RE: PH 2017: Road Test of the year

RE: PH 2017: Road Test of the year

Saturday 23rd December 2017

PH 2017: Road Test of the year

2017 has seen dozens of great new cars arrive; here are the ones you most wanted to read about!



With ongoing fear surrounding the future of the fast car, and the impact of environmental pressure and autonomy on our ability to enjoy our automobiles, it's occasionally hard to remember some of the sensational cars that are around.

In 2017 we've seen a new 640hp V10 Lamborghini launched, a 700hp rear-wheel drive Porsche, some stellar hot hatches and fantastic British sports cars. From what we've seen of 2018's models, there's every reason to be encouraged about the upcoming 12 months too.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves though; here is PH's 2017 Road Test of the Year, where Google Analytics helps us to decipher what you have wanted to read about most since January. Of course it's not an exact science (as cars are launched at different times), but with page views used to compile the top 10 - those with the most at the top of the table, those with the least in the relegation spots - it's about as impartial as it gets.

Speaking of which, there are some huge names missing from the 2017 road test retrospective. Both reviews of the new GT3, for example, plus the McLaren 720S, Lamborghini Aventador S, Range Rover Velar and AMG GT R. Enough of the losers, though; here are the top 10 most read PH roadtests of 2017.



10. Alpina B5Touring
Never let it be said that we don't like a fast estate on PistonHeads! The top 10 is kicked off with Andrew Frankel's review of the Alpina B5; with an M5 Touring looking very unlikely, this 600hp V8 wagon is the next best thing. Perhaps a better thing, going off what was said: "borderline miraculous" being his verdict on the Alpina's dynamics. Combine that with the style and performance we already know Alpina for, and it's not hard to see the appeal. It would seem you agree, the Alpina kicking out some supposedly bigger drives to get 10th spot.



9. Porsche 911GT2 RS
Well there had to be a Porsche in here somewhere, didn't there? Interestingly however it's not the GT3's return, nor even the GT3 manual's return, but instead the GT2 RS. More expensive and faster than the GT3, it attracted even more views than those cars despite arriving much later in the year.

Matt Prior said this particular 911 "has a better matched engine and chassis than anything GT2-ish that has come before it", a reflection on its more approachable and exploitable nature compared to previous madcap 911s. With performance comparable to a 918 Spyder, but all the usability of a regular Carrera, the GT2 RS is one hell of an achievement. It's the only Porsche to feature in this list, too...



8. DBA MiniRemastered
Porsche beaten by Mini! Yes, you read that right, the David Brown Automotive review attracted a greater number of views than the flagship 911. The Mini has been out for many weeks longer, yes, but that's still some result.

It's probably fair to say some of the views are through shock and incredulity, the prospect of a £100K Mini a little hard to take for some PH readers. While different in execution to the original, the DBA did at least stay true to dynamic appeal of the Mini, Erin Baker describing it as "an absolute laugh." Amazingly this Mini is the third most expensive car in the top 10, costing more than the Alpina and only cheaper than the GT2 RS and another very special supercar, which features soon...



7. Audi RS4Avant
Yes, we couldn't believe it either. But the Audi RS4, having only been published on December 12th, has made a shock last minute appearance at seventh on our list. Storming in late like a Christmas chart smash (or seventh-placed smash, rather), the RS4 proved PistonHeads really can't get enough of very fast and very practical cars.

On first experience the RS4 appears to be another successful addition to the Audi Sport line up, combining pace and quattro traction with some fleet-footed dynamics. And doesn't it look great?

The RS4 doesn't even arrive in the UK until January, but we'd expect 2018 to be a very busy year for it on PH. And when you see what else features in this list, it would take a brave soul to bet against any future RS4 coverage being included in this list next year - let's wait and see!



6. Ford GT
Here we go then, a bonafide supercar in the most-read list amongst the estates, hot hatches and that bloody Mini. The Ford GT offered a no-compromise, all encompassing and totally exhilarating supercar experience unlike any we have seen for a very long time. Matt Prior described it as "a brilliant, flawed, compromised, wonderful, capable, fabulous thing", with "sensational" balance and poise - some praise indeed.

UK buyers may still have to wait a little longer for their GTs to arrive, but it sounds like they are in for an incredible experience when they do get here. Certainly we know that the PistonHeads interest in the GT isn't going away anytime soon!



