Top 3 performance cars
Best buys archive
When travelling quickly and having fun matter most, and money's not a problem, here's three that 'll hit the spot
1: Porsche Cayman
The Cayman beats its big brother, the 911, here because it’s far cheaper but oh-so-nearly as good. Unlike the 911, it’s conventionally arranged with the engine up front. That’s the best place for it, making the Cayman an easier, more manageable car. In all but an expert’s hands, it’s also quicker and more forgiving to drive. The rear hatch makes a more convenient home for your belongings than the 911’s front boot. While the finish inside and out is that of a cheaper car, it still looks and feels every inch a proper Porsche. And, of course, the family resemblance is striking.
2: Mini John Cooper Works
Every Mini is a sparkler to drive. Pick this one with its turbocharged engine, though, and you’ve a car that’s a proper firework. Its 208bhp comes in sweetly at low revs but the push it gives grows as the engine speed rises, towing you relentlessly towards the horizon. It’s flexible, easy to drive and very, very fun. It’s quick but never brutal, the ride firm but not crashy, while the engine is docile until you stick your t down. The cabin is as cool-but-quirky as on every Mini and you can shop from the endless pick of extras to have it just the way you want. Boot space is silly-tiny and the rear seats are strictly for two, and cramped if they are grown-ups.
3: Porsche 911 Carrera
After so many years, and so many rivals, this remains the one that everyone wants. Acquiring one requires wealth and patience (waiting lists are long), while running costs are expensive. But if you can bear all this, you have a car that drives like no other and feels built to outlive most owners. For all that, it is an easy car to live with day to day. No temperamental supercar this, it will start on the button every morning and trickle nicely through rush-hour traffic. All 911s are quick but for us the entry model, the 3.6 Carrera, delivers all the poise and character that makes Porsches great – without outrageous cost.