The rough beauty of nature and the pure performance of the
The day will be hot. In every sense of the word. On the outskirts of Edinburgh in Scotland, the thermometer shows 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the humidity is stifling, and the air is dense with moisture. Then we rendezvous with this
We cruise over the Forth road bridge, gawking at the enormous foundations being constructed for the new crossing that will open next year. Even in the hot season, Scotland is verdant and lush, the countryside is all deep-greens, and the M90 motorway gently sways a route northward, with the GT4 proving to be far more relaxed than you’d ever imagine a track-focused car would be—yet that is nothing out of the ordinary for a
At the moment there’s no opportunity to even come close to revving up the 385 hp (283 kW) six-cylinder boxer engine. The M90 must be the road with the greatest density of speed cameras in Europe—a legacy of its past as a high-velocity access route. Accompanied by the discreet rumbling of the mid-mounted boxer, we cruise along at a relaxed pace toward our destination: the stunning western coast and Munro country to the west of Inverness, with peaks of about 3,000 feet. I’m only reminded that the GT4 will cut a 7-minute 40-second northern loop of the Nürburgring when I see the roll cage in the rearview mirror. Shortly thereafter, on the A9, large electronic road signs display the message “WARNING: heavy rain expected.”
The first drops of rain don’t come as light drizzle, more as great dollops of water. Only a few clatter into the
The biblical rain disappears as fast as it arrived and the skies clear, leaving a brilliant blue background peeking between clouds that range from bright white to gray to almost black—something you might see in a magazine and immediately assume was computer-enhanced.
The freeway splits off onto a rural road and the scenery changes again; more intimate than the central highlands, but with empty roads and perfect pavement, the GT4 can now unleash some of that horsepower—within legal limits, of course. The GT4 is all about connection—from the crisp steering to the firm suspension to the manual six-speed transmission. I just can’t get enough of the latter, snicking needlessly up and down through the gears just to enjoy the sensation and hear that engine deliver great barks of exhaust noise on each downshift blip. The GT4 feels wondrously alive at every speed. It is always wide awake, always ready to pounce.
On magical little roads we spend the next few hours skirting the coast before the Hebrides and smiling at the sheer beauty of the place—huge skylines, hidden coves and beaches, and even stop quickly to dip our toes and wonder at the Gulf Stream’s coddling warmth.
Heading back inland the roads become more technical—perfect
The scenery in the Highlands is simply overwhelming. The roads are something else too: smooth, well-sighted, and the perfect width for the
By Chris Harris
Photos by Victor Jon Goico
What to do in Inverness
The capital of the Highlands is also the northernmost major city in Great Britain. At its center, the Victorian Market, built in 1870, is located near the pedestrian zone. On the main road not far from Inverness Castle, the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery displays everything from weapons and jewelry to modern art.
A good 10 miles southwest of Inverness lies legendary Loch Ness. Just a stone’s throw away from it is the battlefield of Culloden, where the Highlanders suffered a major defeat at the hands of the English in 1746. The latter then built monumental Fort George, which measures 2,130 feet by 920 feet, 12 miles northeast of Inverness.
Restaurants and pubs offer whisky from nearby distilleries, beers brewed in the region, and local wines. The food ranges from international cuisine to regional specialties such as salmon and highland cheeses (www.inverness-scotland.com).