These are Top Gear's best performance cars of the last 10 years | Top Gear
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Monday 11th December
Speed Week 2023

These are Top Gear's best performance cars of the last 10 years

As we welcome another edition of TG mag's annual Speed Week competition, a look back on its former heroes

These are Top Gear's best performance cars of the last decade
  • 2022: Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS

    2022: Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS

    We said: "It’s the world’s first empathetic sports car – a car that shouts at you and not others. It’s small, aggressive and usable. It’s an advent calendar you can open every day. Your favourite song you don’t ever want to take off repeat. It’s the tonic that the car world needs and the winner of Speed Week 2022. It’s the Porsche Cayman GT4 RS."

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  • 2021: Hyundai i20N

    2021: Hyundai i20N

    We said: "It’s perky and deft, a car clearly on an upward trajectory where most of the others here are searching for relevance amid ever tighter regulations. They feel constricted, thrash against their bonds. The i20N is freer, more spirited. It’s the winner of Speed Week 2021. Are you 15 years old and reading this? You’re not Gen Z, you’re generation i20N. Hope that’s a tag you can get on board with."

    Highly commended: Ferrari SF90, BMW M3, Peugeot 205 GTI, Porsche 911 GT3

  • 2020: Porsche 911 Turbo S

    2020: Porsche 911 Turbo S

    We said: "There aren’t many opportunities to use everything on offer but, when you do, the effect is mind-scrambling. I haven’t driven a car that can demolish any asphalt surface – track, A-road, B-road, motorway – the way this car can. There’s genuine personality too. It still feels real 911, from the steering to the staggering brakes and flat-sixy intake noise that yowls into the cabin. The price is loopy, but then so are its capabilities and after three days at Anglesey in all weather conditions the 911 Turbo has constantly impressed us all and claims our title of Speed Week Champion 2020."

    Highly commended: Ferrari F8, BMW M2 CS, Porsche Taycan, Aston Martin DB5

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  • 2019: Renault Megane Trophy R

    2019: Renault Megane Trophy R

    We said: "Put simply, nothing stood out as much as last year’s Alpine A110, and, beyond that, there’s a feeling the class of 2019 hasn’t shone quite as brightly. Maybe it’s that some cars haven’t had us bouncing off the walls the way we expected, or that the racers have spoiled us (driving a WRC car has certainly royally skewed my perspective). But that shouldn’t diminish the achievement of our winner. I’ll let you in on a secret. We had the track after 3pm, and that evening we went driving. And the car that still surprised people, that was supremely interactive and rewarding, and gets to stand on the top step of the podium, was the Megane Trophy R."

    Highly commended: Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro, Ariel Atom

  • 2018: Alpine A110

    2018: Alpine A110

    We said: "The new Alpine is part French philosopher, part Zinedane Zidane (and yet emphatically not Eric Cantona). It's a car with wonderful poise and balance, a deft touch and a loose, limber energy. It is pure driving, and it's our Performance Car of The Year 2018." 

    Highly commended: Ford Fiesta ST, Ferrari 488 Pista, McLaren 600LT, BMW M2 Competition

  • 2017: McLaren 720S

    2017: McLaren 720S

    We said: "Factions formed around the table, arguments gusted through, people said things they didn't really mean, hurtful things. Then common ground was found around the McLaren's mighty engine, steering, its sharp yet supple manners; the Ford GT's immersive drama, chassis and sense of occasion. Democracy won through: we put the result to a secret ballot and by the merest sliver, the McLaren 720S is our Performance Car of The Year."

    Highly commended: Ford GT, Lamborghini Huracan Performante, Porsche 911 GT3, Honda Civic Type R, VW Up GTI, Mercedes-AMG E63 S

  • 2016: Porsche 911 R

    2016: Porsche 911 R

    We said: "A vehicle so utterly brilliant that it almost becomes a living cliche. No it's not the ridiculously revelatory thing that the hype would have you believe (or second-hand values suggest), but if you imagine Porsche engineers picking every single good thing from the 911 parts bin and hanging them all together on one car, this is it. A beautiful Frankenstein. As a sports car, it's consummate."

    Highly commended: Ferrari 488, McLaren 675LT Spider, VW Golf GTI Clubsport S, Alfa Romeo Giulia QV

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  • 2015: Ariel Nomad

    2015: Ariel Nomad

    We said: "A joy on road, track and field, this car transforms any landscape into a personal playground. A grassy, classy number."

    Highly commended: Ariel Nomad, Renault Megane Trophy-R 275, Mercedes-AMG C63 S, Ferrari 458 Speciale, Porsche Cayman GT4, Lamborghini Huracan, Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (no outright winner)

  • 2014: Porsche 918 Spyder

    2014: Porsche 918 Spyder

    We said: "The Porsche 918 is different gravy to the P1, because where the McLaren shreds your nerve endings and heightens your impression of speed, the 918 is much, much easier to drive at the kind of pace usually only experienced by far more talented people. The impression of fully lit aerodynamics is less pronounced, but the traction through corners simply cannot be denied. The all-wheel drive fills in the holes in your talent, mops up, lends a helping hand in situations where the P1 feels like it wants to bite everything off."

    Highly commended: Chevrolet Corvette, BMW M4, McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder, VW Golf R (no outright winner)

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  • 2013: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series

    2013: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series

    We said: " The truth here is that the SLS feels like some barely tamed GT racer on the road, wide and intimidating and nervously rear-wheel drive. Excellent exercise for the adrenal gland. But, on the track, going fast, being pushed, it got… easier. It came together in a way that the others didn’t, daring you deeper into corners with its infallible brakes, challenging you through them with its exceptional body control and micron-perfect steering. The engine bellowing away up front, the gearbox slamming each ratio like a punch to the guts. The SLS Black is a car  that makes you start to believe you have talent. Which is the only lie it ever tells. It’s literally awesome and earned its place with guts and conviction."

    Highly commended: Ford Fiesta ST, Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series, Porsche Cayman S (no outright winner)

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