By Jacob Hampton
The most common type of vehicle in BeamNG.drive is by far the sedan, and there are many different types of sedan, as well. From as small as the 1963-1968 Ibishu Miramar to as large as the 1990-1996 Gavril Grand Marshal; from as slow and old as the 1953-1954 Burnside Special to as fast and new as the 2009-2014 Hirochi Sunburst; from as basic as the 1984-1988 Bruckell LeGran to as sophisticated as the 1988-1991 Ibishu Pessima; from as bland as the 1996-2000 Ibishu Pessima to as fun as the 1985-1993 ETK I-Series, BeamNG.drive has got you covered (mostly) in sedan types. However, how does each of these vehicles compare to the rest? Could the Japanese sedans out-perform their bigger American counterparts, or will the I-Series trump the lot with its insane speed? We will all know in this next BeamNG.drive Rivalry.
The first contender in this massive field, and the oldest by quite a margin, is the 1953-1954 Burnside Special. Introduced in the 0.5.1 update on December 30, 2015, the Burnside is actually quite a lot more recent than many of its newer competitors when looking at their release dates in the game. Based upon the 1953 De Soto Firedome, the Special is meant to be an early-1950s middle-ground rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan from Gavril. In comparison to many of the other BeamNG.drive sedans, the Burnside is massive (from 3,956 pounds for the V8 Dual-Matic to 4,068 pounds for the Drag) and slow (the base models can only reach 100 miles per hour and accelerate to 60 in about 10-12 seconds), but it can be very powerful (with 153 horsepower from its 5.1-liter V-8, only the Grand Marshal puts out more from standard, and the Drag edition has 1,500 horsepower). This makes it a perfect battering ram for smashing into smaller cars at very high speed, as it is also very strong compared to the other sedans.
While having lots of power and mass is a good thing in a demolition derby, neither are good qualities for much else. In fuel economy, the Burnside is atrocious, averaging a miserable 10 miles per gallon with the three-speed manual. Because it is so big and heavy, the ’50s classic isn’t a particularly easy car to park. It doesn’t handle particularly well because of its thin tires, sloshy suspension, and slow steering. However, the Burnside does have excellent styling next to the brick-shaped or melty 1980s and 1990’s sedans, and it can seat up to six people on its big bench seats. The Burnside is also incredibly strong, able to withstand impacts that even the tough Gavril D-Series, H-Series or Roamer can’t. Although the base models of the Burnside are quite good to control, the Lead Sled, Custom, and Drag all can either be incredibly understeery or oversteery, making them handfuls to drive fast around a course. Speaking of unsafe, that’s another massive problem with the Burnside. As it was built in the 1950s, it does a poor job of protecting its occupants in a head-on collision, with the car’s engine having the capability to go through the interior in hard-enough crashes. One major deficit to the Special is its price. Considering that all of the other sedans (besides the Sunburst) have base models worth less than $10,000, the Burnside has an exceptionally high starting price of $17,500 for a 3-speed manual, and up to $35,000 for the Drag edition. Overall, the Burnside is a decent car for demolition derbies and for cruises, but it can’t do much else very well in comparison to the faster and newer sedans, especially at its price.
The second sedan in the contest, and by far the lightest, is the 1963-1968 Ibishu Miramar. Based upon the 1964 Toyota Corona, but with a Renault R10 front end, the Miramar is a mid-size 1960’s Japanese rear-wheel-drive sedan that was added in the 0.5.4 update in BeamNG.drive on April 19, 2016. Four engines (dual- and single-overhead-cam versions of the 1.6-liter and 1.9-liter inline four) and three transmissions (a 2-speed automatic, a 4-speed manual, and a 5-speed race manual) power the Miramar. The little Japanese car is the least powerful from standard (the Base’s 83 horsepower is less than even the Bruckell LeGran’s base model), it has the weirdest styling of all of the sedans(in a good way), and even though it’s underpowered, tiny, and light, it gets terrible fuel mileage (18 miles per gallon at 55 miles per hour in the Base manual isn’t that great). It’s not cheap ($8,500 for the Base Mira-Matic, $18,000 for a top-line GTZ version, and $65,000 for the Race edition); it’s not fast in a straight line (the base model can only hit 92 miles per hour, and even the Race edition can accomplish a mere 132 miles per hour); and it’s also got limited power compared to the other sedans. (The Race and Custom both have a mere 181 horsepower from their race-tuned 1.9-liter inline-fours) But what it is is a little sedan that, especially in race trim, can go about 50% faster around a race track than every other sedan of its class. This is mostly because the Miramar has great handling and can be “kicked down”, or shifted into a lower gear to spin the rear wheels enough to put the little car into a slide that’s enough to aid turn-in to a corner significantly.
