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Welcome to Castle Combe where we are
going to find out what is Autocar’s favorite drivers car of 2017. Now what
I’m interested in is what they like to drive so we don’t care what they look
like we don’t care about what they’re like inside we don’t go from the price
we just care which one is the nicest to drive. Dan what’s on your radar? I’m
looking forward to driving the Caterham Donington edition because sevens are
always fantastic on track and on the other extreme I want to know what the
big heavy powerful Mercedes E63 estate car is like around Castle Combe. Okay, mate. Mauro, mate? I’m going with the GT3 because Porsche have won more handling days than
any other manufacturer, I’m also really looking forward to having a go into 720S because I’ve heard
a sneaky rumor that that’s actually quicker than the P1 and I really want to have a
go in the M4 because they always get a kicking and I want that to be a good
car. Fair enough, alright we’ll get on. We’ve run an annual competition to name
Britain’s best drivers car since 1989 and this year like in that very first
year we went to Castle Combe to do it. Combe is a scary old circuit for one
it’s very fast, two, there’s very little runoff but it’s also a great circuit
really bumpy and with a mix of cambers and corners it’s seriously good for
assessing a road car. First up is the second most powerful car in the test
which seems absurd given the company it’s in and the fact that it is
ultimately a family estate car. So, the E63 AMG S
now that ‘S’ is very important because that means that this is the fastest
E-Class Mercedes have ever made. 604 horsepower, 604! And 627 lbs-ft of torque.
Think about that number for a minute that is absolutely ridiculous. It’s not a light car, 2060 kgs. It’s wet today and this car feels all of those 2060
kgs in these conditions but it is a very fast car.
0-60, 3 and a half seconds. Limited, as all fast Mercedes are, to 155mph,
take that limiter off and this is a 200mph car. It’s four-wheel-drive now for
the E-class, you can put it into rear-wheel drive which we will do a bit
later. In four-wheel drive mode it has so much straight line performance that you
arrive everywhere carrying way more speed than you expected. It may be
extremely big and heavy and yes it does slip and slide around a little but in
these sodden conditions it’s one of the most approachable cars here. This thing has got a 9-speed gearbox, 9 speeds! That is absolutely ridiculous. It’s running on
the new and very much respected Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tires that replace the
super sports they’re meant to be better in the wet they’re certainly better in
the wet than the Pilot Sport cup twos and actually they do feel better in the
wet than the Super Sports. These brakes, ahh, they don’t feel… I’m not getting a load of confidence from
these brakes. I’ve probably done four laps and the pedal has gone long, very long.
The star performer of any AMG is its engine, here a 4 litre V8 with hot turbos
ostensibly the same unit as you’ll find in both the Aston DB11 and the AMG
GT-R but here it makes more power than in either of them so let’s see what
happens when you put it in to rear-wheel-drive mode. At the moment it seems everybody
is having a little gimmick of giving us the drift mode. AMG’s have always been
about having fun, they’ve often been criticised for being not quite sharp as
their M cousin as it were and to be fair that was a fair criticism and
when Mercedes made this thing four-wheel drive I got a bit upset I was thinking
no I love AMG because they are sideways absolutely everywhere. I did a world-record once in an AMG, I got a world record for the world’s longest drift
so I’ve swallowed a brave pill and I’ve now put it into rear-wheel drive. Probably a stupid idea, it’s absolutely soaking today this thing has got
604 horsepower and I’m pleased to report this car becomes a different animal when
you’ve got it in rear-wheel drive. You can really feel that diff at the back pushing it
sideways. This is a fast corner here, okay let’s see what it does, it’s quite a tricky one.
Turn in, slow it down a bit. Power coming on over through the corner. Yeah look at that. Through the corner all the way. that’s transformed the car for me now. I’m one of those guys, I know everyone says ‘Oh, why do you need to drift the car
everywhere?’ but being able to drift the car, it really really actually exploits
the cars natural balance and in four-wheel-drive mode it just didn’t move
around on the edge like how I like a car to move around and this is handling day, this is about how a car handles, how it entertains a driver and once you’ve
got this thing in rear-wheel drive it is back to being an entertaining car. All of
a sudden you’ve got an adjustability you didn’t have, you’ve got a playfulness you
didn’t have in four-wheel drive you got a scariness you didn’t have.
Going through the fastest corner on the track there and it’s just starting to step
out, I was in fifth gear. Yes, ah that’s it, that is how I like my AMG’s.
Yeah, my message to you if you buy one of these cars just leave it in real drive mode.
Also rear-wheel drive and with a grunty turbocharged engine is BMWs £87,000 M4 CS. This is the model that sits between the mainstream M4 competition
and the completely mad completely unhinged M4 GTS. I think what you’re
about to watch is several minutes of a very frightened man driving very slowly
around a slippery an extremely scary circuit. So this is the model that
borrows some of the parts from the GTS to make it faster, to make it lighter
more agile making a bit sharper than the standard M4 and the M4
competition and so that means this cars about 35 kgs lighter than the
competition not a huge amount and it’s still 1580 kgs at the curb it’s still
close to 1600 kgs, this car, so let’s not go pretending it’s a
lightweight track machine. It’s also got more power than the competition 454
bhp, it’ll do 0-60 in sub 4 seconds 3.9 to 62mph in fact which
