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Best driver's car 2024: Aston Martin DB12, Honda Civic Type R, McLaren 750S, Porsche 911 GT3 RS and more head-to-head

We put nine sports cars and supercars through their paces to determine the best driver's car of 2024

We’re told that the performance car’s reliance on the internal combustion engine is on its final journey to extinction. Batteries provide unprecedented levels of performance; who needs petrol for thrills? Speeds that were unthinkable only a decade ago are now achievable in a crossover. Supercars can be out-dragged by a pick-up. Petrol is dead, watts are the future.

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Yet while YouTube gets revved up over an electric truck beating a Porsche 911 in a drag race, the rest of the industry still pushes itself to build the most advanced petrol performance machinery ever seen. A last hurrah, maybe – but we’re witnessing a period of unprecedented excellence when it comes to cars that excite and entertain.

When we gathered together the contenders for our 2022 superstar sports car title this time last year, we thought that collection was peak performance. It comprised two hybrid supercars (Ferrari 296 GTB and McLaren Artura), a pair of pared-back, road and track machines (Porsche Cayman GT4 RS and BMW M4 CSL), a ‘simple’ sports car (Toyota GR86), the last pure petrol-powered Maserati and Audi supercars (MC20 and R8) and Mercedes’ first AMG-developed SL. There was a sense that the end was fast approaching.

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Twelve months on, we’ve reconvened in the north of England. We’ve assembled nine fresh contenders, providing an even broader mix of new performance cars, from a hot hatch to a supercar that thinks it’s an off-roader. Yes, 2023 has certainly served up some delicious driving treats.

As we did last year, we are joining sister magazine evo on its ultimate Car of the Year test. But while it seeks out ultimate thrills, drilling down into each model to discover the very best driver’s machine of the year, we’ll be looking at every car with a broader perspective as we look for Auto Express’s superstar sports car of 2024.

Alpine A110 R

Price£96,990
Engine1.8-litre turbo 4cyl
TransmissionSeven-speed dual-clutch auto, RWD
Power296bhp
Torque340Nm
0-62mph3.9sec
Top speed177mph
Fuel economy34-35mpg
CO2 emissions154-156g/km
Test weight1,082kg

Alpine is well on its way to electrifying what seems like everything that comes within 100km of its Dieppe factory. But before the SUV, before the hot hatch, and before its next sports car, there’s the small matter of the four-cylinder, turbocharged A110 still demonstrates why light weight and compact dimensions are the perfect antidote to today’s bloated motoring world.

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With the A110 R, Alpine has, in a single stroke, made its already delectable and delightful sports car one of the most desirable models of the year. It takes the concept that has already earned the A110 a 2021 Coupé of the Year prize in the Auto Express New Car Awards, and turns the wick up beyond 11. The A110 R is lighter still (by 21kg), with an aerodynamic package to increase grip and on-track capability. Its chassis has been thoroughly retuned, too, but while the 1.8-litre engine sounds more hardcore in Sport mode, it’s no more potent. Yet this doesn’t matter one bit. 

Although Alpine will tell you the R is a track car first and a road car second, every drive we have had prior to PCOTY has indicated this is a better machine for the road than its upgrades suggest. After a week spent with it on the UK’s toughest Tarmac, our theory was confirmed. It is, frankly, a brilliant model – an involving performance car, and as desirable as anything costing twice as much. Even if, at £97,000, the R’s is a tough price to swallow, it’s one worth the indigestion. 

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The way in which it flows along the road, absorbing the surface and filling you with confidence, is better than you thought possible. Its improvement over a regular A110 is mesmerising and infectious, the sense of lightness immediate, the feeling of connection unbreakable. In a digital world, the A110 R is a beautiful reset, with its simple approach to enjoying driving for the sake of driving. It finds grip where your eyes are telling you there is none, feeding you with uncorrupted messages through its delicate steering and the seat of your pants. It plugs you directly into the action. 

