For the purposes of this top 10 chart, however, we can narrow our terms of reference down a bit; Caterham Sevens, Ferrari 488s, Alpine A110s and BMW M cars are ranked and dealt with elsewhere. Here, we’re interested in full-sized, fulsomely endowed, fully rounded dedicated sports cars priced between about £60,000 and £120,000. Only grown-up, big-hitting, multi-faceted and purpose-built options get in.
Front-, mid- and rear-engined offerings are included, likewise rear-drive and four-wheel-drive layouts, open and closed cockpits and both simple petrol and hybrid powertrains. There are plenty of routes towards the level of indulgent performance, vivid handling poise, immersive driver engagement and character you’d expect of a true sports car, after all. But which should you take – and why?
So far we’ve driven the new 992 generation of Porsche’s 911 in both rear-driven Carrera S and four-wheel-drive Carrera 4S guises, the former only on track, and yet both early tests suggested that this eighth-generation, rear-engined sporting hero is every inch as great a driver’s car as the 991 it’s replacing this year – and, if anything, stands ready to take the game away from its rivals.
Having grown longer and slightly wider than the car it replaces, the 992 is so far only available in 444bhp 3.0-litre turbo ‘S’-derivative form, with an eight-speed PDK gearbox and with either rear- or four-wheel drive. Both versions use what used to be called the 911’s ‘widebody’ shell (which has been lightened by more extensive use of aluminium in its construction), while four-wheel steering is now an option even on non-GT-level cars and mixed-width wheels and tyres come as standard.