RE: PH 2017: Favourite car of the year

RE: PH 2017: Favourite car of the year

Monday 25th December 2017

PH 2017: Favourite car of the year

Happy Christmas! Presents? Here are half a dozen we wrapped earlier...

These are our personal choices of the best cars we drove in 2017. Some may shock, some may just seem pretty conventional but we would love to hear what you think of our choices in the comments below.

Honda CivicType R
It's hard to fully communicate the breadth of ability possessed by the new Civic Type R without slipping into gushing hyperbole. Not only is it incredibly quick, agile and engaging, but it is just such a fun car to drive. The short ratios, precise steering and lively throttle response keep you wanting to push on, while it's unwavering composure gives you the confidence to do so. It's a remarkable accomplishment on Honda's part and, for its combination of performance, price and practicality, just edges out the manual 911 GTS as my favourite car I've driven this year. Even the looks have started to grow on me.
(Dafydd Wood)

Mercedes-AMGE63 S
When a company like Mercedes decided to put its most powerful V8 in a saloon instead of the AMG GT R, that for me was already enough to make it my car of the year. 612hp in a car that can carry four people! Earlier on in the year, PH was lucky enough to borrow an E63 S for a Sunday Service at Santa Pod with the strip open for runs. Naturally I had to see what all that power was like and it didn't disappoint - quarter mile covered in 11.32 seconds at 122.8mph. It certainly surprised many drivers beating a Porsche GT3, a couple of BMWs, Golf Rs and a tuned Nissan GT-R with said driver running over to ask how I had modified it. That inner monster was then put back in its box on the way home and was a comfortable motorway cruiser barely getting a glance from other road users. The real wolf in sheep's clothing.
(Nikolai Attard)

McLaren 570SSpider
There are several obvious contenders: not least the new Ford GT and a Porsche 911 GT3 with a manual gearbox - but it would be scandalous in 2017 to overlook the quality of the cars emerging from Woking. This was true last year as well, of course - and yet with the 570S Spider and the 720S, McLaren has proven that its knack for evolutionary enhancement has matured to the point where the results might credibly be called peerless. Certainly this is true in the case of the 720S, a car of outrageous ability and performance, and probably Woking's crowning achievement to date. But my time in that car was fleeting; the 570S Spider I've driven frequently, in fair weather and foul. And in no moment - roof up or down, rain or shine - did it fail to confound expectations. Remarkably comfortable when you need it to be; atom-splittingly sharp when you want it to be; as fast as it'll ever have to be and as captivating a place for £165,000 as you could ever hope to find.
(Nic Cackett)

Lotus Exige 430Cup
Firstly, what a fabulous year for new cars this has been. Again. From a refreshed GT86 to the E63, and from the 720S and the return of a manual GT3, 2017 has proved there's still life in the fast car yet. It's changing, sure, but not necessarily for the worse.

That choosing a favourite car of the year was so difficult should tell you in what high esteem I hold the Exige Cup 430. Why is it my car of the year? Because I love it, put simply, and because the car feels like a culmination of all the things that Jean-Marc Gales has been working towards since he began as CEO in 2014. It's savagely fast and utterly compelling to drive, of course, but also feels exotic, expensive and desirable in a way that Lotuses haven't always. The pursuit of lightweighting is becoming more relevant by the day as well, the way it delivers supercar levels of performance in a Fiesta kerb weight as exciting as it is encouraging for the future.

I won't pretend that it doesn't require some compromise - and a heck of a lot of money - but for proving just what the Lotus mantra can achieve, and for being one of the best cars I've ever driven on track, the Exige Cup 430 is my favourite car of 2017. I can't wait to see what comes next.
(Matt Bird)

Alpine A110
Squeezing in right at the end of the year is the Alpine A110, which is not just the best car of 2017, it's the best car in years. Driving it you know you're in the company of something incredibly special - like the first time you have a crack in a Toyota GT86, only this has the extra power we sometimes crave in the Toyota, while carrying even less weight and having its mass in the middle, which makes it turn ever more eagerly. At around £50,000 when it arrives in Q2 of 2018, the A110 will not be a cheap car, but could it be superior to a Porsche 718 Cayman when it does get here? It might just be.
(Matt Prior)

Porsche 911 GT3
Sorry to be so crushingly unimaginative. 2017 has brought some genuinely brilliant performance cars, from the Honda Civic Type R to the McLaren 720S and 911 GT2 RS. Trying to work out which one was my personal favourite threatened to put my brain into a feedback loop; how do you quantify betterness when comparing a Rolls-Royce Phantom with a Ford GT?

So I resorted to that old pub conversation starter: if I could have just one car from this year's crop to keep forever, which would it be. All became clear, if entirely predictable - I'll have a 991.2 911 GT3, thanks - non-Clubsport and with the manual gearbox It's a fabulous all-rounder, as fast as I'd ever need anything to be on track, yet barely harsher than a regular Carrera on road. There's just the small matter of finding or affording one...
(Mike Duff)



Original Poster:

2,619 posts

89 months

Monday 25th December 2017
quotequote all
I'll take any of them. Merry Christmas.

Hugh Jarse

3,070 posts

139 months

Monday 25th December 2017
quotequote all
Glad to see people still making and focussing on sports cars, even if everyone is buying SUVs and faux SUVs.
Be all electric soon.
Kids are stirring and all hell is about to break loose.
Thanks to PH and posters for an enjoyable read.

Merry Christmas,


4,843 posts

104 months

Monday 25th December 2017
quotequote all
Long live the normally aspirated engine !


3,035 posts

125 months

Wednesday 27th December 2017
quotequote all
Alpine A110 easily the most exciting car for me but if we're talking pure fantasy, then the Ford GT and for the family, an Audi RS4! Pretty excited about the new Vantage for next year though...


5,636 posts

189 months

Thursday 28th December 2017
quotequote all
The A110 will do more for Renault's reputation than the F1 team. I know it's an Alpine not a Renault but the pixie dust spreads to Renault too.

I used to work for someone who had been head of marketing at Nike, one of his phrases was "The product is the best form of communication", when I work for him he had a $300m a year advertising budget so it was smart to understand the strength of product.

s m

16,726 posts

137 months

Thursday 28th December 2017
quotequote all
white_goodman said:
Alpine A110 easily the most exciting car for me if we're talking pure fantasy...
I'd have been more interested if there had been a manual version but then I'm not in the market for 50k cars and a 2-seater wouldn't be much use for me

Interests me how everyone is taking the journos collective word for it........usually they're said to be in the marketing/PR departments pocket when they hype something too much.

I'm sure it will turn out better than the Sport Spider though


1,048 posts

194 months

Saturday 30th December 2017
quotequote all
Both the Renault and Honda are not pretty cars. The styling on the Alpine is too retro and not in a good way. The Honda looks like a 90’s teenager Max Power readers wet dream.


1,926 posts

78 months

Saturday 30th December 2017
quotequote all
highway said:
Both the Renault and Honda are not pretty cars. The styling on the Alpine is too retro and not in a good way. The Honda looks like a 90’s teenager Max Power readers wet dream.
The Alpine doesn’t photograph well IMO. I found it looked so much better in the metal. If had the spare necessary, I would definitely be looking at one.


1,428 posts

104 months

Sunday 31st December 2017
quotequote all
Porscharheads strikes again.

The new Alpine plows a different furrow and that is worth celebrating.

Several “new” Lotus, this year too.