Chris Evans picks the best sports cars of 2016
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Top Gear host Chris Evans on his top three sports cars
Supercars are great fun for the lucky bod behind the wheel, but barely any fun at all for the poor soul next to them. After the first minute or two of ‘wowees’, all they can do is try not to chuck up for the rest of the journey – especially when you’re in a car that does 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds.
What we actually have here in this new Audi R8 V10 Plus is a Lamborghini Huracán (its VW Group cousin) in a different tracksuit. Hold down the red button for main engine start and wait for the crescendo of pistons, all fighting to be first at the bar. She sounds fantastic.
The four driver modes start at Exhilarating and go up from there: White-knuckle; Scared stiff; I want my mummy!
Whichever mode is selected, the car is a wonder to drive, inspiring heaps of confidence thanks to the latest chapter in the famous Audi quattro all-wheel drive opus. The good news is that she stops as well as she goes, thanks to the massive carbon-ceramic brakes.
The gear-change is instant, the steering is more assured in some modes than others, but visibility is CinemaScope excellent. Cabin space is über-generous. There’s plenty of room to stretch out your legs, and there’s loads of headroom.
I liked the look of her as much as I enjoyed the driving. She has a bit of the Bugatti Veyron about her, and there’s the odd, new subtle curve, which softens her lines.
So what’s not so good? The Alcantara headlining, with stitched diamond design, comes in at an inexplicable £2,400. Equally baffling is the price of the gloss-carbon engine bay trim: £2,950. I could only count five pieces. Why would you?
But make no mistake, the rasping R8 V10 Plus is an ace car. Five stars all the way.
Auckland | Auckland City
$273.87 p/w $1,095.47 p/m
There is a 12-month waiting list for this, the first-ever right-hand-drive Ford Mustang 5.0-litre V8. It's a situation that has seen nearly new examples already exchanging hands for a staggering $30,000 over list price.
So what’s the big deal? Can this car really be that good? The short answer is, too bloody right.
This Mustang is easily as exciting as 99.9 per cent of any of the cars I’ve ever driven, but nowhere near as demanding. It’s like an Airbus with a penchant for aerobatics.
You can either cruise, gurgle and smile your way along the high street or roll up your sleeves, put the pedal to the metal and feel the burn.
The only downside to the second option is that you might want to close your eyes when it comes to checking your petrol receipts – 20mpg was the best average I could achieve.
Two things are rubbish: the central location of the drinks-holders – put any beverage in there and it will render changing gear nigh-on impossible – and boot space is tight for a car that otherwise appears to be huge. My kids would also argue that rear leg room is approaching child-cruelty status.
But really, if this is the kind of tin top that turns you on, there’s very little not to like.
Out on a run, recently, I got a double thumbs-up from a smiling gentleman running in the opposite direction.
So unnecessarily joyous and selfless, I almost burst into tears. It’s the opposite of owning a Porsche, where owners fear resentment to such an extent they’re even frightened of acknowledging fellow owners in their own Porsches.
I don’t get this, especially when one considers they are driving one of the greatest ‘things’ the human race has ever created.
The new 911 is the bacon and eggs, the beans on toast of the Porsche world. How do we know it’s a 911? Because the words ‘Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS’ are emblazoned on its rear.
Dear Porsche, why oh why… Oh forget it, let’s move on.
Do we bother talking about lack of luggage space, or that trying to close the bonnet is like juggling sand? No? Thought not.
Let’s look at the engine instead. Er, no again. We’re not allowed to see engines nowadays. Inside, then, what about that? Gorgeous, actually.
The front seats are splendid. If you have a figure you’d like hugging, these are the seats for you. And why not rehydrate with the help of the most elaborate cup-holder I’ve ever seen? Shame they didn’t spend as much time developing the seat-belt retrieval mechanism. Prepare for shoulder dislocation, people.
But let’s praise the fact there’s not a paddleshift or steering-wheel switch in sight. This baby is a back-to-basics, raw-and-ready stick-shift, designed to emulate the 911’s glory days of the Seventies. The best driver’s mode is the daredevil ‘Sport Plus’ setting – sedate to lairy in the flick of a finger.
The engine blips on the down-shift, which makes you feel like the driver you always wanted to be. Some Porsches stick to the road like they’re on rails – this 911 is happy to hang out her rear.
So, owners of the 911 GTS, or indeed any Porsche: if you see a paranoid brother or sister on the road coming towards you, say ‘Hi!’ to each other. Who knows, you might rediscover a bit of your better self.
-Mail on Sunday