TVR Tamora

As Chimaera is getting old and Rover V8 is running out, it is replaced by Tamora. Like its predecessor, Tamora is designed to be the entry-level car of TVR, that means cheaper, slower and easier to live with than Tuscan and Cerbera. However, for any car possesses 350 horespower and a kerb weight of 1050kg, we cannot call it slow, can we ? speed still means a lot to TVR. 

Tamora is essentially a detuned and simplified version of Tuscan. It shares virtually the same tubular frame chassis and even the same wheelbase. However, it is much narrower and has shorter overhangs. In addition to the funny styling, you might swear it must be a lot smaller than the Tuscan. Talking about styling, I am not a fan of this one. It occurs too fragile and unprofessional to me. 

Its Speed Six engine is also derived from Tuscan. Many people regard Tuscan’s 4-litre unit as too powerful for its lightweight, unsophisticated chassis, easily causing wheelspin if not driving it with full alert. Therefore perhaps it is better to detune it for use in Tamora. By de-stroking it to 3605c.c., the engine now produces 20 lbft less torque and 10 less horses. There are still 350 hp and 290 lbft in total, but now arrive at higher rev. In other words, the engine is less likely to scare the chassis at normal speed but you can still extract a lot of performance if you work hard on throttle. By then, you will experience 170mph+ and 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. Still enough to scare you, I think ? 

Tamora also handles with more confidence than any other TVRs. Its suspension setting and choose of tyres hit the right balance between handling and ride comfort. Its revised steering geometry is less nervous and aggressive as Tuscan at turn-in. Its calmer engine is less prone to oversteer the car, so the tail is better tie down to ground. Although it will never be developed to be as fool-proof as Porsche Boxster, it is still enjoyable to drive in daily basis. The controls are not as well tuned as the Porsche. The balance and brakes are also not there yet. But adding performance factor into the equation and it is not crazy to choose the TVR over Boxster S, even though they are close in price. Before the Boxster get more power, many sports car enthusiasts will see the baby TVR as the most fun to drive in class. 

What prevent Tamora from really challenging Boxster is - instead of fun - equipment and build quality. In this respect, it remains pure TVR indeed. To achieve keener price and lower weight than Tuscan, TVR even replace the Tuscan’s elegant instrument reading with a pair of cannot-be-more-simple dials. Of course, words such as ABS, EBD, BA, TC, ESP and DSC have no relationship at all with this car. You can only find the word TVR on its bonnet. 

The above report was last updated on 20 Oct 2001. All Rights Reserved.



To those who doesn’t like the styling of Tamora like me, T350C must be a better bet. The car is basically a rebodied Tamora, sharing the same chassis and powertrain but its fast-back, coupe body enables better aerodynamics for competing in GT racing. The suspension setup differs a bit, but not much to influence the Tamora’s fine handling. That means, T350C joins Tamora as TVR’s most accessible performance machine, if not the fastest. However, to my eyes, the most important improvement is still the new exterior design. It is not lack of interesting features, such as the L-shape taillights and cheese-like diffuser panel. 

The above report was last updated on 20 Sep 2003. All Rights Reserved.


Imagine if Tamora / T350C is equivalent to Porsche 911 Carrera, then Sagaris will be 911 GT3 RS. In other words, it is far more hardcore than the Tamora / T350C. Although still suitable for road use, its main purpose is on race tracks, where you will see the Sagaris goes and corners significantly faster than Tamora and T350C.

The racing purpose is first revealed in the exterior design. Interestingly, the aggressive aerodynamic design looks like Sega game icon Sonic mouse. It preserved the Tamora's compactness but added a lot of wings and ventilation openings - the vents on the bonnet is to enhance engine cooling, the holes on the flanks release the underbody air pressure around the front wheels (just like many Le Mans cars). In order to fit a driver wearing helmet, the roof at the driver's side incorporates a dome. To increase downforce at the front, a pair of aero flaps are added at the nose, in formula car style. To increase downforce at the rear, a big gurney wing is added to the tail. It is made of transparent perspex so that not to influence rearward view. By the way, the Sagaris is the first TVR developed with the help of wind tunnel.

