Best performance car 2014 shortlist

Many of us just need a car to ferry us from A to B but, for some lucky buyers, there are cars out there that deliver incredible performance for those who like to get a move on.

Performance cars may be expensive, but they’re an opportunity for a manufacturer to demonstrate its most powerful engines and its most cutting-edge technology. An unforgettable driving experience, a great soundtrack and stunning looks are a must in this highly competitive segment.

When judging performance cars we were looking for excellent engineering, an emotive driving experience and the desirability to make people stop and stare.

Jaguar F-Type Coupe

It’s hard to ignore the growing chorus of praise being directed at the Jaguar F-Type Coupe. Once reviewers have stopped waxing lyrical about how drop-dead gorgeous it is, which takes them a while, they go on to say how well the car handles. Don’t be fooled, this is no high-precision Porsche 911 – it’s more of a steroid-fuelled modern muscle car, happy to lay down smoking rubber all day long.

Its supercharged engines are incredibly powerful but almost more impressive is the sound they make – a rich trumpeting wail for the V6s and a resonant roar for the V8, which sounds like distilled essence of America.

BMW M4

Controversy surrounded the launch of the BMW M4 (M3 coupe in old-speak). Gone was the high-revving non-turbo V8 of the previous generation, replaced by a much more tree-friendly twin-turbocharged straight-six. Power has grown to 425hp, but torque has swelled to a gargantuan 406lb ft meaning the M4 now feels faster more of the time.

Testers point out that it feels more mature than its predecessor and has a more composed ride, so it’s less of a chore to drive around town. If the need to generate copious amounts of tyre smoke takes you, the electronic differential locks the rear wheels together for huge drifts.

Porsche Cayman

Judging by the maximum 10.0 wowscore the Porsche Cayman has earned, it seems the car is nearly impossible to criticise. Fitted with high-revving 2.7 or 3.4-litre flat-six engines, outright speed isn’t the Cayman’s party piece – rather the sublime balance through corners that its mid-engined layout brings. The manual is the enthusiastic driver’s choice but the optional PDK twin-clutch auto gets strong praise too, with smooth and lightning-fast shifts. Quality is up to the usual lofty Porsche standards with every point in the cabin feeling expensive and well assembled.

Jaguar F-Type Convertible

Gorgeous convertible sports car is loud, fast and thrilling
9.0
£57,260 - £115,485
RRP
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BMW M4

Huge power wrapped up in a stylish, comfortable coupe
8.8
£57,065 - £62,560
RRP
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Porsche Cayman

Well-built sports car is great to drive, sounds naff
10.0
£40,249 - £58,303
RRP
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