Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Very Best Car and Driver Stories of 2015

We know not everyone has time to digest every single thing we publish—heck, we barely do and we work here—so here we present 20 stories that provide a broad, comprehensive look at the best of Car and Driver in 2015, a year in which we celebrated our 60th anniversary.---Yes, you'll find our 60th anniversary package here, as well as stories that represent our flagship franchises, incisive looks at the year's hottest topics and trends, and some damn fine car reviews and reporting, too. Enjoy!Behold, mid-engine Corvette fans: The car you’ve waited patiently for Chevrolet to build has finally evolved beyond titillating concepts to the engineering mule revealed here. An 82-second strike by our recon op resulted in 15 frames before security narcs dropped the curtain on this black test car—with its two occupants still inside. READ MORE ››It’s not every day—actually, it’s never—that someone trusts us to sit in and drive a zillion-dollar antique car, much less a genuine artifact of racing history, much less one capable of turning a 171-mph lap at Indy. Yet here was the actual platypus-shaped Lotus 56-3 turbine car in which Graham Hill set a qualifying lap record and ran fourth before crashing at the 1968 Indianapolis 500. Previous owners include Andy Granatelli and Richard Petty, a pretty strong lineage. Yet here it is, waiting for our pie-padded duffs to slide in and take a couple laps of California Speedway before heading to auction at this month’s Barrett-Jackson sale in Scottsdale, Arizona. In our business, this is what qualifies as a good day. READ MORE ››A rancid tsunami of “Is the Sports Car Dead?” conversations followed, including vicious slurs, dog bites, huffy indignation, leeches, a few stabbings, and a trampoline act. It was as if yet another news-cycle bogeyman had terrified us stiff over the threat of recalls, the polar vortex, and ebola in Quietus, Montana. Of course, Robertson didn’t say that sports cars were dead, merely that sales sucked. Newspapers cited the Audi TT, BMW Z4, and Mercedes-Benz SLK for ¬having accounted for 114,000 sales in 2007 before dropping 45 percent by 2010. That’s what they said. READ MORE ››I was as surprised as anyone when I purchased an Apple Car, but after the internet consolidation of 2018–2019, Pacific Gas & Electric was among Comcast–AT&T’s first acquisitions in legacy utilities. All I had to do was bundle streaming TV and a 7G data plan with my existing electricity service and Comcast–AT&T was willing to sell me a $53,000 Car for just $899 a month on a 12-year contract. READ MORE ››Now, you may enjoy selling your cars with no middleman and just keeping all the money. But I ask, have you considered letting us have some of that money? It is our position that we would like some of the money. In return, we will have buildings with desks inside and some garage bays where we’ll do oil changes while customers watch The Price Is Right. What, you don’t need oil changes? Well, we’ll think of something along those lines. Maybe it’s like, electron refurbishment every three months. I just made that up, but it sounds right. READ MORE ››Waze, if you’ve not heard of it, is the greatest driving app ever devised. Scratch that—it’s the greatest invention of the 21st century, a glorious manifestation of the connected utopia, the latest evidence that if The Singularity arrives tomorrow, I’m okay with it. Because Waze, my friends, tells you where the cops are. More specifically, other drivers tell you where the cops are through Waze. Oh, how cops hate it. Naturally, then, we decided to use Waze on a coast-to-coast bombing run across Florida, Atlantic to Gulf of Mexico, at a speed way out of my comfort zone. And in a nuclear-orange McLaren 650S Spider. READ MORE ››If automotive advancement is partially measured in zero-to-60 times, then it's only right that the theme of this anniversary issue should be Zero to Sixty. In it, we've gone decade by decade to see how we arrived at the automotive now, pairing a landmark car from each era with its modern counterpart, driving them in cities that define each 10-year span. Along the way, we've also taken stock of our own progress. The little magazine for the sports-car enthusiast that started in Washington, D.C., in 1955 is now the largest of its kind anywhere in the world, with four international editions, a thriving digital and video business, and a staff that thanks you each morning for your loyalty. In this media-saturated moment, that's worth celebrating, too. Here's to the next 60 years. READ MORE ››With the Tesla having totally recalculated beyond its original four charging stops, I put for what’s promised to be a mere 20-minute stop. Just before stopping, I am made aware that I am unaware of how to disable the Model S’s remote-access function, which allows anyone with the Car and Driver login for the Tesla iPhone app to remotely manipulate the sunroof, climate controls, locks, charge parameters, and (if stopped) the horn. My coworkers, apparently bored, repeatedly open the sunroof and crank the heat to maximum while I’m battling with rush-hour traffic. Once I’ve stopped, they honk the horn repeatedly until a woman in a Tesla at an adjacent charger flees under the assumption I’m cat-calling her. READ MORE ››Life is lived vividly in the Ariel Nomad, a vehicle that delivers a level of sensory experience unknown to the well-insulated drivers of cars that feature such fripperies as roofs and bodywork. Climate control, for example, is delivered by the actual climate. You feel the coldness of the air and the wetness of the rain. Agricultural aromas are sniffed unfiltered. And if you’re unwise enough to drive onto England’s Salisbury Plain during a thunderstorm, as we have just done, you quickly become aware of just how muddy this part of Blighty can become. READ MORE ››People with absolutely no friends in your state’s capital include terrorists, communists, smokers, and those cited for a driving offense. No politician with reelection on his or her mind would lift a finger to help out speeders and stoplight runners. Hey, they broke the law, they deserve whatever we give them, right? READ MORE ››Year of the Goose is West Coast editor Davey G. Johnson’s dive into the two-wheeled world. He’s exploring life with a bike as a new rider.