5. Honda CivicType R
You knew it was going to feature in here somewhere, didn't you? Love it or loathe it, the Honda Civic Type R is a car that you just couldn't help but take an interest in. Remember that two years ago, when the fast Civic finally returned, it was the second most viewed road test of 2015. So, if anything, fifth is a bit of an underachievement...

This could be an even more impressive car though. Because beyond the styling, beyond the Nurburgring hoo-ha and beyond the image, this is a staggeringly good hot hatch to drive. Everything we loved about the previous car has remained, with its problems addressed and rectified. And even despite limited opposition at the moment, it will take something truly exceptional from Hyundai, Renault or Ford in 2018 to surpass the Civic.



4. Litchfield GT-R LM20
Some of you will remember that tuned cars tend to do rather well in these kind of reviews, the Cosworth GT86 having ranked at number one in 2015. So to see Litchfield's reworking of an R35 - marking its two decades of fettling with all things GT-R related - feature so highly should come as no surprise.

It was some car too, power up to 675hp but the real gains coming dynamically: Litchfield installed Alcon brakes, completely reworked Bilstein dampers, stiffer springs and an extensive geometry overhaul. The result was described as "quite the machine", combining the "flow and authority" of its ride with acceleration "that leaves you feeling a little punch drunk" for what must be one of the best tuned GT-Rs ever. Wonder what Litchfield will come up with next?



3. Alfa GiuliaVeloce
Well this seems a bit strange. The Giulia Quadrifoglio, that M3-scaring 500hp flagship of the new Giulia range, didn't feature in 2016's list of the most-read tests. And yet the far tamer Veloce, the 280hp four-cylinder version, takes a podium place in 2017. Bizarre.

PH did get one of the very first drives of the car, which may have helped its cause, and at something like half the price of a Quadrifoglio it's considerably more accessible. It's no poor relation either, the review describing the Veloce as "the canny choice" from the regular Giulia range and "good enough to compete with the best in its class." Bear in mind this positivity came from driving the Q4 European Veloce too - the cars in the UK will be rear-drive only, and it's something we can't wait to drive in 2018.



2. Audi RS5
Remember what we said about the RS4? Here's your proof! Regardless of what people say, the numbers show that there's no denying the popularity of an Audi Sport product. Especially when it's Sonoma Green...

Despite the cynicism - some things never change, do they? - there was a good deal to like about the RS5. Of course it looked smart and went well, but there was also some dynamic class present as well. Its problem? The quality of rivals it faces, with both M4 and C63 offering formidable competition. And the ride on our test car felt especially unforgiving.

Do you think that will influence any buying decisions? No, us neither. Imagine how many reads an RS5 Cabriolet might attract in a road test round up of 2018. Perish the thought...



1. VolkswagenGolf R
Couldn't make it up, could you? There's an irony in a car that's actually quite unassuming generating so much comment and discussion, the Golf R seemingly as much of a talking point now as it was on introduction three years ago. The fact that this year's drive, simply a review of the mildly facelifted car, is still the most read on PH in 2017, shows just how much interest continues to surround it.

The car? Still as broadly talented as it was before, now with a fancier interior and the option of a Performance Pack should you fancy it. No need to mess with the formula when it's still so popular, is there? It remains exceptionally capable, quick and assured and a world away from how R-badged Golfs once were. And while our preference is still for the lighter, more agile front-wheel drive GTIs, there's no denying the popularity of the bloomin Golf R - it's your most read road test of 2017.

Author
Discussion

downsman

Original Poster:

992 posts

87 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
It amuses me that the Golf R is top, as it seems to me that it is a good example of where performance road cars have gone down a dead end.

It has far too much power and grip to be ever used to its full abilities on the road, well apart from being chased on Traffic Cops like its S3 relative!

Why build cars like this when a real driving enthusiast would much prefer the feedback of something like a GT86? Because lots of people buy them, obviously. Their drivers will never use more than 50% of the performance (apart from those mentioned above) but the stats do sound great standing by the bar in a pub.

ducnick

845 posts

174 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
Expect VAG to release more press cars in green in 2018

Alucidnation

8,517 posts

101 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
downsman said:
It amuses me that the Golf R is top, as it seems to me that it is a good example of where performance road cars have gone down a dead end.

