The market loves these, what were once sensible executive cars ramped up with loads more power and other performance enhancements. With some making around 600bhp, this is quite an arms race, and it shows no signs of slowing down, what with the German manufacturers trying to leapfrog each other. So who are the winners? Oh, thatâ€™s easy â€“ itâ€™s us. Just look at our top ten.
1. Mercedes-AMG C 63 S
Like so many others, this car has lost its big normally aspirated engine, the 6.2-litre V8 replaced by a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8, but somehow Mercedes-AMG has managed the wonderful trick of making this new engine just as engaging as the old one, yet adding in some modern benefits to boot. Handling is right up there with the engine, although ride is a touch firm. This is a worthy winner.
2. Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Only the Italians could get in among the Germans on the top steps. This Alfa looks utterly gorgeous with handling, ride and thrilling V6 all well up to the marque. Only the slightly less premium cabin stopped it adding even more pressure on the eventual winner.
3. Mercedes-Benz E 63 S 4Matic+
Once again Mercedes brings out the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, churning out over 600bhp and an absolutely epic 627lb ft of torque. Put this in Drift mode and youâ€™ll have immoral amounts of fun, even if the whole package struggles to quite match up to the engine. You may not care.
4. Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R
Based on the Aussie musclecar, the Holden Commodore, this may be the last Vauxhall V8 we see on our roads, but with a 6.2-litre V8 giving 587bhp, it certainly wonâ€™t be forgotten. With all that grunt going to the rear wheels, this is a car for hooning rather than wafting.
5. BMW M3 Competition Pack
The pack ups power to 444bhp with commensurate tweaks to suspension and chassis. While all the power from the 3.0-litre turbo straight six might overwhelm the rear tyres now and then, thereâ€™s no doubting that straight-line performance is equally matched by the ability to hustle seriously quickly down a twisty road.
6. Alpina B5 BiTurbo 4WD
A different take on a fast BMW, this time one that self-identifies as bi-turbo. In contrast to some of the more obvious and aggressive cars on this list, the Alpina goes for a pleasing balance of slightly understated looks disguising brutal 600bhp performance from the 4.4-litre V8, along with excellent handling that doesnâ€™t compromise the comfortable ride.
7. Jaguar XJR 575
This is old-school English, a fast car full of old boy charm, ably backed up by a rip-snortinâ€™ 5.0-litre supercharged V8 with all 575 thoroughbreds going to the rear wheels. With that sublime Jaguar handling, this is one to savour.
8. Alpina B7
This is a bigger take on the B5 but with the same qualities â€“ just in bigger quantities. Thereâ€™s the same understatement, along with adaptive suspension tuned to ensure youâ€™re comfortable while you hurtle along at really rather exciting speeds. The steering lets it down, but thatâ€™s about the only complaint.
9. Cadillac CTS-V
If you donâ€™t fancy Teutonic, nor the attractions of the English, then perhaps a dose of US muscle flexing is what you need. The styling is pretty left-field and things like handling and cabin quality arenâ€™t up there with the European best, but with 640bhp going to the rear wheels, courtesy of a 6.2-litre supercharged V8, you may not worry too much.
10. BMW M5
This used to be the king of the castle, but now, while not exactly at rascal levels, itâ€™s been overtaken by others here. Itâ€™s still a mighty machine, capable of a fair turn of speed thanks to the 552bhp V8, and perhaps the 2018 model will help propel it back up the rankings. One to watch.