It's an unfortunately common scenario. Supremely capable cars relegated to a mundane slog in upscale neighborhoods, or through the nouveau riche suburbs, never realizing their full potential except for some brief stoplight or freeway sprints. So when envisioning some compelling content for the new Motor Trend Channel on YouTube, the combination of great cars to drive in habitats that would demonstrate their substantial capabilities was a natural.
Here's our collection of 2012 Epic Drives episodes, starting with the Audi R8 Spyder in Norway to the colossally-powerful Ford Shelby GT500 leaving its mark in New England. Enjoy!
Episode 1: Audi R8 Roadster in Norway
In the first episode of Epic Drives, Motor Trend technical editor Frank Markus takes an Audi R8 Spyder to the land of the Vikings, with some breathtaking scenery and great roads providing the backdrop.
Episode 2: Lotus Evora in the Rocky Mountains
Motor Trend executive editor Ron Kiino pilots Lotus' newest 2+2 sports car from Seattle, Washington, down the continental divide through Wyoming and Colorado, and finally to MT headquarters in Southern California.
Episode 3: Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 on the Autobahn
Angus MacKenzie and Justin Bell stretch the ZR1's legs on the Autobahn on a drive in America's fastest sports car from Munich to Maranello, two of Europe's most hallowed high-performance shrines. Does the ZR1 live up to its 200+ mph promise? Watch and find out.
Episode 4: Land Rover Discovery in Russia
Senior Features Editor Jonny Lieberman drives the one-millionth Land Rover Discovery onto Moscow's Red Square. Along the way, he tours an "all-weather" Soviet car museum, meets a star of the Bolshoi Ballet, crashes the Kremlin, and turns up the heat in a decommissioned ZiL military truck.
Episode 5: Bentley Continental GT in Scotland
Lieberman makes an encore appearance, as he dons his kilt and tours the wet and wonderful countryside of Scotland in the Bentley Continental GT V8. Along the way, he stops by the legendary links at St. Andrews, circles Loch Ness and even enjoys a bit of the finest Scotch whisky in the heart of Speyside.
Episode 6: Subaru BRZ in Japan
Motor Trend associate online editor Nate Martinez tours Japan's greatest driving roads in Subaru's new rear-wheel drive BRZ coupe. Along the way, he tears up the Toyo Tires Turnpike, climbs Mount Fuji, dances down the hairpins of the Nihon Romantic Highway and drops the hammer at the tight and twisty Gunma Cycle Sports Center.
Episode 7: Ferrari California in California
Angus MacKenzie drops the top and explores California's hidden highways in a Ferrari California. Along the way, he carves up the golden hills of California's wine country, visits the famous intersection that claimed a Hollywood icon, and tames the wild corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Episode 8: Cadillac CTS-V Wagon on the Nurburgring
In this episode of Epic Drives, Jonny Lieberman heads to Europe to throw a spectacular farewell party for Motor Trend's long-term CTS-V wagon. After a final toast of Belgian beer in Bruges, the CTS-V Wagon makes its way to Germany, where pro driver Johnny O'Connell gets behind the wheel to attempt a record lap around the legendary Nürburgring.
Episode 9: Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster on the Mille Miglia
Angus MacKenzie pilots the thundering Mercedes-Benz SLS Roadster across Italy, retracing the route of the legendary Mille Miglia endurance race. Along the way, he meets up with racing legend Stirling Moss, the man who won the 1955 Mille Miglia in the iconic Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR with one of the greatest racing performances of all time. Stirling drives Angus across the Raticosa Pass in the new SLS and shares his memories of his own epic drive in the 300 SLR nearly sixty years ago.
Episode 10: Lamborghini Aventador in Spain
Frank Markus goes in search of the ancient bullfighting traditions that have inspired the model names of nearly every Lamborghini. Along the way he traverses Europe's highest mountain pass, attends a bullfight in the French tradition (where the bulls live to fight again), visits a ranch that raises Spain's most fearsome fighting bulls, and ends his journey by facing a matador inside the exact same bullring where the car's namesake Aventador met his valiant end in October 1993.
Episode 11: 2013 Porsche Boxster on the Targa Florio
Angus MacKenzie heads to sports car country in the new 2013 Porsche Boxster to rerun the historic Targa Florio route in Sicily, Italy. He retraces some of the more iconic areas and recalls some of the racing icons that made the Targa what it is today.
Episode 12: Ford Shelby GT500 in New England
Frank Markus makes a return to Epic Drives with a Ford Shelby GT500 and rides the Mohawk trail through the beautiful fall foliage of the northeast United States. In honor of the patron saint of all road trips Frank begins the trip at the childhood home of Jack Kerouac in Lowell, MA and gallops along the nation's first officially designated scenic tourist route on his way to Albany, NY.