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Talbot Sunbeam Lotus by Tolman Engineering 2021 UK review


But all the noise and drama has substance and is wholly appropriate to the way this Sunbeam bowls about. It responds in the way only sub-tonne cars can, pinging from point to point, launching forward whenever you touch the throttle and drawing back at the slightest lift of the accelerator. The gearshifts are suitably rapid, too.

It was simply too cold and wet for the Pirelli Corsa tyres for us to find out if Tolman has gifted the Sunbeam much more agility. Caution and care were needed to weave through turns smoothly, with the front end reluctant to bite the wintery asphalt. However, you have everything at your disposal to make the car react just as you wish: instant throttle response and constant information on exactly how much grip is available.

The only thing that nibbles at your complete faith is that the steering is slightly too heavy. The rack is quick and direct, but its weight makes you nervous that you won’t be able to react as rapidly as you might want. Still, with such exceptional control, your confidence grows and you stray from neat and tidy into a more rally-style approach. Focusing on oversteer might ordinarily be just a bit juvenile, even if it is fun. But this is a Sunbeam Lotus: a car that lives in our collective memory with a permanent quarter-turn of opposite lock. Mastering a powerslide is an essential duty.

Thankfully, Tolman’s car is never happier than when going sideways. The direct connection between your right foot and the rear axle means oversteer is only ever a flex of the ankle away, and it’s eminently controllable, too. Even the steering’s heft fades when you counter and regulate any slide with the wheel.

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