No, we’re talking Porsche 911 and upwards here, maybe Maserati if you want to keep below £100k. Beyond that you run into the supercar conundrum. Where do I drive this car, apparently faster than anything on last year’s F1 grid, without getting arrested or spinning off the road in a cloud of regret?
It’s a real issue. Once upon a time, sports cars would slither and shimmy around the bends with the driver controlling every nuance through the steering, accelerator and brakes. My old Lotus Elan, with its pencil-thin tyres, is like that.
Today, that’s not possible. Tyres are so wide that they grip forever. And then there’s NASA-like computing power if you do overstep the mark, to keep you from embarrassment. Once you’ve accelerated as hard as you dare up a motorway slip-road a few times, it’s pretty clear the £200k McLaren/Ferrari/Porsche is much like any other car.
The answer, for an increasing number of enthusiastic drivers, is a track day car. You turn up at one of Britain’s many circuits, blast around as fast as you can in relative safety, then go home. You could do it in your Ferrari or whatever, but you’ll get the most exciting experience in a bespoke model, like the Vuhl 05.
The Vuhl is designed and built in Mexico, powered by a mid-engined Ford 2.0-litre turbo, and is, possibly, the most thrilling thing you’ll drive this year. This is an entirely legal road car, with a reasonable ride and looks to die for, and it costs under £60k. What are you waiting for?
There are a few issues, to be fair. It doesn’t have a roof. There are no doors, so you need to clamber in over the side, preferably after removing the steering wheel for ease of accesshttps://www.gwr.com/book-and-plan/journey-information/on-board/first-class-train-tickets. Oh, and there’s no windscreen, either: you’ll need some pretty tough sunglasses, at least, to keep road debris out of your eyes; a full-face helmet is even better.
Yet the Vuhl is easy to drive, with regular pedals, gear-change and clutch, and not a flappy paddle in sight. And my goodness, it’s fast. The performance is explosive right from the off, even though 285hp is just Boxster levels of power.
The performance is helped by the very low weight of the aerospace-technology aluminium chassis. This makes the Vuhl nimble and tactile, where supercars twice the weight – and three times the price – feel cumbersome in comparison.
The £59,995 does, I admit, ramp up after a few choice options, which you’ll want to invest in: the interior, makes a Lotus Elise look like a luxury car. But from the outside, whether it’s standing still, driving through town or howling around a racetrack, the Vuhl is pure eye candy. As long as you have your waterproofs with you, this is about as exhilarating as driving gets.
• The Vuhl is imported by Bespoke Performance in Ware, Hertfordshire.