After a recent drive in the Lamborghini Huracan Performante and Porsche 911 GT3 RS we couldn’t help but lament the decline the naturally aspirated motors. Don’t get us wrong, we love boost as much as the next driver, but there’s something about perfectly linear acceleration with razor’s edge response, and well, that we’ll miss this as the world goes turbo.
Naturally aspirated sports cars - it's a list that thins almost daily, the amount of cars that are 'all motor', unassisted by turbo chargers and superchargers. And if it hasn't occurred to you just how much of a dinosaur the naturally aspirated motor has become, understand that were currently sitting on the brink of a fossil fuel purge with hybridization taking charge, not to mention full EVs with the sorts of acceleration formerly found in supercars.
Here then, is our list of the remaining action heroes. Oh, and the best part? They’re all slidey rear wheel driven. Sadly, the days of naturally aspirated days hot hatchbacks such as the Renault Clio RS and Honda Civic Type R are long behind us, but we’ve got a couple of cheap thrills added to the beginning of this list enough to keep in the realm of the real world.
1 Mazda MX-5 RF
With just 118kW and 200Nm, you'd think the Mazda is barely capable of breaking traction. But it is, I mean how else could you explain all those videos and photos of these little sports cars drifting around bends. Well, you can thank Mazda’s perfectly balanced chassis for that. Mind you, we’d opt for the manual ‘box for optimal fun.
Yours for R538,200.00
2 Toyota GT86
This one plays a similar game to the Mazda above – 86 be nimble, 86 be fairly quick. But leave the auto and grab the manual stick. There’s no better way of sending the flat-four Subaru engine’s full reserves of 147kW and 205Nm to the rear rubber. And yes, she’ll drift thanks to a snappy rear differential.
Yours for R593,100.00
3 Nissan 370Z
Ok we’ve officially left four-cylinder territory behind us with the 370Z – a barrel chested 3.7 litre V6. It has an acre long bonnet housing 245kW and 363Nm underneath it which you’ll agree, is enough. Here, we’re even happy to subscribe to both manual and automatic versions – both with their own merits.
Yours for R705,000.00
4 Ford Mustang V8
Look – the V8 powered Mustang is the very ethos of rear wheel drive, naturally aspirated ‘all motor’ sports machinery. The original pony car, Detroit muscle and so on – even in this more European guise. It comes with a 5.0 litre Ti-VCT V8 with 306kW and 530Nm and that’s a hell of a lot of grunt for under R1million.
Yours for R872,800.00
5 Lexus RC350 F SPORT
Looking a bit like Japan’s own take on the Mustang above, this naturally aspirated Lexus coupe comes in just under R1,000,000 but it’s not the full-blown F model, rather the FC350. So, it must make do with a V6 brimming with 232kW and 380Nm. Combined with an 8-speed automatic, you can think of it a more contemporary rival to the Nissan 370Z.
Yours for R939,100.00
What do you think? Did we miss a good one? If not – which one of these would you choose for a rorty blast along a winding bit of tarmac?
And finally, if money wasn’t an option
We’d be remiss not to mention the Audi R8 V10 Plus. It comes with a 5.2l V10 and is a true screamer with 455kW and does 0-100kph in 3.2 seconds. Yes, it costs at R3.2million but really – it’s a Lamborghini Huracan for half the price!