for a rear driven car like this is really really fast. Last year at this
contest we had the even more focused GTS along, I was one of the few who
absolutely loved it and there are similarities between these two cars
they’re both set up stiffly with very little understeer, direct and responsive
steering and in loads of oversteer if you want it in the wet though, with the
CS you get oversteer whether frankly you want it or not. It’s less than 10 degrees
outside and there’s no grip at all, it’s compounded because this cars on Michelin
Cup 2 tires which are just struggling so much. I’m driving the car in comfort mode,
I’ve got the softest suspension setting just to try and help the chassis find
some grip, I’ve also got this stability control
system on entirely and even so the cars just slipping and sliding, the front end
will push. Massive understeer there and then it’ll slide there and then I’ll try
and get the power down and it’ll slide again, really you’re just holding on I’ve
driven this M4 CS enough in the dry to know that it’s a big improvement on
an M4 competition, BMW say the only difference chassis wise part of the
country tires is the software so apparently all the chassis settings all
the spring rates and damper rates are all the same. I’m not persuaded by that, I have to say, because I think the chassis feels so different to any other M4 that
I’ve driven, what you’ve got in this car in the dry particularly on the road is
body control especially over the rear axle the cars just more settled it’s
more composed than a standard m4 or the m4 competition which they’ve been
getting better and better year-on-year but they’re still wild things to drive. I
really wanted the M4 CS to be good but the reality is somewhat different unless
you’ve got the skill, the commitment and the bravery to grab it by its horns in
these wet conditions, it’s actually pretty horrifying. Particularly in these conditions, there’s something about the throttle calibration
that’s really, really tricky to judge, you seem to give it half throttle and you
just get all the boost. The engine lights up, the turbos spool up even more
and then you just break traction and the car slides. Let’s see what happens if we
get into M dynamic mode, so halfway house, yeah would you believe it it will
slide it’s quite a nice mode this, you’ve still got some safety net there but it
just lets the car go a little bit so you can get it moving around on a circuit. With those track grass tire wall, there’s no runoff whatsoever. So systems fully off, is this
going to end in a terrible crash? It will drift beautifully actually this
car, you’ve got to measure that throttle input that first throttle input but come
on, it’s an M car, of course it drifts. Can’t argue with that can you and it’s a
shame because I think this is the best M4 ever, it’s just so hard to
appreciate that when there’s so little grip. To the Honda civic Type-R, as they
say beauty is in the eye of the beholder 300-ish horsepower, a hot hatchback and we’ve
also got near 600 horsepower, we’ve got 700 horsepower supercars here so that’s the
beauty of our annual sort of handling day challenge. It doesn’t matter how fast a
car is, what matters is what it does to you in here, how
it makes you feel and that is why over the years, not always the fastest car
wins. Now the Civic is our favorite hot hatch of the moment it is the hatch du
jour isn’t it because this generation Civic gets multi-link rear end rather
than a torsion beam, the previous gen one was just a little bit one-dimensional at
times it was really fast around the Nordschleife but slightly irritating
around the North Circular. This one has got a broader remit, if you like, it’s
meant to be more comfortable at one end of things but also more agile and faster
at the other extreme of things. According to the engineers every scoop, every wing
has a specific job to play and how this thing goes. Can I feel them actually
doing their thing? mmm I’m not sure but what I can feel is that
clever front diff finding grip where frankly today it had no right to. It’s a lot
of power to put through the front wheels this isn’t it? It’s a lot of torque to put through the front wheels as well but the Civic is pretty clever suspension wise. Doesn’t break
into understeer very easily it’s quick in a straight line, revs to about seven,
it’s quite engaging noise, it does feel agile. I like it, I like this car quite a lot, maybe a bit less
than some of my colleagues who think it’s the best hot hatchback in years and
it’s got such an able, capable chassis Not everybody is a fan of the Civic
Type-R but I am an advocate. For me, it has a perfect blend of adjustability and
stability and in these wet conditions it has masses of grip and bundles of
performance. Enough to give the much more powerful BMW M4 CS a hard time around the lap.
And it has but I slightly miss some of the old delicacy that the just departed Renault Megane, Renault Sport
had that when you turned in and you sort of trailed the brakes or you lifted mid corner,
you got much more adjustability than this car has but in
terms of outright capability, bump absorption, resistance to both understeer
and oversteer, this car is superior no question and I think it’s good enough
to hold its head really high in this company. It steers really nicely, there’s
a little bit of torque steer, that has to be expected with this level of torque and power, the gearbox is really snicky, it’s a real highlight of this
car I think, the gearbox. And when you’ve only got 300 odd horsepower to push you
around rather than 700, you know, it’s quite nice
to have something else to do down the straights. It’s very fast in hot
hatchback terms but with it comes, I think a pleasingly
old-school level of engagement, I rather like that I’ll be honest, I rather like
that. How many times have these cars won end of year
contests like this one, these 911 GT3’s, the RS’, GT2’s, they just dominate
these competitions don’t they? Here we are then, this is the second
