I'll just copy/paste everything I went through with the Autoart cars that I own(nd):
I work in my local Modelzone and had the luxury of trying out a few of these cars on my home track so i'll give a short opinion on what I think of the ones I purchased.
The only modifications I made to them was prior to running I opened them up and gave all the gears and bushings a nice coating of Tamiya grease. This needed to be done on all the AA cars as they are dry built.
First car to be tried out was a Mitsubishi Lancer (Tommi Makkinenn) which to be honest was a bit pants, it was much to slidey and would continuously de'slot when sliding about, it is also incredibly noisy almost like something is grinding away inside of it but upon opening it several times I cannot see what on earth it could be. It also lacks alot of power and seemingly crawls out of corners... I promptly gave up on the Lancer in the intentions of swapping it over for a non duff one.
Now the Peugeot 206 (Gronholm red with 5 spoke rims) First off it just would not grip it would keep slipping and sliding everywhere. To sort this I just turned it upside down and connected a battery to the braid and used an emery file on the rear tyres grinding them down untill they were almost slicks. Once I had done this its turned into a little gem, great speed and very fun to drive its also very quiet alot like Scalextrics cars.
I ran both this and my SCX Lancia Delta S4 and honestly I cant see a difference between either of them in handling. The Peugeot has possibly abit more pull out of corners but the Lancia can go into them later.
Only niggle about it is that it's got quite skinny wheels/tyres being about 7-8mm wide on both ends however the axles are smooth so its fully upgradable to run on aftermarket ones.
Another one is the Citroen Xsara which initially I was impressed with once I had taken it out of the box. It has brass bushings and obviously the body detail is nothing short of amazing. However after taking a closer look you will find the wheels fall off their axles VERY easily and the tyres are also slightly to big for the rims and upon removing the tyres you will find out they have the thickness of about 2mm meaning you cannot sand them down much at all!
Further on when removing the body the lighting wires came detached, these I found out were not soldered on at all mearly just held tight to their connecting pins with a little bit of heat shrink. the wires are also tiny being a couple of threads of hair thick so I couldnt be bothered to try and solder them all back in.
Anyway on the track it was horrendous the wheels kept falling off anytime it was getting grip and if the wheels didnt fall off they would just slip inside the tyres. Awful car in my opinion and requires a heck of a a lot of work to get it to work as it should so for that sake I have abandoned it.
I also have another one which is the Subaru Imprezza (Solberg Acropolis) I have yet to run this one but I have taken the body off and oiled all the moving parts. I have also connected a battery to it and it runs very smoothly and quietly so it looks promising. The wheels and tyres also do not seem to be loose.
Will put a short opinion up once I have run this one in a few days.
So they seem to be pretty good cars aslong as you are willing to do a little bit of modifications or in the Xsaras case loads.
The stand out one for me has to be the little Peugeot as it really is a good car once you have sorted the tyres out.
Certainly recomend trying some out just dont go into them with super high expectations.
Either way they do make fantastic shelf models!
Several months after that post I had pretty much made my mind up on them:
I have tried many of the Autoart cars which MZ sell and I can confidently say that they are all poor performers.
Indeed the main draw back on them is their scale wheels/tyres which on 2 models the Subaru and Citroen Xsara they just fell off the moment any power was put behind them on the track. Another thing is the tyres are slightly too baggy on the rims so these will freely slip under power.
The brakes are dreadful, as beautiful as they are to look at the downfall to all the detail is that the bodies weigh alot and really make them difficult to drive with speed as they will constantly deslot and roll over.
The lights are barely noticable when run in daylight, they are nowhere near as bright as say an SCX or Scaley car.
The best Autoart one I tried out of MZ's range was the Peugeot 206 but even then it was awful compared to a standard SCX rally car.
If you do buy any id recomend avioding the Xsara at all costs as this one for me was by far the worst car I have ever owned and just far to much hassle to get it to be even passable as a good runner.
A few months back I did a short video running an Autoart Peugeot 206 and a SCX Lancia Delta.
The videos speak for themselves, the Peugeot was running at no more than half throttle around my track track and if pushed any harder it would just slide all over the place and flip over bare in mind I have sanded the 3mm thin tyres as much as possible prior to running to improve the grip.
Autoart=lovely to look at but abysmal on track.
Mentioned videos can be found on my youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/AlvarezAzel?gl=GB&hl=en-GB