Welcome to true-blue petrolhead territory. This is where the incredible outright grip and pace, vivid driver engagement and excitement, as the supreme management posture and a trackday-ready specification, and the purpose of all respect. This is the home of our hardcore sports cars top ten. You like it here.
Cars we’re saying goodbye to, they are true immortals of speed and excitement. Some of them are so exciting, in fact, in reality do not belong on the road at all – even if all are road-legal with numberplates. But they are all cars that would be in the market if you wanted a money-no-object trackday tool to enjoy of the year the summer months – and something that you could drive home afterwards.
Here we are able to recognize and classify both the current production machines and the ones that have gone on sale, but still need to be replaced, which makes it a perpetually valid dynamic point of reference for the class, even if not yet in production. This is because of the sports cars as special as this one are rare, and the chart, ten of them, without counting those who are technically deceased would be to deny some of the amazing driver’s car award are, without doubt, due.
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1. Porsche 911 GT3 (991 v2)
The supreme hardcore focus, trackday robustness, the management of brilliance, driver involvement, and performance of the Porsche 911 GT3, make it a car that requires absolutely the highest recognition we can give. It has become the default response to any number of questions, which has been recently introduced die-hard petrolhead could ask for that car he should buy with his money to maximize the return on investment for the speed, emotion, and driver reward. The only drawback is that, these days, everyone knows it – and so GT3s have become so sought after.
This is not a car that advertises its splendor is particularly strong on the paper. The car 493bhp 4.0-litre flat six makes it seem a bit out of the killed in this society, and even in the Porsche range of models, there are several 911s with more stated power, and the actual acceleration of the performance. But no rival has the GT3 mixture of pace, grip, balance, and usefully placed weight; none is the all-round dynamic performance and accuracy for exceptional manoeuvrability and is needed only once to set blistering lap times and set your imagination racing at the track. And a few seem suitable for road use once the box is closed.
Through three generations and as many mid-cycle reviews, the GT3 has got better and better, for the first time in 1999. Counting some of the very closely related GT3 derivative of the foothills, which has won Autocar’s annual Britain’s Best driver’s Car competition four times. Porsche 911s of various types have won seven times. For the record, no other sports car in three decades of competition, has won more than twice.
2. Ferrari 458 Special
When the enthusiasm is outlawed, the mid-engined supercar is consigned to history and her obituary is written, the track bespoke Ferrari 458 Speciale may be recognized as the largest and most exciting as ever built. Remains in our hardcore sports cars top ten, for the moment, because, while the 458 Italia on which it is based has long since been replaced by Maranello, the 488 GTB, the Special direct replacement is yet to appear. And even when his successor has not materialised, there are those of Autocar HQ that simply can not imagine how it will be a better driver car than this.
The car was introduced at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show, having had its 4.5-liter V8 massaged for the sum of 597bhp at a stratospheric 9000rpm, its dual-clutch sharp on the time of the move, its kerbweight slimmed down from 90kg to all, and his suspension made, its brakes are upgraded, the quicker steering and its aerodynamics improved. And all forward and upward from the base line of the 458 Italia specification, which is not a car to be sniffed.
And what are the results of these reviews yielded. The Special pin-sharp was awe-inspiring, and its handling composure, and the possibility of adjustment in the way of a spell to be able to keep under his power, lap after lap, almost infinite. And it could be so if you had the car’s electronic aids on or off. The car’s controls felt more faithful, too, compared to a normal 458, while the car’s screaming engine was a fitting farewell to the Ferrari V8 in the air.
3. Porsche 911 GT2 RS
This is the most loved sports car becomes a bit silly. There has never been a faster or more powerful than the Porsche 911 that of the 690bhp, 211mph GT2 RS. This super-911 seeks to combine involvement, the track focus of the GT3 RS with a level of the torque and of the pure brute-force performance of a 911 Turbo S could not equal, and the second is manifested through a drive shafts, rather than two.
Rather, it’s a mission statement – and, even if only with Porsche’s high standards cannot be delivered successfully at the moment. But a small detail, should not necessarily come between the GT2 RS owner, and the appreciation of what remains an incredibly exciting car, because the GT2 RS is very good at keeping its ridiculous to most check most of the time, triggering it only when you want to.
The machine uses 21cm rear wheels and 325-section tyres to transmit the poison to the asphalt. It has carbon-ceramic brakes as standard, and a suspension setup even more specialized than that of a GT3 RS. And yet, unlike almost all the other 911 GT2 has there ever been, does not know how to behave when the occasion demands it.