generation 991 GT3. It was the 911 R that won last year and here we are with an even more
track-focused version of the 911, it all bodes very well indeed for this car
doesn’t it? It is an interesting point, this car is on the same tires, Michelin Pilot
Sport Cup 2’s, as that M4 CS. Okay, there might be a small difference in size,
small difference in compound fundamentally it’s the same tyre. That M4
was all over the place, it was hard work actually it was really, really tricky,
really scary, this thing, this things so much easier to drive quickly, there’s so
much more feel, you’re not guessing, you’re not alarmed when it suddenly
snaps sideways from out nowhere you know when it’s going to do it you can feel
where the grip is you can feel how much front end it’s got. The GT3 is
magnificent even in the wet and even at sensible speeds, on the road for example
it steers beautifully, it’s compact, it has great visibility and fairly
obviously the bags of traction it takes all of the focus of the BMW but puts it
in a lighter more responsive more compact package that rides steers and
handles better than well almost any other car on the planet. I’ve left it in the
softest damper setting because I want to try and find some grip in this in these
treacherous conditions and even in that mode the body control is so good, this
track it’s got lots of Rises lots of crests and compressions the steering is
beautiful, it’s e-pass, okay, so it doesn’t have that same kind of pattery
sensation at low speed that you got with a hydraulic rack but the best e-pass
system i’ve ever come across, we’ve got great break ceramics on this
car and the brakes just aren’t wilting, you’ve got so much pedal feel as well. And then if you want to you can make the
things slide really, really easily and it just feels so well balanced when you’re
in a drift actually a 911 the hardcore 911 sliding like that is one of drivings
most amazing sensations . Despite everything being in the wrong place, this
car just works it does things no car with all that weight so far from the
front wheel should. It would be flat-out laps all day long and you can slide it
around like a GT86 if that’s your thing. Let’s talk about the drivetrain, so we’re up to 4 litres and this is the first time Porsche has been able to combine a four
litre engine with a 9,000 rpm redline, woohoo 9,000 rpm! When you get through
7,000 let’s give it a go so up to seven thousand eight thousand, nine it just
lights up. This PDK gearbox, it’s as quick as they come. Instant gear shifts, exactly when you want them. What a drivetrain, what a drivetrain
this is. This normally aspirated flat six 475 horsepower masses of performance got
very linear power delivery because it’s not turbocharged and it works so nicely
in these conditions. That soundtrack, this engine is just spectacular, the best
drivetrain out of the whole group? I think it is, isn’t it? What’s got a
better soundtrack and more exciting engine, more thrilling power delivery a
sharper gearbox than this thing? Nothing here, wow, I know it’s predictable but
this thing is gonna take some beating. Our next car was AMG’s take on the 911
GT3 it’s the AMG GT car. Now when Mercedes made this thing they made it
for one reason and one reason only and that was to punch Porsche and their GT3
square on the nose what’s it like well it’s got 577 horsepower which is
slightly less than we have in the E-Class, same engine four litre twin-turbo V8,
well I say the same engine the same base of the engine, this thing’s got different ECU
some different internals a different state of tune, is it a nearly but not
quite in terms of as good as the Porsche GT3? Well today it’s gonna be quite hard
to tell because it is soaking wet today it’s probably not the ideal car, woah,
for these conditions. On cut slick Michelin Cup 2 tyres, the GTRs tricky
in the wet but still so sharp and responsive. There’s a bump coming out of
the second chicane that upsets it on every lap flicking it into a small slide
each time but if you can get the tyre temperatures
up, the GTR feels like a mini GT3 racing car. I’ve spent quite a bit of
time in this car and I really, really enjoy them. I’m gonna be honest it’s so
wet today we’re not going to set any representative lap times on how capable
this car is so I’m just gonna have a mess around see how fun it is or otherwise
in these conditions, I love that noise I’m gonna turn the traction control
completely off because, well just because, brakes feel mega ooh, turning oversteer.
Oh, it’s nervous in the wet. You can have a bit of a play with it
slippery those big tyres just hunting for the water. Can I use full power, I can, will
it slow down? I don’t know. Brake pedals feel really nice, the brakes
in this are so much nicer than they were in that E-class I was just in
let’s see what it’s like on turn in, a bit of understeer there that’s just because of the
wetness. Bit of slide careful for the red and whites. Don’t shut the power down
straightaway because it will snap back. The GTR is a truly compelling car, wider
and louder and lairy-er than a 911 GT3 but with a distinct personality all of
its own and rewarding in its own way. It’s also seriously fast it makes loads
of noise and you think, ‘Is this thing all mouth and no trousers?’ and then you
check the lap time. Gearbox works well, a couple of times it will miss its down changes. A bit of understeer through there but that really is me carrying
too much speed into the corner. Here you go baby.
This is an absolute monster of a car. What’s it like over these bumps? It rides
the bumps really well, really, really well actually. I really, really like this car it’s playful it’s fast I love the
way it looks nothing like as intimidating as I was expecting it to be
in these wet conditions. If the GTR feels like a GT3 racer
there’s a car here that feels more like a touring car, the Alfa Romeo Giulia
Quadrifoglio. Which was a car developed in a really short
space of time so short some people said it couldn’t be done but there was a