Also, the ’60s sedan is one of only four vehicles to never use turbochargers or superchargers (the Ibishu Pigeon, Civetta Bolide, and 1996 Ibishu Pessima are the other three). This gives it impeccable linearity in throttle application, something that can be very useful at corner exits when accelerating cleanly with no wheelspin is most important. Most important of all, the Miramar weighs a mere 2,315 pounds from standard, and only 2,403 pounds in race trim. That is 600 pounds less than the 1988 Pessima and Sunburst, 1,000 pounds less than the ETK I-Series, and 1,600 pounds less than the Burnside and Grand Marshal. That means that the little sedan accelerate like crazy with its pint-sized engines (the Custom and Race can both get up to 60 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds). It also is very easy to control, even with 181 horsepower, as all of that power comes on in a very linear fashion. The great handling of the little sedan is another helper in making it one of the easiest classic rear-wheel-drive cars to drive in the game. The Miramar is also quite strong (like the Burnside), despite being small and light. Overall, if you want a small, old Japanese sedan that is quite fast around a race track (but don’t care about fuel economy or value), then the Miramar more than suitably fills the bill.
However, if money is tight and a fast car is needed, then another car may be more appropriate. The 1984-1988 Bruckell LeGran (full review here) is the most recent vehicle to be added to BeamNG.drive, the oldest front-wheel-drive (FWD) vehicle in the game, and is the only car here to have a beam axle. It was added to the game in the 0.8 update to BeamNG.drive on December 21, 2016. It’s the cheapest car here ($1,500 for a Base model with the 3-speed automatic, and $3,850 for the top-line Sport V6 with the 5-speed manual), the lightest American car in the game so far (3,009 pounds for the Base, and 3,142 pounds for the Luxe V6), and one of the most fuel-efficient cars of this lot (all of the models average between 27 and 32 mpg, which is far better than the Grand Marshal, Burnside, and Miramar). It is an incredibly fast car for its horsepower (the 203-horsepower Sport V6 can achieve 163 miles per hour, and even the 92-horsepower Base can achieve 111 miles per hour), it has good handling with its front-drive layout, and it is also quite a sturdy vehicle for being a mid-size, unit-body sedan from the 1980s. The LeGran even has a standard Tow Package for hauling trailers, which is definitely a plus if hauling is your thing. It is a very, very good sedan for the price, and considering that only the tiny and slow Pigeon has a lower average price in BeamNG.drive, the Bruckell sedan nails the value aspect of this contest better than all of the others.
However, it does have quite a few downsides. For example, because it can only put its power through the front wheels, the LeGran can only handle a certain amount of horsepower before it produces 10 miles of wheelspin off the starting line. The beam-axle rear suspension may sound quite sturdy (and it is), but it does not help in handling when driving over bumps because whatever movement occurs in one rear wheel, the other rear wheel will produce the opposite of, unsettling the car. The LeGran also is quite a sleeper next to the Sunburst, 1988 Pessima, and I-Series, making it a perfect car for surprising racers. It can be very understeery in comparison to the competition because of its skinny tires, front-wheel-drive, and relatively high horsepower. Another problem with the LeGran is that it is not very customizable in appearance, with only trim and wheels showing anything different between the Base and V6 Sport externally. Overall, the LeGran is an excellent car – for the price – but in total excellence, it loses out to the other sedans.
If the LeGran is too slow and too boring, then perhaps a more expensive vehicle is needed. The 1985-1989 ETK I-Series, added in the 0.6 update on July 22, 2016, is a rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive German sedan powered by two inline-six engines (a 128-to-351-horsepower 2.4-liter and a 205-to-650-horsepower 3.0-liter), two drivetrains (rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive) and three transmissions (a 4-speed automatic, a 5-speed manual, and a race 6-speed manual). It has the most configurations (29, including all facelift variants), the third-highest base price ($4,100 for a pre-facelift 2400 with the 4-speed manual), and the second-highest top-end price ($65,000 for a Rally I-Series), but it only has the fourth-highest average price of the sedans ($14,844). This is because 20 of the 29 configurations of the I-Series are worth less than $10,000, and 5 more are worth less than $20,000. The base 2400’s, while not being very fast in a straight line, can be quite quick on a race track because of their good handling and decent acceleration out of corners. The 3000’s and the top-line 2400’s, on the other hand, are a lot faster in a straight line through either turbocharging or sheer displacement, with the Evolution being able to achieve 170 miles per hour. The 2400ti/tix and the Evolution models are the quickest of the production versions, with wings, splitters, turbochargers, sportier suspension, and grippier tires. Fuel economy in the I-Series is quite good for a 3,150-pound sedan (it can get about 30 miles per gallon in base trim), and it’s also a rather strong vehicle in a demolition derby.
