Not necessarily, no. You may have seen in the mag last week our efforts to find out which cars develop the most grip, both in the wet and in the dry. If so, you’ll have discovered that across all surfaces and throughout a range of tests the Nissan GTR, surprise surprise, is king.
Yet at the same time the GTR remains one of the most invigorating cars you will ever have the pleasure of driving – and that’s despite, or perhaps even because of, the fact that it can bend your cheekbones with sheer g forces through any given corner.
What was perhaps most revealing about our test – which involved a Renaultsport Megane 250, a BMW 1M, a GTR, a 911 GT3 RS, an Ariel Atom Mugen, a hot Fiesta, an Audi RS5 and a Noble M600 – was that, in the wet, it wasn’t always the four wheel drive cars that rule. Even in the traction tests the rear-drive GT3 RS somehow managed to beat the 4WD Nissan GTR off the line, despite the 911 wearing supposedly ‘dangerous’ Cup tyres. And in the wet cornering tests both the RS5 and the GTR were soundly beaten - by not just the front-drive Megane RS but by the resolutely rear wheel-drive M600, too.
It was actually in the dry, weirdly enough, where the 4WD machines fared best – although even then the Cup tyre-equipped 911 pulled more g than either of them through our two dry corners, which wasn’t a huge surprising, all things considered.
What was, was that although the BMW 1M did well but not brilliantly across all the tests, subjectively it was declared the outright favourite by our test team. Fact is, we simply had more fun extracting the various numbers out of the BMW than we did in any other car overall.
So although the answer to the original question is ‘no’ – big grip and wide grins are not mutually exclusive – there is at least some kind of distinction to be made. With all its electronic driver aid systems turned off the BMW was/is an absolute riot to drive – and the fact that a Nissan GTR can run right round the outside of it in most corners makes not one iota of difference to that in the end. Yet at the same time, the GTR itself is – for some though not all, it must be said – an utterly intoxicating car to drive, albeit for slightly different reasons than the 1M.
Conclusion; the world of cars is now ever more complex to understand when it comes to things like grip, handling involvement, steering feel and the use (or otherwise) of electronic driver aids. But it’s also become a more intriguing industry on which to report than ever before. Long may such diversity continue, if you ask me.