Shortfalls? The engine isn’t the most charismatic, and it lacks the excitement of the chassis. The exhaust’s artificial pops and bangs in Sport mode are overplayed, too. The four-point harnesses are also a pain, and unnecessary in a road car. And yes, that price is a punch to leave you swaying, no matter which way you try to make the maths work. If you can, however, you will be in possession of a true great, one of the best performance cars of our time.

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  • For: Fantastic to drive, surprisingly economical, compliant ride
  • Against: Poor practicality, short on safety kit, expensive to buy

Aston Martin DB12

Price£185,000
Engine4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
TransmissionEight-speed auto, RWD
Power671bhp
Torque800Nm
0-62mph3.6sec
Top speed202mph
Fuel economy12.2mpg
CO2 emissions276g/km
Test weight1,788kg

It’s impossible not to be inspired by the DB12. Parked up on a cold autumnal morning, in the aftermath of a night full of wind and swirling rain, the first Aston Martin under Lawrence Stroll’s stewardship is not only the most significant model in the company’s history post its near-suicidal IPO.

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It is also the first opportunity to show that one of Britain’s (if not the world’s), most iconic marques is back up and running, ready to prove doubters wrong, and build what it needs to establish itself as a significant player in the ultra-luxury car world.

Styling – and the DB12 does look sensational, inside and out – is one thing Astons have never struggled with. It’s how the DB12 drives, and sets the stall out for what is to come, that is the challenge it faces here. And the signs are good. 

Its ‘togetherness’ immediately grabs your attention. From how it steers, with the crispness and clarity of the very best sports cars, to the sense of security when your route throws up challenging undulations and tightening curves, the DB12 feels planted and reassuring. Its flow and fluidity allow you to enjoy the high levels of grip, and give a sense of connection that means, despite its footprint – and it’s a big car in every dimension – you never feel anything but integral to what’s going on. As such, Aston’s first ‘super-GT’ mixes the athleticism of the existing Vantage with the DBS’s heavyweight punch. 

Squeeze the throttle and wake the 680bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8, and the DB12 can leave you breathless. Any sense that this is a GT first, performance car second, fades away in an instant. It makes the other GT here, the Maserati GranTurismo Trofeo, feel ponderous and lethargic. 

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Yet at this level, the very best performance machines need to do a bit more than give you an instant accelerative hit and woo you with their good looks and sumptuous trim. For the DB12, there’s still a little work to be done. 

In the pursuit of creating the first super-GT, the DB12 has forgone some of those GT high points. In pursuing performance targets, the suppleness and elegant ride quality Astons of old enjoyed have been dialled back, with a more locked-down and rigid car presented instead. Yet when really pushed and asked to prove its supercar credentials, the purity in the steering and the sophistication of its chassis dynamics fall short of the expected high points. 

The DB12 remains one of the best Aston Martins of the modern era. As seductive to look at as it is intoxicating to drive, Stroll’s first new road car provides an exciting and thrilling taste of a future that, on this evidence, looks brighter than ever.

  • For: Enthralling and engaging, an Aston like few others
  • Against: Some people won’t like its move away from being a traditional GT

BMW M3 CS

Price£115,900
Engine3.0-litre twin-turbo 6cyl
TransmissionEight-speed auto, 4WD
Power542bhp
Torque560Nm
0-62mph3.4sec
Top speed188mph
Fuel economy28mpg
CO2 emissions230g/km
Test weight1,765kg

It won’t have escaped your attention that BMW’s M2 was crowned Performance Car of the Year 2023 in our annual New Car Awards – and it remains a high watermark for both BMW M and our motoring calendar. However, our end-of-year performance-car shootout provides us with a little more licence to express ourselves further, so when we were selecting our favourite M car of the past 12 months, there was only one choice: the M3 CS.

