Best performance cars 2021

We run through the top ten performance cars on sale in the UK right now

With performance cars coming in all shapes and sizes, it is tricky to say which is definitively the best. That said, our experts here at Auto Express have spent a considerable amount of time testing each and every performance car on sale, and have come up with the following judgement on the 10 best performance cars you can buy today.

When deciding which cars offer drivers the most fun behind the wheel, we had only two rules. Firstly, they were not allowed to be limited-run special editions that no normal person can ever hope to see in the metal, let alone drive. And secondly, they were not allowed to be eye-wateringly expensive hypercars, for similar reasons. Aside from that, it was open warfare.

Naturally then, our best performance cars list consists of everything from Italian supercar exotica and track car weapons to sophisticated sports cars, roadsters and hot hatches. There should be something for everyone who prioritises performance and handling when choosing a new car.  

A crucial ingredient of any performance car is the ability to entertain, to put a smile on a driver's face, and this doesn’t require face splitting 0-60mph acceleration or sound barrier-breaking top speeds. What really matters is a car’s innate knack of involving the driver in the process of driving. It can be in the way information is transmitted back from the road and wheels, how the car responds to control inputs, or if the driver can get the back end to step out on demand. Preferably, a great performance car will deliver all this and more.  

One other thing that our chosen 10 have in common is that they are all reasonably easy to drive. That means they're just as happy pottering around town as they are on a track day. Whichever model you choose, we'd highly recommend some advanced driver training to help you get the most from a performance car. You don't need to hire a circuit to do this (although a track day might be a good way of getting to know how your car behaves on the limit in a safe environment), but the right kind of training can open your eyes to your car's potential.

Some of the performance models below are the halo cars of mainstream manufacturers, offering huge ability and often the looks to match, while others are the best current efforts from famous supercar brands. Most importantly, they all offer genuine thrills for drivers looking for the ultimate performance machine.

Top 10 best performance cars 

  1. Porsche 911
  2. McLaren 570S
  3. Aston Martin Vantage
  4. Ferrari F8 Tributo
  5. Porsche 718 Cayman/Boxster
  6. Alpine A110
  7. Caterham Seven
  8. BMW M5 Competition
  9. Honda Civic Type R
  10. Ford Fiesta ST

Which of our top 10 best performance cars would you choose if you had the cash? Or take a look at the fastest accelerating cars in the world.

Most Popular

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'
Opinion Nissan EV

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'

Steve Fowler thinks Nissan is in a great position to build on the Leaf's success
8 Apr 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTD vs BMW 120d
VW Golf GTD vs BMW 120d - main
Volkswagen Golf GTD Hatchback

Volkswagen Golf GTD vs BMW 120d

Can the Volkswagen Golf GTD or BMW 120d prove diesel isn't dead?
10 Apr 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6: UK prices and specifications confirmed
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6: UK prices and specifications confirmed

The new all-electric Kia EV6 gets two batteries, 4WD and even a rapid sporty GT version. Prices start from £40,895
30 Mar 2021