WHERE DO YOU START WITH THE Abarth 124 Spi­der? The retrothemed matt-black bon­net alone would be enough to earn it a place on any ecoty short­list, as would the rasp­ing note from its quar­tet of tailpipes. Yet these ad­di­tions are just the tan­ta­lis­ing starters to the main course, which is the Ital­ian road­ster’s abil­ity to smear a mas­sive grin across your face ev­ery time you climb be­hind the wheel. No matter what the time or place, the rear­wheel-drive Abarth’s tran­si­tion from grip to slip at even mod­est speeds makes it more fun for more of the time than al­most any other car. Its torquey tur­bocharged four-cylin­der mo­tor plays its part here, al­low­ing you to al­ter your an­gle of at­tack al­most at will. A snappy gearshift and brisk per­for­mance com­plete the laugh-out-loud pack­age.

If you get your kicks from pre­ci­sion and out­right per­for­mance, then the ex­quis­ite Lo­tus 3-Eleven will be right up your favourite B-road, or cir­cuit. There are road and race ver­sions but, with their open cock­pits and ag­gres­sive aero, both look and feel like pukka motorsport refugees. That im­pres­sion is only en­hanced on the move, where scalpel-sharp han­dling and an al­most non-stop flow of in­for­ma­tion make the low-slung Lo­tus one of the fastest and most ab­sorb­ing ma­chines ever to grace tar­mac.

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