The Best Cars For Spring
Now that Spring is seemingly on its way, the evenings are getting lighter, the sun is appearing in the sky more often and the daily weather stories of snow being on its way are getting less and less. The brighter and less frosty weather means that there is the opportunity to drive something more fun, sportier or something with a folding roof to brave the sunshine, if not quite the heat yet. What this time of year also brings is the new registration plate, meaning it could potentially be the best time of the year for purchasing your next vehicle.
Here is our rundown of the 10 Best Cars To Buy For Spring, one from each category depending on your motoring needs:
Starting off with the real reason Spring is a great time to be purchasing a new car, the fact that enjoyable driving is back on the agenda. The perfect time to take the sports car back out of the garage or part exchange your Winter SUV for a sportier vehicle. One of the newest sports cars to come to market is a lighter more focused version of one of the best handling cars in recent times, the Alpine A110 R. The ‘R’ is a more hardcore version of the ‘S’ with a 34kg reduction in its already lightweight standing thanks to generous use of carbon fibre throughout.
Using the same 296bhp 1.8 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the ‘S’, the weight reduction and aerodynamic improvements mean the car can now accelerate from 0-62mph in just under 4 seconds, as well as an improved 177mph top speed. The fixed rear wing and aerodynamic changes also mean downforce is raised by up to 29kg at top speed yet drag reduced by 5% in Track Mode. Everything from the carbon fibre bodywork and wheels to the bucket seats and the diffuser is aimed at providing the ultimate track version of the A110. Unless you happen to be feeling extra flush, and for a an additional £40k, you can have one of 32 Fernando Alonso editions, one for each of his Formula 1 victories.
The hot hatchback has always been regarded as the perfect everyday car for all occasions. Enough space for all the family and their luggage, yet with enough power to provide adequate driving thrills when you fancy a B-road blast. Something that looks that bit more appealing now that the weather is improving all the time. In recent times, hot hatchbacks seem to have got a bit power hungry, with cars such as the Audi RS3 providing 400bhp and real world 0-62mph times of well under 4 seconds. But for driving excitement there is little that can beat the Toyota GR Yaris. Built by Toyota’s in-house performance arm, Gazoo Racing, the GR Yaris comes with 257bhp from a 3-cylinder 1.6 litre engine, a manual gearbox and 4-wheel drive.
The seriousness of the transformation from economical city car to performance hatchback goes even further, with the rear doors removed to meet rally regulations for aero additions, the roofline lowered for similar reasons and carbon fibre roof and aluminium doors, bonnet and tailgate saving almost 30kg in the process. Underneath, an adapted chassis using the rear half from the Corolla and plenty of additional structural welding makes for a more rigid chassis. They’ve certainly not gone half measures, and it shows. Taking motor journalists by surprise, the GR Yaris is heralded for everything from the handling and usability to the power, fun and excitement. The perfect way to enjoy the arrival of Spring.
Future / Modern Classic
When the first Audi TT arrived in 1998, the Bauhaus inspired styling and clean lines ensured that it was certain to become a style classic. Despite a difficult birth with exposed handling issues, the TT has been a huge sales success for the brand, especially in the UK. Throughout its 3 iterations it always remained synonymous with a refined and luxurious interior, a stylish and great looking exterior and the desirability factor was abundant with each variation.
Early examples of the Mk I TT are difficult to find with low mileage yet manage to get hold of one and you can rest assured you are driving something with instant future classic status. The more powerful models are understandably more desirable, with the limited-edition TT Quattro Sport the most collectable of them all. Limited to 800 examples in the UK, weight saving and 240bhp on offer means that it was the best driver’s version of the model. The perfect way to enjoy the better weather and show off your future classic in the increasing hours of sunshine.
Just because the weather seems to be getting more Spring-like, doesn’t mean much when it comes to typical British Springtime. The later part of Winter often seems to throw the onslaught of snow into the mix, and usually when the week before has offered warmer temperatures and sunshine, giving a false sense of the changing season. With that in mind the SUV still has a part to play, and if you’re looking for an SUV for Spring, why not get the coolest one of the moment.
The latest Defender seems to have managed to continue the desirability and a degree of the cult following that the original model famously gained. The price may have increased and the technology with it, but the capability and iconic styling influences remain, ensuring the new Defender is amongst the most stylish of all SUV’s. With 90, 110 and 130 body styles to choose from and petrol, diesel and hybrid powertrains, the Defender has something to offer for everyone. Even petrol heads are well catered for with a 5.0 litre V8 version for maximum driving enjoyment. What better way to ensure that Spring motoring has a sense of preparedness should the weather take a turn for the worse.
Weekend Car / Occasional Track Car
One thing that is sure to have spent all Winter in the garage is the weekend or occasional track day car. Often not equipped at coping with wintery conditions, and sometimes even sporting semi-slick tyres, the chance to take the weekend car out is often the first sign that Spring has definitely arrived. For true weekend fun driving with maximum track day capability, there is one name consistent with not only their approach but the capability unchanged over such a long period of time.
