This sporty-looking little hatchback is the fastest production car Lada has ever made. It is, by Lada standards, a fire-breathing monster. But everything’s relative and you would need an in-depth knowledge of Einstein’s theories to work out by what definition the Lada Kalina NFR can actually be called fast.
Under its bonnet is a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine making… 134bhp and 114lb/ft. At 1215kg it’s not exactly light either, so 0-62mph takes an agonising 9.2secs with a top speed of 126mph. It isn’t just slower than a Ford Fiesta ST, it’s slower than a 1.0-litre EcoBoost Fiesta.
Full torque comes in at 4750rpm with a redline of 6800rpm; in other words, it will take absolutely merciless thrashing to make any sort of progress.
Somehow we doubt the sports suspension, recalibrated steering, bigger wheels and better brakes will do much to improve the handling. Standard kit includes automatic lights and wipers, heated mirrors and seats, manual aircon and a 4-speaker stereo.
Lada is planning to build 50 copies of the Kalina NFR to start with, priced at the equivalent of £8500. By all accounts, most will be offered to race teams – being cheap and plentiful, the Kalina is a surprisingly popular race car in Russia.
Incidentally, Renault owns a large stake in Lada’s parent company AvtoVAZ. It would be fascinating to see what the hot hatch wizards at Renaultsport could do with the Kalina.
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By Graham King