2017 Ford GT

EngageSportMode Awards 2016 | Part One

In many respects – like politics or celebrity deaths – 2016 was a challenging year. But, in the automotive world, things were far better. With the infamous hypothetical ‘macaroni and glitter’ trophies at the ready, these are the things which stood out the most in the last twelve months.

esm-2016-awards-part-one

No, it doesn’t matter that it’s already 2017. We always like to make sure the previous year is well and truly finished before hammering down our judgements. Here, in part one, we cover the cars from 2016 which are most deserving of our collective glory.

Best Car Driven in 2016 – BMW M2BMW M2 ESM 2016 Awards

Trying to narrow down the best thing driven in a year to just one single car is often a tough challenge. However, for 2016, this was pretty easy. We waited all day to try it at the SMMT Test Day in May, but it was completely worth it to get a shot at driving the BMW M2.

With a punchy engine, perfectly balanced chassis, and dimensions suited perfectly to Millbrook’s twisty Alpine circuit it was hard not to be immediately seduced. Whilst 365hp might seem fairly timid in the current horsepower wars, it gives the opportunity to exploit everything the M2 has to offer without feeling the need to hold back.

Like any good performance car it was possible to feel immediately connected with the M2, yet there’s still sufficient depth to know that spending longer with it would never prove to be boring. The seven-speed DCT dual-clutch gearbox is brutally effective at changing cogs, especially in Sport mode, even if purists might argue that the manual ‘box is the one to buy.

Add to this a – relatively – affordable starting price of just over £44,000, vaguely sensible running costs, and a compact size, it makes the M2 easy to justify as the single best car driven in 2016. Testing the M240i also demonstrated just how good the basic package beneath the M2 is, but also just how much more it adds to the equation.

Congratulations, BMW. The M2 was, unquestionably, the best car driven by ESM in 2016.

Honourable mentions – Mercedes-AMG A45 4MATIC, Rolls-Royce Phantom, BMW M240i

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Friday Photo – Design your very own Ford GT

Wanting your own slice of the Ford GT’s American pie? A new online configurator lets you live the dream.

2017 Ford GT ESMBe warned – just because you can now pick out the colours and trim you desire, doesn’t mean you can have one though. In a move that sounds more Maranello than Dearborn, those who want the EcoBoost-powered GT have to submit an application to Ford online. There’s no detail on just what criteria you’ll need to meet, but presumably being able to demonstrate you’re a longterm fan of the Blue Oval will help. We do suspect owning a string of Escorts and Fiestas might not be enough on this occasion, however. As Ford wants GT owners to be ambassadors for the brand, your social media worth is perhaps just as valuable as your money in these circumstances.

With an expected starting price of over $400,000 in the USA – UK prices haven’t even been confirmed yet – you’ll certainly need a bank balance as substantial as your number of Twitter followers. Those fortunate to snag one of the 500 cars will have it tailored to their exacting specifications by Ford’s very own concierge service. The experience won’t be the same as popping down to your local dealership we imagine, and this obviously fits with the aim of Ford to push products further upmarket. Something demonstrated by the recent ‘Vignale’ range of models.

For those of us unable to consider buying a GT, the online configurator is at least the chance to dream of what might appear on your drive following a substantial lottery win. Liquid Grey with Competition Orange stripes is, of course, the most ESM way to go. Although we do quite like Frozen White with Lightening Blue, or Triple Yellow with Shadow Black, or…