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Monday, March 24, 2014

Comparison: The Matchbox 2014 Exotics 5-pack


Despite the ruins that are currently going on at Matchbox (from a collector's perspective), there are times that Matchbox still puts out the home-run hits for collectors.  None other is best explained than the newest 5-pack from Matchbox, the 2014 Exotics 5-pack.  So far, unlike recent 5-packs that contain a few vehicles that you can get by themselves for $1, this 5-pack is all-exclusive and properly done.  The sole vintage model of the group is the 1968 Lamborghini Miura P400S in the natural gold color, the BMW Z8 in red, the Lotus Exige in dark blue (both the BMW and Lotus sport the new 5-spoke wheels for the first time), the 2009 Corvette ZR-1 in the eye-catching yellow, and the VW W-12 concept in black.  So out of the five, let's see who is the best:

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Exterior Styling

Nothing is more graceful than the classic Miura styling with round pop-up headlights behind the slotted eyelashes, the front grille with foglights and signal lights, the lower separate trim with scoop, and the rear with the taillight, plate, bumper, and logo details.  Top that with the black wheels with spinner center cap and you have one sharp, and accurate-looking car!  The Z8 is the same way, despite being a casting from 2002 with a few defects and the only vehicle here with solid headlight graphics.  The tooling is beautifully done with details abound, including the lower rear bumper with dual exhaust that's part of the body and gives some heft to the casting.  However, the windshield could lay back slightly a bit.  The Lotus Exige looks wonderful as usual, though some graphics are a bit off and the LOTUS letters in the back are barely visible in the dark paint.  Headlights, scoops, spoiler, and vents are nicely done.  The Corvette ZR-1 looks much better in the yellow despite a few paint flaws here and there.  The headlight and taillight details are nicely done, so is the lower trim and the accurate multi-spoke wheels.  The coolest bits on the 'vette is the supercharger poking out of the hood and the clear roof designed to emulate the lightweight carbon fiber of the actual car.  Despite all of the nice things, the car looks narrow compared to the actual car.  Despite being long in the tooth, the VW W12 solders on even though it never saw the light of day as a production car.  The black finish looks good and hides the lower front bumper, which is part of the base.  The curves are nice, though bland and the full-width window roof looks nice except for the exposed press in the center above the seats.  The multi-spoke wheels also look good here as well, so does the red background on the front and rear grille slots.

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The Miura has a classic feel with Daytona-like seats, tachometer and speedometer in front of the 3-spoke wheel, gated shifter, and auxiliary gauges in the center.  Yea it may lack a few modern creature comforts, but look classic otherwise to a gearhead.  The Z8 has one of the most beautiful interiors BMW has ever made with a colored wrap-around dash with center gauges, classic 3-spoke wheels, and plenty of creature comforts.  Oh, and it has a trunk.  The ZR-1 has reasonable creature comforts and the largest trunk in the group, but the C6 generation still has a cheap-looking interior no matter how much you spruce it up, and unsupportive seats.  The W12 has a showcar interior, but is very useable with a few small details like the bubbles on the console, the separate shifter and AC controls, and the center navigation unit that looks like something you see on modern VW cars today.  The VW is the only car here with butterfly doors.  The least impressive is the Lotus with bare bones interior, unsupportive seats, no visibility anywhere, no soft touch panels, you're lucky you have air and a radio, and is the only car here that is right-hand drive.  Best save this one for track days!

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The Miura features the classic V-12 arrangement, the 393 cc V-12, in a transverse layout with the 5-speed manual mated with the engine as to share the same fluids as well.  The engine produces 360 hp. and 386 Ib-ft. torque.  The VW W-12 uses the first adaptation of the W-12 block (essentially four rows of three cylinders in a Vee), a 5.6L producing 414 hp. through a six-speed manual and the only car here with all-wheel drive system.  The ZR-1 uses the supercharged 6.2L V8 producing 638 hp. through a six-speed manual.  The Z8 uses a naturally-aspirated 4.9L V8 producing 400 hp. through a six-speed manual.  Finally the smallest engine of the group goes to the Lotus, employing a 1.8L I-4 producing 190 hp. through a six-speed manual.

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The Miura, W12, ZR-1, and the Z8 zoomed off the line at rapid pace.  The Z8 was the slowest of the four due to some extra weight.  The Miura and W12 were very smooth off-the-line.  The Exige was the slowest, but the lightweight body allowed the Lotus to catch up to the back of the pack even though it was still far behind.

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The W-12's flat, low stance helped it achieve the best stopping distance of the group.  The ZR-1 followed close behind.  The Exige also stopped quickly thanks to the lack of weight.  The Z8 was the second longest thanks to the weight, again.  Finally the old-school Miura took the longest, no surprise there!

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Both the Z8 and ZR-1 were neutral, fast, and fun to toss around, of course providing that you don't push the limits of these rear-wheel drive cars too far to provoke oversteer.  That can't be said about the Miura: even though it glides smoothly, it lacks that road-hugging grip of the other four cars in the group.  End result:  Push the Miura a little too fast in a corner and you can easily spin out!  The W-12 has the advantage with the all-wheel drive and supercar-like stance, but still fell short of expectation.  Same goes for the Exige with it's lighter weight that can't overcome the lack of power in the engine bay.


The Z8 wins hands-down for the incredible detail work on the body, the interior, and the base.  It is spectacular!  Next is the Miura with the classic bodywork and level of accuracy to the details, yet I would like to see a view of the engine in the back window.  The ZR-1 has plenty of cool features like the carbon-fiber clear roof, the hood window, and the level of details, but the narrow stance just looks out-of-place on this car thus tying with the Exige, which has a cool racer look but nothing much good elsewhere.  Finally the W-12 is getting old and boring:  it's got the stance, just not the eye candy anymore.


Yes, these cars are all out of our price ranges, but there's an even more grand difference.  The Exige is the cheapest of the group, but judging by the content you get not by much.  The ZR-1 and Z8 blitz above the $100,000 price tag to tie for second place.  The Miura is a classic that is treasured by most, and is hard to get, while the W-12 is a three-off concept that never made it to production.

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The result

Fifth place goes to the VW W-12.  It's got the supercar look and one awesome color, but lacks any interesting details on the casting itself.  Fourth Place goes to the Lotus Exige.  It's a lean, aggressive track machine that is out-of-place in this power field and is not pleasant for daily driving during the work week.  Third goes to the Corvette ZR-1.  It's got sass, looks, and plenty of eye-candy, but suffers from a narrow track and paint quality.  Second goes to the Z8.  It's an old casting, but still looks good today; what would really make this casting stand out is a little less weight, a little more performance, and a windshield that tilts back a bit.  The first-place winner goes to the Lamborghini Miura.  Classic, beautiful, fast, this old-school exotic still has the goods to take on it's modern counterparts.

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