--The next morning, I grabbed an omelette at the Tides, where my father and I used to fish for perch off the dock. I remember a little kid watching us. Whenever we’d reel one in, he’d call out to his own father, “A fersh, daddy! A fersh!” “Fersh” has been part of my own internal lexicon ever since. But my father is 83 now. He doesn’t drive anymore. He forgets a lot. He doesn’t remember “fersh.” I’m not looking forward to the day he forgets me.--When I embarked on this project, anti-motorcycle friends—genuinely and rightly concerned for my own well-being—might have assumed that I had some sort of death wish, which couldn’t be further from reality. Facing parental mortality means facing one’s own. And aging seems to speed time with a terrifying quickness. I am doing the things I have the wherewithal to do because life suddenly seems remarkably short. READ MORE ››--Read more Year of the Goose: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4These are times of big performance claims, and what better place to test them than at America's hairiest track? This year, we returned to Virginia International Raceway with 18 cars and a healthy dose of skepticism. It made us believers. READ MORE ››“You all don’t look like vanners,” oozed the man wearing the patch-covered white lab coat and long gray beard, “you look more like . . . golfers.” This would prove to be the most succinct and truthful thing we would hear in two days of communing with the custom-van aficionados at the 43rd annual Van Nationals in a deeply muddy field, just outside of Altamont, Illinois. And it was uttered less than an hour after our arrival. We were not fooling anyone. READ MORE ››--Why did we van it up? To perform a cargo-van comparison test, of courseWhen pressed for the hard evidence, no one in the industry could provide data showing that a torque-vectoring differential measurably improves performance. So we slapped our instruments on two cars—one with a torque-vectoring differential, one without—to collect our own data. READ MORE ››--For even more, read Diff Definitions: Each Type of Automotive Differential Explained10Best involves more than drawing up lists of our sub-$80,000 favorites. Every year we enter our weeklong evalu¬ation looking for new and improved combinations of virtues: value and engagement, performance and poise, sights and sounds, soul and character. The cars that earn this award do more than merely succeed on one or two criteria; they come to us fully formed, polished, complete. But how do they get that way? This year we delve deeper into our winners’ makings to better explain why they won. Who builds and develops these cars? Where? How do they go about it? What is a 10Bester truly made of? There are, of course, varied answers because cars are not simple things. You do not buy them on Etsy, and we’re not running a Maker Faire here. Automobiles are still the most complex and technologically advanced consumer products that man has ever devised. What follows in this section is our proof. READ MORE ››From a moral and legal standpoint, the fraud was a colossally bad decision. Whether it was a bad financial decision remains to be seen. A half-million cheater diesels were sold in the U.S., with 11 million sold worldwide. Meanwhile, the costs of the scam will take years to measure. It took four years for the federal government to slap a $1.2 billion penalty on Toyota for hiding evidence in its sudden-acceleration investigation, so it’ll be a while before we know how many pounds of VW’s flesh are in play. This was an emissions issue, after all, not a safety defect involving crashes and fatalities. READ MORE ››--For comprehensive coverage of the VW diesel-emissions cheating scandal, go here.Nostalgia is a powerful force, capable of inducing wistful pangs of desire in otherwise sane individuals. More than one Evel Knievel Canyon Sky Cycle action figure owes its survival to some poor sucker dealing with his mortality by assembling a well-curated collection. (FYI: Evel’s helmet is missing—they’re alwaysmissing.) The designers at Jeep are well aware of this phenomenon and, judging by the sheer number of retro-themed Jeep concepts.READ MORE ››The Irish used to say that Finn MacCool, their own Paul Bunyan, was throwing mud at some Scot giant one day and overshot, creating the Isle of Man, today home to the fiendish Tourist Trophy motorcycle road race. In planning our automotive raid of motorcycling’s scariest and most sacred venue, we drew a triangle to represent the three historic character traits of the British sports-car industry. READ MORE ››The automotive year: Some who won, some who lost, and a few who should shut their NOx traps. 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. --Our natural skepticism, honed to a katana’s twinkle by years of Shelbys with skull-rattling rides and plodding dynamics, marched proudly into the cockpit of the new GT350—whereupon it died instantly on the car’s red start button. Vaa-ROOOOOMpapapapapapa!!!!-Oh. Maybe they’re serious this time. READ MORE ››
from Car and Driver Blog

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