Games like Forza, Gran Turismo, Driveclub, Project Cars, and Assetto Corsa are amazing. Driveclub in VR mode is visually stunning. You can see water on the windshield drain in different directions, depending on what you’re doing with the car. It looks real.
Head to head comparisons on YouTube illustrate differences in graphics, tracks, etc. Despite individual game variations, one thing is clear. All the games look pretty damn authentic. But, can you really get a feel for the actual vehicle in a game? Auto Mentality decided to find out.
For this article, we decided to focus on Xbox One’s Forza Motorsport 6 and Horizon 3 games. Here’s what we learned:
NISSAN GT-R – It’s definitely different in real life. In Forza, the GT-R feels a lot like a Ferrari, nimble, quick, and with soul. The game’s off base. The actual Nissan is still fantastic. It’s one of my favorite cars of all time. It defies the laws of physics, but does so because it’s a computer controlled muscle car. The GT-R follows grooves in the pavement like an English Foxhound on a hunt. Acceleration is still punishing. Cornering is stupefying. But, it’s all a bit clinically executed in the genuine article.
MAZDA MX-5 MIATA – Absolutely the same. We spent last year with the latest generation Miata. It’s a bit underpowered, but feels fast. In corners, you never have to brake. It’s hard to break the back end loose. The Miata is just plain fun to drive. If you are considering one, drive the virtual one on the Nürburgring in Forza 6. It’s not fast, but it’ll make you understand why people buy them.
ASTON MARTIN V12 VANTAGE S – This should tell you everything. We have a long term Aston Martin Vantage GT because of the V12 Vantage S in Forza. Few cars are balanced the way an Aston Martin Vantage is. In reality, it’s not the quickest car. Think of it as a British muscle car. The V12 can easily overpower grip, but with some driving talent, it’s fairly predictable and easy to reign in. Forza nailed it.
MERCEDES-AMG C63 S – Forza civilized the C63 S. In the game, the Merc behaved more like an M4 than the outright hooligan that it is. In the past year, I’ve driven two cars that scared me. One was the SLS, the other was a C63 S. At speed, it felt like I was about to hurt myself or someone else. The car is a pro wrestler constantly in persona. It’s a sledgehammer. It’s amazing, but if you plan to buy one, take the real AMG driving course, not the Forza one. Seriously.
BENTLEY BENTAYGA – You can’t drive a Bentayga in Forza 6, but you can in Horizon 3. How does it compare? Horizon’s driving is not generally as true as Forza 6 feels, but the Bentayga is a nice place to be. It feels a little big. The interior graphics don’t do the Bentley justice. The real cockpit is virtually every fine, unblemished material known to man handcrafted to perfection. The legitimate Bentayga will also tie a BMW M4 GTS to 60 and corner like a tall sports car. Like the GT-R, the Bentayga defies physics, but it has British soul. The computers may be keeping the car upright, but it never feels like it. Unfortunately Horizon 3 doesn’t quite translate.
ACURA NSX – Like the Bentayga, we drove the new NSX in Horizon 3. It’ll be in the upcoming Forza 7. The tangible NSX is a brilliant car with multiple personalities. Around town, it’s an Accord. On the track, it’s virtually impossible for a normal human (or journalist) to reach the limit. The car has grip for days. It feels as light as a Miata and deceptively fast. The only thing missing is the “roar” as you drop a gear and blip the throttle going into a corner. Forza really nails it in the game. The only thing you can’t physically feel is how light the car is on it’s feet. If you want to experience an NSX, drive one in Horizon 3.
So, are Forza test drives the same as the real thing? Though some of our game observations diverged from reality, Forza really does deliver a sense of each vehicle overall. That’s really great for motor heads like us.
We may not be able to afford a Pagani Huayra or a Bugatti. But, we can drive one.