), is a rather odd-looking vehicle next to the Bolide and K-Series. Added in the 0.4.2 update to BeamNG.drive that was released in October of 2015, the SBR4 is a rather old vehicle compared to the K-Series, but much more recent than the Bolide. Two rear-mounted engines (a 175-horsepower 2.0-liter flat-four and a 207-horsepower 2.5-liter flat-four with three available stages of twin-turbocharging to boost the power to 349, 444, and 788 horsepower, respectively), two transmissions (a 6-speed manual and a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic), two drivetrain options (rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive), and many different customization options (fender flares, many stages of suspension, race parts, and a full-on hill climb kit) Whereas the Bolide has been reknowned for being the hardest car in the BeamNG.drive to master, the SBR4 has garnered a reputation for being the only car in the game with an active spoiler (one that moves up or down depending on what the vehicle is doing).
However, that is not the only unique feature about the car. For example, it is the only four-seater car of these three, and it also has the most horsepower available, the highest top speed and acceleration from standard (214 miles per hour with the top-line TTS2 with the 6-speed manual, and 3.0 seconds to 60 miles per hour from the 7-speed automatic TTS2) and a relatively low weight of 3,031 to 3,263 pounds. It has the lowest starting price, at a mere $39,500 for the Base RWD with the manual transmission, and it also has the lowest top-end price, at only $85,500 for the AWD TT S2 with the automatic. There is one major disadvantage with the SBR4, however; it isn’t nearly as strong as the Bolide. While it isn’t expected of a sports car to excel in a demolition derby, the fact that the Japanese supercar is rather prone to having its engine busted when rear-ended is rather disturbing. Since most crashes involve rear-ending from another vehicle, the SBR4 is more vulnerable to engine damage than the Bolide or K-Series under normal circumstances.
That leaves the newest, and possibly the easiest-to-control, supercar of the three current models. The ETK K-Series, a 2-door, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive sports coupe, was first introduced to BeamNG.drive in the 0.5.6 update in June of 2016. The German car is by far the heaviest of the three, weighing anywhere from 3,362 to 3,560 pounds. It also is the least-powerful supercar, with its four engines (a 186-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, a 151-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-four, a 244-horsepower 3.0-liter inline-six with an optional turbocharger to bring the power up to 322, and a 261-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-six) producing less power on average than the SBR4 and Bolide. It does have the most gears, though, with two transmissions (a 6-speed manual and 8-speed automatic) available for each and every configuration. The naming system of the K-Series is a very basic and Germanic way to divide the trim levels; instead of all of the blather that usually is contained in the names of American vehicles (i.e. Gavril Barstow 291 V8 RoadSport ), the K-Series has a 3-to-5-letter model name for each trim (i.e. Kc6d for “K-Series, coupe, 6-cylinder, diesel”).
While lacking power and being beefier than the equivalent Bolide or SBR4, the Kc6tx still can reach 193 miles per hour and race from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds, and even the Kc4t can reach 152 miles per hour and hit 60 in 6.5 seconds(making it the fastest base model in the game). It also is the only supercar – and one of two vehicles – in the game to come standard with a navigation unit, making it far easier to drive the coupe in cockpit view. Finally, the K-Series has the highest starting price, at $68,000 for a Kc4t, but its top-line models aren’t massivly more than the equivalent SBR4, at $103,000 for a Kc6t and $108,000 for a Kc6tx.
The BeamNG.drive supercars are as different as can be when it comes to driving them. The Bolide, especially the 390 GTR, custom Notte, and Group 4, requires good throttle control to prevent the rear wheels from powering the car into an uncontrollable spin. Also, lifting off the throttle at high speeds can cause the Italian supercar to lose traction because the rear tires are no longer being pushed into the ground to gain grip. This makes the Bolide the most difficult car to control in BeamNG.drive, especially with a keyboard, because it can be very senstive to small changes in input.
The SBR4, on the other hand, is not as twitchy and oversteer-y as the Bolide is. While it still can be a difficult car to control when modified incorrectly, the Japanese supercar is rather difficult to spin out even with 400+ horsepower in its standard configurations. This is mostly because of the all-wheel-drive that comes with most of the higher-powered variants of the SBR4, which allows for great acceleration; but the car also comes with electronic stability control, traction control, and anti-lock braking to reduce the chance of losing traction under heavy acceleration, cornering, or braking. However, the SBR4 can be quite prone to understeering (having the front wheels skid while not turning very rapidly), which reduces its capabilities somewhat around a race track.
Finally, the K-Series, even in its most basic form, has great grip through the turns and comes equipped with the aforementioned electronic aids; the Kc6tx, however, is a very quick car in corners and can easily keep up with the SBR4 TT S around a twisty and high-speed track. There is one major drawback to the K-Series, however; if its engine isn’t in the top 50% of its 8,000-rpm rev range, it bogs down due to turbo lag and tends to suffer in corner exits. That can be problematic for when one gear is too tall or too short to allow the engine to rev at or near the redline at a corner exit. Then again, all three of these vehicles are very fast for their horsepower and weight in a straight line. That a 300- or 400-horsepower supercar in BeamNG.drive can hit speeds that many 500-, 600-, or even 900-horsepower cars in the real world can is an incredible feat.
Overall, the BeamNG.drive supercars may be few in number, but they more than make up for that with their great styling, incredibly different handling, and superb performance overall. The ETK K-Series, Hirochi SBR4, and Civetta Bolide represent three of the greatest supercars that I’ve ever driven in a racing game. To be so diverse yet so similar, and also surprisingly fast around a racetrack, is a great achievement for any developer of fictional supercars to accomplish. To those Need For Speed and Forza fans who belittle BeamNG.drive for having a “lack” of supercars: Just drive each and every one of these three fantastic vehicles, and compare them to the quadrillions of supercars that are in other driving games. The fact is that although this game most certainly can have more fast cars, the three mighty supercars are more than enough to satisfy almost everyone’s needs for ultimate speed.
Picture Credit: BeamNG, J-2
Info Credit: BeamNG, Myself