ITH – Halo Cars: The Second Coming {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

4 Dec 2017

Manufacturers generally have broad ranges with the bulk of sales being the lower end cars sold to Average Joe - think the BMW 1, 3 and 5-Series, Mercedes’ A-, C- and E-Class, even Porsche with the Macan, Cayenne and Boxster models. But to entice people into your brand – to grab their attention and make them notice, you need cars that make headline figures, excite people and cast a positive shadow over the rest of the range. That is known as the Halo Car. So, with Porsche you had the 918 Spyder which got people talking and eventually they went into a showroom and bought a Macan or a base 911. These Halo Cars are the best of the best in the ranges (sorry…) and are the standout models people are drawn to. To select this week’s four cars, we asked someone who runs a sort of Halo Business – the top of the tree, only the very best cars and experiences – Craig Williams, Director of Auto Vivendi – the leading private members supercar and lifestyle club. His views will come later but for now here are my thoughts on the cars Craig has chosen.

For a company like Volkswagen the halo car is particularly important. Most of their range is made up of reliable, stylish, high quality cars that blend into the background of everyday life like the Polo, Tiguan and Passat. So they really need exciting performance models to get people interested – step forward the Golf R. or in this particular case the best specced Golf R you can get – the 5-door, DSG Golf R with their new Performance pack that brings bigger brakes, bigger alloys, a new spoiler, a higher top speed and a fruity Akrapovic titanium exhaust system. These cars are staggeringly good fun, one of the best all-round packages available and these additions just make it even better. Speaking of all-round packages, how about a medium sized SUV that can sprint to 62mph in a supercar-beating 3.9 seconds, whilst producing a properly naughty exhaust sound? That would be the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio! Packing the same twin turbo V6 as the Giulia QF, this SIV looks fantastic, goes like a scalded cat and makes the kind of raspy exhaust note that makes a Jag F-Type look embarrassed.

The BMW M3 was a little bit ‘spiky’ when launched – meaning it wouldn’t take much for it to throw you off the road is you weren’t an expert helmsman. The Competition Pack fixed a lot of that, making the suspension work better, adding a little more power and basically honing into a proper weapon. But still people wanted more and for that BMW has released the M3 CS – with some seriously sexy alloys, a new carbon splitter and rear lip spoiler, plus a lightweight interior and body parts, not to mention another power hike to 454bhp, this CS is the pinnacle of M3 development. I cannot wait to drive one as this may very well be my perfect M3. Finally we have a true Halo Car, sitting proudly at the very top of Audi’s price list – the R8 Spyder V10 Plus. Being the Plus, you get carbon all over the exterior including a rather delicious little lip spoiler – oh and the small matter of a 5.2 litre V10 that puts out 602bhp. That matches the Huracan Spyder (for it is the same power plant) but is around £50k cheaper – who ever thought you could describe a £147,000 car as good value?! But as with all R8s this Spyder V10 Plus has an incredible interior, all-weather quattro drivetrain and a truly, hilariously noisy exhaust that gives endless pops and bangs on downshifts.

Don’t forget these cars are, as ever only available for one week so grab some tickets here while you still can!