Today’s performance-focused cars are astonishingly fast, deceptively agile and, in most cases, luxurious too. There’s something for everyone in all shapes and sizes, so whether your dream is to cruise down a winding mountain pass or cruise down a race track, there’s a sports two-seater, sports car, practical family sedan or even a snuggly crossover/EV capable of making it a reality. We’ve been pretty lucky here at CarWale this year, driving all manner of performance cars and here’s our pick of some of the best money can buy.
Mini Cooper JCW- Abhishek Nigam
If you drive a Mini, it just has to be on your list of favorite cars. And even more so, if it is the JCW. The Mini Cooper has always been a full-size Go-Kart and the JCW is the most fun Mini you can buy. The JCW has a lot to like including special looks and incredible performance. While 230BHP and 320NM may not sound like much, but in a car as big as the Maruti Swift, it packs quite a punch. The JCW is best enjoyed in sport mode where throttle response is immediate and in this mode the JCW can go from zero to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds. Additionally, the exhaust begins to spit out an aural note that will delight most enthusiasts.
With 230bhp on the loose, the TC and tires have a hard time reigning in the horsepower. There is a bit of torque in the steering as speeds increase at an alarming rate. Driving is just as entertaining. The sport suspension gives the JCW kart-like abilities and it’s just unreal how this Mini turns. Steering is fast and the JCW changes direction like no other. Cornering is what the Mini Cooper JCW is designed for. The Mini just corners flat, which makes you want to push harder into the next corner until you experience the obvious understeer. With its compact dimensions, squat stance and oodles of power, the Mini JCW is like a happy pup who just wants to chase corners all day.
Mercedes-Benz GLA35 AMG – Silver
The Mercedes-Benz GLA35 AMG makes no sense, and yet it makes sense. It is based on a very practical GLA but makes over 300 horsepower. But it’s the only performance-oriented premium car you could feasibly buy in that price segment. The absence of RSQ3, and the fact that the Mini Cooper is about as useful as a pot of chocolate, mean the GLA35 doesn’t seem like a bad choice either.
It seats four in comfort, has top-of-the-line features, and the AMG exhaust tips sound gloriously raucous when given a few beans. Its engine may not be a hand-built AMG one, but the character of the 302bhp turbocharged four is mental. And it is also assembled here in India, not in Affalterbach.
mercedes c300d- Vikrant Singh
The first time I drove the Mercedes C300d I fell in love. It was the previous generation car that I spent a day driving a few years ago on a winding road. I remember having a wide smile plastered on my face most of the day. The C’s handling balance, its ability to change directions with alacrity and poise while still feeling on edge, completely hooked me. The engine was also a gem. It had plenty of torque that it was happy to dish out for even the smallest of throttle nudges. And when you gave it a full kick coming out of a corner, the rear end would spin in a predictable, continuous, exciting dance of opposite blocking.
The new one is the same. Only better. It’s just as exciting, immersive and manageable to drive on the limit but with more torque to make side dancing even simpler and at less threatening speeds. But, given the new generation platform, the new C300d is also more stylish, more luxurious, better built and more luxurious than the previous car. It’s also more expensive, yes, but it also includes more technology and features. And overall, it’s a quiet car that’s easy to fall in love with. Only easier.
Mercedes Benz E53 AMG – sagar bhanushali
Mercedes-Benz AMG is brilliant at pulling the Eddie Brock-into-Venom trick, turning its drab models into fire-breathing, tire-smoking V8 monsters. The E53 is neither. It’s a lot less vicious, a lot easier on the eyes, and a lot more manageable: it’s Peter Parker dubbed Spider-Man. It’s everything I want from an AMG that I legitimately want to use every day; it’s fast, balanced, comfortable and, best of all, immune to potholes (with a little care, of course). The 3-litre engine in the E53 AMG is quite special, although it’s not a proper AMG engine like the monstrous 4-litre twin-turbo V8 in the E63 S. place, is complemented. by a twin-scroll turbo, an electric motor and a compressor. Basically, there’s an integrated starter motor powered by a 48-volt electrical system that puts out an extra 21 horsepower and more importantly 250Nm of torque, bringing the total output to 429bhp and 520Nm. .
It’s that torque figure that defines the E53; you’ve got all that pulling power from as low as 1,800rpm and as you also have the electric supercharger pushing the car forward at low revs with the turbo providing all the boost as the revs rise, there’s no noticeable lag in the E53. Finally, at Rs 1.06 crore ex-showroom, it’s a lot cheaper than the E63 S and I’ll admit, it doesn’t have the same level of brute force or ripping performance as the latter, but like all of AMG’s 53 line, it’s pretty quick and quite forgiving at the same time. Let me tell you, it’s a big commitment.
Audi E-Tron GT- Bilal Frafiray
It has a GT to its name and is a Grand Tourer in the proper sense. The Audi E-Tron GT is a low-slung four-door sedan that looks like a spiritual successor to the R8 but can haul four at just as fast a pace and in surprisingly good comfort. So the E-Tron GT isn’t just comfortable, it’s also fast, futuristic and unpredictably practical. And with its claimed range of 500km, a great battery pack and electronic wizardry, the Audi E-Tron GT can be as easy a commute as a mile eater. It’s not an Italian thoroughbred, but it doesn’t have to be because the E-Tron GT is way ahead of the future. And the electric nature becomes pretty secondary compared to its GT credentials.
Photographs of Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi
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