With the calendar set to turn to 2022, now is the perfect time to look back on the cars that impressed us the most in 2021.
Here’s the rundown of the stand-out sports cars we sampled this year – in no particular order.
Mercedes-AMG GT R
Our time in the track-spec AMG was limited to a few laps at Sydney Motorsport Park, but that was all we needed to be deeply impressed by the performance of this stunning coupe.
The combination of a more powerful 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 (making 430kW/700Nm) and more finely-tuned chassis compared to the ‘regular’ AMG GT, made for an incredibly capable and very, very fast sports car.
Porsche 911 Turbo
It was a big year for Porsche in Australia with the arrival of the all-new Taycan, updated Panamera and Macan line-ups and, of course, the latest 911 GT3. But even amid all that action the 911 Turbo stands out.
While not quite as powerful as the 911 Turbo S, its 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six still makes 427kW/750Nm which means it’s violently quick in a straight line. But it was its poise and precision on the track at The Bend combined with its composure and control on the road that really impressed.
This is a genuine supercar that you could live with every day.
Aston Martin Vantage
We finally got behind the wheel of Aston Martin’s rival to the Porsche 911 in 2021 and it didn’t disappoint. This new generation of the British brand’s ‘entry-level’ sports car is a major leap forward from its predecessor, offering higher levels of performance and luxury.
While it uses AMG’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, it feels unique thanks to its chassis developed in-house by Aston Martin. It’s sharp, responsive and engaging on the road, which it needed to be to compete with the likes of the 911 and AMG GT.
Lamborghini Huracan Evo Fluo Capsule
While the Fluo Capsule is primarily a styling update – adding a fluro coat of paint – anytime we drive the Lamborghini Huracan it’s impossible not to come away impressed by it.
At a time when the world is pushing deeper and deeper into downsized engines and electric motors, the Huracan and its screaming 5.2-litre V10 engine is a delightful throwback.
The Fluo Capsule’s loud paint job perfectly suits the loud nature of the Huracan Evo. This is an unapologetically over-the-top supercar – and that’s what makes it so great.
Ford Mustang Mach 1
While we eagerly await the arrival of the next-generation Mustang (which will coincide with the introduction of Supercars’ Gen3 rules), Ford had one more trick up its sleeve for the current model.
The Mach 1 promised to be the most track-capable Mustang launched in Australia (because we miss out on the Shelby versions) and it delivered. While not as powerful as the locally-developed, supercharged R-Spec, the Mach 1 features a raft of handling upgrades including wider tyres, revised aerodynamics and changes to the suspension.