Here are the five fastest cars that we lapped at the Buddh International Circuit in 2017.
At autoX, we’ve a ritual of testing automobiles to their absolute limits at the country’s only F1 racetrack, the Buddh International Circuit, in Greater Noida. Every year we head to the track with some of the fastest automobiles on sale and then race them against the clock. This year it was no different as we took a handful of high-performance machines to the BIC so as to put them through their paces.
Unlike the previous years, there was a bit of a twist in the proceedings this time since we were forced to use only the back half of the circuit, owing to some ongoing maintenance work. As a result, the total lap distance was reduced from 5.1km to 2.0km. That said, it was sort of a blessing in disguise for less powerful cars as the main and back straights were not part of the circuit. This meant we were using the super technical section of the racetrack – from turn 5 to turn 15.
All said and done, here’re the fastest five of 2017.
1. Nissan GT-R: 1:05.1
This shouldn’t really surprise you. The Godzilla is the fastest car that we’ve sampled in 2017. Period. We enjoyed its company so much that we first took it on a 600km road trip to Himachal, followed by an extensive track test at BIC and then again for our annual test in November. Suffice it to say, we don’t get enough of this beast. It destroys Physics like no other car we've driven on the track this year.
2. Audi RS7 Performance: 1:05.9
While we were expecting to see the Nissan GT-R take the top honours this year, it was kind of surprising to see the RS7 Performance give it a run for its money. You see, compared to the low-slung Nissan, the RS7 Performance is a five-door fastback that can seat 4 passengers in utter comfort – there’s a large boot as well. So, how on earth is this thing just 0.8s slower than the mighty Godzilla? We can’t wrap our heads around that, really. From what we can tell, it’s nearly as fast as the GT-R, but it doesn’t shout about it at all. It does its job in a rather sedate manner. Of course, its ridiculously powerful engine – a 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol that develops 596bhp and 750Nm – coupled with quattro all-wheel-drive also helps its case.
3. Audi A5 – 1:10.1
This one is another shocker that comes from Audi as well. However, it doesn’t have any RS trickery. In fact, it doesn’t even have quattro grip, and yet it managed to be the third-fastest car of the year in our test! How? For starters, the ride and handling balance of the A5 is on the money. Not only does it ride beautifully – just like any other Audi, but it also handles really, really well. Don’t trust our words? Well, then you should let the numbers do the talking here. The Audi A5 beat the more powerful cars like the Skoda Octavia RS by 0.2s and BMW 530d M-Sport by 0.3s on the most technical section of the circuit. And that’s despite the fact that it’s powered by a 188bhp/400Nm 2.0-litre diesel engine. On top of that, it looks gobsmacking and is very, very desirable.
4. Jaguar XE 20d – 1:10.2
The Jaguar XE 20d is another underdog that beat the biggies in our annual track test this year. Like the Audi A5, it’s also equipped with a moderately powerful motor – a 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel unit that is good for only 177bhp. The new engine was introduced only in 2017 to the XE range. And while its specs may not sound impressive on paper, its chassis steals the show. The XE’s handling is sublime and the steering wheel drips with feel. Oh, and it’s a rear-wheel-drive sedan. A proper driver’s car, we've to say.
5. Skoda Octavia RS – 1:10.3
The Skoda Octavia RS may be the last one on this list, but it is the bargain of the decade, if you think about it. For here is a car that's in the same league as the Audi A5, Jaguar XE and BMW 530d in terms of performance but only costs half as much. Plus, it runs on good ol’ petrol. It’s powered by a 227bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine that runs in conjunction with a slick-shifting 6-speed DSG to propel this four-door sedan from 0–100km/h in just 6.8 seconds. It’s incredibly sharp and precise handling only makes things better when you’re behind the wheel. Best of all, it's hugely practical and easy to live with. In fact, it’s so good that it missed the top spot in our ‘Best of 2017’ awards by just 0.2 points!