The Caterham Seven is that such car. Lightweight, simplistic, built for ultimate driving experience and with no creature comforts to get in the way, someone who drives their Caterham in anything other than optimum conditions is someone very committed indeed. Yet on a warm Spring Day on the road or on a track very little comes close to the raw driving experience that a Caterham can offer. Devoid of electronic aids, excessive power or even often a roof or proper doors, the formula or styling has changed little since its conception 50 years ago.
Electric car owners will certainly be glad of the approaching warmer weather, thanks to the bad press regarding the range capability that the colder weather created. Many electric car owners were unaware of the drop in performance that cold weather can bring to batteries and their ability to hold their much-discussed charge amount. Now that this is less of an issue, which electric car offers driving thrills and performance more commonly associated with their petrol equivalents.
Understandably, as they are built on the same platform, the Porsche Taycan and Audi RS E-Tron GT have little to choose between them. For a more stylish package and perhaps surprisingly a more exclusive prospect, the RS E-Tron GT narrowly edges this decision as the more desirable electric car for the Springtime. With the usual Audi refinement and technology, and to some a cleaner more ergonomic appearance, the RS E-Tron GT is one of the best electric cars money can buy right now. The ’RS’ part of the name also means that with over 635bhp on offer and a 0-62mph time of just 3.3 seconds, the E-Tron GT can outperform many supercars at the same time.
With the temperatures often struggling to get into double figures despite the increase in sunshine, a convertible that offers many creature comforts is always going to be a more attractive prospect. The Mercedes Benz AMG GTC has many of those creature comforts on offer. With the wider track of the fearsome GTR making the bodywork look that much more proportionate, 549bhp from the 4.0 litre Bi-Turbo V8 and more than enough performance to match the looks, the GTC is still a stunning car, even after the model being on sale for almost 9 years. The traditional roadster recipe lives on in the AMG GT with the long bonnet, rear biased cabin and burbling engine note offering everything a Grand Touring convertible should be.
Inside, the Mercedes Benz penchant for luxury interiors is ever present with the finest Nappa leathers, Burmester premium sound systems and abundance of technology to control every aspect of the car both inside and out. They even go one step further and offer their ‘AirScarf’ function, blowing warm air directly onto the occupant’s neck as you drive along, perfect for those top down but not so warm moments that the Spring weather can often bring. With the impending switch to electrification imminent, we should take advantage of the AMG burbling soundtrack while we still can.
Whilst the Ferrari SF90 Stradale might not be everyone’s idea of the typical plug-in hybrid vehicle, it certainly offers the maximum thrills for Springtime motoring. With almost 1000bhp offered from the combined petrol V8 and trio of electric motors, the SF90 is Ferrari’s first mid-engine car with four-wheel drive and is easily one of the quickest they’ve ever produced. You cannot fail to be impressed by the statistics. 0-62mph in just 2.5 seconds (although reports say that is conservative), 211mph top speed, yet claimed economy of 51mpg, it’s easy to see how effective today’s hybrid systems are at performing in all areas.
As a technical exercise, the SF90 is a masterpiece. Ferrari’s ability to offer the same emotion and sense of theatre yet incorporate electrification is a testament to how good they are at creating the very best supercars. As you’d expect with a Ferrari it also happens to be stunningly good looking and is certain to turn heads wherever it goes, something you can enjoy again now that the Spring weather is on its way.
For many years the traditional roadster was one of the easiest ways into classic car motoring. In the 1960’s and 70’s Britain was awash with 2-seater sports cars with plenty to choose from and from a large number of manufacturers too. Sadly, these days this isn’t the case, but happily many of the original British sports cars have survived and still remain to purchase as your very own classic.
One of the most popular sports cars of the era was from one of the most iconic names in the business, Triumph. The Triumph Spitfire was the definitive British convertible sports car. 2 seats, rear wheel drive, simple to maintain and repair, great looking and great fun to drive. For many years a good one would have been between £8k-£10k, however in recent years the average price for an early Mk I Spitfire is almost £30k, and clean Mk II’s are also fetching prices close to the same money. What better way to feel the Spring air rushing through your hair than in your very own British classic convertible sports car.
With so many different cars to choose from it is difficult to know where to start in the luxury car sector. But one particular car that has been up there with the very best ever since it was launched is the Bentley Continental GT. Powerful, excessively comfortable, great looking, laden with technology and with four-wheel drive it is more than capable of handling all weathers and driving situations.
The latest Continental GT pushes the boundaries of all those desirable factors even further, raising the bar for luxury grand tourers and proving that Bentley remain at the very top of their game. Thanks to even more sophisticated technology, the car feels even more agile and handles and performs extremely impressively, especially for a car of that size and weight. If any car is going to be the perfect choice to whisk you away for the weekend this Spring, you would always know you made the right choice after a trip in a Continental GT.
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