Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Our 25 Hottest Tests, Reviews, and Comparisons of the Year!

Here we present a selection of our hottest and most important tests, reviews, and comparison tests from the past 12 months. This year was a good one for evaluating cars, with high numbers of new exotics, high-powered versions of otherwise pedestrian vehicles, and blistering new rides from the American domestic brands—oh, and an all-new Miata! Now, sit back, peruse our favorite reviews, and enjoy this trip back through the automotive year:As art imitates life, so the favor is returned. Virtual Lamborghinis have featured in many video games over the years, and now the Italian company seems to have developed a new model specifically for those who grew up with that genre's least realistic games, the ones that let you drift your virtual supercar with pixel-perfect precision at ridiculous speeds. READ MORE ››We’ve been here before. We’ve stared down the barrel of a twin-striped Mustang with more than 500 horsepower and the name of a Texas chicken farmer across its fanny. The last one, the 2013 Shelby GT500, had 662 horsepower, in fact, and was said to go over 200 mph. It didn’t, not for us, anyway. Even so, it was what a Shelby Mustang should be, what it has been for decades: a hot quarter-mile with a side of smoky burnout. It was a muscle car with more. Mustang lovers got sweaty, but as usual, the rest of the auto world just shrugged and moved on with evolution. READ MORE ››There was a time when the American muscle car performed all its tricks with the steering wheel pointed straight ahead. Detroit iron built its image on burnouts, quarter-mile runs, looking fast while parked, and chasing pedestrians out of the crosswalk with a prod of the throttle. -But if it weren’t for that V-8 snarl and their burly bodywork, today’s muscle cars might pass as legitimate sports cars. America’s blue-collar heroes still charge hard in a straight line, but they now corner with the confidence of a European coupe. It’s the result of decades-long evolution, but also recent strides in chassis dynamics. READ MORE ››Legend has it that Ettore Bugatti once called the Bentley 4½ Litre the “world’s fastest truck.” We’re guessing that he didn’t know he was merely being prophetic. Because now Bentley builds an SUV, and guess what? Its 187-mph top speed is the highest on record for a vehicle of that type. READ MORE ››To build its latest red-blooded creation, Ferrari first ruined a perfectly good car. In transforming the sure-footed F12berlinetta grand tourer into the fast-and-loose, apex-hounding F12tdf, Ferrari engineers deconstructed the stability that’s inherent in the F12’s long wheelbase, its substantial weight, and its high polar moment of inertia relative to mid-engined cars. The front tires grew in width from 255 millimeters to 285 millimeters, an aggressive alignment boosted turn-in and lateral grip, and—with no change to the rear tire width—a fickle, oversteering monster was born. One Ferrari chassis engineer described the team’s work bluntly: “First, we screwed up the car.” READ MORE ››Although it has long since become one of the more predictable clichés of automotive PR, the prelaunch passenger ride rarely teaches us more beyond what a new car sounds like and some indication of the raw g-forces that it can generate. --Which is why we’re very thankful to the new Focus RS’s much-vaunted Drift Mode for giving us a very obvious point of difference with every other performance hatchback to write about. In most cars, sideways is a side effect, a dynamic imbalance that’s either accidentally or deliberately provoked. But in the RS it’s a programmed feature and a thrilling experience—even without a steering wheel in your hands. READ MORE ››Southern California’s Angeles Forest Highway over the San Gabriel Mountains is almost flawlessly smooth. And though construction crews have been bringing this stretch of road to a halt for months, they’re almost done. Get out there before 7:30 a.m. and you’ll enjoy an uninterrupted stretch of fresh black carpet draped over a mountain. Get there later and you’ll have a painful wait through several one-way construction zones. We got up early one recent morning to take the Porsche Cayman GT4 on this route to our desert test facility. READ MORE ››Should Acura even have this car? Ailing Acura strikes us as a brand in need of reinvention from the bottom up, starting with a new Integra, the car that the people have crowned as the real keeper of Acura’s flame. Instead, Honda’s luxury brand is starting its long journey back to relevance from the top, with a hybrid supercar that will sell for more than $150,000. It’ll be a tall poppy in a showroom where the next-priciest vehicle starts at $51,870, but it’s too late to dig up old arguments about priorities. We’ve finally moved past the drawings and concepts, beyond the prototypes, and on to what the aviation industry calls the flight article. This is it, the real deal, a drivable Acura NSX with a key that has been placed in our hands. So we’ll put aside the academic critique and just go pound pavement. READ MORE ››What else can we say about the latest Chevrolet Corvette Z06 that we haven’t said before? From our first test: “The Z06 must be ranked among the world’s best.” From the Z06 coupe’s comparison-test win against the Nissan GT-R NISMO and Porsche 911 Turbo S: “Drink your Red Bull and splash some water on your face, because unless your last name is Vettel or Gordon, the Z06 is more than you can handle, even on your best day.” And from our test of the automatic convertible: “To keep from getting arrested, we settled for short blasts of acceleration [on public roads].” To this, all we can add is “Yup.” READ MORE ››The first BMW M3, that little snarly sweetheart E30 from the Reagan years, didn’t invent its genre. There were heroic versions of otherwise mainstream cars long before it, starting with the Cosworth Vega and VW Golf GTI. Well, actually, starting with the Pontiac GTO. No, really, starting with the Chevy II Nova Super Sport. Okay, fine, starting with the 1949 Olds “Rocket” 88. Discussion closed. But while the M3 wasn’t a new idea, through successive generations of sublimity it became a benchmark for a narrow niche: practical sports sedans with enhanced capability. They’re fast but also reasonably roomy and road-trip comfortable. That segment, let’s call it compact radar bait, is now so