The NTC3 plus is a great car out of the box. I was able to pilot this car to a third place finish in my first club race ever. I was running against Mugen MTX3's, VoneRRR's, and other high end cars. The .15 engine runs STRONG.
I also have an HPI RS4 3 18SS. The engine on this car hauls butt too. Its very very very torquey and has good top end. I've read articles where HPI can get 60mph out of this engine.
For a newbie, the 18SS is a great car to start out with. Heck, I'm even selling mine in the for sale forum. I just have too many on road cars (2 MTX3's, 1 NTC3), and I need to buy a better radio. Anyhow, check out my ad, whoever is interested in buying an 18SS with a ton of hopups.
HPI RS4 3 18SS FS/FT