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 |  Nov 17 2011, 8:00 PM

So far, much of the buzz surrounding Mexico’s sports car, the Mastretta MXT has centered around remarks made by Top Gear’s presenters, Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May.

Yet for all intents and purposes it’s very much the real deal, featuring a semi-monocoque skeleton formed from aluminium and carbon fiber reinforced plastic. Powered by a twin cam in-line turbocharged four, cranking out some 260 hp and 257 lb-ft of torque, the mid-engined MXT weighs some 2,662 lbs, which according to an official press release enables it to dash from 0-62 mph in 4.9 seconds, and achieve more than 1.1 lateral g while cornering, making it very much in the spirit of the Lotus Elise.

Mastretta which is an arm of Technoidea , a Mexican design and engineering consulting firm, has already begun producing MXTs as turnkey cars for the home and European markets, now the firm is getting ready to move northwards, choosing this year’s LA Auto Show to launch the US version.

Labeled as “specially constructed vehicles,” MXTs destined for the United States and Canada are projected to sell around $60,-$65,000, which considering the performance on tap, is quite a bargain for such a specialty machine.

Mastretta says it plans to sell 100 examples of the MXT in the US next year, with plans to ramp up capacity to around 500 units per year by 2016.

 |  Feb 03 2011, 2:37 PM

Top Gear, the BBC’s infamous car/entertainment show has gained a huge following world wide since it’s reincarnation in 2002.

Many find its off-the wall challenges, insults and humor hard to resist. At the same time, it’s often been the subject of controversy, thanks to forthright comments spouted by presenters Jeremy Clarkson and usually, to a lesser extent, Richard Hammond and James May.

Most recently, the show has become the target of the Mexican government, following remarks made by Hammond during one of presenters’ televised gabbing sessions.

In discussing Mexico’s new Mastretta MXT sports car, Hammond said “Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless and overweight, leaning against  a fence asleep, looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat.”

Clarkson then went on to joke that the BBC wouldn’t receive any complaints from the Mexican ambassador, quite simply because he would likely be asleep.

In response, said ambassador sent a letter to the BBC saying that the presenters had used vulgar and bigoted language to describe the people of his country, describing the remarks as xenophobic and humiliating.

Really? Perhaps the Ambassador needs to spend more time in Britain.

As for the MXT, if it does prove to be a good car, then it’s likely the company that builds it, nor the Republic of Mexico should have anything to worry about, least of all comments spouted on a segment of some British TV show.

[Source: BBC]