Disregarding the aerodynamic kits, the Sagaris still looks sportier than the Tamora / T350C on which it is based. This is because its chassis is lower and wider than the original. In order to enhance cornering stability, its tracks are widened by as much as 50 mm. On the other hand, to lower center of gravity, the ride height is dropped by 25 mm - the lowest possible for a road car. Simultaneously, suspension spring rate is stiffened by 3 times (yes, 3 times !). The body is still made of glassfiber while chassis is still that backbone-type tubular steel frame, but a compulsory roll cage increases chassis stiffness.

Surprisingly, the cockpit is by no means racing. Like other TVRs, it is fully trimmed with leather, even including the roll cage ! The dashboard has the same bespoke machined metal buttons as Tuscan. Only a car fundamentally so light can afford such luxury.

The Sagaris has the standard 350 horsepower 3.6-litre Speed Six replaced with the 4.0-litre version used in the top Tuscan. With 12.2:1 compression, forged aluminum pistons and forged steel con-rods, it produces 406 horsepower and 349 lbft of torque. That makes it more powerful than Tuscan S and only less than the 440-horsepower Tuscan R (T440R). Because the Sagaris weighs just 1078 kg, it has a power to weight ratio higher than Ferrari F430, Ford GT, 911 GT2 etc, though slightly less than Noble M400 - another track-biased British sports car.

The big straight-6 is a two-edge sword - torquey from low to mid-range and very powerful at the top end. It revs smoothly and eagerly towards 7500 rpm, though accompany with a thunderous roar. Throttle response is very sharp.

As you can predict, Sagaris is lightening quick on the road, thanks to the extraordinary combination of high power and lightweight. TVR claims it take only 3.7 seconds to accelerate from rest to 60 mph and then 8.1 seconds to 100 mph. Top speed is 185 mph. In fact, with so little weight over the rear tires, it would be very difficult to find sufficient traction to realize the claimed 0-60. It would have been easier if it were mid-engined or rear-engined.

Anyway, once the car is rolling, the acceleration is breathtaking. The car feels light (it is) and responsive. A quicker-shifting 5-speed gearbox and better positioned clutch and throttle pedals makes the Sagaris more intimate to drive, as is the 2.0-turn, quick and communicative steering. The enlarged brakes are powerful enough for using in track days. Everything seems positive.

The wider track and stiffer suspensions give Sagaris much better body control than Tamora and T350C, with so little pitch and roll. Yes, it rides harsh on broken surfaces, but not to the extent that knocking your eyeballs out, unlike many other race-purpose road cars. Moreover, the stiff suspensions reduce front wheels movement, so the steering is now less sensitive to road irregularities. That means on British B-roads the Sagaris actually feels less nervous and requires less effort to drive.

However, it is not to say the Sagaris easy to drive. Like Tamora, it has a Hydratrak limited slip differential between the rear wheels, but it is no way as advanced as Ferrari's E-diff. If you apply too much throttle, the tremendous power will light up its rear tires and ruin the balance. This is a common problem for all TVRs, or more correctly speaking, a common problem for cars so light yet so powerful, with an engine up front driving the rear wheels. But Sagaris is definitely at the forefront of this kind. To tame it, you had to learn how to modulate its throttle and steering smoothly.

Unquestionably, the Sagaris is fun to drive, but it also requires respect from its driver.
The above report was last updated on 9 May 2005. All Rights Reserved.


Front-engined, Rwd
Front-engined, Rwd
Front-engined, Rwd
L / W / H / WB (mm)
3925 / 1715 / 1204 / 2361
3974 / - / 1195 / 2361
Inline-6, dohc, 4v/cyl.
Inline-6, dohc, 4v/cyl.
Inline-6, dohc, 4v/cyl.
3605 cc
3605 cc
3996 cc
350 hp
350 hp
406 hp
290 lbft
290 lbft
349 lbft
Suspension (F/R)
All: double wishbones
All: double wishbones
All: double wishbones
Tyres (F/R)
All: 225/50 ZR16
225/35 ZR18 / 235/40 ZR18
All: 255/35ZR18
1060 kg
1100 kg
1078 kg
Top speed
175 mph (est)
180 mph (est)
185 mph (est)
0-60 mph
4.2 sec*
4.3 (est)
3.7 sec (c) / 3.9 sec*
0-100 mph
9.1 sec*
9.1 (est)
8.1 sec (c) / 8.5 sec*
Figures tested by: * Autocar

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