By on August 31, 2012

Reader Claude Dickson asks

I was watching Road Testament on YouTube and they were purported talking about the best fast cars to drive slow.  Most of their suggestions were ridiculous, but the question they asked is becoming increasingly relevant if the question is refined to what are the best high performance cars to drive at sane speeds on public roads. The point increasingly made by many of your reviews is that fast track times or better performance stats do not dictate a better road car.  A good example is your review of the new 911-superior in just about any performance metric you might select,- just not that much fun.   So B & B, which performance cars put a smile on your face while driving around town and which just don’t??? 

This is a question I face whenever I have a high performance car for the week. Most of the time I’m stuck in gridlock hell with Baghdad-quality roads that makes Los Angeles look like a quaint one-stoplight town in terms of congestion. But there are some standouts that can do serious damage – should I ever get the chance to unwind them.

The Jaguar XKR is a real sweetheart. No clutch and shifter to fiddle with, a very complaint ride, a plush cabin and 510-horsepower on tap. The Porsche Panamera GTS is another candidate; aside from the comfortable cabin, the low hood lets you see the entire front of the car, making it easier to judge distance when darting in and out of traffic. The all-wheel drive and V8 thrust doesn’t hurt either. I hear the McLaren MP4-12C is extremely comfortable over awful pavement and the dual-clutch gearbox is a boon in stop-and-go traffic. If anyone is willing to let me verify that, feel free to email me.

All other suggestions are welcome in the comments below.

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32 Comments on “QOTD: What’s The Best Fast Car To Drive Slow?...”


  • avatar
    Robstar

    Ferrari with 24′s ?

    I jest, I jest!

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    The one you stole.

  • avatar
    Travis

    Cadillac XLR-v.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I agree with the XLR – me and wifey’s dream car.

    Corvette, hands-down.

    • 0 avatar
      NotFast

      As a C6 owner, I can’t agree. Maybe with the magnetic suspension, the ride would be compliant… but the seats are nowhere near the standard$ of European car$.

  • avatar
    tbp0701

    Cruising in about any old V8 muscle car is entertaining. Just the burble of the engine will make most people feel 23 times cooler.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      I would agree with this. A well tuned V8 exhaust will sound just as menacing put putting along as it does screaming towards redline. Some straight sixs and V-12s can pull this off too. Electric exhaust cutouts can be your friend (and your neighbors enemy >:-D) here.

      I know people like to hate on convertibles as enthusiast cars, but down here in the sunshine state, an open air breeze can add dramatically to a cars fun factor. After my family (parents, myself, and sister) got our first convertible (a Miata) 10 years ago, we’ve since added two more (an e36 BMW and a Fiat 500). The BMW and the Miata are both sport package equipped stick shifts. Only the Fiat is a “cruiser” (automatic and no sport package, and that was only because you can’t get a stick shift sport model in convertible form).

      Derek, I know you’re not a fan of the car, but I would have nominated an Aston Martin V12 Vantage (although most Astons would work). Relatively lightweight, loud normally aspirated and lovely sounding V12, tidy dimensions, a more classic GT car feel vs say a 911 Turbo or Godzilla with their muffled Turbo exhausts and supper grippy high tech awds and electronic aids that make driving anywhere near 10/10ths a challenge. I would have also said V8 Challenger, standard Corvette, V8 Mustang, Porsche 911 Carrera or Boxster, possibly BMW Z4, BMW 3 series, Benz SLK55, AMG SLS, Audi R8 (fast but every review says its a sweet heart to drive – “like smearing honey inside Kiera Knightley…”). As far as Ferraris go, the F50, 599 GTO, FF, and F12 all sound wicked despite how fast they are (and the F50 was supposedly a very visceral feeling car), and I’d say the 355′s wail is worth the price of admission even if you can only legally get one or two gears worth of it.

    • 0 avatar
      Boff

      @tbp0701

      Abso-frickin-lutely. You can do burnouts without breaking any speed limits, and the handling and braking deficiencies of these cars makes just cruisin’ a no-brainer.

      The modern V-8 pony cars handle well, and are also suited to low-speed cruising, but much of the charisma of the rumblin’ V-8′s has been sadly tuned out by technology. Go to any cruise night and a modern Camaro sounds like an elecric car next to a ’69 Z-28.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Coke-bottle Torino Cobra with stick, red with black int. Second or third gear cruising all night long. Or maybe a slab side Cobra. If you’re cruising for the gals, it should be handsome and inviting, not loud, brash and creepy. I can’t think of anything currently made that would be fun to cruise in; maybe the Challenger because it dosn’t come across quite as aggresive as the ‘Stang or Camaro.

  • avatar
    bsquarewi

    I would say a Telsa S. First, slow is better to get the most out of your charge. Secondly, you have the electric motor torque available RIGHT NOW when you decide you don’t want to go slow anymore.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    If I’m going to be posing, I want a Maserati Gran Turismo. Windows down, warm night, cruising slooooooooooooooooooooow… Just finished walking 18 holes of golf… picked up the wife and we’re on our way out of town.

