You hear and read it a lot: “Give it up, Tesla’s performance is unbeatable,” that’s true, in a straight line up to 62mph. It’s also going to be rather shortlived; the next 0-62mph record holder could be only days away.
Being two-hundredths of a second quicker to 62mph than anyone else is scientifically a big deal, but is ultimately, inconsequential to a car's merit. Everyone is building EVs, you see, and many are still building performance cars. Some are doing both.
The fact that cars can’t be boiled down to Top Trumps-style statistics and scores to determine their worth isn’t a new concept, but perhaps the diversity of the term ‘performance’ is – or is at least overlooked.
From the outside, it’s easy to miss Mazda MX-5’s appeal; although pretty, it’s not quick, expensive or exclusive. This would be foolish, though; although not the fastest or most crowd-drawing, give the MX-5 just the smallest bit of gusto and it rewards you with an involuntary smile, no matter how slow you’re going.
Same with the Morgan 3 Wheeler; every drive is a performance, every acceleration a symphony and crescendo, and every flaw is an anecdote; it’s a veritable Charles Dance amongst cars. The Nio EP9 - the electric Nürburgring record holder - could only hope to have even one iota of the Morgan's charisma, despite holding one of the most prestigious accolades in motoring.
As times move on, these, and other cars will go EV, be it through trend or necessity, and I have no doubt that though their characters may change, they’ll maintain their joie de vivre.
At the opposite end of the scale, take two superlatives; the Bugatti Chiron and Tesla Model S P100D; take a read of either of our reviews and you’ll see that the Chiron is flawed – a four-star car where the Veyron scored five – and the Model S P100D was described as “overkill, even if it is very entertaining”. The Veyron was a significant moment in time, while the Chiron seeks its father's approval; the Tesla's accolade, although impressive, is over in an instant.
Acceleration is merely an attribute, and electric is merely a powertrain; in the history of the performance car, it’s no more significant than the automatic gearbox, or run-flat tyre. Performance cars give performances, and in their diversity lies their beauty.