bloke in charge who’s project before that I think was the Ferrari 458 speciale,
which is not a bad thing to be going on with, is it frankly? And I know it’s a
different car this is a saloon car that is a supercar but you can sort of tell
it’s got that mark on it. The steering’s really quick two turns lock to lock but
with it there’s this sort of real silky smoothness and the ride is absolutely
beautifully composed on the road and around the circuit like this uncannily
smooth. This is on P Zero Corsa’s you could also have I think Trofeo’s
which are even more race track oriented. Doesn’t have a conventional limited slip
diff I think it’s got this sort of Q2 differential I suppose with electronics and clutches it’s quite a clever system. It means that it’s more refined
on the road and on turn in because it doesn’t lock up and exacerbate understeer, what it
does is it allows the rear wheels to turn at whatever speeds they really want to
and then it only electronically hooks up under acceleration when you particularly
want it to but this is pretty well set up, frankly. Even if you put the car into
race mode, you can hit the damper button and slack in the suspension off that
makes a huge difference on a bumpy road but on track in these very slippery
conditions it also means the Guilia finds traction and grip that other cars
simply don’t. There are cars in which a wet bumpy circuit like Castle Combe
would be pretty terrifying if they had rear-wheel drive P Zero Corsa’s and 510
horsepower from a turbocharged engine so when the tourque kicks in the torque fairly
kicks in too but as long as you keep things switched on, it’s actually quite
manageable, this car, we’re in D at the moment, let’s stick it into race. That firms everything up, I’ll pick a corner and we’ll see how it behaves. This thing is basically a four-door Ferrari make no mistake. The front end is sharp
and it’s as crisp as you could want a front axle to be, it will slide so
progressively once you’re used to that quick front steering rack and turning in
on the brakes only seems to exacerbate that feeling of alertness.
Quite often we invite a saloon car along to a test like this, you get to a point
you go ‘Yeah it’s good for what it is’ and then it will finish nearly last because what it is is a 1.7
1.8 ton saloon car and a sports car unsurprisingly beats it. You just don’t get
that with this, I am convinced it is a better car than an M3 or an M4 I think
it’s the best super saloon you can buy at the moment I prefer it to all of them, quick Jags, quick mercs, it’s got a world-class,
absolutely world-class chassis. If you’ve got a 250 mile journey to do in a day, some of it on motorway and some of it on lovely back roads, it’s not much better than one of
these on sale at the moment and I genuinely mean that at any price, any
power, any size of car, I think this is absolutely one of the most enjoyable
cars on sale, I love it to bits it’s so beautifully balanced. This car is, is
great in all conditions I think in conditions like this particularly it
could win I mean I’m having as much fun here as I suspect I will have in the
fastest cars that we’ve got here. From cutting-edge Italian exotica to a
bathtub on wheels built in a shed in England. What’s this test called? AutoCar handling day. Well then this is the winner isn’t it? It’s the Caterham 7 This is what they’re built to do. Okay it’s not quite that simple but this car is fantastic around here it’s a 420 Donington edition, one of
only 10 that they’re going to make, Caterham’s got a new dealership at Donington
Park and these limited edition models commemorate that new dealership. Each of the 10 cars is named after a corner at Donington, this one’s car number one and
it’s named after red gate. This is a 420 which means it’s got a 2 litre normally aspirated four-cylinder engine with 210bhp. It feels more like
400, the car’s so light, it’s less than 600kgs so it’s got so much
performance and check this out sequential gear shift how cool is that. Clutch less up shifts, flat on the throttle, pull back the lever and it changes up a gear makes you feel like you’re in a racing car. Clutch in on the way down, does not get any better than that. Conditions are a bit better now but it’s still so slippery out here. This car’s on the most aggressive tyres out of any car here. They’re basically barely road legal, track day tyres, they’ve got hardly any tread on them. You’d look at them, look at the conditions and think the car’s going to be a nightmare Do you know what? It’s one of the most drivable cars here A Caterham might not be built with these
cars and conditions but it is great in them nonetheless. It doesn’t weigh very
much so it’s really agile and it has a linear power delivery and so much
steering feel that it is the cartiest car of the bunch
you can dole out just as much power as this tiny sports car needs which makes it
great fun to drive in wet or dry You know exactly what the car’s doing, it’s got great traction. To make it slide like that you’ve got to dig right into the throttle pedal. It’s got good turn in grip but of course
you can feel everything that the front tyres are doing the steering is just
spectacular it’s got good cornering grip as well and
it’s even got good braking grip. This car has no ABS, it should be locking up
all over the place but because it’s got such great pedal feel you don’t lock out With the track so slippery you can just
play about with it, make the car slide all over the place.
Surely it’s the most entertaining car here. When the track is this wet, right now there’s nothing else I’d rather be in. You can’t hide your mistakes in a Caterham. It’s basically like going back to school, no
ABS, no traction control, no windscreen even. Just perfect then, well, maybe I’d have
the windscreen, but that’s it. The engine, 210 bhp at 7600
RPM, it’s a proper ripper. It’s a snorty, rauty, aggressive engine. You have to