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In recent years, the CS name has been applied to some very serious and outstanding machinery, with both the M2 and M5 CS models claiming the converted Car of the Year crown awarded by our sister title evo, in 2020 and 2021 respectively. So while the M3 CS arrives with some considerable boots to fill, it does so with all the technical armoury it needs to challenge the very best once again. 

As with all CS models, the M3 has lost a small amount of weight (20kg), gained some aerodynamic upgrades, and been thoroughly overhauled in terms of suspension and chassis upgrades. It wants for nothing to take on the best of the best.

From the moment you hear its twin-turbocharged straight-six rumble into life, it feels special. You might be sitting in the same carbon-backed bucket seat as the BMW M division offers in all its cars, but here it feels different. The intensity is increased; that feeling of being in something that’s a step above the norm is omnipresent.

As with all of the best BMW M cars, the M3 CS instantly instils confidence in you. It generates huge grip from its four-wheel-drive chassis, but not at the cost of involvement, meaning you remain an integral cog in how it goes down the road. The whole package feels supremely well integrated; from the way the motor feeds in the power while blending in its turbocharged torque, to the eight-speed auto gearbox that has a brilliant set of ratios to match and suit your every scenario, the CS is an instant inspiration.

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In the dry, it feels every millimetre a pure-bred sports car, wrapping itself around you as it tackles and dominates the road ahead. It will be hustled into any corner with no complaint, faithfully supporting you and adding the detail that allows you to hang on to the tail of much faster, more precise machinery. In the wet, its four-wheel drive manages the performance with clarity and precision, surefooted in everything it does. And when needed, it’s a four-door, five-seat saloon that’s no more taxing to drive than an M340i xDrive. Albeit one available only in a garish livery.

As with Honda’s Civic Type R, the M3 CS is a do-everything-everyday performance car. Unfortunately, it also makes the Civic’s £50,000 price tag look good value – not that this prevents us from declaring it the best BMW M car we’ve driven this year. Roll on the next M2 CS, please.

  • For: Pure sports-car approach to chassis upgrades
  • Against: Steering lacks the clarity of the rest of the car

Honda Civic Type R

Price£49,995
Engine2.0-litre turbo 4cyl
TransmissionSix-speed manual, FWD
Power324bhp
Torque420Nm
0-62mph5.4sec
Top speed171mph
Fuel economy34.4mpg
CO2 emissions186g/km
Test weight1,429kg

Our reigning Hot Hatch of the Year arrives at our superstar sports car test with its New Car Awards crown still shining brightly. But PCOTY is where Honda’s remarkable Civic Type R faces its toughest test, squaring up against every big hitter from every sector of the performance world. 

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Honda and Japan’s iconic hot hatch has the war chest to jump straight into battle. The punchy performance from its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, which manages to retain so much of its ancestor’s VTEC characteristics, sets the tone, firing through the revs and giving you every opportunity to experience and interact with its scintillating manual gearbox. Every shift up and down the ratios is a precision-engineered action you simply can’t get enough of. 

There’s so much more to the Type R than its meticulously thought-through powertrain, though, because the same attention to detail and quality of engineering have been lavished on its chassis, too. Few hot hatches since the breed was introduced nearly 50 years ago have been this capable and well resolved. As with the very best pure-bred sports cars, it feels exceptional from the off, your senses are immediately alerted to the whole car’s specialness. 

The Type R redefines the term ‘all-rounder’, proving once again that a well-engineered, front-wheel-drive car can be as exciting and engaging as the very best traditionally configured sports machines. From how it steers and flows through a corner, to the grip it finds regardless of the surface or conditions, and how planted and capable it is when asked to perform to the highest of its ability, some would be forgiven for thinking its maker had turned to Porsche’s GT department to fine tune the hot hatch. It’s that good. 

