Saturday afternoon, surprisingly empty roads, and BMW M3 running gear is a recipe for a pretty epic afternoon hoon through the rolling hills of Surrey. I'll be honest though, I was a little bit scared. I've never really driven anything this powerful before. The next most powerful thing was a 250WHP MX5 which was very conservatively set up in regards to handling and comfort. Everything about the car was pretty much stock, except it had a freshly build motor, and a big turbo strapped on to it. It was like driving a very small barge, and it handled a bit like one as well. This on the other hand, is a completely different animal.
Handbuilt in Devon at Marlin's own factory, it comes in a variety of specifications - which is what makes the Marlin Sportster a pretty strong candidate for your choice of weekend warrior. This particular model is gifted with a BMW M3 Evo engine providing you with an addictive 450BHP/tonne on tap which is plenty in an open top car. Yup.
Right, on to good stuff.
What's it like to live with? Driving around town isn't that bad. It has a fairly heavy and unforgiving clutch, and the indicators are a bit fiddly, but like any car it just takes getting used to. I did manage to stall it a few times, but once you get used to how bitey the clutch is, you'll find that a little extra throttle will suffice, and it's not that bad. But personally, I prefer a heavier and bitier clutch. I'm weird like that.
The roof's a bit fiddly to remove and fit, but it's pretty straightforward which is good. The roof un-clips and unbuttons from the rear and then simply rolls up small enough to plop behind the seats, still allowing room for a small bag for a weekend get away with the laaaady. It's no MX5, or S2000 where it's literally seconds and you're enjoying topless motoring, but it's manageable.
This is just a test, however.