It's over to Top Gear magazine's Editor-in-Chief Charlie Turner for a few words on this month's spectacular new issue - out now!
This month's issue is an unashamed celebration of automotive performance. The 25 most inspiring performance vehicles of the past 12 months assembled at the Top Gear track for two days of ‘scientific' evaluation, presided over by Mr Jeremy Clarkson, The Stig and the rest of the TG team, before heading north for a showdown between a select few. With a combined power of 9,267bhp and a throat-tightening car park value of £2,205,864, it was always going to be an interesting couple of days.
But, as Jeremy drifted past the photographers pulling his ‘best sideways face' and yet another set of tyres was dispatched in a plume of acrid smoke, it became increasingly clear that, in 2012, performance falls into two very distinct categories: performance you can actually use and enjoy in the real world without being transported immediately to prison and performance that edges far out into the realms of the antisocial. Don't get me wrong, TG loves the fastest, but, these days, some of the figures end up as just a meaningless set of stratospheric digits that might give you bragging rights down the pub, but you'll never deploy fully on the road.
With the most powerful car on test (Lamborghini Aventador) developing 700bhp and the least powerful (Morgan 3Wheeler) developing 120, it's fair to say that we have both ends of the performance spectrum covered. But - as you'll see over the coming pages - it could be argued that some manufacturers have lost sight of real performance. We're excited by power and admire the engineering required to harness it, but it's how a car engages your emotions, on track or on the road, that delivers the true meaning of performance. Truth is, supercar figures usually require super-strength technology, and, during Speed Week, we found ourselves endlessly drawn to cars with much more humble vital statistics but a more involving way of delivering them.
The figures become just that, statistics. And finding the true meaning of performance becomes less of a science and more of an art form. Thousands of miles, many sets of tyres, some shouting and a small fire later we had our winner.
Enjoy the issue.
And for just a small taste, watch the rather splendid video below: