9. Mercedes-AMG GT63 S 4-Door
Launched as a rival to Porsche’s highly successful Panamera, the GT63 4-Door had a big task at hand. Under the bonnet is the same 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 you’ll find in all of the brand’s current ‘63’ products, offering excellent response and one of the best exhaust notes from a car of its kind.
Officially one of the most powerful AMGs on sale today, second only to the £330,000 GT Black Series, 630bhp and 664lb ft of torque are enough to propel it from standstill to 62mph in an astonishing 3.2sec, and on to a top speed of 196mph – not bad for a 2045kg saloon.
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The use of a trick all-wheel-drive system prevents it from being a straight-line machine, with power sent only to the rear under moderate loads, engaging the front differential when additional traction is required. In the range-topping S, you also receive the same drift mode you’ll find in the E63 S, which ensures power is sent only to the rear.
Despite its name, the supersaloon shares very little with its Coupe counterpart. Though based on Mercedes’ MRA platform used by the E-class and CLS, it adopts aluminium strut towers and subframes, a carbonfibre rear bulkhead and boot floor, with high-strength steel crossmembers used to stiffen its shell.
Despite its size, weight and number of doors, the GT63 4-Door behaves like a smaller, lighter machine, with spritely acceleration and incredible agility thanks to the likes of its adjustable all-wheel-drive system and four-wheel steering.
8. Aston Martin DB11 V8
We weren’t initially convinced by Aston Martin’s new era of turbocharged cars when it launched the DB11 V12. The chassis felt confused, as if it was trying to spread its abilities too thinly; there wasn’t the control and resistance to body roll to make it feel truly competent on the road, and the ride was only comfortable when the road surface wasn’t too rough. The sportier chassis settings made the dampers firmer and ruined the ride, but didn’t increase the control hugely.
Its engine, in comparison to Aston’s old V12, also felt one-dimensional, the noise lacked depth, and its sudden delivery of torque was way too much for the rear axle to cope with alone.
The V8 version, with AMG’s 4-litre hot-V V8, rights many of the V12’s wrongs. The engine is more suited to the chassis and the lighter motor means there’s less for the dampers to try to contain. That the suspension has been treated to a retune has helped significantly too.
7. Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo Turbo
The first-generation car had questionable looks, but the Porsche Panamera is undoubtedly one of the most capable performance saloons on the market. Unlike its rivals from Mercedes-AMG and Audi, it doesn’t feel the need to shout about it, either, making it an excellent grand tourer.
Despite its size, the Panamera has an incredible ability to control its mass through advancements in its air suspension technology; in some circumstances, it leads you to believe that you’re in a car of the class below, and hauling 500kg less. Thanks to Porsche’s build quality and refinement, you’ll struggle to find a car in its class that offers the ability to cover miles at speed in more comfort.
The Sport Turismo variant takes things one step further, applying the same formula to an estate with little to no performance penalty – more boot space and rear headroom make it ideal for long journeys. The £120,065 Turbo is the sweet spot of the range, offering a 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 for a 535bhp, 568lb ft torque output. Zero to 62mph comes in a brisk 3.6sec (with the Sport Chrono package), with top speed at 188mph.