10 best handling cars

July 20, 2022 by

If you consider yourself a petrolhead, chances are you’ll enjoy nothing more than flinging your car around a racetrack. With this in mind, read on for the best handling cars you can buy.

This list contains cars to suit everyone, from small convertibles to practical family hatchbacks and everything in between.

Our pick of the top 10 best handling cars are:

  1. Toyota GR86
  2. Alpine A110
  3. Honda Civic Type R
  4. Porsche Taycan
  5. Mini Hatch JCW
  6. BMW M5 CS
  7. Mazda MX-5
  8. Audi RS5
  9. Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
  10. Hyundai i30N

1) Toyota GR86

If it’s old-school, back-to-basics sports car fun you’re after, the Toyota GR86 will be right up your alley. You get a punchy 2.4-litre petrol engine, a manual gearbox and rear wheel drive, all of which makes for a properly fun car to hoon around.

You won’t find a luxurious interior in the GR86. Look at an Audi TT if that’s your thing. But the GR86 is still a great looking sports car, and it’s one of the best drivers’ cars around.

2) Alpine A110

The Alpine A110 may look retro, however there’s nothing old-fashioned about the way this car drives. It’s lightweight, has a fizzy little 1.8-litre turbocharged engine and it comes alive when you push it hard.

Granted, you won’t be able to take any luggage with you in the tiny boot, but you’ll forget about that as soon as you get to a corner. And the best part? The A110 is still comfortable on long journeys, ironing out bumps in the road with ease.

3) Honda Civic Type R

We’ve all been there, you’ve got a track day to go to but the kids need dropping off at school first. Thankfully, the Honda Civic Type R can handle both tasks. It’s a practical, reliable family hatchback, yet is still one of the best handling front-wheel-drive cars out there.

If it’s the quickest hot hatch you’re after, an all-wheel-drive Volkswagen Golf R will be a better bet. However, being automatic only, that car doesn’t offer the superb manual gearbox you get in the Type R. It really is a joy to use as you make the most of all the grip in the corners.

4) Porsche Taycan

Electric cars aren’t usually all that engaging when the road gets twisty due to the added weight of all the batteries, however the Porsche Taycan is an exception. It hides its 2,295kg weight extremely well, managing to stay as nimble as a Porsche should be.

It may not be able to go as far on a charge as a Tesla Model S Long Range, and headroom in the back is tight. You can look past this though as it looks stunning, is properly quick in Turbo S form and offers great comfort as well.

5) Mini Hatch John Cooper Works

The original Mini was always renowned for being a right laugh to drive, and the latest iteration has kept this spirit alive. Go for the John Cooper Works model and you get a pokey 2.0-litre petrol engine with 231hp.

The Mini isn’t the most practical or comfortable small car on the market, check out the Audi A1 Sportback if that’s what you’re after, however the sharp steering and chunky stance make the Mini handle very well indeed.

6) BMW M5 CS

When it comes to great handling, you can’t go far wrong with any BMW M car. With the BMW M5 CS however, you are getting the best that the brand has to offer. The steering is quick and precise, and there’s plenty of grip from the all-wheel-drive system.

At £140,000 it is an expensive way of having fun, and the standard equipment is a bit mean at this price. However it makes up for this with the excellent suspension system, which manages to be firm enough for track driving and yet compliant enough to be comfortable.

7) Mazda MX-5

You can’t talk about handling without mentioning the Mazda MX-5. Since the Mk1 debuted in the late 80s, this convertible sports car has always been about light weight and having fun. It’s a wonderfully balanced car which really rewards you when you push it hard.

A more practical hot hatchback will be faster, however that’s not really the point of the MX-5. The 2.0-litre engine is peppy and loves to be revved out, encouraging you to make use of the excellent manual gearbox.

8) Audi RS5

If you want to be able to enjoy your car in all weathers, the Audi RS5 is the right car for the job. The Quattro all-wheel-drive system means that your car will stick to the road like glue, regardless of the challenges posed by mother nature.

The RS5 may not have the most exciting sounding engine, and it hasn’t got the biggest boot in this class, but this is forgiven when you realise how comfortable this car is on long distance drives.

9) Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS

Porsche knows how to make a car which handles, and the engineers went all-out on the Cayman GT4 RS. They took the standard 718 Cayman, stripped out a lot of weight (from a car which wasn’t exactly lardy to start with) and added a much more powerful engine.

The result? A track weapon which can frighten much bigger supercars in the corners, and put a huge grin on your face while doing it. The GT4 RS won’t make a great daily driver thanks to a harsh ride and noisy cabin, however as a weekend toy it’s hard to beat.

10) Hyundai i30 N

Who would’ve thought we’d see the day that a Hyundai makes a list like this? The i30 N is a great looking hot hatch which really can give cars such as the Honda Civic Type R a run for their money.

It feels keyed into the road and you can feel everything that’s going on underneath you, albeit at the expense of everyday comfort. Even with the suspension in its softest setting, the i30 N will be a touch too firm for some. For backroad blasting though, few cars come close.

Change cars online with carwow

Once you’ve decided on the best car for you, head over to carwow to compare the latest offers. You can configure your ideal model and our network of trusted dealers will contact you with the best prices, saving you time and money.

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