AMAZING MACCA: Writer Sean Parker (left) was left stunned by the deftness of the McLaren 570S. Image: Andre Davids
Cape Town - 2016 has been a tough year, United States President Barack Obama's final term is coming to an end, the world lost Muhammad Ali, George Michael and many others who shaped the world.
In the automotive world, Volkswagen continued to feel the heat of the #dieselgate saga that rocked the world in September 2015, and autonomous vehicle testing gained serious traction.
2016 was a great year for people who enjoy sports cars and performance machines, but mostly impractical selfish driving machines. With that being said... here are my five best drives of the year:
Mazda MX-5: The new MX-5 has grown up, put on some weight and perhaps lost what its true purpose is? Well after driving it extensively in 2016, I can beg to differ to those who said the MX-5 was not made for the thrill of driving.
A zinging 2.0-litre engine, short-throw gearbox, rear-wheel drive and a limited-slip differential translates into the best driving experience you’ll have for R441 700.
The MX-5 is an example of a car that makes me love cars and focuses purely on the thrill of driving.
Jaguar F-Pace: The car that literally turned the company’s fortunes around. The Coventry-based automaker, which is owned by Indian mega-company Tata, debuted their first SUV in 2016 and damn did they get it right.
Handsome, well-made and very practical, the F-Pace entered the market at the perfect time.
McLaren 570S: A road car built for the road and what a masterpiece. Fast, agile and supremely comfortable, the firm’s Sport Series cars take performance to a new level.
I sat so low in the 570 I swear my pants were touching the cat-eyes. With over 400kWs at my disposal, everything becomes a blur and the world literally feels like it’s going backwards.
The Woking-based company recently celebrated building their 10 000th car, the last 5000 took just 22 months, it’s testament to a company that's only five years old.
Audi R8: Visceral, insane, loud and engaging: a few words that describe the few days I spent with the R8 V10 Plus. Supercar looks means people gawk from the pavement and high-revving V10 results in immediate power that’s put to the ground via four-wheel drive. Probably the easiest supercar I’ve driven yet, and that isn’t a bad thing.
More: The new Audi R8 isn't just a supercar, it's an occasion
Audi confirmed a faster GT version of the R8 in the next two years, so there’s that to look forward to.
BMW M2: The M2 had a lot riding on its shoulders: think of it as Cristiano Ronaldo’s son stepping onto the field as a professional footballer. Except the M2 strolled into 2016 and made the world remember that we needed a proper M-car: manual box, power to the back and engine in the front, that's page one, chapter one of the petrosexual's handbook Jeremy Clarkson once said.
A strong 3.0-litre turbocharged engine meant it pulled strongly all over the rev range but the cherry us how balanced the car is to drive, a testament to what all M-cars should feel like.