Other times? Is ballistic; not without the turbo lag (as it could be?) but still, a responsive and linear, and as fast as a hypercar in full cry. It is affordable and the obedient on a track, for the most part. It doesn’t feel like it is hard-wired into the synapses like a GT3, and does not involve to the same extent. Even so, there is nothing else like it.
4. McLaren 675 LT
The ranking here, because, just like the Ferrari 458 Special, which has yet to be replaced, the McLaren 675 ‘long tail’ was a coming of age for its British originator, in more ways than one. It was the first McLaren supercar to begin to show evidence of a key development by Woking: that enthusiast drivers, ultimately, the care at least as much on how they are going as fast as fast as they can, ultimately, go. Having checked the second box, rather emphatically, with the hypercar McLaren P1, catering more than before with the 675 LT – and with success.
The study found an extra 25bhp to the car’s 3.8-litre turbo V8, in addition to 650S trim, but added the bodywork, creating 40% more downforce, saved 100kg to the kerbweight, stiffened on the suspension and quickened the steering rack. But above all things, is returned to the 650S’ torque vectoring system and electronic aids to allow the management to come alive more easily on the circuit, and re-balance its levels of grip to give the handling agility, poise and control of truly engaging the mid-engined car.
Is a monster track machine, too: a thoroughly challenging and violently fast. But perhaps the most important thing of all, this was the first of the McLaren’s road car crop that could also be really fun.
5. Lamborghini Huracan Performance
Have, until recently, was the fastest production car in history to lap the Nurburgring Nordschliefe circuit, the Lamborghini Huracan Performance is also the fastest car we’ve ever timed it around our benchmark’s dry handling circuit, around which every high performance car that is the subject of an Autocar road test driven. That makes 630bhp, extra-light, four-wheel-drive Lambo faster, corner to corner, with the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and a Bugatti Veyron Supersport, which is the test of how much grip, the resolve, the composure and the precision of Sant’agata engineering in a Huracan chassis that was not class-leading in any one of these aspects in the standard form.
Very little prepares you for the evil, blood red scream of this car is naturally aspirated V10 engine rips past 8000rpm, or the barbarism of every change of the double clutch. In an era of turbo opponents, the Huracan’s rapier-sharp engine is really to be embraced and savoured. But in this Huracan, budget management and the trust you will be able to find once the car is incredible Pirelli Trofeo R tyres are warmed up, is almost the same splendor as the powertrain.
The Huracan has no equal, supercar presence and the sense of occasion, not to mention all this bleeding soul. As an object of desire, its appeal is multi-faceted, you will find the most beautiful of the carbon fiber in any other place in the world. As a motorist, lacking only the last degree of the accelerator on the balance, and the interactivity of the best of its rivals.
6. Lotus Exige Cup 430
This is the fastest street-legal production car that Lotus has ever made. Significantly modified from the Hethel Sports a 380-specification, the Cup 430 has a supercharged V6 engine good for 430bhp and shared with the Evora GT430, but weighs only 1056kg without liquids, which makes it good for a claimed 0-62 mph sprint of 3.3 sec. The maximum speed is 180mph – in a machine that makes hundreds of kilograms of downforce, making it capable of lapping Lotus’ test track more than a second faster than the car it replaces.
On the road or on the track, the Cup 430 feels ferociously fast, and intensely addictive, to a level that no modern Lotus has already reached. Is a car without Hetel usually, the preference for a soft, the breathing stroke on the road, but it has three-way adjustable dampers and adjustable ant-roll bar so it can be set to your preference. In the standard setting, it is certainly not firm enough to test your enthusiasm and its cabin is tight and frippery-free as Exiges have never been.
On the track, however, the car’s handling is a bit magnificent. A light machine does not punish his mechanics too difficult, and can be driven hard lap after lap without showing a hint of fading under the pressure. It is a driving experience that honors the investment of effort and commitment with great enthusiasm, great speed and handling, that it is extremely agile and well balanced, although quite scary in wet conditions.
7. BMW M4 GTS
Every now and again, the management of BMW’s ‘ Motorsport’ division performance is given license to go a little nuts and produce an extra-special limited-series production machine with absolutely top-level performance and specialization of purpose. That license gave us the BMW ‘E30’ M3 Sport Evo, the ‘E46’ M3 CSL and the E90 Is M3 GTS over the years. And now it has given life to this, the M4 GTS: a make-up version of BMW’s high-performance 4-Series Coupe with a 493bhp water-injected six-cylinder turbo engine, carbon-ceramic brakes, fully adjustable suspension coilover, carbon fibre bodywork and a fresh £121k pricetag.
