TVR Cerbera Reviews

1999 TVR Cerbera 4.5 4.5 V8 petrol from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1999
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 4.5 V8 petrol Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.2 / 10
Distance when acquired11000 miles
Most recent distance26000 miles
Previous carCaterham 7

Summary:

The British sports car industry has still got what it takes

Faults:

Clutch release bearing started to break up necessitating complete replacement clutch at just 13,000 miles. Replacement seems to be OK 13k later, so hopefully just a fluke.

A couple of electrical gremlins have come and gone since I bought the car - instruments sometimes erratic, dash illumination doesn't always work. Probably a dodgy earth somewhere.

Intermittent misfire started around 17,000 miles. Poor cold starting and even worse fuel consumption. Coolant temperature sensor was replaced which cured the fault.

Clonking from rear under hard acceleration at 20,000 miles. Traced to a couple of worn bushes.

General Comments:

Ballistic performance. You have to experience the 4.5 Cerbera to totally get your head around it. Cracks 60 mph in around 3.8 seconds and on to 190 mph flat out. Joins the wonderful world of sportsbikes (which I'm also partial to) in that on 90% of roads, it's skill, balls and traffic that determines how fast you go, not the available performance. Excluding motorways and the odd deserted dual carriageway, I think I've run out of throttle travel only in the higher gears and on a handful of occasions. It's brutal.

Sounds effects are drool inducing both in quantity and quality - well, it is a TVR after all. Not the same deep burble as the old Rover based V8 but a sharp, angry bark which is just as good for the smiling muscles. 15 mpg, but as it's not an everyday car and it's so unbelievably and searingly quick, I don't really care.

Lots of silly faults although to be fair, the car has never let me down. Much of it is down to poor or inadequate component quality rather than build quality, which in some ways is more serious. Clutch and suspension bush replacement before 20,000 miles shouldn't ever occur on a modern car, especially one which has only been on a track once in its entire life (I knew the previous owner). That said, nothing else on four wheels gives this kind of performance for this price. In fact, very little does at any price.

Handling has been a pleasant surprise. Much is made of the viciousness and tail-happiness of TVR's, but to be honest, as long as you accept it has 420 bhp and 380 lb/ft of torque, is rear drive and has no driver aids, it's fine. Of course it doesn't take much to provoke it into a lairy powerslide if the mood takes you, but after a bit of familiarisation, I don't ever have it happen by accident. In the wet it can be trickier, but the throttle action is well modulated and the reserves of grip surprisingly high. The steering is also beautifully accurate should it be needed to catch a wayward rear end.

I love the Cerbera. It's beautiful, searingly fast, hugely entertaining, and what's more it's 100% British. It's also stonking value for money, but you need to accept that when TVR decided not to cut costs in performance or dynamic ability, they had to do it somewhere, and so the odd component failure or obscure electrical fault isn't going to be a rarity. That said basic reliability, and assembly quality have been very good and a most welcome surprise.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 26th May, 2004

12th Aug 2005, 22:31

Thankyou very helpfull.

21st Oct 2005, 08:21

Well writtten review, good example for the rest.

27th Jan 2006, 05:49

Very helpful, thanks.

Considering a 4.5l now.

1st Feb 2006, 08:34

Great review. This has now confirmed that I need to buy one of these.

Have owned a Fiat Coupe 20VT, very fast for the money, I know it's a Fiat, but you have to start somewhere and I didn't have any problems with it.

However, the Cerbera 4.5 is the car I've always wanted when I could afford it, so I'm going to start looking.

3rd Dec 2008, 15:52

A good review of this car, I have owned a Cerbera for 18 months and have covered 28K in it. I can never leave it at home!

It has had a few minor niggles but has been on the whole reliable. I did have to have a clutch when I brought the car, but believe new clutches have been improved - mine's lasted 28K and counting.

I still grin like a small child every time I get in! If you buy one of these you must do a track day, you'll never know what these cars can really do if you don't.

Choosing the right tyres is vital with TVR because of the light weight, some sports tyres just don't work on them, speak to a TVR dealer before buying.

5th Aug 2013, 04:50

Hi,

Thank you for a concise, honest and extremely well written review!

C

1998 TVR Cerbera 4.2 4.2 V8 ptrol from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1998
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 4.2 V8 ptrol Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 0 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired12000 miles
Most recent distance27000 miles
Previous carBMW 3 Series

Summary:

Fantastic performance from a real head turner

Faults:

Front suspension had collapsed due to long storage by previous owner. Had new dampers and road springs under warranty.

Rear exhaust box collapsed, due to long storage - £450 to replace.

Odd transient faults with starter motor.

Clutch hydraulics failed - repaired under warranty.

General Comments:

A real super-car! Beat Ferraris and eat Porsches for beakfast.

Makes me laugh out loud just to sit in it.

The Cerbera goes like a bullet, but has no airbags or traction control, but a massive tubular chassis under the fibre-glass body.

Needs care in the wet.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd February, 2003

30th Nov 2005, 05:44

Would you reccommend a 4.2 or go for the 4.5?

2nd Jan 2006, 16:07

Dude, go for the 4.5 because the 4.2 has a top speed of only 160 miles per hour or so. but it does has a price difference of around 7000 pounds. But I would kick in the 7 grand and go for the 4.5 SO much more fun ;)

Adios.

3rd Apr 2006, 15:30

The 4.2 has a higher top speed than that. The 4.5 will pull faster above 120mph. Before that there is nothing in it.

Most 4.5's are nowhere near there quoted bhp even after red rose engine rebuilds. The 4.2 has a lot to offer. If you just want the 'I've got a bigger engine than you' badge then get the 4.5.

27th Dec 2006, 11:13

Was the Speed 12 ever put into production?

28th Dec 2006, 10:07

'Was the Speed 12 ever put into production?'

Yes, but TVR advised people not to buy it, because you'd be lucky to make it to the end of the road alive!

19th Dec 2008, 08:01

The 4.2 does not run to its maximum capacity until the E.C.U has been mapped to your individual engine. Although stunning performance as standard, give yourself a treat and get it mapped. The difference is staggering. Make sure you get it done by a professional though, someone who knows TVRs.

1998 TVR Cerbera 4.5 4.5 petrol from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1998
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 4.5 petrol Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired8000 miles
Most recent distance43000 miles
Previous carTVR Griffith

Summary:

A truly lovable beast

Faults:

Wiper motor failed shortly after purchase.

Clutch failed at 31000 miles, a regular problem with these cars due to the very high engine power.

General Comments:

This car has awesome performance, which can hardly be exploited on the public road.

A Cerbera is a practical car - 4 seats, plenty of boot space, air conditioning and very comfortable.

Road holding is excellent.

This is the only production car I know of which comes with a built in rollover cage as standard - this increases safety considerably.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th January, 2003

Average review marks: 7.5 / 10, based on 3 reviews