I’ve been collecting and building Lego for along time. Mostly through my early to mid twenties when I had plenty of disposable cash (through my childhood as well of course, but that was more what I was given than pursuing certain sets). I got back into it more recently with the release of Rey’s Landspeeder and a bunch of other Star Wars sets. And I may visit them in a bit more detail another time, but all the one’s I have are excellent.
Then the Speed Champions caught my eye. It’s like a perfect storm of exactly what I love, the eye for detail, and fun building of Lego, and cars. I love car. A lot. It almost feels like a mix of Forza and Lego. I remember seeing my first Speed Champiosn set, the Audi R8 MLS Ultra, tucked away in the corner of the Lego store in Hamburg when I was visiting in January. I almost didn’t get it, but it was a friends birthday, and he loves cars and Lego, so I got him the Mustang and figured I’d pick up the Audi anyway. Luckily a lot of the Speed Champions sets are very affordable.
Once I’d built it, I was hooked. I’ve collected a lot of Lego cars in the intervening months including quite a few Speed Champions sets. My original plan was to review each one individually but that would take a huge amount of time, and they all share a lot of features so I’m going to break it down into the road cars and racing cars. Of course some of the racing cars are also road cars but I’m not gonna get to into detail on that classification. I’m just trying to make life easier for myself here!
Over all the construction of these cars is very similar. Out of the box they come with 3 bags of part, bigger chunky parts, small detailed parts, a bag of alloy trims, a custom base plate, the instructions and a set of stickers/decals. They all cost around €15 and take about 45 minutes to build.
Lego seem to be aiming for a more stud-less style of construction for this range and I can really appreciate the detail this can being to the cars. As such there are a lot of blank plates and 4 way construction (there’s probably an official name for this) were face plates are often used on the sides of the cars to help give that sleek look. Each car also comes with a little extra feature other than the car itself which is nice to see, usually only a few bricks to make a small feature but they’re a welcome addition.
While they all only fit one minifig (most of the real cars being 2 up for course) Lego did a fantastic job of modeling their cars after the real thing. The only real negatives [for me] was 1) the sheer amount of stickers used to add to that detail, many of them small enough to fit on a 1 by 1 tile with room to spare. I found it frustrating putting them all on and even more difficult to line them up when that was necessary and 2) the utter lack of women drivers. While Lego have been making great strides in this area every set with only 1 minifig always seems to be a guy, would have been nice to see a bit more representation here as sets with 2 or more minifigs do seem to always have at least 1 woman.
Bugatti Chiron (75878)
The Bugatti had been out quite a while before I decided to get it. I found the marketing pictures to be very uninspiring and Bugatti cars have always felt a bit squat and bullish to me, and the only one I would be familiar with is there 1,000bhp monster, the Bugatti Veyron. But for whatever reason I ended up getting it and I’m glad I did.
This model has refreshingly few stickers/decals which was nice and looks much better in your hands than the marketing pictures would have you believe. The way they handle the dual colouring of the car is excellent, as well as the aerodynamics and door frames just works. But of note for this car is the mid mounted engine bay and rear section of the car. Lego have done an excellent job here and it really makes the car.
This car had probably the smallest extra too, just a few traffic cones, for creating a slalom, something even a little more substantial might have been nice but not necessary.
Chevrolet Z06 (75870)
I’d been wanting this model for a while but for some reason it was quite hard to come by in Ireland. I definitely regretted not picking it up while I was in Hamburg (it was the only other set I the Lego store had at the time) but I eventually found it in an ‘Art and Hobby’ shop which has since become a good place to find sets that aren’t in the major retailers. The box was pretty bashed up but that didn’t bother me, as long as the parts were OK I wouldn’t mind, and as expected they were perfect.
The shark-nose front end, low sills and boot mounted spoiler really give this long car a sleek look, and they’re very well built together. I particularly like how the cars curves were maintained throughout, though the curves over the front wheel arches and lights aren’t very nice, I’m not sure if that could really been improved on given the nature of Lego. A nice touch is how the interior is all red and the driver even has a headrest. Again there wasn’t too much sticker work here though definitely a step up compared to the Bugatti.
The extra to come with this is a very neat little camera, I love how Lego can do so much with so little. It definitely feels like it belongs in the set and brings a little extra something.
Ford Mustang (75871)
This is the car I’d given to my friend as a birthday present, and when he sent me a picture of a modded version of it I had to get my own. I had never intended to make any changes, and I didn’t, but I can definitely appreciate the changes my friend made. This model was readily available pretty much anywhere, which doesn’t surprise me to much.
It’s a super solid build throughout and the lines of the car are simple, and well thought out, in particular the rear end and the side panels, the stripe is a nice addition, even if it is a little cumbersome in the back. If this car fails anywhere, it’s in the lights at the front. This is where my friend had done their mods, replacing the curved section with the light sticker with some orange and white transparent wedges which looked quite nice. With the curved plates and the stickers it really just feels like a missed opportunity, especially since they really don’t suit well.
The extra here is a little lap timer, it’s cute and I think kids who have a couple cars each might have a bit of use for it on their imaginary track, I like it.
Mercedes-AMG GT3 (75877)
This is probably my favourite of all the Speed Champions, and happily it’s pretty easy to come by too. I could have easily classed it as a race car instead of a road car, but that’s the beauty of this model. It comes with 2 front ends, one for racing and one for normal driving, and you can remove the spoiler to get that extra road car look if you want. It also has a nice mix of stickers and details through parts as well as those excellent gold wheels.
This model probably has the most stickers for the road range, including those pesky 1 by 1 stickers (I should really get a pair of tweezers). The details on the built are excellent and the way the front ends interchange so easily is a well thought out feature and changes the look and feel of the car significantly. The rear end stop lights, spoiler/diffuser look fantastic and the gold rim on the wheels is a great touch. I’m not sure why the stripe doesn’t go the whole length of the car, but the asymmetry is appealing. It really just looks fantastic, in either configuration.
The extra here is obviously the second front end, and is by far the best extra of any of the cars currently available, it’s just nice to be able to change the look of the car as easily as it is here.
I would definitely recommend any of these cars, with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 at the top of that list, but really any of them are great builds and will look well in your collection, if you’re just displaying them (like me) or giving them to a kid to have some fun with, there’s value to be had. I love that not only did Lego go to the trouble of licensing these cars, they also clearly spent a lot of time getting them right, and it shows.