Starting with 11 of this year's best driver's cars, we've whittled it down to just one. The winner is...
Andrew Frankel Autocar
6 November 2016

The winner is... The Porsche 911 R. 

And so, after the toughest podium fight anyone could remember, what must have been the tightest margin of victory of any Britain’s Best Driver’s Car shootout was decided.

In a change to the usual scoring format intended to allow a fairer distribution of credit, our judges had up to 50 points to award to each car – 25 for a car’s showing on the road and 25 for the track. There was no restriction preventing them from awarding the same score to more than one car, but the total number of points on offer was intended to mitigate that possibility and to make a tie for any given place in the final rankings less likely.

Even so, the 488 GTB and 675LT Spider couldn’t be separated for second place. Although two judges scored the Longtail highest overall, the 488 attracted praise more consistently.

Not as consistently, however, as this year’s BBDC champion: the brilliant 911 R. Nobody saw fit to deny the 911 more than three points of a perfect 25 for either its road or track performance, and it was the only car to score full marks from a judge.

With an astonishing array of talents, the 911 R’s driver appeal is at once multi-faceted and totally convincing. More tactile and communicative than the Ferrari, more theatrical and enigmatic than the McLaren, and wanting for absolutely nothing on dynamic composure or playful adjustability, the 911 R also builds on the qualities that have made 911s so popular for so long. Compact and confidence-inspiring on a narrow lane, it also has the track purpose and poise to mix it with the supercar set and the combustive sound and fury to live with almost any pace. The Porsche 911 R is this year’s bit of perfection for keen drivers everywhere, and our one regret is that only 991 owners will get to enjoy it.

LAP TIMES

Outright lap speed doesn’t win a Britain’s Best Driver’s Car contender any credit in our overall scores. How fast a car takes you tends to be a much better indicator of engine and braking power and of outright grip level than of how much fun may be available while you’re driving it. And yet the fact that the higher-rated cars in our scoring table were also the quicker ones around a 2.1-mile circuit does tend to confirm that the pace, grip, balance and precision that make a car fast also tend to make it exciting.

It was instructive to see the 718 Cayman S overachieve so plainly against the clock and disappointing that the NSX wasn’t as quick through the bends as it was in a straight line.

We leave it to manufacturers to decide on which particular tyre their cars are supplied, insisting that the rubber is either standard or optional fit. But, for the record, a good Cup tyre was probably worth 1-2sec a lap here — and the 675LT, 570S, 911 R, M4 GTS and Vantage GT8 all had ’em.

McLaren 675LT Spider 1min 35.7sec

Ferrari 488 GTB 1min 36.9sec

McLaren 570S 1min 37.9sec

Porsche 911 R 1min 38.7sec

BMW M4 GTS 1min 40.4sec

Porsche 718 Cayman S 1min 41.2sec

Jaguar F-Type SVR 1min 41.2sec

Honda NSX 1min 41.7sec

Aston Martin Vantage GT8 1min 42.9sec

BMW M2 1min 44.4sec

Ford Focus RS 1min 46.3sec

Read more: 

PART 1 - The contenders

PART 2 - The final three

Join the debate

Comments
10

TS7

6 November 2016
... should be given far greater weight. Indeed, personally, I would pick a car based solely on them and ignore the track scores altogether.

6 November 2016
The breakdown of points allows you to do just that. The real shame is that the winner is already sold out and examples are being seen as assets, not driving machines. A great shame.

7 November 2016
What we see is across the board turbo-charging and PDK-ing of anything remotely affordable from Porsche, while 6-gear-shifter and NA is reserved for the "elite". There was a pretty affordable sportscar from Porsche - Cayman GT4 - that everyone expected so much, it was discontinued in a very short time.
Also, 911R almost did not make it, Porsche Motorsport created GT3RS with PDK but also made 1 car with manual transmission and it was obviously very good, they worked on it and went to the management, who said "no", and Walter Röhrl then said "give me that one prototype car, I want that car", one week later Porsche decided to put 911R into production. And even 911R was not made into a pure road-going sportscar, they left electric steering, auto-blipper and rotating rear axle...

No manual - no fun

6 November 2016
TS7 wrote:

... should be given far greater weight. Indeed, personally, I would pick a car based solely on them and ignore the track scores altogether.

Yes I quite agree. The only cars I am interested in are those suitable for daily use that anyone, with enough money, can walk into a shwroom and buy and the owner does not have to be above average driver to use.

6 November 2016
...considering the rest of digital supervises and disregarding the price and unavailability of 911R.

No manual - no fun

6 November 2016
supercars

No manual - no fun

7 November 2016
... the Ferrari is the winner, followed by the 570S.

7 November 2016
the RWD Huracan... the LP580. Or is not being on the list of contenders meant as a disqualification?

7 November 2016
Lotus Evora Sport 410???

7 November 2016
NSX's lap time is disappointing to say the least. Was there a problem with it?

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