Blue is the colour
Like James, I didn’t get much sleep last night – partly the intensity of all that driving, but also because we’d be in the Supreme Court if we were making a tougher decision. There were no disappointments, certainly not the 911 Turbo S we’ve placed last. The Porsche is an astonishing car. It has the ride comfort, technology and lunging speed to make countries feel like counties, the all-wheel-drive security to shrug off awful weather and the poise and performance to thrill. Had we given daily usability equal billing to driver entertainment, the 911 would’ve walked it – it’s the most all-round-capable car here.
The Huracan Evo RWD places fourth. It is intimidating and a little flawed (if not to drive), but it is also a surprisingly exploitable analogue supercar, one that bristles with character and has a masterpiece of a V10. The RWD is not only the least expensive Lambo, it’s the best.
The McLaren 765LT was our pre-test favourite, but places third partly because the 720S it’s based on is already so polished. Previous Longtails have delivered not only faster lap times but also a more tactile road drive. This latest LT is firmer, louder, lighter, grippier and – mind-blowingly – significantly quicker too, but it doesn’t materially improve the driving experience. On track, we’ve no doubt its uncompromising revisions elevate it beyond the 720S, most notably that car’s lack of traction when really pushed. But you’ll need to be a hardcore track-goer for an LT to be a better fit than a 720S.
The 718 Cayman GTS could barely be more different. It is sublimely balanced for the road, with compact dimensions, a fabulously supple ride and the most intuitive mid-engined handling, matched with precision steering and a slick manual gearshift. Best of all, it’s now topped off with the naturally-aspirated flat-six, not the flat-four with which previous 718s have been hamstrung. This is performance you can use everywhere. Most impressively, the Cayman can hold its own even when you forget value for money – it’s simply fantastic to drive. But add in its relative affordability, practicality and usability and this is an unbeatable package.
Yet ultimately the Porsche couldn’t stand in the way of the Ferrari. The F8 is a supercar so sweetly balanced it could win Strictly. It does much of what the Cayman does so well: gliding over the surface, arcing deftly through turns, responding to every input with wheel and pedals. But it also takes that competence to another level entirely courtesy of a twin-turbo V8 delivering monstrous performance and a chassis that’s even more exploitable. That such a powerful machine can still be enjoyed sensibly on the road only seals the deal; 2020 is Maranello’s year.
‘Ben, we’re done. Ben! BEN!’