It has far too much power and grip to be ever used to its full abilities on the road, well apart from being chased on Traffic Cops like its S3 relative!

Why build cars like this when a real driving enthusiast would much prefer the feedback of something like a GT86? Because lots of people buy them, obviously. Their drivers will never use more than 50% of the performance (apart from those mentioned above) but the stats do sound great standing by the bar in a pub.
Was there anything in particular that you didn't like when you drove it?

cmoose

41,948 posts

160 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
Alucidnation said:
Was there anything in particular that you didn't like when you drove it?
You mean apart from the engine note, power delivery, seating position, control weights / servo levels?

cmoose

41,948 posts

160 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
downsman said:
It amuses me that the Golf R is top, as it seems to me that it is a good example of where performance road cars have gone down a dead end.

It has far too much power and grip to be ever used to its full abilities on the road, well apart from being chased on Traffic Cops like its S3 relative!

Why build cars like this when a real driving enthusiast would much prefer the feedback of something like a GT86? Because lots of people buy them, obviously. Their drivers will never use more than 50% of the performance (apart from those mentioned above) but the stats do sound great standing by the bar in a pub.
While I sympathise with much of what you say, I think punters like the way cars like the Golf R go. I think a lot / most of them will use full power in short bursts and appreciate that more than nuances like control weights and seating position etc where a car like the GT86 has the Golf hammered.

So I agree that the Golf R is somewhat totemic of how moderns have gone all wrong, it's not just about the stats. Punters like the way it drives.
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givablondabone

2,498 posts

86 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
Aren't we missing the point here? Just because a car, the Golf R in this case, has the most views/discussion does not mean it is the best or most popular, it just means more people have something to say. And from what I've seen in the Golf R's case half of that is derogatory.


kambites

54,330 posts

152 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
Four out of ten of them VAG products and no BMWs (although I suppose the Alpina sort of counts). I wouldn't have predicted that.

V10Ace

229 posts

24 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
cmoose said:
downsman said:
It amuses me that the Golf R is top, as it seems to me that it is a good example of where performance road cars have gone down a dead end.

It has far too much power and grip to be ever used to its full abilities on the road, well apart from being chased on Traffic Cops like its S3 relative!

Why build cars like this when a real driving enthusiast would much prefer the feedback of something like a GT86? Because lots of people buy them, obviously. Their drivers will never use more than 50% of the performance (apart from those mentioned above) but the stats do sound great standing by the bar in a pub.
While I sympathise with much of what you say, I think punters like the way cars like the Golf R go. I think a lot / most of them will use full power in short bursts and appreciate that more than nuances like control weights and seating position etc where a car like the GT86 has the Golf hammered.

So I agree that the Golf R is somewhat totemic of how moderns have gone all wrong, it's not just about the stats. Punters like the way it drives.
Far too many wrong assumptions in his post... and who said the Golf had to be a Caterham. ..

Change the record......

You sound like one of those odd weird English people, that post up people's number plates to discuss and laugh....

"Bragging in the pub" Not everyone visits your pubs.......

And it is very easy to get every last drop of performance from one on the road, that's why most are modified within 24 hrs as they get boring (no fight from front or rear wheels)... so just stop...


You may not be a very exciting person, but there's no need to count anyone else out....

Happy holidays. ...


Edited by V10Ace on Saturday 23 December 12:19

suffolk009

3,771 posts

96 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
cmoose said:
downsman said:
It amuses me that the Golf R is top, as it seems to me that it is a good example of where performance road cars have gone down a dead end.

It has far too much power and grip to be ever used to its full abilities on the road, well apart from being chased on Traffic Cops like its S3 relative!

Why build cars like this when a real driving enthusiast would much prefer the feedback of something like a GT86? Because lots of people buy them, obviously. Their drivers will never use more than 50% of the performance (apart from those mentioned above) but the stats do sound great standing by the bar in a pub.
While I sympathise with much of what you say, I think punters like the way cars like the Golf R go. I think a lot / most of them will use full power in short bursts and appreciate that more than nuances like control weights and seating position etc where a car like the GT86 has the Golf hammered.