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It has a level of performance that everyone can enjoy, regardless of their ability. The Type R excludes no one; there are no barriers to entry when it comes to getting the best from Honda’s rapid hatch. It’s a car you never want to stop driving, demonstrating that the highest level of driver engagement isn’t exclusive to exotica and the specialists. It’s a hatchback that can carry a family every day and in every scenario, before instantly turning its hand to being a devastatingly rewarding machine for track days, or for drives where you simply want to get away from it all. 

Would we change anything? We’d like more attention paid to the suspension settings, because while R mode is perfect for track work, some will consider it too firm for the road, leaving you to rely too much on the regular damping setting, which, again, will be too soft for some. But we’re getting into detailed personal preferences here – and in a world of so much performance unobtanium, the Type R is a brilliant blast of fresh air.

  • For: Astonishing capability, engagement and quality – it’s the GT4 RS of hot hatchbacks
  • Against: Finds its limits when the roads get rough

Lamborghini Huraćan Sterrato 

Price£232,820
Engine5.2-litre V10
TransmissionSeven-speed dual-clutch auto, 4WD
Power602bhp
Torque560Nm
0-62mph3.4sec
Top speed162mph
Fuel economy16mpg
CO2 emissions337g/km
Test weight1,470kg

Is it a supercar or an off-roader? A trinket for the ultimate collector, or a serious performance machine? How much persuasion did Lamborghini’s management require to sign it off? 

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Actually, we know the answer to that last one, because this Huracán was the first car returning CEO Stephan Winkelmann gave the green light to when presented with a line-up of future Lamborghini models. The others? Well, that’s what PCOTY is for. And we discovered that there’s so much to enjoy about the Sterrato, from the way it makes you smile at the craziness of it all, to how it stops everyone in their tracks so they can throw their questions about it at you. As with all Lamborghinis, it’s a conversation starter. 

It’s also a machine that makes you reassess exactly what’s possible with a supercar, because the Sterrato does things that you simply have to experience to believe are possible. There is the blood and thunder of its V10 powerplant, but that’s nothing new. This has always been one of the very greatest internal combustion engines of the modern era. 

It’s a motor that leaves you breathless from the moment you bring it to life to the second you shut it down. It throws rich blue flames from its exhaust, turning them red hot in the process, and it attacks your eardrums like an AirPod lodged in your ear canal with the volume stuck on max. 

No road is out of bounds for this Lamborghini. It floats across poor surfaces with utter disdain. It absorbs potholes with the same composure as its track-focussed STO brother nails the apex gouging through Silverstone’s Copse corner. It will ford a flooded road that any crossover would baulk at. It revels in every challenge, prepared for the unexpected, and makes you immediately forget any notion that this is a collector’s trinket. 

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But none of the Huracán’s new capabilities diminishes its supercar properties. It remains a sorted, inspiring and charismatic machine. It is exciting and exhilarating, and still rewards as you thread it from apex to apex, tensing around you as it flies out of any given corner. The best thing about the Sterrato is that it no longer has you wincing every time the surface starts to disintegrate beneath you. It’s the perfect British B-road supercar. 

The Sterrato might not be the most obvious send-off before the next Huracán gains EV power, but it’s a brilliantly bonkers one – and, as with Porsche’s 911 Dakar, is the supercar we didn’t know we needed. However, it’s not the best Huracán (we’d go for the Tecnica), and we wonder how long its appeal would remain once the novelty wears off.

  • For: Enormous fun on gravel, surprisingly refined on road
  • Against: The last new V10 Huracán derivative, only 1,499 to be built

Maserati GranTurismo Trofeo

Price£164,470
Engine3.0-litre twin-turbo V6
TransmissionEight-speed auto, 4WD
Power542bhp
Torque649Nm
0-62mph3.5sec
Top speed199mph
Fuel economy27.8mpg
CO2 emissions230g/km
Test weight1,795kg

A year on from last year’s MC20 sensation, Maserati is back at PCOTY with its new GranTurismo, here in range-topping Trofeo trim, another model that punches beyond expectations and reminds us again how short the Grecale SUV comes up. But while Maserati’s suits would prefer its volume seller to be a car everyone is falling over themselves to own, we’re rather glad the brand’s engineers and designers focused more time and attention in creating its new GT. 

