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GTM Libra

GTM Libra

GTM Libra

Year (of specifications) 2000 -
Engine 2.5 litre V6
Transmission manual RWD
Max speed 150 mph official (164 mph tested)
0-60 mph 4.9 seconds
Horsepower 187 hp @ 6500 rpm
weight 840 kg / 1850 lbs

Review by: Greg:
The V6 version of the GTM Libra was developed at the request of serial GTM owner Greg Stark, who had been invited in 1998 to the factory to see the prototype 4-cylinder K-series-powered car. The engine bay proved just big enough (with modifications to the GRP monocoque and body mouldings) to accommodate Rover's 2.5 litre all-alloy KV6 engine. This first V6-powered car was completed and first registered in November 2000. I still own the car, and it has covered in excess of 80,000 miles and has proved to be a remarkably reliable and enjoyable sports-car.

There are highly tuned 4-cylinder Libras just about capable of keeping up with the V6 on a race-track, but for everyday motoring the torque of the V6 makes it an effortlessly fast car - overtaking often does not require changing down a gear, just a solid shove on the throttle pedal. Perhaps the best part of driving the car is the wonderful engine noise - naturally a V6 is smoother than a four-pot, but Rover's KV6 will happily rev to 7,200 rpm at the same time providing 85% of its peak torque from below 2000 rpm. Fuel consumption in general use has been around 32 mpg - and I'm not known for driving it with economy in mind!

During the development of the V6 version concern was expressed that the extra weight of the V6 engine and its heavier gearbox would adversely affect the handling of this mid-engined car. Surprisingly the extra 80 kg on the rear axle seemed to have very little effect on the superb handling and balance of the GTM Libra. Although heavier than the four-cylinder engine-gearbox combination, the centre of mass of the V6 sits lower in the chassis, and a little further forward, and these two factors seem to compensate in large measure for the extra weight. Traction is improved because of this extra weight, and it is actually quite difficult to induce wheelspin from a standing start on dry roads - needless to say if conditions are wet then some care needs to exercised!

Although the Libra is fractionally smaller than the Lotus Elise/Exige the passenger accommodation is more spacious, and there is significantly more luggage space, both in the separate luggage compartment in the tail, and in the space behind the seats (of which there is none I the Lotus). I'm 6'4" tall and easily fit in the Libra - I've driven a couple of Elises and the Lotus's driving position does not favour taller people.

The construction of the passenger-cell/chassis is extremely clever, and provides a number of enclosed "box" sections which form the sills, "roll-cage" and bulkhead strengthening members. These can be used to install speakers for a CD-radio and the sound quality obtained is startling as they act as sealed enclosures which maximise the efficiency of the loudspeakers. I did get into trouble with the original designers of the car who objected to the additional weight of a stereo system on the grounds that their car was designed to be as light as possible. Driving in the UK, however, and using the car as everyday transport requires some in-car entertainment to stop the driver and passenger going completely mad while stuck in traffic jams!

Over the eight years I've owned this car I've undertaken some major road-trips and it has always proven to be superbly comfortable - covering hundreds of miles in a day is no effort at all, as the car is surprisingly quiet when cruising at main road speeds, and the computer-designed suspension manages an excellent compromise between roadholding, handling and comfort. Clearly it's not going to ride as well as a Jaguar, but the car is outstandingly stable and unaffected by road irregularities. The suspension design cleverly incorporates both anti-dive and anti-squat in its geometry - the car is thus very stable even under heavy braking, and acceleration.

Overall I've been utterly delighted with the car - it's not expensive to run, it looks fantastic in my opinion, and in V6 form is seriously and addictively fast. I doubt that mine will ever be for sale!"


Review by: Anon:
This one was mine.

1.8 vvc.



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