Since the turn of the century rather more than a thousand new cars have passed through our hands for testing. That’s individual models, without duplicates. And there have been many, maybe even hundreds that have sat somewhere on the scale of being actively good to drive, from affordable little hatchbacks all the way to million pound hypercars.
But when I see them on the street I feel no envy for those who drive them. I saw a Veyron on the M4 last week and hoped its owner was enjoying it as much as I had. When the first of the few wealthy people I know in the City takes delivery of their 458 Italia, I’ll want to know all about it and gain terrific vicarious pleasure from their enjoyment. But I won’t feel jealous.
There is just one exception to this otherwise hard and fast rule: and that is the Porsche 911 GT3. I know a few people who have them and, to date have not yet been able to bring myself even to enquire after them. I don’t want to know from them how bloody good their GT3 is, because I already that if you are interested in driving, the 997-based GT3 is the greatest road car so far seen this century.
Why? Because in the end it’s all about the engine and chassis and the GT3 has the best combination of the two on sale. And it’s not just more fun to drive than any number of technically faster, more powerful, exotic and exclusive supercars, it’s also more durable, practical and an entirely viable sole means of transport.
Put it this way: of all the cars I’ve driven in the last ten years, there are many I’d be amused to own for a while, but a GT3 is the only one I know I’d keep for the rest of my life.