use all the revs, it’s a brilliant, brilliant thing. It sounds fantastic and the car is so fast, there’s not weight to it. Sixth gear, 110mph. Coming down into quarry, slippery right-hander get it turned in, get on the power and make it slide all the way to the exit. It doesn’t get much better than this guys.
It’s less than 50 grand, this car. It’s one of the cheaper cars in this test and, you know what? It’s one of the quickest cars here. and on track it’s maybe the most
entertaining car here. How can you argue with that? So, from no touring to Grand Touring next
up is Aston Martin’s DB11. V8. So, if I played a little game with you, let’s
say we started playing the word association game and I said to you track
car I’d be very surprised if any one of you came back and shouted DB11, no, not
gonna happen. But, let me tell you something. The chap that is now responsible
for how these things handle is also the guy that was responsible for how every
modern Lotus handles and when he left Lotus and came to Aston Martin he
brought with him all of his top guys I’ve got a sneaky suspicion this is
going to be a pretty good car to drive. It’s wet today, it’s cold, it’s damp, those
conditions actually play into this car because it’s quite soft it’s quite heavy it’s
lighter than the E-class that we were in earlier but it’s slightly heavier than the AMG
GTR. This thing has got 510 horsepower and 500 lbs-ft of torque. First impressions it feels a very nice car to drive on track, it’s not
intimidating it rides beautifully, the brakes feel nice it’s quick slow engine
horsepower it’s quick in the same way the other two were quick and actually
I’d say that in these conditions it is the nicer, more progressive car. The Aston Martin is one of the three cars here to use the Mercedes 4 litre
twin-turbo V8, it’s a brilliant performance car engine with sharp
throttle response and tons of power and remarkably Aston has made it feel like
it really belongs in the development the soundtrack is rich and cultured just as
you’d expect of an Aston. This steering is nice it’s really nicely weighted it’s
beautifully damped. Everything on this car’s beautifully damped actually. The suspension’s beautifully damped that the sneering a beautifully damped the brake pedal feel
is nice the turn in is good considering the conditions it doesn’t feel as
aggressive as either of the AMG’s. It actually feels nicer, that the damping is
definitely nicer in this thing I’ve put that down to the chap from
Lotus. I put that down to his input in the car. It’s like a puddle out here, right, you know what. I know I said it was throwing it down but I’m gonna turn the ESP off to see what we can get out of the dynamics
of it the funny thing about this track this is an intimidating track none of
the cars I’ve been in today have been particularly intimidating, I have to say
it’s the track if you get it slightly wrong there’s no room for error you’ve
got a bit of grass and it’s a very very hard metal barrier, that is all you’ve got. Right, let’s go and have a look here, okay, so. What’s it like on the exit? Bit of power so it slides, you can keep hold of that. Nice breakaway, the way it regained its
grip, quite progressive as well not bad, not bad at all, I quite like that. The DB11 really
came into its own in these conditions with a V8 engine in its nose rather than
the V12, it’s lighter which reduces understeer and makes it far more willing
to turn but then it still has loads of torque too and with a long wheelbase, the
engine in the front and rear wheel drive that makes it a delightful car in which
to go sideways. Woah, bit of a big angle there, that’s cool. yeah they have done a great job
with this car it’s not a track car of course it’s not
but in today’s conditions it works perfectly. I can’t drive this car completely flat out
because it’s just absolutely chucking it down. The suspension works perfectly, it glides, it’s absolutely wonderful. It glides but it doesn’t feel unruly so they’ve done the magic thing of making the car feel like it’s floating when it
needs to be but it’s perfectly responsive when you want it to be. You can play, you
can have a drift good good car I like it brakes are nice, gearbox works well, it’s a
beast, it’s a beast. from one powerful Brit to another the
most powerful car on the test in fact you join me about 20 minutes after it
has hosed down wetter than an otters pocket sort of hosing. Perfect conditions for a
lightweight carbon fiber, highly turbocharged 700-plus horsepower
mid-engine supercar wouldn’t you say well let’s see let’s deal with the
things that we can do with at any speed. Brake pedal feel is good, steering still
hydraulic, is lovely it feels light it feels agile, it turns really crisply and
smoothly I’ve got everything on I mean the sort of mid mode now this is where
the McLaren gets a little bit more complicated because you have to put, A,
this panel into active mode in the first instance so if I want aero mode I have to
push a button I’ve now got, at the moment I’m in manual which I want, I’ve got my
powertrain and my chassis in there middle setting. So it goes Comfort, Sport,
Track. We’re in sport at the moment sports probably in the wet about as firm as you
want to make the dampers because you want a bit of body lean to make the
tyres work so you put some weight on the outside tyres. The traction control light
just sort of blinks away going, ‘Yeah, I’m just here, I’m just doing my thing
just to stop you spearing off into a wall.’ Despite being so fast in a straight
line and having so much cornering ability, the 720S is actually one of the
most drivable cars here, it’s easy to read and it has great steering. It is fairly extraordinary, this car has got, what, 720 horsepower, 710 brake. What did the McLaren F1 have? 627 so it’s got pushing on for 80 horsepower more than a McLaren F1.
It’s now turbocharged quite heavily turbocharged, it’s a 4 litre engine so it’s
quite boosting but in no way does that power come on too intimidatingly. Now, this is near hypercar speed I suspect around a race circuit, if I know around a race
