6 of the most exciting sports cars in the market today

Republic of speed

By George Kuruvilla

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Published: Fri 17 Mar 2023, 12:42 AM

With the COVID phase nearing its end and news that production and logistics channels are picking up, there is a renewed vigour in the automotive industry, both amongst the buyers and the sellers, beyond the used car market.

And if you have a zeal for something new and sporty and the money to take the plunge, here is an eclectic mix of speedsters you should consider before subscribing to brand loyalty or falling prey to a seasonal offer.

Toyota GR86

In 2012, like a ray of hope…came the Toyota 86/GR86. It was intended to be a sleek, purpose-built, and most importantly affordable coupe that the market was thirsty for. But in reality, this return-to-basics sportscar was a little too basic. It had wonky styling cues, sounded like a grinder, and was the slowest “sportscar” ever known to the modern millennial man. But pricing and nimble handling saved its case and it eventually became a sales success and legend in its own right.

But this time around they’ve done it right and many would argue that this new car should have been their first generation after all. The swanky coupe lines are even more cohesive now and the horizontally opposed Boxer engine which has grown in displacement from an anaemic 2 litres to a more apt 2.4 litres can throw a decent punch in the acceleration department. With an optimistic 228 bhp and 250 Nm at play, given the full juice, it will run away to a 100 km/h in just 6.3 seconds, which in my opinion is more than enough for the college goer who needs a lecture on speeding and for the potential tuner who needs a good base. It hasn’t hit the UAE market yet, but in KSA, it has been priced at around AED 130k or so.

Nissan Z

The 7th generation of the legendary Japanese sportscar is here to stir up your segment and your senses. It tastefully blends styling details pilfered from previous generations like the 240Z with the silhouette of the previous generation. While the giant rectangular frontal grille is just there to invoke curiosity like a vacuum cleaner installation at an art installation.

Helping it zip between stop lights is a mighty 400-horse turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 that makes it a true road-going rocketship by any measure. Although this engine, which was first featured on the 2017 Infiniti QX60, deserves at least a tiny power bump as a token of natural progression. While it retains the 2-seater configuration, with the handling-enhancing brace gone the boot is marginally more commodious than its predecessor. Both the 6-speed manual and the 9-speed automatic transmission variants are priced at AED 205,000 each, but there is a 3-month waitlist.

Honda Civic Type R

Possibly the unsung hero of the sportscar market in the Middle East is the Type R. But that shouldn’t deter you from considering one. Also, it may have a Civic badge slapped onto its rear end but is anything but civil. The Type R is a raw, visceral piece of machinery that is ready for a hair-raising driving experience if you are. With a turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder that puts down 320 PS of power via the taut front-wheel drive chassis, it is the apex predator on the track. And this time around it’s abandoned the hatchback format for a refined sedan shape with speed-related trims …and a big rear wing. And got to love those bright red racing bucket seats too!

But with a price tag north of 200k, it seems that Honda knows its worth…but we think time will tell.

Skoda Octavia VRS

This sporty front-drive vehicle will get past the spouse’s budgetary restrictions on the pretext of being a functional family sedan. We took it around the Dubai Autodrome in a few tyre-screeching laps and this I can profess…it is quick as it is exciting and exemplifies the slogan “fun for the whole family”. Making speedy antics possible is a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline 4 cylinder that puts out a wholesome 245 PS and 370 Nm of torque and a chassis that defines German obedience (thanks to German underpinnings). The VRS is certainly ‘sleeper’ of a ride that will let you fly, under the radar.

You’d also be surprised by the fit and finish and the choice of materials as well. And there is a whole bunch of bright paint schemes to choose from.

Volkswagen Golf R

At a price of AED 225k or thereabouts for the top dog model, it is almost twice the price of the Mk V model which I owned and loved for a decade. But you will find yourself desperately groping for excuses to own one when you feel the rush of 320 horses spilling onto all four wheels via one of the fastest transmissions we have ever tested. With an estimated 0 to 100 km/h time of under 5 seconds, this car knows how to get up and go. I’m not a big fan of the finicky steering controls and some hard plastic panels, but the rapid drive when considered along with the features and overall utility, the Golf R is a Swiss army knife of cars. Except, it is German and thankfully so… at least in the car world.

Other notable mentions include the Toyota Supra and the Tesla Model 3 which we hope to cover in another issue in another week. Until next…adios, children of speed!

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