In the Headlights – Halo Cars {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

19 Jul 2017

So this is it – the first week in our new In the Headlights promotion! Each week we bring four new, exciting and different cars to the competition, chosen by a special guest. The cars aren’t normally in the competition and will only be in for one week!

This week our guest picker is Stuart Gallagher, Editor of evo Magazine. evo is the world’s leading sports, performance and premium car magazine brand and has been going since 1998. Devoted to the ‘thrill of driving’, evo puts the reader behind the wheel of the most exciting cars in the world with professional car reviews, exciting adventures and dynamic group tests.

Stuart has chosen four halo cars – the type of car that sits at the top of a particular model line from a manufacturer – more expensive, faster, louder. They may be limited run, they may have lairy graphics, they exist so that people look at that car and are drawn to the range, inspired by how great it may look or sound. Tim Oldland casts his eye over Stuart’s choices:

This is a tricky category to choose in. A true halo car is something like the LaFerrari, Aston Martin Valkyrie, Porsche 918 Spyder – cars that are the absolute pinnacle of engineering and what the manufacturers are capable of making. But we can’t be adding £1m+ hypercars to the competition (not sure people would stomach the £150 ticket price) so we had to soften the criteria slightly to more achievable cars – and I have to say that evo’s Editor has nailed it with four cracking choices.

Starting off with the Aston Martin V8 Vantage AMR, this is by no means the most technologically advanced car in the competition but it has something that many manufacturers would kill to have – soul. That V8 emits such a wondrous noise that you’ll find yourself downshifting just to hear it bark and snarl, with some added burbles and pops just for good measure. The Aston AMR factory team won their category at Le Mans this year too, so these final run of Vantages are the last chance you have to own a link to the race cars. And this is the last chance to own a manual, naturally aspirated V8 Aston too, so get one while you can.

Now, the M4 CS is another inspired choice, but I’m going to have to take Stuart’s word on this as I haven’t actually driven it yet. I have driven the M4 and the M4 GTS though, and this is supposed to sit between them in terms of a driving experience. I do know that it looks incredible – with the carbon front splitter, intricate fixed rear spoiler and gorgeous new lightweight wheels, combined with the M4’s already pumped arches mean that the CS looks incredibly aggressive.

I drove the Mini JCW Challenge in May around Millbrook Proving Ground’s infamous Hill Route and it was an absolute riot. It’s as close as you can get to buying a Mini Challenge race car for the road, mainly because it was developed with the same people (with help from some of the evo staff). The lightweight wheels, adjustable suspension, sticky tyres and massive brakes mean that the JCW Challenge stops, steers and turns like nothing else, it’s just huge fun – all at fairly safe speeds.

What is there not to love about the Mercedes-AMG SL63? You get classy and fairly understated looks, a folding hardtop and a luxurious interior, but then under that long bonnet sits an incredible 5.5 litre twin turbo V8 that produces 579bhp and a staggering 900Nm of torque. There’s that distinctive AMG rumble and bark from the exhaust when you want it too, or you can just cruise around on all that torque. This really is the do-it-all supercar.