Best buys supercars: And the winner is...German once more
Our choice of the hottest supercars on the market right now
Best One: Porsche 911
The 911, more than fifty years on from its inception, continues to confound. The current model, the facelifted and updated version of the 991 series, is about to be replaced. By the end of this year, there will be an all-new 992 (looking as predictably similar on top, but with high-tech newness beneath, including some semi-autonomous driver aids, and the beginnings of a hybrid version) but the best one, the GTS version, proves that even on the cusp of replacement, the 911 remains the ultimate fast car. Power, from its 3.0-litre turbocharged flat-six engine, has now hit 450hp and when you combined that with the optional Carrera 4 four-wheel drive system, you have seriously weapons-grade performance. As fast as a Ferrari? Not quite, at least not on paper, but on a lumpy, wet, twisty Irish road, the 911 GTS would leave just about any Ferrari for dead. It has whip-fast steering, supple suspension, seemingly endless traction, and the kind of balance that would shame a ballerina. Ageing? Yup, but ageing beautifully.
Best model: 91 GTS Carrera 4 for €181,377 Price range: €130,871 to €336,394. Finance from €POA per month. Co2 emissions: 177 to 308g/km Sum up: Replaced soon, but it’s the Muhammed Ali of supercars
Aston Martin DB11
When replacing the effortlessly gorgeous, and long-lived, DB9, Aston took quite a brave step. The DB11 has quite dramatic styling, still instantly recognisably an Aston in the classic sense, but look at that turret-like roof; look at that flat-topped rear; look at those deeply back-cut front wheel arches. It’s quite daring. Thankfully, in person, it all resolves into something quite gorgeous too, and thankfully too, Aston has at last created a properly functional interior. The DB11 has acres of head and legroom in the front, and thanks to a partnership with Mercedes-AMG, all of the cabin electronics and infotainment now work properly and with slick precision. The only bum note is a cheap plastic speedo surround. To drive, it’s magnificent. The V12 engine (there’s a V8 as well), now turbocharged, pumps out 600hp but the DB11 has pussycat responses - it’s distractingly easy to drive very, very quickly. The only problem? It’s about to be outshone by its smaller Vantage brother…
Best model: V12 for approx €340,000 Price range: approx €300,000 to €340,000. Finance from €POA per month. Co2 emissions: 230 to 265g/km Sum up: Not just a new model, a rebirth for Aston Martin
Just updated for 2018 with a bigger battery and a convertible Roadster model, the i8 continues to plough its own iconoclastic way in the supercar arena. It’s definitely a supercar thanks to its hip-high wedge shape and those butterfly doors, but it uses a turbocharged engine from a Mini Cooper S and has performance that’s more analogous to an M2, than a DB11. Yet, it feels very fast (sitting down that low helps) and, unlike any other supercar this side of a McLaren P1, you can plug it in, charge it up, and drive it around on zero-emissions, silent, electric power. Fun to drive, at least until you reach the (low) limits of those skinny tyres, it’s a currently unique driving experience.
Best model: Coupe for €161,580 Price range: €161,580 to €178,890. Finance from €POA per month. Co2 emissions: 42 to 46g/km Sum up: Futuristic, forward-looking, fun
If the i8 is futuristic, then the R8 is much more old fashioned. An aluminium body, seating two. A massive engine (a 5.2-litre V10 in this case) with no concession to modern fripperies such as turbochargers or hybrid power, mounted aft. Power going to all four wheels (with the option, if you’re brave enough, of deleting the front drive shafts for rear-wheel drive) and a low-slung, clung-to-the-oily-bits body. The R8 is every inch a classical supercar. Except it’s not - that V10 sings an astonishingly loud song; a glorious aria compared to the half-hearted mumble of rival turbocharged engines, and performance feel like being smacked from behind by the Space Shuttle at escape velocity. But it’s surprisingly easy to drive, you can see out of it, and it’s built like… well, built like an Audi. The downside is that it’s too parts-bin Audi inside, so ends up feeling not special enough.
Best model: R8 V10+ Coupe for €238,820 Price range: €199,000 to €260,250. Finance from €2,479 per month. Co2 emissions: 283 to 306g/km Sum up: Takes Audi’s Le Mans success and puts it on the street
Wild Card: Tesla Model S
Hang on. What’s this? A sensible luxury saloon, one that can even be had with optional seats in the boot to turn it into a family-friendly seven-seater? Here, in the supercars listing? Well, yes, if it’s the P100D model we’re talking about, because thanks to Tesla’s witchcraft when it comes to battery output and electric motor torque, the Model S can take on and beat most of the cars listed above when it comes to the benchmark 0-100km/h sprint. The trick is to take that massive central touchscreen and dial up ‘Ludicrous Mode.’ Named after a gag from Mel Brook’s comedy ‘Spaceballs’ the real hilarity hits when you drop your right foot, the Tesla ripples the tarmac behind it, and you reach 100km/h from standstill in 3.3secs. That’s just bonkers fast, fast enough to have your eyelids fluttering and as long as there’s charge in the batteries, the Model S will keep doing it, time after time, because there’s no clutch to burn out (although the batteries will eventually cry enough). Does that make up for the sky-high price, the sometimes shoddy build quality, and the concerns over the Autopilot system? Maybe…
Best model: P100D for €167,898 Price range: €98,389 to €167,898. Finance from €919 per month. Co2 emissions: 0g/km Sum up: Accelerating into the future? Only if they can build it properly…
Incoming: Porsche 911 (992), Aston Martin DB11 AMR, TVR Griffith, Polestar 1, BMW 8 Series & M8, Audi R8 facelift,