Chief tester Matt Saunders was similarly impressed, noting the Alfa was “capable of brightening any journey with that remarkable rear-drive balance”.
Editorial director Jim Holder led the campaign for the McLaren, saying: “It isn’t just sensational to drive, it can be driven with confidence no matter your level of ability.”
The Subaru BRZ came third, championed by senior staff writer Sam Sheehan, who rarely missed an opportunity to pedal it into the country. Although that could just be a desire to escape Tooting.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio long-term updates
The ‘Look At Me, Dammit’ Award for the best car to impress your friends and family with
WINNER: Aston Martin Vanquish S - Highly commended: Mazda MX-5 RF, Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Perhaps predictably, the Aston Martin Vanquish S claimed a dominant win in this category, which will please editor-at-large Matt Prior, since he nominated it for every single award. While many of those submissions required somewhat tortuous logic (he explained the Aston’s city car credentials by saying “you get let out at junctions”), few would quibble with the Vanquish’s victory here.
He said it “looks equally as good at the opera, a race track or on a Tinder date” – which probably says too much about how he spends his weekends...
Matt Saunders noted the Aston did not just stand out for its looks, adding: “It’s louder than the end of the world.”
Showing that its folding hard-top really has added some flair, the Mazda MX-5 RF emerged in a (distant) second place. Staff writer Jimi Beckwith, a man who knows his style (even if it is occasionally questionable), said: “I don’t know if my family are terrible at identifying cars, easily pleased or just humouring me, but the MX-5 RF got as much positive reaction as any of the supercars on our f leet would have.”
Aston Martin Vanquish S long-term updates
The Top Floor of the Waitrose Car Park Award for the easiest car to negotiate in tight spaces and city streets
WINNER: Suzuki Ignis - Highly commended: Bentley Bentayga, Dacia Sandero Stepway LPG
We’ll get to the winner in a minute. First, an explanation. This award is so named because Autocar Towers shares a ridiculously tight multi-storey car park with a Waitrose, and the ten-storey ascent to our top-floor parking area provides an excellent test of a car’s agility in tight spaces.