Autocar UK puts together a top 50 cars list that are available for sale today in the UK. In order to stay fair to all the manufacturers, the UK journalists decided to skip any categories or price brackets and simply list the cars based on the reviews performed by the magazine’s staff.
The initial list showed 87 cars which was eventually narrowed to 50 cars.
“We then all named our individual top fives to find the cars that would take part in our final shootout and placed the remaining 45 in order of preference,” says Autocar. “Then all we had to do was decamp to Wales for two days of driving with our five favourite cars to find the best of the best.”
BMW made the list with four cars. BMW M235i was placed 36th, the hybrid sportscar i8 came in on the 18th spot and the 320d SE was rated 14th. The second place in the list, just behind the VW Golf R, came the BMW i3 electric vehicle.
Here is how they justify their choice:
You know your car as well as you know your home. Maybe better. The fundamental functions of both are so familiar that you don’t have to think about how they work; were it not dangerous to do so, you could operate either blindfold. You take them entirely for granted, as you do the water in your tap, the light in your bulbs and the shoes on your feet.
But the BMW i3 is not like this. I’ve been driving i3s on and off for more than a year and the novelty shows no sign of wearing off. Every time I get in one, it feels different, interesting and special. I could name cars costing three times as much that don’t have this going for them on first acquaintance, let alone thousands of miles down the line.
The i3 doesn’t look like any other car, not just because BMW thought that it had better confer some funky post-modern style upon it to appeal to the bright, young and environmentally unimpeachable citizens at whom it is aimed, but also because it really isn’t like any other car. It doesn’t feel like one and it doesn’t drive like one, either.
Remarkably, then, it still manages to feel and drive like a BMW, or how you’d like a BMW to feel and drive. It’s taut, precise, at times comically responsive and, yes, fun. Fun in a way that no all-electric family car has ever been fun. Not even a Tesla Model S.
Visions of the future that leap the fence and land in the present are often fatally flawed. But although the i3 misses perfection by a reassuringly wide margin, it’s sufficiently honed that when our all-electric future becomes our all-electric present, it will be seen to have played the Boeing 707 to the Nissan Leaf’s spectacularly brave de Havilland Comet.
This is the electric family car that you’d buy for reasons other that it being electric. You’d buy it for its oddball shape, or its fascinating and gorgeous interior. You’d buy it because it’s fun to drive, too. And then, yes, there’s the refinement, the negligible running costs, the immense torque and, if you buy the Range Extender version (which you should), the reassurance that you will never run out of joules.
If it has a problem, it is that it is really is too good; it’s a suburban commuter car that you’d like to drive to the south of France. But you can’t, not unless you fancy stopping every 60-70 miles to fill its tiny fuel tank once the batteries have run dry. With a tank containing, say, 25 litres instead of a mere nine, it could have won this contest outright.
The full list can be seen here.