Performance models are typically used by car manufacturers as advertising poster boys, due to the rise in popularity and consistent level of improvement seen in the motor industry over the past decade, these models have gained an enormous amount of demand, with equal need for both affordable and more affluent models. Now, with manufacturers like SEAT letting their performance division evolve into its own independent brand, we may start to see other manufacturers follow suit, but are you familiar with the brands associated with each manufacturer? Read on below to find out some of the major players!
Fiat // Abarth
Abarth is the performance arm of Italian manufacturer Fiat, whom initially used the Abarth badge on their models until Abarth was set free to become its own firm - still producing the same models though! In 1971 the Abarth brand was first sold to Fiat after the Cisitalia racing team disbanded, which lead on to a heavy involvement in their competition rally. Fun fact - Abarth was founded by a man named 'Carlo Abarth' back in 1949, with the scorpion logo being inspired by his Scorpio star sign.
SEAT // Cupra
If you ever wondered what CUPRA stands for, it's Cup Racing. The name was first seen on the SEAT Ibiza Cupra which took SEAT to motor-sport victory three years in a row, back in the late 90's (FIA 2-litre class World Cup). In the present, however, Cupra has now separated from SEAT into its own brand, with its first model being the Cupra Ateca. The Cupra range have been runaway success stories with personal car leasing.
Hyundai // N
'N' is a relatively new sub-brand on the block, it's lead by Albert Biermann - the same man behind BMW's 'M' division. The first road car this divsion has been involved in is the Hyundai i30 N, a car which is already capturing the hearts and minds of petrol-heads, offering a hot hatch aiming for Golf GTI territory at an affordable price. Given how new the 'N' brand is, it's unlikely that you'll see them go solo any time soon.
Volvo // Polestar
Polestar is one of the relatively unheard of sub-brands, given that their subtle badge has sat upon traditionally understated models in the Volvo range. The division has had a heavy influence in Volvo's Motorsports activity, but much like SEAT's Cupra brand, they have decided to branch off and focus entirely on fully electric performance cars to compete with the likes of Tesla, though they'll still be producing parts used in 'Polestar edition' models coming soon in select models in Volvo's newly face-lifted range, such as the S60 Saloon.
Mercedes // AMG
On the slim chance that you haven't heard of AMG, they are responsible for some of Mercedes' most powerful models, though the brands are actually officially separate. The crown jewel of the AMG range is the AMG GT, a performance car with an enormous V8 engine which is now used by the likes of Aston Martin and is one of the fastest cars in the range! One of the most popular business leases.
Nissan // Nismo
Nismo have been around for a long time now, though their performance models aren't as widely available as manufacturers like AMG, Nissan are much more selective as to which models should wear the badge. Over the past few years, you'll have seen Nismo versions of the globally recognised GTR or 370Z, but you can even get a Juke in Nismo guise!
Toyota // TRD
Until Toyota became serious about showing the world that they are still capable of making fun cars, Toyota Racing Development (TRD) have remained mostly in the background when it comes to actual production cars, but now with the new Toyota Supra being teased and the unexpected arrival of the Toyota Yaris 'GRMN', the last time you could get your hands on a performance variant of a Toyota was the GT86 TRD. Hopefully the welcomed reception of these cars will lead to sportier models being added to the rest of the Toyota range!
BMW // M
M cars are among some of the most desirable performance models on the market, nearly every car in the BMW range has some degree of 'M' Performance, whether in the form of an 'unofficial' M car such as the 1 Series' M140i or the X1's X140i. While there is no M1 or X1 M in production, these cars are by no means unworthy of official M status like the M2, M3 or M4. If you ever wondered what the 'M' actually stands for, it's simply - Motorsport.
Audi // Sport GmbH
Alongside the likes of 'AMG' and 'M' badged cars, you'll likely see one of Audi's performance variants - S or RS models. RS stands for RennSport, which is simply a translation for Racing Sport. These models sport some of Audi's greatest levels of technology, accompanied by the highest level of luxury you can get inside that particular model.
Ford // TeamRS
TeamRS is the European performance arm of Ford, the RS badge itself stands for Rallye Sport and has been serving up souped-up performance models since they were founded back in 1963. Despite the name, they aren't just responsible for 'RS' badged models, they also have a hand in producing the popular ST range!
Lexus // F
One of the less heard of performance divisions - Lexus' F marque has two meanings behind it, Flagship and Fuji Speedway, which is a race track in Japan. The F division is responsible for producing the incredibly famous Lexus LFA, though unfortunately only 500 were ever made. Across the board, there isn't as many performance models available in the Lexus range compared to most manufacturers, but as of now you can get the IS, RC and GS models in 'F' guise, though you can also get an F-Sport trim level for most models in the range if full-fat performance isn't quite your thing.
If you're after a car with punchy performance, be sure to keep an eye out on our car leasing special offers, from time to time you will see deals pop up on well sought after models! Alternatively, you can view all of our performance car leasing deals available here.
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