Top 10 Cosworth cars of all time
Cosworth is responsible for some amazing mainstream performance cars – many of which went racing. Here are our top 10 greatest Cossies!
Cosworth is a household name thanks to its incredible engineering talents that have served road and race cars alike. Over the past 60 years its engineers have given life to racing legends, pushed boundaries and delivered the beating heart of many iconic machines. Here’s our top 10 Cosworth cars.
Audi RS4 B5
When Cosworth split its road and race divisions in 1998, Audi bought the road-car side of things to help develop some of the German company’s high-performance machines. The fruit of this acquisition was the B5 Audi RS4 — a car with a cult following.
Arguably the only car you ever need to own, the B5 could take the kids to school and fit a dog in the boot, all while putting many sports cars to shame. Cosworth worked hard to design new cylinder heads, dished pistons, uprated con rods and an all-new exhaust system. This tinkering enabled a 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds!
The Tyrrell P34 might look like its designers had a bit too much to drink, but its logic was sound. Instead of having two large front wheels that cause a lot of drag and turbulent airflow, why not have four smaller wheels in their place? Sadly the P34 scored only one victory, but it remains an icon.
Behind the driver was a Ford-Cosworth DFV 3.0-litre engine that gave the car a good power-to-weight ratio. Notable pilots include Jody Scheckter and Ronnie Peterson.
Subaru Impreza STi CS400
This generation of Impreza caused a lot of controversy when it launched as a hatchback, but nobody had any issues with Cosworth working some magic on the car in 2010. Visually the CS400 differed very little from the standard car, with just a few flourishes to denote it as something different. All of the real work went on under the skin.
New suspension, tyres and brakes made this Impreza even more capable through the corners. A thoroughly reworked boxer engine endowed 395bhp and unlocked a 0-62mph time of just 3.7 seconds. That’s Ferrari-rivalling performance!
While the CS400 was well received by the world’s media, the £50k price tag was a lot to ask.
Aston Martin Valkyrie
Promising at least 1000bhp, the high-revving 6.5-litre V12 in the Valkyrie is set to be something very special. We’ll have to wait a little while longer to find out exactly what Cosworth and Aston Martin have in store, but a recent chat with marque test driver Chris Goodwin has reassured us that it will be worth the wait.
The Valkyrie is the brainchild of engineering and aerodynamics genius Adrian Newey, who in some respects is attempting to leave his mark on road cars in a similar fashion to Gordon Murray and his McLaren F1.
Ford Escort RS1600
Ford and Cosworth’s partnership had already been well established on the race track, but the Escort RS1600 cemented the pair’s performance reputation amongst the masses. Now seen as one of the definitive Mk1 Escorts, this car made use of Cosworth’s 1.6-litre BDA engine. The cars also received reworked suspension and additional body stiffening.
The RS1600 would go on to see great success in rallying, too, winning the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup event.
The Cosworth DFV engine would end up powering most of the F1 grid in the 1970s, but it’s the way in which this motor was used in the Lotus 49 that made it such a success. Lotus used the drivetrain as a stressed member of the car’s structure to reduce overall weight.
Jim Clark won on the car’s debut in 1967. The Lotus 49 also delivered Graham Hill the world championship in 1968.
Ford Escort Cosworth
Build to homologate the Group A rally car, the Ford Escort Cosworth was a performance icon of the 1990s. It was a development of the Sierra Cosworth that packed a 227bhp punch from a 2.0-litre Cosworth engine.
All-wheel drive, swollen bodywork, that huge wing… The Escort was a showstopper, and today demands a hefty price tag.
Ford Transit Supervan 3
Built on top of Supervan 2, Supervan 3 was designed to promote the Mk5 Ford Transit. At its centre wasn’t planks of wood or tins of paint, but a 3.5-litre Cosworth HB V8. Over the years the racer in van’s clothing has been displayed all over the world, and it still exists today — albeit with a lower-maintenance V6 Cosworth engine.
Supervan 3 is the envy of every white van man in the country.
Mercedes-Benz 190E Cosworth 2.3
Before AMG was officially part of Mercedes-Benz, the German brand went to Cosworth for help with a racing variant of the 190E. The original plan was to go rallying, but after Audi’s Quattro domination of the sport, the decision was taken to enter DTM. All cars had to be based on road-going models.
The 190E Cosworth featured a modified 2.3-litre engine with 185bhp. Cosworth hustled the car up to 143mph, but a later 2.5 model further increased performance and reliability.
Ford Sierra Cosworth
Seen by many as the ultimate road-legal Cosworth, the Sierra was an extreme machine back in 1986. Designed to homologate the Group A racing car, this Cosworth looked very different to the model on which it was based. Flared arches, bonnet grilles, hydrodynamic front profile and a large whale-tail spoiler announced this as something very different to what your mum drove.
Cosworth insisted that the road cars have at least 200bhp, giving a top speed of 149mph. This was one of the fastest mainstream cars on the market, making it something of a people’s champion.
More on Cosworth…
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