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In isolation, it’s pure Maserati, with a striking design and inviting interior, and on paper, it’s unexpected for all the right reasons when it comes to its mechanical hardware. Okay, so there’s no longer a V8 under its long bonnet, but the Trofeo’s turbocharged V6 is a close relative of the MC20’s motor and sings a similar tune, if at a slower pace. Where the DB12 feels permanently switched on to its sports-car remit, the Maserati has a much wider bandwidth and is, therefore, better prepared to play the GT role. And it’s a fine GT car, one that washes away days of driving in sumptuous comfort, with an absorbing quality to its ride that soaks up the pain of long trips. 

And when you swap the long drive for a shorter, more challenging route, the Trofeo is prepared to roll up its sleeves, although not with such great success as the Aston Martin. 

It needs its driver modes wound up to Corsa to extract the maximum from the engine and provide the adaptive chassis with the tautness required to manage the car’s mass and deliver the feedback you need. To this end, its dynamic bandwidth is more impressive and rewarding than the Aston’s, yet despite the more brutal nature of the engine’s Corsa setting, it doesn’t have the firepower of the British GT. 

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Eventually, you begin to drive the Maserati in a manner more in keeping with a GT more of the time. You stop chasing the performance, instead enjoying its strengths as a car that is fazed by very little presented to it. But the GranTurismo fades away when asked to step up to the performance challenge, which is something it’s prepared to take on despite knowing it’s not its strongest attribute. As an accompaniment to any of the other cars here in a dream two-car garage, the Maserati would make a perfect companion to them all (Aston aside for obvious reasons), but as a standalone performance car, it lacks the special qualities expected of it.

  • For: Gorgeous looks, stunning performance, capable chassis
  • Against: Feels its weight, needs space to come alive, braking performance

McLaren 750 S

Price£244,760
Engine4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
TransmissionSeven-speed auto, RWD
Power740bhp
Torque800Nm
0-62mph2.8sec
Top speed206mph
Fuel economy23.2mpg
CO2 emissions276g/km
Test weight1,389kg

Technically it’s the newest car in our test (which took place a week before the McLaren was launched to the press), but the 750S feels the most familiar. As it should do, being a thoroughly evolved (for McLaren) version of its 720S supercar. 

So while you might be squinting to see what makes it look different – front and rear bumpers, side sills, revisions to its headlights and some new aero parts evolved from the 765LT – inside and underneath, the 750S is a big jump up. 

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No one ever stepped out after a drive in a 720S thinking its 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 required more power, but McLaren thought it prudent to up the ante and has. Through learnings from the 765LT, it has found an additional 29bhp for an even more furious motor. Yes, it still sounds coarse and functional rather than sonorous and intoxicating, but it delivers so much performance regardless of where you are that you are always under its spell and in awe of what it has to offer. 

Driven fast or slow, there’s a glorious sense that you’re controlling a precise piece of machinery, matching gear selections (you’ll not want to drive it in auto mode; this a car to drive on the paddles) with road and engine speeds, calculating the perfect power and torque band to be in to match the situation you face, from trundling along a busy high street to letting rip when you’re allowed to. The 750S instils a sense of responsibility to be in control and deliver clear commands at all times. 

And it’s the same throughout the car. The steering is as perfect for roundabouts as it is for impossibly fast right or left-handers that require millimetric precision. Its suspension – a pick and mix of the 720S and 765LT’s best bits – has an answer for every challenge a road can throw at it. McLaren’s trademark magic carpet ride is mixed with such sophistication from its springs and dampers that the body control is simply awe-inspiring, and the car’s ability to deal with every challenge presented highlights the motorsport DNA the company floods its cars with. 