  • avatar
    thirty-three

    Martin, Aston Martin. DB9. Awesome when driven fast or slow, and very classy looking.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      +1. any aston. I watched a Vanquish go to beat a green arrow on a left turn…the V12 burble and pop when the driver flicked the downshift paddle as he slowed down in the turn late sent shivers up my spine.

  • avatar
    alex_rashev

    Full-size american convertible. My dream cruiser car is a 455-powered 1972 Centurion, white on white.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    A Pontiac Granville convertible, dad had one.

  • avatar

    XKR, Vantage -or any Aston, Maserati GT, or an R8.

    By contrast, I’d imagine driving an Aventador slow would be like stapping yourself to one of those stakes in front of the fire-wall at a chicken rotisserie,

    and having the gimp from “Pulp Fiction” slather you with an old basting mop of liquefied “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” every 3 minutes.

  • avatar
    JohnTheDriver

    Nothing more frustrating than a 911 in traffic. Nothing better at surgically dissecting ones way thru said traffic than … a 911. Go figure. It really just depends on your mindset. If you want to dawdle along then step away from the p-car.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      Agree, a lot of it depends on what you mean “best fast car to drive slowly”. Do you mean the fast car that is the easiest, most comfortable and user friendly to drive in traffic? DSG gearboxes, quiet engines, nice interiors, good stereos/infotainment, sophisticated suspensions, etc are your friends here. Or do we mean the car that you can drive on the street without doing anything (moderately) illegal and still raise your pulse rate a bit? Louder/better sounding, lighter, less grippy, more visceral cars with 3 pedals that engage you more as a driver are your friend here. I was generally going with the latter, using the Miata as the top pick at one end of the spectrum to start and seeing how much faster I could go from there without losing that fun factor.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      That’s incorrect. A 911 lumbering along in the slow lane is infinitely more frustrating when they could be punching it down the fast lane. Unfortunately, that seems to be the most common scenario in my neck of the woods. I chalk it up to the fact that when people can finally afford a P-car, they are no longer interested in driving it as designed.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Fast cars that are nice to drive slow prob aren’t much fun to drive fast. Sure a Panamera GTS Turbo S can blaze the quarter in 12 seconds. But would it be as fun to thrash as an old Integra? Probably not. I feel like a lot of performance and fuel is going to waste in these luxury cars.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Bentley Brooklands. Huge and fast, but awesome.

  • avatar
    mr_muttonchops

    Merc R107. Maybe not fast by modern standards, but still potent enough and to me just represents one of the most tastefully done convertibles on the road. Not disgustingly opulent or brutish looking- it’s just right.

  • avatar
    red60r

    Brief experience in an Aston-Martin DB-7 Volante V-12 puts it high on the list. Looked great, sounded superb, ride was smooth, thirst was prodigious. Only car I’ve driven where one could see the fuel gauge drop at freeway speed.

  • avatar

    I have a fast car (supercharged SRT8) and the problem is the heavier engine causes the car to handle poorly at slow speeds. I get no enjoyment out of anything lower than 40mph so I tend to stay well above that. I’d have to say the better cars are turboed 4 cylinders in RWD cars. Or – if you have a CTS-V which creates so much torque it handles well at low speeds. I put together a Ford Capri RS with 400HP and it’s a blast to drive. Wish I had a Veyron..

  • avatar
    oldyak

    7 series BMW

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    Dodge Challenger..

    #1. The V8 sounds awesome.
    #2. People smile and wave at it – probbaly because its so quintessentially american.
    #3. It’s quiet when you want quiet (cruising on the highway) but you hear the engine when you hammer the throttle.
    #4. German like handling balance on the newer ones – that is – asborbs plenty of bumps but still feels tight.

    Of course the downside is like the Camaro its not a car that makes you feel comfortable weaving through traffic with the poor C pillar visibility.

  • avatar
    CurseWord

    I would go old. Any hot rod or classic muscle car is almost as fun to cruise slowly as they are to rip a 1/4 mile. So much of old cars is about the problems, the squeaks, the rattles, the engine sound, the idle, and the reactions. They aren’t always easy to drive slowly, or in traffic, but it’s such an occasion just to be in one, it puts a smile on my face, even if I’m not going anywhere.

    On the flip side, a Rolls Royce Phantom was quite nice. It sealed out the world quite nicely.

  • avatar
    hearbreakerforlife

    I have a Ferrari at home and it doesn’t look good if I drive too slow. They are made in this world to run at godlike speed so what’s the point to drive them slow?

  • avatar
    hearbreakerforlife

    I have a Ferrari at home and it doesn’t look good if I drive too slow. They are made in this world to run at godlike speed so what’s the point to drive them slow?

    bobcat colombia


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