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Road Test: Wiesmann GT MF4-S
Welcome again to the world of Wiesmann. As part of our day at Wiesmann we shared with you our road test of the upgraded Wiesmann GT MF5, but there was a second handmade sports car we took for a spin. The Wiesmann GT MF4-S has been around for about two years now and features an excellent combination of vintage appearances with a characteristic sporty gecko styling, available in both roadster and GT body types.
Like any of the models in the German car maker’s lineup, the MF4-S fits the keywords; retro and sporty. Wiesmann is a manufacturer of purist sports cars, combining the unique design with technology from many major car brands, for instance BMW. Since its foundation by Martin and Friedhelm Wiesmann in 1988, the Wiesmann name has stood for the manufacturing of individual sports cars whose every detail is crafted by hand. The Coupe MF4-S we had for testing was fitted with winter tires and offered a black-on-black combo inside and out.
The basic setup of the S version brings us first to a short explanation about the ‘normal’ MF4. The S version finds its roots in the normal version, which is currently powered by a 4.4 liter V8 twin-turbo front-mid-positioned engine providing 407hp and 600Nm of maximum torque. The engine is linked to only a six-speed automatic sports gearbox which allows you to reach a top speed of 291km/h and 100km/h in 4.6 seconds.
The ‘faster’ Gran Turismo we drove comes with a high-revving 4.0 liter V8 engine derived from the current BMW M3, which delivers 420hp and 400Nm of torque. You can choose between a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters. The difference between the engine setups is noticeable and the characteristic of the engine differs widely, but offers the driver similar performance. The acceleration from standstill to 100km/h is done in 4.4 seconds and the top speed is two km/h higher than the MF4.
The main difference between the two is the weight. The MF-4S is 75kg lighter than the standard model and offers an improved power-to-weight ratio as a result. In both cases the roadster is only five kilogram heavier than the Coupe, which is quite an achievement when it comes to open-top driving.
Externally the GT MF4-S differs in some design and aerodynamic details from the GT MF-4. The outer look is still sporty and elegant, with sleek lines along the body structure. The rear shows a speed dependent slide out wing, which can be also controlled manually via a button on the dashboard. The front has, as standard, bi-xenon headlamps and an reshaped front spoiler. The collection of changes to the exterior give the MF4-S a boulder look and more sporty features. The vintage feeling is available all-around the design, it offers a unique sight in anybody’s rear view mirror and somehow resembles the British sports car icons from the past.
On the inside, the list of options is endless. Numerous luxury bespoke specifications are available and customers can opt for any type of handmade leather interior, ranging from the tastefully understated to the wonderfully vulgar. Special touches with respect to the S feature the obligatory numbered and signed plaque. Only thirty examples of the MF4-S were offered initially at the release, but any customer with the urge to get themselves a Wiesmann, can ask the Wiesmann brothers, Martin and Friedhelm, for their personal tailored sports car.
The drive in a Wiesmann fulfills any type of petrolhead’s dream. Many people will underestimate the sports car at first sight, because of its looks and presence. But after the first few meters inside an MF3, MF4 or MF5 your initial feeling drastically changes. A Wiesmann is in our opinion one of the best examples of what a sports car should let you experience.
Inside the MF4-S the world is cropped to just below shoulder height. In front of you there is a long hood and just behind your ass, two rear wheels driven by the V8 engine. The tiny cabin offers more than enough space for larger passengers. The small steering wheel is all you need to lay down exact cornering maneuvers. Pushing the starter button, means starting the experience. A wonderful growl comes from the back accompanied by an addictive increase in sound track when you floor the throttle. Naturally aspirated Wiesmann’s sound so much better than the turbocharged models.
A Wiesmann feels at home on twisty mountain or country roads. It constantly urges you to take every single corner with a momentum hardly grasped by your mind. The grip is excellent, the steering feel wonderful, and the power build-up linear. The gearbox stands out up to the point that you would never consider opting for a manual anymore. The paddle shifters behind the steering wheel are small, but large enough to be controlled well. The automatic mode of the gearbox is hardly ever used because shifts are a total event, especially downshifts. The ride is wonderful, not too firm and the gecko is easily controllable.
After driving the GT MF5 and MF4-S on one single day, the differences immediately become clear between the mid- and range-topping model. The brutal speed potential and suspension setup of the MF5 make it more suitable for the Autobahn and the race track, whereas the MF4-S is more at home on any type of road with a constant desire to hit mountain and country roads.
For us, choosing the Wiesmann is a simple decision, it is only the model that makes our choice difficult. The first-generation MF5 and the current MF4-S seem to be our favorites, not only because of the wonderful engine noise but also because of their general characteristic offering ‘Freude am fahren’ on steroids. These Wiesmann’s keep us close to our love for true sports cars.