Tango on Ice: the CUPRA Snow Experience
»Gas, gas, gas,« the Spanish instructor in the passenger seat spurs me on. The five-cylinder roars. »Now brake, brake haaaard,« he directs me into a tight right. Okay, nobody really likes to be told when to brake, while at the wheel. Especially not when you're driving 390 horsepower. But here and now that's quite okay. After all, we don't want to end up in a snow bank like our journalist colleague earlier, nor do we want to send the CUPRA Formentor VZ5 into Lapland’s woods. The steering wheel snaps from left to right, the five pots purr off again. »Peeerrrrfect,« it sounds from the right. The drift pulled out to the last and the photographer colleagues slightly snowed in at the exit of the corner. We slowly drive off the handling course and get out.
Okay, nobody really likes to be told when to brake, while at the wheel. Especially not when you're driving 390 horsepower. But here and now that's quite okay.
»You know, it's like dancing,« my coach tells me. I hate dancing. Bad memories come up. The dance class before the senior prom. Waltzing, God forbid. It bordered on assault back then. But now? »Yeah, you're absolutely right,« I agree anyway. But he's actually right: Dynamic driving on ice really is like dancing. But tango. Tango on ice. Here, too, it's zig-zag, back and forth. In fact, the recipe is quite simple: As long as you're constantly on the gas pedal, the Formentor consistently and controllably circles along exactly the path you set with the front wheels (and your own gaze, of course). Load changes? No problem: Quickly easing off the throttle and sometimes lightly tapping the brake, the sporty crossover quickly swings in. Now it's a matter of quickly carrying the energy into the next drift.
ynamic driving on ice really is like dancing. But tango. Tango on ice. Here, too, it's zig-zag, back and forth.
I go around the course slowly. The person behind the perforated sports steering wheel alone has to shift gears fast enough here in his head, shift the wheel and get the rear wheels to slip again. Or as Walter Röhrl once put it so beautifully: »Drifting is the art of keeping an unstable condition stable.« That's right, Walter. Well, and that we also do it today with a babbling five-cylinder and all-wheel drive? Makes sense, if you think about it in a logical way. Speaking of thinking ahead: Yesterday they showed us that you can also have fun electrically, here in Rovaniemi. Sorry, Walter, you have to stay strong. Because the CUPRA Born is a real joy to drive. And is pushed by the engine in the true Röhrl spirit. Not pulled. Smart car. And even fun to drive.
But back to the present: Ahead of me is Jordi Gene, touring car ace and CUPRA chief instructor. At the wheel of a Formentor, he shows us what is possible in extreme cases. Extreme case doesn't mean tangoing on ice, but a Formentor with caterpillar tracks. Of course, this settles the issue (or joy) of going sideways.
Then again it is anything but tango here in the Caterpillar Formentor. But more of the Heavy Metal and Moshpit price class. Hell yeah!