Modern cars have become safer, more sophisticated and easier to drive thanks to systems like traction control and automatic gearboxes. However this technology has removed a lot of the driver engagement that true petrolheads savour and has to a large extent taken the fun out of driving completely.
But if you shop smartly, you can still find all these things in a package that is fun and rewarding for any true petrolhead. These four vehicles are designed with the true petrolhead in mind and will ensure that you fall in love with driving again.
The Toyota GR86 is the last of a kind and showcases Toyota’s commitment to continuing to build cars that are fun to drive. The Toyota GR86 embodies the true sports car format of a front engined, rear-wheel drive layout combined with a two-door coupe body style.
Power is courtesy of a 2.4-litre naturally aspirated boxer engine that offers 174kW and 250Nm, facilitating a 0-100km/h sprint time of under 7 seconds.
However, it is in the twisties and on the track that the GR86 is truly at home as it offers intuitive handling and instinctive responsiveness, smooth power delivery as well as outstanding agility at the upper limits of performance. The result is a vehicle that will thrill novice drivers and impress experienced drivers alike.
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Ford Ranger Raptor
The Ford Ranger Raptor is a sports car trapped in a bakkies body and raises the off-road performance bar as a bakkie built for true enthusiasts.
Central to the incredible performance is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre EcoBoost V6 petrol engine producing 292kW and 583Nm and mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Ensuring that the Ranger Raptor is as close to an off-road race car as one can buy is a bespoke suspension design. This includes lightweight aluminium upper and lower control arms, long-travel front and rear suspension and a refined watt’s link rear end that offers more control across rough terrain at high speed. This is paired with the latest Fox 2.5-inch Live Valve Internal Bypass shock absorbers with cutting-edge control technology that offer position-sensitive damping capability. The result is a vehicle that can traverse rough terrain at incredible speeds, in incredible comfort.
Seven selectable drive modes assist the Raptor in handling a variety of terrain. These modes include the off-road oriented Baja mode for extreme high-speed off-roading where electronic systems are configured for ultimate performance.
The Raptor is a true off-road performance vehicle and what makes it great is that it allows drivers to test the limits of their driving and traction when driving off-road at much more sedate speeds than a traditional sports car while still delivering the same thrills.
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Volkswagen Golf GTI
Volkswagen perfected the hot hatch recipe in the 70’s and is still the segment leader and with good reason. The Golf GTI, now in its eight generation, offers the perfect balance between practicality and performance.
A big contributor to the GTI’s success is that its DNA has never changed, it still has a clean design, front-wheel drive layout, a powerful petrol engine and iconic touches like the red stripe in the radiator grille that have become synonomous with the model.
The 2.0 litre turbocharged engine now sends 180kW and 370Nm to the front wheels and is mated to a seven-speed DSG gearbox allowing it to sprint from 0-100km/h in just 6.4 seconds.
The latest GTI might be the perfect all round package for an enthusiastic driver, it is an excellent grand tourer and offers incredible performance, but it is also able to blend seamlessly into everyday life and in that way, it is an exceptional all-rounder for those who love driving.
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BMW’s M2 continues the brand’s tradition of sporty models with compact dimensions and is built for the pure joy of driving thanks to its six-cylinder engine, the option of a manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive.
An athletic appearance is bolstered by powerful proportions and hallmark M design features, a large part of which has been designed around the technical requirements of the high-performance engine and drivetrain in a form follows function approach.
A straight-six engine developed specifically for this model features M TwinPower Turbo technology and a high revving design that is very similar to the engine that does duty in the M3 and M4. Offering a maximum power output of 338kW and 550Nm, it is accompanied by a fitting soundtrack thanks to the M-specific exhaust and can be paired with either an eight speed M Steptronic transmission or a manual gearbox. This allows the M2 to sprint from a standstill to 100km/h in just 4,1 seconds.
With the BMW M2, dynamic performance is ensured thanks to the rear-wheel-drive layout, M Traction control function, that gives the driver room to play, and BMW’s Active M Differential.
BMW M cars have always offered exceptional performance but over time they have grown up considerably and lost some of that appeal. With the M2, BMW have gone back to basics and by doing so they once again offer a real driver’s car in the modern era.
Shop for a BMW M2 nowCredit: Reuben van Niekerk