circuit, this car is quicker than a P1 which makes it one of the fastest
production cars in the world and yet and yet they are, just nudge up to the
understeer a bit, there’s a bit of oversteer, so what it’s
all very, very manageable. The 720S is not as adjustable as a GT3 once the grip has gone, mainly due to their lack of an LSD. Ride is class leading, it’s even S-class levels of good. The way it’s unaffected
by the big curbs on the racetrack is absolutely amazing and the speed is
otherworldly and of course it does have the variable drift control. Variable drift control right there we go I’ve turned it up a bit, that will allow a certain
degree of opposite lock before the stability control cuts in so now my
traction control light is always on it would appear and there it goes. It shows
you just how much traction control was working a minute ago in these conditions
because it is now just, just breathe on the throttle and the back breaks away
but in a very progressive fashion, it’s not exactly progressive by Aston V8 DB
11 standards, it shouldn’t be, it’s not expected to be. So that’s third gear, bit of understeer, little bit of oversteer and then it just as long as
you’re steady on the throttle it thinks you know what you’re doing, it just opens
up the taps a bit and even down the straight there just as the boost comes
on, it lets it step out a little bit. I think what’s remarkable about this car
is that these are really not the conditions for it yet here I am having more fun than you would necessarily expect, there is no question
this is a world-class supercar at any speed apparently in any conditions McLaren’s 720S is also one of the most
track-focused cars here, once the circuit had dried the 720S put its clever active
arrow sublime chassis and neck snapping 710bhp to good use,
setting a time of 1 minute 11.6 seconds its lap time would not be beaten. We set
lap times at Combe but don’t read too much into them we do them just because
we can rather than because they have any effect on our verdicts. The conditions
were a bit changeable with the AMG GT R still posted an incredibly
respectable time given how wet it was when we tested it. The Civic was the
slowest car tested but don’t forget our verdict is not about the overall lap
time, what’s more interesting than that is that the Civic’s corner speeds were as
high as any other car here. These are the nine best performance cars of the year
but we’re here to put them in an order and that means one of them has to come
last. In 9th position… It’s the BMW M4 CS, the CS is a huge
improvement on the standard m4 but it just did not work in these conditions. In eighth… It’s the mercedes AMG E63 S The E63 is a game changer for fast estate
cars but in this sort of test there’s just no escaping its weight In seventh place… It’s the second of the two Mercedes, the AMG GT R. I’m sure the GTR
would have performed better in dry conditions but as it was it just wasn’t
suited to a wet Castle Combe. Sixth position then… Goes to the Honda Civic Type-R, it may not be a podium finish considering thecompetition the Civic
Type-R can go home with his head held high. The Caterham and the Alfa share fourth… Think about that for a sec, a four-door saloon as good to drive on track as a
car that was designed to do nothing but that, well-done Alfa Romeo. And so to the
top three. In third place well and truly making the most of the conditions is the Aston martin DB11 with its benign handling balance
and endearing V8 engine making it a lovely car to drive. The McLaren’s 720’s
and Porsche 911 GT3 meanwhile would have come out on top whatever the conditions. The 720s in second place is a belter, faster than even McLaren’s own P1
hypercar, it’s an example of what you can do if you keep a car as light as
possible and give it… well, loads of power! But it’s fun at normal
speeds too, some of our judges thought it could even have pinched the overall
victory. So there you have it, 2017’s best drivers car according to us is the Porsche 911 GT3 Happy? Absolutely happy, yeah. I think it’s a mighty, mighty car
again from the Porsche motorsport division. What a surprise, eh? I had to think long and hard about any vices, anything I didn’t like about this car. When it was really wet yesterday, the Cup 2 tyres
were out of their depth but even then the car was drivable, it was manageable it
was fun, it’s mega yep. Some engine as well. Mate, what do you reckon? yeah it’s a
mega bit of kit. Yeah it’s an assault on the senses, it’s fast, it was just so much fun
to drive and it’s the sort of car that just eggs you on. It’s so engaging, the only thing that I wasn’t so blown away by was the engine
over the last thousand rpm, so between eight and nine it just sounds like it
got that last thousand rpm just for the sake of having it it’s just a little bit
harsh but other than that yeah that’s a small criticism but other than that it’s
absolutely fantastic deserving winner. Alright so, beyond the obvious winner, what
has impressed you? The McLaren the 720S was absolutely fantastic there’s a
delicacy to to how it drives and how it goes about its business, it’s so fast,
it’s by far the quickest thing here and I loved the Giulia as well. The Giulia
is absolutely fantastic. It does feel like a four-door Ferrari and I know it’s a cliche
but that is the truth the other cars that stood out for me were the Aston
Martin, I thought particularly in the wet yesterday on circuit it was really good
and in the dry on track it’s still pretty entertaining it just makes me
think how brilliant is the Vantage going to be? Smaller, shorter, lighter, more focused
chassis. The other car that i had a lot of fun in as you can tell from my little
segment in it was the Caterham, particularly on a greasy
circuit there’s just nothing like a Seven to fling around a wet track. Thank you for watching please like and subscribe. Our marketing people call that
a call to action, you know? And join us every week here or on Autocar.co.uk for more motoring shenanigans