However, there are a few problems with the I-Series. For example, it has the same problem that the Miramar does: quite cheap base models, but very spendy race parts. The 2400tix TTSport, a $15,000 car, has 204 horsepower from its Stage-1 turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-six, sport suspension, a small wing, and relatively grippy wheels. The 2400tix TTSport Evolution, meanwhile, is a $55,000 car that has only race suspension, a Stage 2 turbocharger putting out 351 horsepower, a bodykit with a bigger wing, and different wheels to make it superior to the 2400tix TTSport. $40,000 differentiates these two vehicles for those four (admittedly rather large) changes. The I-Series also is quite oversteery in rear-wheel-drive form and understeery with all-wheel-drive, slowing it down and reducing its potential. Because the 3.0-liter engine’s turbo is rather laggy and prone to shuffling between maximum pressure and about 3-4 pounds per square inch below maximum while at full throttle, it doesn’t accelerate as quickly as it could if the turbo were to behave more sensibly. Finally, despite being a “sporty” sedan, the 2400’s put out a measly amout of horsepower without turbocharging, even though they have bigger engines than the Pessimas. Overall, the I-Series is a decent sedan for the price, and it’s quite fun to drive with its rear-biased drivetrain, but there are cheaper and faster cars that can replace it.
So far in this contest, the ETK I-Series is leading the way with 121.5 points, as a result of being better-performing and better-balanced at most areas. Closely following it, in second place with 115.5 points, is the Burnside Special, with its poor fuel economy and lackluster base models letting it down. In third place, with 110.5 points, is the Bruckell LeGran. Although it had by far the best value for money out of all of the sedans here, it wasn’t good enough in other areas to build upon that great value. Finally, with only 98 points and a fourth-place finish, is the Ibishu Miramar. Its poor value for money, low fuel mileage, and abysmal safety in a crash meant that even when it was able to claim to be the fastest car around a short racetrack and one of the most reliable sedans in the game, it wasn’t able to come close to the capabilities of the other sedans. Stay tuned for a Part 2, as the Ibishu Pessimas, Gavril Grand Marshal, and Hirochi Sunburst duke it out for sedan supremacy to decide the overall best sedan in BeamNG.drive.
|Basics (Max: 75 Pts.):|
|Fuel Economy, miles per gallon (mpg) (Base Model) (10 points):||10 mpg (2)||18 mpg (3.5)||27 mpg (5.5)||30 mpg (6)|
|Reliability (10 Points):||9||7.5||5.5||6|
|Sophistication (5 Points):||1||2||1.5||4|
|Safety (10 Points):||2.5||1.5||6||6.5|
|Customization (10 Points):||7||6.5||3||9|
|Styling (10 Points):||8||6.5||6||6|
|Overall Value (20 Points):||9||6||20||12|
|Performance (Max. 80 Points):|
|Top Speed (Highest) (10 points):||186 mph (10)||132 mph (7)||163 mph (8.5)||171 mph(9)|
|Top Speed (Base Model) (5 points):||100 mph (2)||89 mph (1.5)||111 mph (2.5)||129 mph (4)|
|Max. Horsepower(10 points):||1519 (10)||181 (1.5)||203 (2)||650 (5)|
|Min. Horsepower(5 points):||153 (3.5)||83 (2)||92 (2)||128 (3)|
|Max. Horsepower/liter (10 points):||220.1 (7)||95.2 (3)||53.4 (2)||216.6 (7)|
|Min. Horsepower/liter (5 points):||29.8 (2)||51.7 (3)||41.8 (2.5)||53.3 (3.5)|
|Industrial Racetrack Perimeter Lap Time (Base Model) (5 Points):||60.188 sec (1)||57.859 sec (3)||56.656 sec (3.5)||56.328 sec (3.5)|
|Industrial Racetrack Perimeter Lap Time (Fastest Model) (10 Points):||52.172 sec (7)||48.016 sec (10)||52.015 sec (7)||49.547 sec (8.5)|
|Braking, 60-0 mph (Base Model) (5 points):||145.7 ft (2.5)||140.4 ft (3.5)||142.1 ft (3)||145 ft (2.5)|
|Acceleration, 0-60 mph (Base Model) (5 points):||10.5 sec (3)||13.3 sec (1)||13.8 sec (1)||9 sec (4)|
|Acceleration, 0-60 mph (Fastest Model) (10 points):||1.6 sec (10)||6.6 sec (5.5)||7.2 sec (5)||4.5 sec (7.5)|
|Basics + Performance Total (155 Points):||86.5||75||87||99.5|
|Experience (30 Points):|
|Controllability (Avg. Models) (5 Points):||4||4||4.5||4.5|
|Controllability (Top-Line Models) (10 Points):||3||8.5||6.5||7|
|Fun-To-Drive (Avg. Models) (5 points):||4.5||3.5||3.5||3|
|Fun-To-Drive (Top-Line Models) (10 points):||7.5||9||9.5||7.5|
|Overall Total (185 points):||115.5||98||110.5||121.5|