From £74,9509

The BAC Mono, built by the Cheshire-based Briggs Automotive Company, is the first serious attempt to produce a single-seater driving experience for the public road. And quite some attempt it is, too.

With styling said to have been “heavily influenced” by the Bjork video ‘All is full of love’, with a bit of F-22 Raptor jet fighter thrown in for good measure, the BAC Mono is one of the most extreme road cars you'll come across. But the team behind it is convinced there’s a small but perfectly formed market for such a machine.

The fact that there’s a queue of people wanting to buy the 50 cars BAC will build a year would suggest that the team knows what it is doing. As would the knowledge that BAC's Project Director Neill Briggs was the main consulting engineer on the original Focus RS, and has been involved in the development of “quite a few Stuttgart-based cars” in recent years.

The Mono is powered  by a 305bhp, 227lb ft version of the four-cylinder, 2.5-litre Mountune engine, a brave move foregoing the 2.3-litre Cosworth unit that’s used by, among others, Caterham. This is attached to a six-speed Hewland gearbox that’s lifted straight out of an F3 car, with paddle-operated hydraulic shifts. So although there are three perfectly placed pedals down in the surprisingly roomy footwell, changing gear merely requires a gentle flick on one of the carbonfibre paddles.

A big, green neutral button on the removable steering wheel enhances the ‘F1 car for the road’ impression, as does the fully adjustable Sachs pushrod suspension and a set of specially developed Kumho tyres. While the Mono has no roof, BAC hasn't compromised on the interior with waterproof leather and suede furnishing the cockpit.

And boy, does it all gel together beautifully on the move. Merely climbing into the Mono is an event in itself, but once you’re ensconced, the lack of compromise in the single-seat design becomes immediately apparent. You press a centrally mounted button on the steering wheel and the digital screen comes to life – and, from that moment onwards, the driving experience has an impossibly strong whiff of F1 about it.

You wonder if it’s actually legal to begin with, so obvious is the connection to the competition world, right down to the fact that you have to wear a crash helmet, like it or not, seeing as there’s no windscreen whatsoever. Yet once you get going, the intimacy of the driving experience and the immediacy of its responses are such that you become totally immersed in the business of driving it. 

And, amazingly, the suspension isn’t in the least bit skateboard-like on the road, as you’d surely half expect it to be. There’s a real maturity in the way the Mono deals with poor surfaces. I’d say it rides better than a Lotus Elise for much of the time, which is little short of incredible given how much grip there is through any given corner, and how incisive the suspension feels at all times.

It also sounds and accelerates – and stops – in a way that no Elise driver could even dream about. To begin with the acceleration doesn’t somehow feel that nuts, considering there’s 525bhp per tonne and 0-60mph in 2.8sec on offer. Yet you soon realise that the scenery is disappearing at a rather ridiculous rate when you put your foot down, and that the engine seems to be on the rev limiter no more than a couple of seconds after each upshift.

But it’s only when you start to lean on it through a fast corner that the genius of the Mono’s chassis become truly apparent. The balance it displays mid-bend is absolutely epic and the steering precision is near-perfect; and the way you can play with the tail end on entry provides the last and final piece of evidence about just how incredible this car is to drive.

Right now, there are only a few examples out there namely the Zenos E10, Elemental RP1 and the KTM X-Bow, which could match the BAC Mono on the entertainment front.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Top 5 Track cars

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Genesis G70
    First Drive
    22 September 2017
    Based on the Kia Stinger, Genesis' new G70 saloon shows plenty of promising signs that it could be a hit in Europe
  • Lamborghini Aventador S
    First Drive
    22 September 2017
    Still visceral and dramatic as ever, but does the vast number of mechanical changes and tweaks help make the Lamborghini Aventador S more engaging?
  • Renault Koleos
    Car review
    22 September 2017
    Renault’s new crossover sees the Koleos name return, attached to an SUV of a quite different stripe
  • Nissan X-Trail
    First Drive
    21 September 2017
    On our first chance to get the facelifted Nissan X-Trail on UK roads, the petrol proves a viable alternative, although for outright pulling power the 2.0 dCi is the better bet
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.2d 210
    First Drive
    21 September 2017
    Most powerful diesel version of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is swift and more frugal than its closest rivals, but makes less sense than the range-topping petrol version