21 Dec 2013

The Speedmonkey Cars Of The Year

Here at Speedmonkey we've been pretty lucky to be able to test lots of cars, loaned to us on media days or tests of a few days long from some extremely generous manufacturers.  2013 was a cracking year and between Colin, Alex and I we have tested more than 80 new cars.

Here are each reviewers favourites, with points out of 20. 


1 - Jaguar F-Type V6 S - 19/20

Redefines sports cars as enjoyable machines that are road, rather than track, focussed.  Can't wait for the coupe.  Lost points for miserly boot.  Will spend a week with one next year.

2 - Range Rover Sport - 18/20

Lighter, more handsome, better image.  Never before has a new car completely obliterated its predecessor so much.  Almost perfect. Due to spend a week with one next year.

3 - Lotus Evora S - 17/20

Incredible handling, brilliant ride, posh interior, superb engine, hard to get into, bit thirsty. I would buy one (if I could).

Note:  My top three is missing one car.  I tested a Porsche 911 Turbo (albeit briefly) at Silverstone on 17 December.  It's a fantastic car and would be my number one but the review doesn't publish until 2014.  Honourable mentions also go to the Porsche Cayman, which was just pipped by the Evora S, the Volvo V60 D3, which is the best mainstream estate car I've driven and the Subaru BRZ, which is a brilliant sports car that missed out by dint of being very slightly too expensive.


1 - Mercedes-Benz AMG A45 - 19/20

The combination of a huge output 2 litre engine developing 355bhp and a hugely capable 4wd chassis equated to 0-60 in 4.6 seconds. The package is so composed on the road, slightly clinical but vastly capable and entertaining that after a day driving the hottest AMGs the cheapest was the one I wanted to take home. A proper hardcore hatch.

2 - Audi RS4 - 18/20

It’s all the car you want and need, a beautifully voiced powerful V8 with a comfortable yet purposeful interior. The rear biased all-wheel drive chassis is a joy to steer and it’s also a looker with those boxed arches. Loses points for being auto only. Review out early next year.

3 - Jaguar XFR-S - 17/20

With an enormous supercharged heart pumping 542 bhp to the rear wheels with a thunderous soundtrack and a tail happy but complacent ride it’s the best R-S to date. It’s the car you could drive flat out with passengers through Europe while remaining calm, composed yet thrilled. Missed out on second spot as it’s not available as a shooting brake.


1 - Mercedes Benz E63 AMG S-Model - 19/20

It does everything a car should do, but also manages to deliver performance that any supercar would be proud of. Not only that, the magnificent engine even delivers respectable fuel economy (in theory). As close to completeness as it gets. Review out early next year.

2 - Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT Coupé - 17/20

The reverse of how a supercar should be, the appeal grows the more time you spend with it. The massive, naturally aspirated engine is likely to be the last we will see for a while so it must be savoured whilst still possible.

3 - Skoda Octavia vRS 2.0 TFSI - 16/20

Worthy of inclusion because it's always good to exceed expectations. For those in the real world, the Octavia offers a brilliant combination of practicality and discreet thrills. Just hold on to the steering wheel tightly.