1. 2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
An interesting departure, one mirrored by the Ferrari F12tdf: both are cars specifically designed not to be easy to drive. In the case of the GT3 RS, Porsche has radically modified the suspension and massively upped the downforce to create its ultimate track-day weapon, leaving the more mainstream role to the standard GT3. This means that right on the limit, the GT3 RS is not just phenomenally fast but also very demanding of its driver. Which is exactly as it should be.
2. 2003 Renault Sport Clio
There can be a fine balance between a car that puts up a good clean fight and one that just wants to break your jaw. The mid-engined Renault Clios make the point well. The first generation are evil-handling cars that are inclined to follow apparently terminal understeer with actually irretrievable oversteer. But the revised version, with different suspension and more space between the front and rear wheels, is a hoot. Not a great car but properly rewarding for those who take the time to learn its curious ways.
3 . 1994 McLaren F1
The ultimate untameable, and one that has unseated quite a few highly accomplished drivers. Completely analogue — there’s no ABS let alone traction control — and apocalyptically powerful, the F1 is a car you drive fast on instinct and feel alone. Happily, that feel is omnipresent, never more so than through its unassisted steering. You can load the rear tyres with torque and make them slip enough at a corner exit for the car to gently oversteer and all is well. Mistreat it, however, especially in the wet, and the ensuing accident is rarely small. And never cheap.
4. 1990 Toyota MR2 Mk2
Some will tell you the handling of these cars is not challenging but just bad. Not in my experience. Yes, it will oversteer readily if driven quickly and poorly and, being mid-engined, its breakaway characteristics are not exactly slothful. But if you treat it like you might a 911 of that era, taking the slow-in, fast-out approach and ensuring you never have to stamp on the brakes mid-turn, this MR2 is a very enjoyable car to drive fast. Later cars (post-1992) have revised suspension and better manners.
5. 1987 Ferrari F40
Not for the inexperienced, as the lad at Ferrari’s importers who took the first demonstrator for a quick run up the road found out to his and the company’s immense cost. Even so, F40s are not quite the savage beasts you might think. The styling, sound, stripped out interior and engine from a Group C racing car make an intimidating package, but it’s a fundamentally faithful car if you drive with the requisite amount of respect. With the possible exception of LaFerrari, it remains Ferrari’s best driver’s car to date.