SLICK RIDER: Autocar has tested several of Britain's top performance cars to find out which car was best in wet weather. VW's Golf R came out tops, Image: Autocar
LONDON, England - The Volkswagen Golf R has been voted the best performance car to have when rain is pouring down - no matter which horizontal hemishere of Earth you inhabit.
With November signalling the start of the three wettest months on the UK calendar, and a general decline in road conditions, driving a higher-performance car can be something of a handful for many owners.
In 2013 Britons bought 47 544 sports and performance cars, 3.1% up on 2012, with about 12 200 of them having a three-litre+ engine, according to the UK's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Autocar magazine brought together seven of the most popular performance models:
VW Golf R
Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
Range Rover Sport
to scientifically prove beyond doubt which model is most-assured in the wet.
Testers examined the capability and safety of each over five different challenges at a test facility at the Motor Industry Research Association (Mira) proving ground in England's West Midlands. Autocar left tyre choice to the discretion of each automaker.
Autocar says the popular sporty models were scrutinised on their control when stopping from motorway speeds, stability under acceleration and braking on ice-like conditions at lower speeds, lateral grip when cornering and precision around a circuit.
VW’s all-wheel-drive Golf R, which costs R490 300 (SA prices) and produces 220kW, performed the best across all five tests, with the rear-wheel-drive R329 700, 147kW Toyota GT86 the worst.
Running the VW Golf R close was the R1 419 000 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, says Autocar, with exception for the lateral grip tests where it’s rear-biased weight distribution unsettled its handling.
Autocar editor-in-chief Chas Hallett said: "Driving conditions can become hugely challenging very quickly for drivers of sportier and higher-performance vehicles. It is very easy to get caught out.
“Advanced electronics certainly aid the driver, and winter tyres will improve grip, but drivers still need to drive within their personal limits and abilities, not those of their car.”
Read the full feature here.