formulaic that our three cars, the current M3 and the new Cadillac ATS-V and Mercedes-AMG C63 S, are all but track-sheet clones of each other. READ MORE ››Need we remind you these are seriously twisted times? Without prompt intervention, Bartholomew JoJo Simpson, that lovable fourth-grade cartoon cutup, will never see his 11th birthday. Homer is dumping Marge for a younger woman. Former down-home darling Miley Cyrus might be the instrument of some secret society. And in our own world, zero-emission vehicles are vying for garage space with modern muscle cars. READ MORE ››Sadly, the Car and Driver time machine was irreparably damaged recently in an attempt to go back to 1982 and uninvent the Cadillac Cimarron. But let’s imagine for a moment it’s still working, and that we can use it to send this brand-new Honda Civic Type R 10 years into the past. READ MORE ››When Mazda launched the first Miata, it made no secret of its intention to clone the Lotus Elan, minus the puddle of oil on the garage floor. The new car became a hit with buyers who remembered other roadsters—classic MGs, Austin-Healeys, Triumphs, and even the long-in-the-tooth Alfa Romeo Spider, which was somehow still in production though would become immediately unsellable in the face of the new competition. If it seems to you like this happened just yesterday, that is because you’re old, which is why Mazda has dreamed up this latest version of its halo car. The 2016 MX-5 is meant to at once go back to the original template, while updating the franchise for the foreseeable future. And convince you to buy another. READ MORE ››Ordering a Porsche can be a time-consuming affair. There are options on top of options and enough abbreviations to stymie a B-school graduate. In the interest of keeping it simple, stupid, Porsche streamlines the ordering process with the Boxster GTS. GTS, of course, is also an abbreviation; it stands for Gran Turismo Sport. READ MORE ››We just sat right-seat while rally legend Walter Röhrl drove the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS on the diabolical Bilster Berg racetrack in northern Germany. The lean and lanky Röhrl, now in his late 60s, completes two deceptively fast laps with such nonchalance that he might as well be stirring sugar into a cup of tea. We have entered Walter’s World, and it’s hard to imagine a human better suited to, or more comfortable in, a set of circumstances that could so utterly undo the average person. READ MORE ››“Crazy acceleration.”--That’s what we were promised by, of all things, a PowerPoint slide during the presentation of the new 2016 Lamborghini Aventador SV as we geared up for some lap time at Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. It’s not often we see “crazy,” with all it implies, during a press presentation, especially by a company hocking its own product, but there it was. READ MORE ››For the last five decades, the toughest question for any buyer of a high-end sports car has been: “How do I not end up with a 911?” To describe Porsche’s most famous product as a default choice is a faint-praise damning of what has become the world’s most iconic sports car. But it’s also an acknowledgment that to get a car as capable and well-rounded as a 911, you have to get, well, a 911. READ MORE ››To test the Ferrari LaFerrari, we traveled to Italy to the storied marque’s personal track, Fiorano. Ferrari’s offer was this: We could either test there—or not at all. We chose to test. READ MORE ››Los Angeles might have the weather of Eden, but instead of being home to two naked people, there are nearly 4 million here, only some of whom are naked. Those 4 million individuals create traffic so dense and soul-crushing, it gets end-of-times nicknames such as Carmageddon. Traffic never sleeps in the City of Angels. Even the countless planes that are lined up to land at LAX are stuck in traffic. Elevated freeways crisscross the city and ensure that there’s literally traffic on top of traffic. If you enjoy driving and are in something resembling a sports car, it’s perdition. At best, it’s a waste of gas. READ MORE ››For many years, killing off the Mercedes-Benz G-class was a recurring topic at Daimler board meetings. The boxy off-roader, an offspring of a vehicle developed for military applications, simply came from another era. Weren't there better, modern SUVs in the lineup? READ MORE ››Not having to wait is a luxury. Saving time is the justification the privileged give for indulging in fractional jet ownership and hiring personal assistants to attend funerals and bar mitzvahs on their behalf. Ideally, the less time you spend doing something unpleasant, the more time you have to do something worthwhile. But it never quite works out that way, or Minute Rice would have ushered in a new age of enlightenment. READ MORE ››As any dime-store undergrad psych major can tell you, it’s a tough climb to the top of the hierarchy of needs pyramid, the point at which we supposedly have everything we desire. There are challenges at every level, from finding solid traction in the physiological realm to cresting the summit of self-actualization. Any base full-size pickup truck has the capability to get you there, but if you’ve got around $60,000 to spend, why settle for anything less than total fulfillment in a crew-cab, four-wheel-drive, luxury salon on stilts? READ MORE ››Unless the Energy Independence and Security Act is repealed, 50-mpg cars will be thick on the street in a decade. If you find this notion depressing, take solace in the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat’s ability to binge-drink premium fuel. Stomp the throttle as if you own a private pipeline and this hellion can burn 1.5 gallons of high test in a minute flat. Texans with the pumps and space to indulge such ­pleasures can suck this car’s tank dry in the time it takes to read this article. READ MORE ››The big news out of Stuttgart for 2017 is that the 911 Carrera and Carrera S are now turbocharged. That’s right, turbos aren’t just for 911 Turbos anymore. READ MORE ››It's an on-the-nose, obvious, literal, and okay, shallow idea: Pit the transmogrified Toyota Tacoma against the fresh-enough Chevrolet Colorado during a journey from Tacoma to Colorado. Get it? READ MORE ››
from Car and Driver Blog http://www.caranddriver.com/flipbook/car-and-drivers-25-hottest-tests-reviews-and-comparisons-of-the-year-2015


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