Classic front-engine, rear-wheel drive, with the management of the budget, it is the GTS’ dynamic calling card on the track. If you catch the Michelin Cup 2 tyres the rear before there is too much heat in them, the car is a real thug of a drift car that you kindly take the angles of attitude that will not have the confidence needed to adopt most of the cars in this class.
The question marks? Maybe that six-cylinder feels a bit unworthy of a pricetag, the exchange rate is not brilliant on the road when you’re not driving the doors off the car, and the car’s ride and handling are just as good as the effort you are ready to invest in the setup of the car (the act of which requires a hydraulic lift and a large set of keys). On several occasions, and the evidence, the GTS has managed in a sublime way, well, sometimes – but also with alarming skittishness and hyper-reactivity of the road at other times. This is a car whose treatment gives only what you’re willing to put in by way of preparation.
8. Nissan GT-R Nismo
The legendary Nissan Skyline GT-R, in his ‘R35’ the generation of the model, it may have been around for more than a decade, but in top-of-the-range GT-R Nismo form in each case is a different animal from 478bhp the standard model Nissan introduced in 2007.
Having massaged on the machine, twin-turbo V6 up to 592bhp to the original GT-R Nismo, Nissan further stiffened the car, the bodywork and monocoque construction in 2017, model, year, version, re-tune the suspension in detail only, but more widely the update to its exterior styling and the interior. The car is better balanced, both of than it was previously, and a normal GT-R, with heavy, honest, responsive steering allow you to choose more easily in the corners and feel the awd system shuffling torque around the rear axle to keep it turned in. Outright grip and body control are both very good, although perhaps not to the level of some of the cars you against here on behalf of 1.7 tonnes of timber is the fulfilment.
The GT-R of the appeal at this level is not as simple as it is in general. This car’s £150k price makes a straight rival for the exotic supercar, the rhythm of the match, rather than play the giant-killer we know the GT-R. Again, it is extremely tactile, sympathetic, analog-feeling of the drive of remarkable pace.
9. Mercedes-AMG GT R
Carrying more motorsport technology than any production car Mercedes-AMG history, the GT R has been Affalterbach big swipe at the golden boy of his near Stuttgart rival, the Porsche 911 GT3. That it exists at all tells you a lot about AMG determination, one day, soon, to emerge from the shadow of his world-famous neighbour, as a manufacturer of sports cars of equal stature and acclaim. That the GT-R features, towards the bottom of this chart, however, and the GT3, it tells you that there is still some work to do before that can happen.
But don’t think for a moment that means that the GT-R gets everything wrong that the GT3 is so spectacular right; indeed, they are very different cars with distinct characters. The GT-R 577bhp V8 engine, for example, has a booming voice swagger and supercar thrust that the GT3 flat-six can’t match. Like the GT3, GT-R chassis, fully adjustable, rigid-mounted to the suspension and four-wheel steering. But do not turn those systems to such a charming effect, as the Porsche handles, it lacks the same confidence inspiring progressive in his management limit, and the feedback through the chassis and steering.
The car ten positions traction control system is very impressive on the track and there is to be supported as little or as much as you choose. But you off and the GT-R is equipped with a frame can be cruel – especially in wet conditions.
10. Radical RXC in GT
The idea of a modern Le Mans racing prototype for the road may be tempting, but the roster of car manufacturers, in reality the offer is not long. It can be argued, in fact, that there is only one item: ‘Radical Sportscars in Peterborough, UNITED kingdom.
The RXC GT is really that Radical, says that it is: a spaceframe racing car with a 650bhp turbo V6 and numberplates. It can be driven from home to track, and then is ready to develop almost a whole ton of downforce, and more than 2.0 g of lateral grip when you arrive. It’s an entirely crazy idea, making this one of the most hardcore road-legal cars the world has ever seen – and, it must be said, is not the easiest or the most rewarding to drive on the road.
Getting in and out, and then struggle with the heavy steering, pneumatically operated sequential gearbox and laughable turning radius, it is quite difficult not to drive this car in any point of a circuit of choice. And on the track? It is wonderfully quick in dry conditions, and challenges both your courage and your skill; delightfully extreme as almost nothing else, then. It’s a car whose existence we celebrate – but also a beautiful advertising for a couple of SUV’s and a trailer.