TopGear.com 17 July 2013

Top Gear magazine: Performance Car of the Year 2013

5,489bhp, 87 cylinders, many tyres and a tanker of super-unleaded.... Plus exclusive video of Stig’s new lawnmower…

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Welcome to Top Gear magazine’s Speed Week 2013, our Festival of Speed, Pageant of Power, Grand Prix and lottery winners’ dream garage all rolled into one...

For this year’s Speed Week the TG team dispersed themselves throughout Europe to collect 12 incredible machines to compete for the title of ‘Performance Car of the Year’, before a rendezvous at Europe’s scariest race circuit, the Circuit de Charade in mid-France.

The 11 road cars produce a combined power output of 4,858bhp and 4,111lb ft of torque, but surprisingly our shortlist has a combined on-the-road cost of ‘just’ £1,151,743 – about the same price as well-specced Veyron. Quite a bargain we think...

In this ultimate grudge match we don’t just look at the quickest lap times, we also identify the depth of grin each of these cars produce. And thanks to this unique way of TG testing, a £18k Ford Fiesta ST really does have a chance against a £294k Aventador Roadster.

First to leave was the UK contingent, taking the McLaren 12C Spider, Mini John Cooper Works GP II, Porsche Cayman S, Jaguar F-Type V8S, Merc A45 AMG and Ford Fiest ST Mountune through the Eurotunnel, and through France via a few quick laps at Le Mans.

Next up were two beautiful Italian packages, the Lamborghini Aventador Roadster and Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale. With a combined twenty cylinders, worth £405,000 and 1,145bhp, these stunning machines were strong contenders for the title.

Joining the party from Germany, through the mountains, we had the SLS AMG Black, BMW M135i and Audi RS6.

Those of you with a keen-eye will notice we only have 11 road cars amongst our 12 machines. Well, it wouldn’t be Top Gear without a few wildcards in our challenges, so we decided to bring the priceless Formula Ford concept car to mix it up a bit.

Oh, and a Honda lawnmower. Ever wanted to see Stig cut grass at over 100mph? Then here’s a little video for you… 

What else is in this month’s mag?

THREE-WHEELED ENDURANCE RACING

We join the inaugural three-wheeled race in the Italian design-icon, the Ape. Find out what happens when TG hit the track in this 20bhp roadside shack…

SEB LOEB DOMINATES PIKES PEAK 

We take a ringside seat as Seb Loeb obliterated the Pikes Peak record (by a staggering 92 seconds) in his 875bhp Peugeot T16.

HAMMOND’S ICONS

Richard gets to grips with the Ferrari F355, the car that saved Ferrari in the 90’s and is looking set to be a future classic.

ALL THE LATEST REVIEWS

Plus, of course, loads of great new car reviews this month, including the: KIA Pro_Cee’d GT, Merc S Clas, Maserati Ghibli, Nissan 370Z Nismo, BMW 530d, Ford Raptor, Vauxhall Cascada, Suzuki S-Cross, Maserati Gran-Cabrio MC, Audi A3 G-Tron, Fiat Panda Trekking, Lotus Exige S Roadster, Vauxhall Insignia VXR and many, many more...

All of this, plus the usual opinions, thoughts and childish rants from Clarkson, Hammond and May.

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