I've always loved the way Rockstar detailed their cars. III, VC, SA. You could just tell that they loved cars and that they knew a lot about the cars they chose to parody. And even though the graphics for those 3D-Era games were sort of dated, the cars were always on point. They still had depth. Now that being said when IV came out, they blew me away. The fact that most cars had their own unique cockpits. The fact that you could see the flecks in a metallic paint job. All of those little details did it for me. But what blew me away the most were the badges, inside and out. A lot of cars shared interiors with other cars but what set them apart from each other were the badges. Not just on the steering wheel but on the carpets. The brand embroidery on the headrests, on the dash, metallic badges slapped on door sills. I think they bring the cars to life. They give them depth that is astounding to see especially for cars that aren't even licensed, cars that don't even exist in the real world.
And IV did it the best. Vanilla IV was their high point. After TLaD I started noticing the lack of attention to detail. Missing badges, more recycled cockpits. By V they were pretty much slacking. So naturally the cars in IV just have a level of specialness to them - at least for me - that you just can't find in other games. There are so many cars that I love in IV but I do have my favorites:
The Russian Benefactor Schafter
One of my favorite looking cars in IV is the Russian Benefactor Schafter. It oozes stealth. From the unique metallic black paint job to all of the smoked door handles and the smoked grill and smoked trim. And just look those menacing quad pipes in the back. Oh man the sound that comes out of things, that supercharged V12 sings! The real party piece are those beautifully simple black five spoke rims with the chrome dishes. So late 90's - early 00's German. The tail lights are all LED and at night emit a beautiful bright shape that gives the car presence in the back. And they're the only thing you'll see at night because this thing is completely black, it's murdered out! In front you have bi-xenons surrounded by circular LED strips.
This car captures the essence of Stuttgart and the Mercedes AMG tuning division. The Russian Benefactor Schafter draws most of its inspiration from the 2005 W220 Mercedes S65 AMG V12 BiTurbo:
As you can see, Rockstar nailed it! From the placement of the badges to the quad pipes and the side profile. And they did a damn fine job on the rims. Instead of replicating the ones above, they took these - what I think are the sexiest Mercedes rims out there...
...and murdered them out, tastefully keeping the dishes chrome. And all of the badges are on point, I mean just look:
Granted the car it's based off of is a turbo, but damn, so much detail! And the badges don't lie. Have you heard this engine? It sounds like a muscle car. It kind of is one, pure German muscle. It goes like stink and changes direction like no other sedan in this game. That engine is a masterpiece, so much torque. Presumably - in theory - Benefactor's more powerful models were tuned in Lenningen as that's what the engine cover reads in the super sexy Feltzer, and I have to say that they did a good job. The real S65 AMG is a monster, it is so fast and just crazy to drive.
It still kind of surprises me that Rockstar made this car. You see how they model sedans now. In V they're all slow and sound like hair dryers and perform terribly. Even the Presidente in IV is kind of slow. But they just didn't skimp on this one. The Benefactor Schafter, especially the Russian one, is a true sports sedan. It's fast, it's stealthy, it handles well, it sounds powerful. So what the hell happened? Why can't they do that now? Why can't they make cars like this anymore.
A Schafter V12 was leaked in the Executive Update files for GTA V which is scheduled to release this Tuesday. I've caught a few glimpses of it and it does remind me of this car with it's slightly more aggressive styling compared to the current V Schafter. But I won't get my hopes up. If it still handles and sounds as wimpy and weak as the V Schafter then I won't be surprised. But part of me really wants it to be like this car. Fast, mean, burly.
This car is a brute. Shame they don't make 'em like they used to no more.