What isn’t there to love about the 2016 British cars? From the McLaren supercars’ ingenuity and high-performance to the craft and heritage of the Morgan retro roadsters, every kind of automobile that you might fancy has been accounted for. With rock music cued up and the pedal pressed to the floor, a victory roll being flipped by a Spitfire is the only thing that has a more impressive sound than the most recent Morgan Plus 8. A 4.8-litre BMW engine might be featured by this retro roadster, however to its very core it is classically British.
The Morgan has been hand-built for over 100 years in the same exact Worcestershire factory, still looking like it’s been driven right out of The Wind In The Willows book with angry Mr. Toad behind the wheel.
A majority of buyers choose the modest 4/4 Classical 2.0 litre model – which has a beautiful shape and is fun enough for a nice weekend drive through the countryside. The raucous Plus 8, however, is the macho alternative to choose from.
With a 390 bhp engine squeezed into this small of a bodyshell, it makes it one of the world’s lightest V8 passenger cars. And although it is just as fast as the Porsche 911 is – 0 to 60 mph within 4.5 seconds – there aren’t any driver aids with the Plus 8 that you find with modern cars.
The 8 is consequently a true brute and needs a health warning to come with it. In wet weather, the back end truly has its own mind. The only thing that saved me from oblivion was the big brakes it comes with. The Plus 8 is uncomfortable, noisy, unrefined and leaks when the mohair roof is up. However, after my 1,000 mile drive all over Ireland, I really can’t imagine a car that could be more exhilarating than this one.
In today’s era of overindulgent safety features and driver aid, the Plus 8 dispense with all of the political correctness and shouts out that we are here to have fund. The only thing that is more outrageous is its £70,000 price tag. A butler is really the only thing that is missing from the GT Speed with its £185,000 price tag. It also offers a list of personalized options that is as equally extensive and indulgent. This model includes everything from air-conditioned and quilted seats to a heated steering wheel.
The fastest Bentley of all comes equipped with a huge engine. Its 6.0 litre W12 can produce 626 bhp, propelling the soft-top at an incredible rate of knots with no fuss whatsoever.
There wasn’t much that didn’t impress me about the top-of-the-line Conti, with the exception of how frequently I needed to stop to fuel up. It is very hard achieving anything better than 19 mpg – and much less when you are tempted to go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds.
It is of course possible the Speed can be steered around the countryside at a gentle Bentley mode as well, while enjoying its Naim sound system, armchair seats and excellent suspension.
However, if you are purchasing a Speed, you must explore the ‘Sport’ setting located on the auto gearbox. The car picks a gear up instantly, with support coming from an exhaust system featuring an outrageous sound. The Speed is built in Crewe, and is the ideal antidote for the Morgan Plus 8 – but at a very high price. You can at least hear its sound system on the journey. Caterham owners may want to punch every buffoon thinking the Seven is merely a kit car. Although it is true that there is a ‘self assembly’ versions that you can buy, a majority of them are put together in a factory located in Dartford.
The 620S represents the top-of-the-range and is so high performance at the insistence of Caterham it is built in-house. A pricey weekend track start that costs £45,000, there isn’t another car that handles any better.
There are a number of different Caterhma models to find one that suits your budget. They all offer exciting performance levels. Even the 160 entry level at £16,000 is an absolute blast, while supposedly the 620S is a milder 620R race car version. The S is a 2.0-litre supercharged rocket capable of churning out 310 bhp. A Golf R is even almost capable of doing that. However, the Caterham only weighs 610 kg. That makes the Seven a big handful and scary fast. More than once i went sideways and it is a real slippery nightmare in the wet. It became even more challenging when the windscreen wipers started packing up.
The 620S contains absolutely no luxuries. There is no radio and the seats are buckets made out of carbon fibre. However, there are some benefits to a car being stripped down to the absolute bare minimum. The S is able to fly up to 60 mph within 3.4 seconds. When you hit the accelerator it makes a very angry bee sound. The 620 isn’t for the faint-hearted. The best way to describe it is as motorbike that has a roof. We have warned you. McLaren 650S Spider.
So how loud would you like your supercar to be? If you are the shy retiring type, then the 650S is not for you. Long before this spaceship-shaped vehicles comes flying in, its exhaust pipes will be announcing your arrival. Even when the rear-screen is lowered or the hard-top is stowed away neatly, you will need to cover your ears to fully appreciate the roar that this British supercar makes.
The 3.8-litre, 650 bhp V8 is where all of the drama comes from. It is neatly nested behind the cockpit. There’s no time to check the speed since the 650 blasts up to 60 mph within 3 seconds and then just keeps on going. The gremlins that bothered owners of its previous road car have been sorted out by McLaren, although I had some problems still with a radio that wouldn’t play. However, I could live happily with its engine’s soundtrack at any time.
The Spider is one of the most beautiful cars I have driven during the past 12 months. It is incredibly fast as well. Everything else could be left for dead by one of these cars, and threaten to add points on to your driving licence constantly.
Built in Woking at McLaren’s Technology Centre, it is hard to think of there being a more round package at its £215,000 price tag. After you have driven it once, you’ll want to continue coming back to get more. When it launched in 2013 there was a lot of hype. However, the F-Type won’t ever achieve the original E-Type’s iconic status. It is still a really great car, however, and the coupe for once is much more attractive than the convertible is.
The R leads the pack, with its supercharged 5.0-litre V8 that can blow by a Porsche 911 while making it to 60 mph in only 4.0 seconds. Jaguar has brought out its manual gearbox and all=wheel drive option this year as well.
The coupe’s interior ambiance is a real treat. There is even decent luggage space that comes with it. This isn’t a 2+2. However, for practical reasons you most likely wont want having a coupe like this one. It is difficult to find fault with the F-Type if you would like to have a high performance sports car that is reasonably priced. There are some that feel the cabin is too cramped and the touchscreen infotainment system is a bit fussy. However, this couple is one you will want to drive at all times.
The most recent John Cooper Works is the most powerful and fastest accelerating Mini yet. They have squeezed an impressive 228 bhp from a 2.0-litre BMW engine – with a brand new turbocharger along with some other adjustments.
John Cooper was the famous engineer who created the original Mini Cooper during the 1960s. His son provided input for this most recent car’s design, which has a £23,000 price tag for its basic version.
With some desirable extras added, it can easily increase to £30,000. This includes some must-haves such as climate control, heated seats and sat nav.
The JCW is not incredibly fast. However, thanks to the entertaining engine and go-kart handling of the Mini, it feels a lot faster than it actually is. If you happen to be brave enough you can go from 0 to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds with a 153 mph top speed.
The bodywork has decals and spoilers all over it. However, there is a more upmarket feel to the inside of the JCW. It is put together beautifully and feels more classy than cheap.