100 thoughts on “Autocar Car of the Year 2017 | Britain’s Best Sports Car named | 720S, 911 GT3, GT R and more

  1. Wonder why porsche always win and it's drivers car and porsche make their cars by keeping their customers in mind THE BEST

  2. Put them in a dry condition and you watch the amg gtr walk past most of the cars , pretty unfair test especially in the conditions you guys put them in. What a shame

  3. Should have cancelled the day and got it on a dry track for all. I know very hard but kinda a waste of time for a drivers car test…….. as I will not take my Porsche 964 C2 to the limits in the wet just like owners of these mostly won't.

  4. Very funny. The AMG was all over the place. But there you say it’s like a GT3 race car. M4CS does the same and it’s terrible.
    Sorry but I’m sick of this BMW bashing. I drove almost all of those super coupes/ sedans and I thought the M4 was by far the best sportscar of them and it is by far the fastest on the track (source: sport auto magazine)

  5. where the hell is performante???? why is everyone ignoring lambo??? also in the latest version of world's greatest dragrace lambo was absent. why?

  6. Where is the Ferrari 488 GTB , an unfair comparison…if Ferrari is here it beat all these cars…in my opinion Alfa Romeo Giulia is very nice car

  7. Thank you guys great video. I am a very happy Alfa owner just being beaten by cars many times the price I paid
    for the 4 door Ferrari!!!

  8. On what planet is the caterham 620r not the best driver's car by far? For real drivers that is, not for the general public… Although they had the 420 in this video not the 620, it's still much more rewarding and fun than any other cars here, not to mention faster and quicker than most.

  9. God knows where the 720S's horsepower is going. Matched and beaten by the GT3 which has 200+ hp less. Similar story comparing their nurburgring times. If it wasn't a McLaren, I don't think motoring journalists would give a shit about it.

  10. 'Britain's' best sports car in the same way that Britain's Got Talent features contestants from all around the world? either way, great video.

  11. Can't help but feel miserable for u guys it's always rainy and gloomy. Come to California, it's always sun shine and blue sky here.

  12. Why do they bother having a driving competition in the rain? It seems like Britain wouldn't be the best place to do these types of things

  13. IMO, There are only 3 REAL drivers car in this lineup, GT3, Civic, Caterham. A Manual, IMO is a big part of what makes a real drivers car, you have total control, And you have to move more then just your little fingers, You have to have your body work for it, You have to DRIVE it, If it cant do that, Its not a drivers car to me, On the Porsche the manual is THE option, The R and caterham have it as is, There all relativity light weight with exception to the Caterham which actually is light, And i also dont think a real drivers car should only be attained by 2% of the population, Price, They shouldnt have even bothered putting the DB11, E63 Estate in the mix.

