A few weeks ago (9/26/09) I had the opportunity to test drive the Adrenaline
Murtaya kit car with the company’s US importer, Will Corry. I had a great time
and really enjoyed the car, and thought some of you might be interested in
reading a quick review of this Subaru based kit car.
Keep in mind with this review, that Will had just gotten the car assembled a few
days before I arrived in Durango, CO, so he wanted me to mention that his
Murtaya was still not fully set up. (In fact, Will mentioned that I got the
first Murtaya test drive in the United States.) None the less, I found the car
to be very impressive and recommend that anyone who is interested in a sub
2300lb AWD sports car should check it out. I also found Will to be both a great
guy and very knowledgeable on all subjects related to rally and AWD sports cars
and want to wish him luck in bringing this car to America. Thanks Will!
One last thing. This is not a researched article, so while I will try to get my
facts straight, I have not thoroughly checked them. Please do not blame Murtaya
USA or Adrenaline for any mistakes that are my fault.
Basic Info and Initial Impressions
For those not familiar with the Murtaya, it is a two seat convertible kit car
that is made in England. The brand name is Adrenaline, and was started by three
auto engineers out of England. The car can use either a Subaru GC or a GD
drivetrain, with anything from a NA engine to a built STI setup. Will is
planning to race rallies and hill climbs with his, and his components are from a
While looking on the websites had given me the impression that the Murtaya was
tiny, in person it was a bit bigger than I expected. IMO, it is fairly close in
size – but much better looking – to a BMW Z3 or a Mazda Miata. According to
Will, the three Adrenaline founders range in size from 6’1” to 6’6”, so there
was actually quite a bit more room inside the cabin than I expected. It is low,
however, and the small and high doors do make it more difficult to get into than
most other small sports cars. The only negative on the size is that the trunk/
boot is very small (and houses the battery) and will not allow much luggage at
While I thought the fit and finish of the car was very good, there are a few
signs that may reveal its kit car nature. That said, the car has a lot of neat
touches that (to me) made it look cooler than a production car. Things like the
gas caps, hood locks and the interior finish all looked exceptionally good.
Overall, I found it to be a very good looking car. In fact, each time we stopped
people would gather around the car and complement its looks – then ask “what is
No surprise, a car that dyno’s at approximately 330 whp and weighs less than
2300 lbs is going to be very fast. It was - probably just about as fast as
anything I have every been in, including a few Ferraris, Lamborginis, Corvettes
and Porsches (no, I have not yet owned any of the above cars). Despite this, the
chassis seemed well capable of handling its power, no doubt helped by the awd.
It also seemed that the car’s light weight made any lag just about unnoticeable,
which was a big plus for passes on winding roads.
First, I have to mention that this car had just been put together, and had not
had a full alignment, needed a rear sway bar and was riding on snow tires.
Despite this, I found the car really enjoyable. While I am very critical of the
handling of the GC and GD body Subarus, the Murtaya has a wonderful feel for the
road. Despite the parts they have in common, the Murtaya’s steering wheel
feedback is outstanding. You truly feel the road, whether you are pushing the
car in the turns or are just going slowly through town. The road feel is so good
that it makes the car really a pleasure to drive. Whether this is due to the
light weight, the stiffer chassis (IIRC, 30% stiffer than a GD body Subaru) or
the shorter wheelbase, I am not sure, but the overall setup works.
One thing I really like about this car is the Murtaya is designed to excel on
real roads and in all conditions. While many sports cars work great at Autobahn
speeds, fewer work as well on lower speed B roads. This is significant to me,
because while driving Autobahn speeds will likely send you to jail in this
country, it is much safer and less stressful to drive quickly on lower speed,
turnier roads. According to Will, this is lower speed (say 30 to 80mph) is a
major part of the design goal by the Adrenaline designers, and the car certainly
felt great at these speeds – and a bit higher!
As far as the handling limits go, the Murtaya seemed extremely capable to me.
While I did not push the car terribly hard, Will did a few times and the car
really felt secure (again, despite its lack of suspension tuning). With some
suspension tuning and time behind the wheel I am sure it would be a lot of fun
to explore its limits.
Murtayas can be had in left or right hand drive, and can be set up as road or
track cars. Other options include hardtops, softtops, and roll cages.
[Taken from Jeff B's review as posted on