So I agree that the Golf R is somewhat totemic of how moderns have gone all wrong, it's not just about the stats. Punters like the way it drives.
Absolutely right. Why else can people keen going about Teslas being good to drive? Point and squirt is other-world fast. Ride, handling, interior, all very ordinary.

Alucidnation

8,517 posts

101 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
cmoose said:
Alucidnation said:
Was there anything in particular that you didn't like when you drove it?
You mean apart from the engine note, power delivery, seating position, control weights / servo levels?
Good point.

No wonder they didn't sell that many.

kambites

54,330 posts

152 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
suffolk009 said:
Absolutely right. Why else can people keen going about Teslas being good to drive? Point and squirt is other-world fast. Ride, handling, interior, all very ordinary.
Hmm, the only proper road test of the Model-3 I've read so far compared it directly to the Alfa Giulia QF (which the tester had apparently driven to the test) and said the Tesla's chassis made the Alfa feel like a wallowy poorly resolved boat or a thing, or words to that effect. Obviously one review isn't the be-all and end-all, but until I get to drive one I see no reason to believe it won't be at least as good as its competition.

I thought the Model-S's handling was rather good, although its control are as numb as, well, everything else really these days.

Edited by kambites on Saturday 23 December 14:08

J B L

4,045 posts

146 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
Off all these, I read the GT2, Alfa and Ford GT.

Would have liked to see the new Alpine featured in there.


cmoose

41,948 posts

160 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
Alucidnation said:
cmoose said:
Alucidnation said:
Was there anything in particular that you didn't like when you drove it?
You mean apart from the engine note, power delivery, seating position, control weights / servo levels?
Good point.

No wonder they didn't sell that many.
Good point.

McDonalds has served 300 billion burgers, far more than any other burger. They must be the best burgers ever made and not disgusting beef analogue patties wrapped in sugary, revolting buns.

Popularity is just about the worst available measure of merit. Most really popular things are awful.

This doesn't mean that something popular must be bad. But is does mean that when you appeal to popularity as you just did, you automatically fail!

DoubleD

5,102 posts

39 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
givablondabone said:
Aren't we missing the point here? Just because a car, the Golf R in this case, has the most views/discussion does not mean it is the best or most popular, it just means more people have something to say. And from what I've seen in the Golf R's case half of that is derogatory.
No, I think we all realised that.

Alucidnation

8,517 posts

101 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
cmoose said:
Alucidnation said:
cmoose said:
Alucidnation said:
Was there anything in particular that you didn't like when you drove it?
You mean apart from the engine note, power delivery, seating position, control weights / servo levels?
Good point.

No wonder they didn't sell that many.
Good point.

McDonalds has served 300 billion burgers, far more than any other burger. They must be the best burgers ever made and not disgusting beef analogue patties wrapped in sugary, revolting buns.

Popularity is just about the worst available measure of merit. Most really popular things are awful.

This doesn't mean that something popular must be bad. But is does mean that when you appeal to popularity as you just did, you automatically fail!
Really popular things are awful?

Righto!

rofl


cmoose

41,948 posts

160 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
Alucidnation said:
Really popular things are awful?

Righto!

rofl
Yup. The most popular TV shows are usually awful. Ditto the most popular films. Etc.

Some popular things are good, but being popular is usually a very poor indicator of merit.

Shiv_P

1,232 posts

36 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
Alucidnation said:
Really popular things are awful?

Righto!

rofl
apple

DoubleD

5,102 posts

39 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
cmoose said:
Yup. The most popular TV shows are usually awful. Ditto the most popular films. Etc.

Some popular things are good, but being popular is usually a very poor indicator of merit.
Is that why you like being unpopular ha ha

cmoose

41,948 posts

160 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
DoubleD said:
Is that why you like being unpopular ha ha
Do I know you?

Scottie - NW

788 posts

164 months

Saturday 23rd December 2017
quotequote all
cmoose said:
Good point.

McDonalds has served 300 billion burgers, far more than any other burger. They must be the best burgers ever made and not disgusting beef analogue patties wrapped in sugary, revolting buns.

Popularity is just about the worst available measure of merit. Most really popular things are awful.

This doesn't mean that something popular must be bad. But is does mean that when you appeal to popularity as you just did, you automatically fail!
Plenty of good points raised in this thread cmoose, I think your views reflect a lot of PHers.