One of the reasons motorists may go for a car that focuses more on performance is that they are good for taking to race circuit on track days.
Track days have become increasingly popular across Britain over the last few years. Their clear appeal is that they provide members of the public the chance to drive around a race circuit unrestricted by speed limits, in either a rented sports car or their own car.
There is a large variety of new cars available now at Perrys showrooms, ranging from hot hatches to coupes and performance saloons, which comfortable suit both the public road and the track. Here is our pick of the best cars for taking to the track.
Ford Focus ST
Available in both five-door estate and hatchback bodystyles, the ST is the current fastest version of the Ford Focus on sale.
Equipped with a 247bhp 2.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine, the five-door Focus ST hot hatch can cover the zero to 62mph sprint in just 6.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 154mph.
The engine also permits the Focus ST to return 39mpg while CO2 emissions are at 169g/km.
Ford’s Focus ST has been one of the most popular selling hot hatch cars across Europe since it first arrived back in 2012. What makes it so appealing is that not only does it have the power and driving dynamics to entertain, it is also virtually as practical as a standard Ford Focus.
Pricing for the Ford Focus ST starts from £21,995 for the hatchback.
Topping the highly-appealing Jaguar XF range is the R-S super saloon, a worthy alternative to cars like the BMW M5 and the Audi RS6.
The saloon is priced from £79,995 and features a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Producing 542bhp, the XFR-S is great fun to drive and immensely fast. It can go from a standstill to 60mph in just 4.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 186mph.
A Sportbrake estate version of the Jaguar XFR-S is available to order now and it will arrive at showrooms later this year. It will be priced from £82,495.
Nissan 370Z Nismo
Nismo is the official performance division for Nissan and provides the quickest and most driver-enhanced version yet of the 370Z coupe.
Priced from £36,995, the 370Z Nismo uses a 335bhp 3.7-litre V6 petrol engine. The coupe can go from a standstill to 62mph in just 5.2 seconds.
The Nismo model also has a modified sports body kit for greater aerodynamic performance.
This includes new body kit parts for greater airflow, plus a re-engineered suspension and chassis for a more planted drive on the road.
The Renaultsport 265 specification tops the Renault Megane trim which received a facelift and other updates for the start of 2014.
Available on the Megane Coupe for £26,925, it uses an impressive 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 261bhp to boot. This unit is mated with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard.
The Renaultsport Megane Coupe can go from a standstill to 62mph in just six seconds while top speed is 158mph. It also returns 174g/km in CO2 output and 37.7mpg combined.
A particularly welcome feature for track day enthusiasts is the ‘R-Link Renaultsport Monitor’, with an onboard performance tracking system.
SEAT Leon Cupra
The 2014 SEAT Leon Cupra line-up, priced from £25,690, is a highly impressive hot hatch which has already proven itself on the track.
Earlier this year the new Cupra set a groundbreaking lap time around the famous Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit. It set a new record time for a front-wheel drive production car. In fact, the Leon Cupra managed to lap the circuit quicker than an Alfa Romeo 4C by over five seconds.
All new Leon Cupra cars use a 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine, mated to either a manual gearbox or the optional DSG transmission.
The Cupra is capable of going from a standstill to 62mph in less than six seconds and with top of the range models you get extra body kit for even greater handling on track.
Vauxhall Astra VXR
Priced from £27,260 the Vauxhall Astra VXR is a large and aggressive-looking hot hatch which similarly to the Focus ST, has the useful practical element of a standard hatchback.
It’s also fun to drive on the road or on a track, thanks largely to its impressive 276bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine.
It can reach a top speed of 155mph and record a combined fuel economy figure of 34.9mpg. CO2 emissions are also respectable for a car this performance-focused, returning 189g/km.
Later this year a more track day-focused version of the Astra VXR, the VXR EXTREME, will be sold in European markets in highly restricted numbers.