Like dog owners projecting their personalities through their pooch, drivers often choose cars that reflect their attitudes. Or, less generously, make up for shortcomings, be they physical or otherwise.

An aggressive-looking car certainly has its uses, especially on the congested, cut and thrust roads. After all, if you’re going to muscle your way into a gap you’re better off in an X6 M than an Alto.

And on busy motorways a bristling grille, sporty stance and glittering LED ‘signature’ helps let folk know you’re coming and want them out of the way.

The Germans even have a name for this – überholprestige.

It means ‘overtaking prestige’ or, to put it another way, fast-lane presence and a car that looks properly scary in the mirrors. And if you’re after a car that fits the bill here are 20 you might want to consider.

Porsche Cayenne GTS

Porsche Cayenne is exactly shy about throwing its weight around, the new one included. But the previous generation GTS model, complete with footballer-spec 21-inch wheels and bodykit, is a bully even by Cayenne standards.

BMW X6 M

A true ‘don’t spill my pint’ car in standard form, given the M treatment the X6 is not the kind of car you want filling your rear-view mirror. 555hp means it’s got the muscle to back up the looks too.

Nissan GT-R

Scary enough to give small children nightmares, the GT-R’s gaping radiator grille, rippling bodywork and piercing headlights aren’t going to have anyone arguing if they see it coming. It’s no different at the back either thanks to a brace of bazooka-sized exhausts.

Gumpert Apollo

About the most brutal-looking supercar ever built, even the Gumpert’s name is ugly. Form is meant to follow function and all that but in the Gumpert’s case it got left behind. Still, if you’re out to scare Lambos it’s the weapon of choice.

Mitsubishi Evo

 

The Evo’s rival, the Impreza, has gone a bit soft of late. Meanwhile, the Mitsubishi seems to have been overdoing it on the steroids somewhat, the extra intakes and snowplough-like carbon splitter on the FQ400 version ramping up the aggro to new heights.

Ford Focus RS500

Hot Fords have always been a bit loutish but that’s what we love about them. And the Focus RS, whether in searing lime green or matt black RS500 spec, looks like its only role in life is to go round kicking seven shades out of any hot hatch fool enough to cross its path.

Range Rover Sport

A favourite of footballers and their wives, where the ‘proper’ Range Rover retains a suggestion of class the Sport is an all-out bruiser and seemingly designed to intimidate. And that’s before you consider aftermarket ‘enhanced’ ones by Kahn and Overfinch.

Audi Q7 V12 TDI

The standard Q7 isn’t shy about asserting itself over lesser traffic (ie, everyone else). But the £100K+ V12 TDI version gets an even more aggressive front end, the intakes apparently big enough to suck dogs off the pavement and into the 6.0-litre V12.

Lamborghini Reventón

Named in traditional Lambo style after a fighting bull – in this case a killer – the Revent?n makes good on this macabre association by taking a standard Murciélago and transforming the already aggressive looks into something truly sinister. Shudder…

Ford Transit Sportvan

Of all the cars here that’ll have you scuttling for the safety of the slow lane in a flash few have the power of an aggressively driven van. White ones are bad enough. But a Transit Sportvan in racing stripes?

Infiniti FX

Physical presence alone isn’t enough for the Infiniti FX – it needs to look aggressive enough to swallow up BMWs, Mercedes and Audis whole both literally and in brand terms to make its presence known. Job. Done.

Mitsubishi Colt Ralliart

How to bring out the aggressive side of the otherwise unassuming Mitsubishi Colt? Well, as we’ve established the Evo is one of the more aggro-looking cars on the road. Add one Evo-inspired grille, a feisty 149hp turbocharged engine and there you have it!

BMW M3 GTS

BMWs come with more than a hint of swagger as standard. M ones even more so, especially the M3 with its furrowed brow and bulging bonnet. Add bright orange paint, a jutting front splitter and gen-u-ine touring car spoiler and nobody’s going to mess with you.

Mercedes SL65 Black Series

AMGs used to be subtle, given the performance. Then they went over to the dark side and the menacing Black Series specials emerged. And in terms of fast-lane menace there’s little to touch the SL65 Black Series this side of a Lambo Reventón.

In its standard form the Ferrari 599 has a purebred elegance about it. As the track testbed 599XX, however, that’s replaced with scary aero-enhanced madness, dialled back a bit (but not a whole lot) for the mad, bad 599 GTO.

Porsche 911 GT2 RS

There are so many 911s around most won’t get a second glance. Unless, that is, you’re in a GT2 RS, LED driving lights ablaze, jiggling about on stiffened suspension. And if that doesn’t make ’em shift, the look of naked terror on your face will do the trick.

Vauxhall Corsa VXR 888

Seemingly fuelled purely on Red Bull and testosterone, the Vauxhall Corsa can’t touch a Clio Cup dynamically. But since when did the class swot stand a chance against the school bully?

Bugatti Veyron SuperSport

The Veyron might have been the quickest but its lavish looks were slinky rather than out and out aggressive. Step up the new 1,200hp SuperSport version, lairy paint, NACA ducts and added mesh grilles underlining its even greater potency.

Audi RS5

Squared-off wheelarches, a ton of mesh in the grille and the now compulsory array of blinding LED lights complement a thundering V8 exhaust note for full lane-clearing effect in Audi’s latest mega coupé.

KTM X-Bow

Dramatic slashes of carbonfibre bodywork and an angry, wasp-like demeanour mean there’s no danger of underestimating the KTM’s abilities. If you saw this in your mirrors, on road or track, you’d be looking for an immediate escape route.

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