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From inside, it follows the ergonomic simplicity of a pure-bred racer, with astonishingly good visibility, an unrivalled driving position for both comfort and that sense of being an extension of the car – although McLaren’s preferred set-up for left-foot braking isn’t favoured by everyone. And when you need to cover 300 dull miles, it settles into a relaxed stride that’s the polar opposite to everything it can achieve when let off its leash. This isn’t only the best supercar we have driven all year; it’s also one of Britain’s greatest ever.

  • For: Blistering performance; remarkable chassis and dynamic purity
  • Against: Still looks like a 720S; you can park a bike in the panel gaps

Porsche 911 Carrera T

Price£105,700
Engine3.0-litre flat-six twin-turbo
TransmissionSeven-speed manual, RWD
Power380bhp
Torque450Nm
0-62mph4.5sec
Top speed181mph
Fuel economy24.7mpg
CO2 emissions234g/km
Test weight1,470kg

In any other year, Porsche’s 911 Carrera T would have had its elbows out and been pushing for the top spot, such is its ability to enthral and thrill like the very best 911s and sports cars always have. 

There are a number of reasons the Carrera T appeals, and much of this is down to its ‘less is more’ approach. Rather than having the kitchen sink thrown at it, the T follows a more basic recipe and is all the better for it. It pairs the Carrera’s 380bhp flat-six engine with the seven-speed manual gearbox that has only been available with the more powerful Carrera S, and it’s a great mix – a combination that brings the car to life, injecting the character we have often felt the current Carrera models have lacked. 

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Like all great 911s, the Carrera T is a car that makes you, as the driver, feel part of the journey, engaging you with its actions and encouraging you to respond. It means you can build a rapport, a flow with the car that allows you to enjoy and, when suitable, exploit its many talents, including the times it feels like a more accomplished GT car than the DB12. 

At the heart of the Carrera T’s appeal is a blend that Porsche has got very right. The connection between steering, suspension and the engine’s breadth of delivery, and the gearbox’s instinctive ratios combine to deliver a complete driver’s package. It has the performance to match the more powerful cars in our test in real-world conditions, the sophistication and agility to entertain and enthral, and the precision to allow you to grow into the car’s character and get more from it. 

It’s a 911 you never tire of driving, the best 992 Carrera since the model was launched. It backs this up with a driving position that’s hard to fault, regardless of your own dimensions, along with grip and traction that feel unbreakable but not inert. It also has a personality that a serial 911 owner would find some affinity with straight away, and those buying their first would expect from everything they have read and watched about this iconic model in the past. 

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As is a common issue today, the Carrera T’s star loses some gloss because of the fitment of wheels and tyres that add unsprung mass and unsettle the ride. At the same time, noise and emission regulations have robbed its famous engine layout of the soundtrack so many adore. 

If it were the only car you could drive for the rest of your life, you’d be a very happy – and lucky – person, wanting for very little and basking in the knowledge that you have one of the best modern 911s. It might not deliver the outstanding highs of others around it in this test, but the Carrera T provides a performance of unexpected quality.

  • For: Chassis and powertrain combination is hard to fault
  • Against: When did 911s become so expensive?

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Price£192,600
Engine4.0-litre flat six
TransmissionSeven-speed auto, RWD
Power518bhp
Torque465Nm
0-62mph3.2sec
Top speed184mph
Fuel economy21.1mpg
CO2 emissions305g/km
Test weight1,450kg

It’s a race car for the road, a track-day refugee that’s a danger to your spine, driving licence and bank balance. Including it in a test to find 2023’s superstar sports car that doesn’t include a circuit is the hurdle to trip Porsche’s 911 GT3 RS up with. Or is it? 

We thought it would be, and Porsche quietly thought its new GT-department special would stumble here too. But within only a few miles, the GT3 RS proved itself to be as outstanding on the road as it was at the home of the British Grand Prix when we drove it at Silverstone earlier this year. 