    Its just sad that in todays world people think drivers cars are all the electronics doing the driving for you, Its so unfortunate..

  14. I just gave up watching as soon as I saw there is a 911 in it. Because I don't have to watch it until the end. It wil win.

  15. Predictable. The 911 is just so boring and common. It doesn’t feel special from a ‘every time I drive it and look at it I smile’ for me.

  16. I really think EVO cocked up by not having a true car of the year group test this year. Dan has really matured into a great journalist now.

  17. Bullshit gtr should be in top 4, how could aston martin be better than gtr when he has much better performance, you have to compare them in same condition, not like this…

  18. Sorry but in England you make the Best cartests. But its always wet and the Best Performance cars are always rear wheel drive. So Do IT in the dry by higher Temperatur please

  19. you guys didnt track them well cause the mercedes is faster than the 911 gt3 and even the porsche 911 gt 3RS it has been proved on the nurburgring

  20. Great test. I haven’t driven any of the cars featured in this test, so am not going to join the keyboard warriors who are happy to voice their ‘Expert’ opinion often. Having said that, at the end of the video you showed lap times which you said were not really relevant. Why not? All cars featured were tested on the same track on the same day and same conditions I assume? So they are relevant for this group test. What strikes is just how damn good the Porsche is. What is it, nearly half the price of the 720s? About 200bhp less, but only 0.3 of a second slower on the track. Porsche have always made good use of their power. Without any doubt, I would be more than happy with the GT3 as my every day car. Let’s face it, how many are actually ever used on track?

  21. "could I notice the effect of the wing and scoops in the type R? Hmm, I'm not sure".
    At the conclusion ……
    "remarkably the type R had the highest corner speeds of any car".
    Hmmm, it's almost like the wing and bits do actually make a difference to aerodynamics and grip levels, just like in motorsport. Who would have thought that, huh?

  22. Autocar why promote Mustang which has a 2 star crash rating and not allow comments. Is Autocar being paid by Ford.

  23. Thanks for showing us a comparison of how cars that will never be used in the wet perform in the wet.. #useless Why don't you just reschedule or check the 10 day forecast or go to the south of France…. What a colossal waste of time… #sad

  24. Can you guys do a drag race with 60k compact sport sedans? Q50 Red Sport v BMW 440i gran coupe, MB C43 AMG, Kia Stinger GT

  25. is that a joke! who the fuck was driving the GTR? are you telling me that the giulia and DB11 are faster….GTR easily win GT3 in other tests WHAT A JOKE !! and where the fuck is the PERFOMANTE!!!!

  26. "Britain's best sports cars", and runs a "handling" test, but not a single Lotus in sight!! Autocar, you're an absolute joke of a car channel aren't you! 😀

  27. I love how the driver reviewing the 911 GT3 was like 'no fucks given' 😀 the car slides, he counters it, like whatever and keeps on talking like nothing happened. It compliments the car, it's so easy to drive, and on the other hand… he's a good driver.

  28. Wtf is the meaning of testing this beasts of cars in the wet, and bleaming on them not to perform well.. try to drive a race car on sliks in the wet and tell me if it performs well… i really don't get the point of the testing a powerful SPORTCAR with track tires in this conditions i'm sorry.

  29. Can we just appreciate the competition between porsche and mclaren because they just keep raising the bar and to be honest nobody can touch them now

  30. A thorough review and an expected result but why test only on the track? With the possible exception of the Caterham 90%+ of the miles done on any of these cars will be on the road – GT3 included. Testing of a "Sports Car" needs to be done predominantly on the road over a period of a few days in varying weather conditions; not just drifting around a wet track.

  31. GT3 is a truly incredible machine. Porsche please do not turbocharge the next generation. Alfa is also very special.

  32. Where’s the Chiron? Where’s the F12 or 812 super fast? Or at the entry level, new MX-5, John Cooper Works or Ford Fiesta? (I’m abit demanding,sorry)🤔

  33. I'm sick with how much they complain about not being able to tell if one car is better than another because is soaking wet!!! Just film the fucking video in a sunny day you fucking morons!

  34. That’s a tiny little man….he couldn’t see over the wheel of the E class …couldn’t anyone find a cushion for him to sit on? My Grandmother uses one and it does the job because she is a tiny little person too 🙂 I think I’ve seen him before in an old Chris Harris video….he was wearing fancy leather shoes (with a big heel) He was tiny in that video too.

  35. What a silly thing to do; a sports car handling comparison in wet conditions! Who are the brains behind this operation?
    Book another track date and produce useful content instead.

  36. LOVE THAT PORSCHE!!! IT'S THE BEST DRIVING CAR!!! YEIIII!!!😋😎😍😘😗😙😚☺🙂🤗👍👏💪💪💪💪💪💪💪💪

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