They don’t quote a 0-100mph time just yet, but having spent a day howling around the Yorkshire moors in it I’d guess it could hit three figures in a fair bit less than seven seconds. Which puts it very much in the premier league when it comes to outright acceleration.
But it’s what the RXC does around corners and under brakes that will at first fray and then obliterate the outer edges of your imagination, and the reason why is because it produces downforce. Lots and lots of downforce, to the extent that – in theory – it could be driven upside down through a tunnel without falling off the ceiling.
Yup, at 175mph Radical claims the RXC produces its own weight in downforce – a full 900kg – and on the road what that translates to is a level of high speed grip that will reduce most passengers to a gibbering wreck, and leave most drivers giggling in disbelief.
At low speeds, so let’s say anything under 50mph, you can’t really feel that prodigious downforce. Instead, all you notice is how relatively un-dreadful the ride is and how crisp the steering seems; Radical worked hard to get the damping of the all-round double wishbone suspension to a level that would ensure the car had a half decent ride quality, and I’d say they hit the bullseye on that one – because amazingly it rides pretty well.
As soon as you venture beyond 60mph, though, and ideally a fair bit higher than that on a track, you can feel the stability levels going up, front and rear, and the steering also gets a touch meatier. And yet... if you then really lean on it and get it to start sliding around – there is no traction control and no ABS – it’s actually rather well behaved.
There’s no precipice of grip that you walk up to and then just fall straight off; instead, when it goes, it goes gradually. On a track, therefore, I’m sure this car would be a) phenomenally rapid compared with other cars of a similar price, but also b) an absolute peach to throw around on account of its handling being so friendly. As a combination, that’s no small achievement on behalf of the RXC’s chassis engineers.
Talking of steering, the RXC has a unique system that enables you to dial the level of power assistance up or down in five different stages (see sidebar). But however much assistance you call upon, the front end of the RXC always feels pinned to whatever apex you choose to aim it at. And the way it stops is quite outrageous, frankly, for a car that wears number plates and a tax disc.
It also sounds deliciously potent, inside and out. You’d never guess that its engine is from a humble Ford given the range of exotic noises it gives off under full bore acceleration. It’s the same engine that Ginetta uses in the excellent G60, but it sounds even angrier in this case, and feels even more potent, which is saying something.
A less than brilliant aspect of the RXC is the way you enter it, or climb back out of it. So wide are its sills that the only way you can enter it realistically is by flinging open the gullwing door, then treading all over the seat and inserting yourself into its guts as elegantly as you can.
Which is to say, not very. If it’s raining you’ll get whatever is on the bottom of your shoes all over the seats. Those in this test car fortunately weren’t covered in the expensive leather hides that Radical hopes many RXC customers will end up specifying.
Another as yet unresolved issue is the gearchange, specifically the smoothness of the upshifts and the lack of a proper blip during donwshifts. Use the clutch conventionally up or down and there’s no problem, of course, but if you make a full steam upchange and don’t use the clutch, the corresponding wallop in the back isn’t entirely pleasant, even if the shift itself happens in microseconds. Radical realises there’s a bit of work to be done here, however, and is continuing to tweak the software to make the shifts a touch less manic.