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Thoughts of a bone-crushing ride and an uncompromising chassis set-up that would only work through the Maggot-Becketts complex and be OTT for the north of England in November are discarded the moment you join the road and get sucked into the GT3 RS’s mesmerising talents. 

Its naturally aspirated flat-six engine leaves you in awe of its reach and capability with every flex of your right ankle. It might not have the outright punch of McLaren’s 750S, but its character and razor-sharp responses make up for it. Control this beast of a motor with the paddles (disappointing little things, considering the extroverted exterior) and you are transported to the grid every time you drive it. 

And every time you drive it, you are rewarded with a set-up that defies all laws of physics; we know how it catches apexes on track with a single flick of your wrists, pushes itself into the tarmac to extract every ounce of grip, hurls itself down a straight with such ferocity to reach the next turn. Now we know how it transfers all this to the road, our appreciation grows higher still. 

As in the McLaren, Alpine and Honda, you get something back for everything you put in with the Porsche. Like the McLaren, it does so at any speed, and like the British supercar, you know it’s far better the harder you drive it. And the more you engage with it, the better it becomes which, while a feather in its cap to rival the size of its rear wing, is also one of its Achilles heels: you want to experience the GT3 RS at its very best at all times, and that means using the road as it wasn’t intended. This is no fault of the car, but a society issue that the GT3 RS has driven away from. 

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Designed for the track, yet one of the very best road cars we have driven this year, Porsche’s 911 GT3 RS is almost too good to be true.

  • For: Staggering grip and balance, sense of occasion, configurability
  • Against: Feeling its true magic at road speeds is challenging

Verdict

The Maserati hasn’t won. It’s admired, desirable and a fine GT car, but it lacks the dynamic and accelerative edge to fight for the ultimate honours here. 

Neither has the Lamborghini. It’s one of the most characterful cars we have driven this year, bursting with enthusiasm and one that makes you crack the broadest smile every time you see it and drive it. Sounds like a winning recipe, no? It does, but the Sterrato isn’t Lamborghini’s best Huracán. 

Splitting BMW’s M3 CS from Porsche’s 911 Carrera T is impossible. They might be two very different cars with very different remits, but their appeal is equal and picking between the two is a decision left to your individual hearts (or heads, for the sensible types among you). 

Aston Martin’s DB12 would walk away with the top honours if this were a test based purely on style and design – not that it falls down in how it drives. In fact, it makes you feel good from behind its wheel, too. On the road it’s what a modern Aston should be: confident, special and a cut above its rivals, although there’s an argument that Aston has gone straight for the DB12 S or AMR spec, when a calmer, less-focused approach would have delivered a better GT car that would be no less super. 

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If you are looking for the ultimate interpretation of Alpine’s A110, the R is it. A junior 911 GT3, it pulls at every driver’s heartstrings and delivers a resounding performance. It comes at a hefty price that makes the lesser models in the line-up ever more appealing. But if you want the best, the R is it. 

If you want the very best supercar on sale today, that’s the McLaren 750S. It takes everything the 720S and 765LT excel at and improves every area, including those we thought were already the pinnacle. Everything it does is so incredibly special, making the driver feel equally so, which is everything you can ask of a supercar.

Porsche’s 911 GT3 RS is a road car we thought we’d never experience. Such is its capability on road and track that there’s an argument to say. it’s peak performance car. Things can’t get any better than this. Faster, yes? But better? We’ll have to wait, because right here and now, few cars come close to Porsche’s ultimate 911. 

Which leaves Honda’s remarkable Civic Type R. A five-door hatchback that, while it can’t match the RS’s purity, the McLaren’s stonking performance or the Alpine’s delicacy, has enough of those attributes to make every journey a thrill you never want to end and secure Auto Express’ superstar sports car of 2023 title.

Want more?

To produce this feature, we joined sister title evo on its Car Of The Year test. To read its more detailed views and verdicts, pick up the January 2024 issue now.

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