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2010-06-21 09:22

Looks like a Land Rover Defender, goes like an off-road racing bike. Now manufactured by Qt Services, the Wildcat remains true to its Dakar Rally billing.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Qt Services
Model Wildcat
Engine 4l V8
Power 200kW
Transmission Five-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 6 sec
If you would like to park something with a premium British motoring badge at the clubhouse (next to the Astons and Bentleys) yet prefer to take the more adventurous route home, the new Qt Wildcat is a very alluring alternative.

When production of the Wildcat was ceded from Bowler to Qt Services (due to Bowler’s resources being occupied with the Range Rover Sport-derived Nemesis), many thought the radical Land Rover Defender-based racer was wading into an uncertain future.

Now, more than two years after the transaction, Cornwall-based Qt Services is showing off the new (and improved) Wildcat.

New owners are off-road people

Qt Services boasts an impressive pedigree in terms of off-road vehicle preparation. Owner Dave Marsh has been racing 4x4s for two decades. The company fettles many of the top British trail competition vehicles, and has used its expertise to redevelop the three-model Wildcat range.

Despite the Land Rover Defender proportions, the Wildcat’s tubular spaceframe chassis and 300mm suspension travel endow it with unmatched off-road driving dynamics.

Available in three trim levels (300STR, 400NSR and 500DKR – the latter two for racing) the Wildcat is powered by a suitably modified version of the venerable Rover 4l V8, tuned to deliver 200kW whilst driving all-four wheels via five-speed manual transmission with reduction ratio flexibility for truly taxing terrain.

Competition models (such as the 400NSR and 500DKR) feature 4l Jaguar V8 power good for 280kW and 406Nm, with wheel oscillation managed by Donerre lithium fast rebound dampers. Compression ignition customers are catered for with the latest Jaguar/Land Rover 3l TDV6, producing 180kW and 600Nm of peak rotational force.

Qt Services claim the road-legal Wildcat 300STR is good for a hot hatch-humbling 0-100km/h benchmark sprint of six seconds. The true dynamic value of the Wildcat’s robust suite of engineering features is its ability to traverse broken terrain at three figure speeds. Of course the engine speed dial being calibrated to 8 000r/min (without any red warning paint) gives an even more sobering indication of the Wildcat's performance abilities...

Kind of civil

Utility has been (somewhat) catered for with the redesigned Wildcat too, ensuring potential 300STR owners can actually employ their vehicles for daily driving duties. 

The cabin features neat SPA digitised instrumentation, Bluetooth phone integration, air-conditioning and even an iPod docking station. We seriously doubt the audio clarity will be outstanding though - considering the surfeit of metal cabin surfacing, V8 acoustic signature and lack of sound deadening materials.

Configured to be a two-seater only, the Qt Services Wildcat has (some) modular adaptability if additional luggage space is required – it's able to accommodate a set of golf clubs behind the front bucket seats.

The five-point harnesses are obviously going to crease your suit during the daily commute, yet the trade-off for unmatched weekend Dakar raid antics should compensate.

Kudos must go to Qt Services, as Bowler was in fact ready to discontinue the Wildcat altogether when Dave Marsh stepped up to purchase the manufacturing rights and ensure this most outrageous of all British performance vehicle icons got a second lease on life.

Should Land Rover not perhaps be investing in a competition Defender for customers being lured by the Wildcat? Discuss it here...


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