It was a hell of a year in terms of driving rare metal. From hypercars to perfect replicas rivaling the originals to driving one-offs that are worth mega bucks.
We’ve had a great time behind the wheel of each and every one. As the year comes to a close, we revisit 10 of the coolest cars we drove. Enjoy.
1. Koenigsegg Regera “This is the prototype, and we’re among the first outsiders in the world to get a crack at the hypercar that signals a new chapter in terms of design and technology for the boutique Swedish brand. Most auto show queens can barely eclipse walking speed; this one will reportedly touch 249 mph and is all about bone-crushing acceleration.” – Joakim Dyredand
2. Porsche 911R “In case you’ve somehow missed the 911 R hype, here’s a simple rundown of what makes it so enticing: In terms of hardware it’s exactly as described before, a GT3 chassis and structure fitted with the 4.0-liter engine from the GT3 RS. What’s really different, though, is the manual gearbox. It uses the casing from the PDK, but is fitted with just six ratios. Gears one through four are the same as a GT3, but fifth and sixth are longer. Why just six gears? To save weight, of course.” – Jethro Bovingdon
3. Lamborghini Centenario “This dramatically oversexed mauler from Emilia Romagna is a manifesto of excess, which can easily be quantified by a set of numbers. Take the 23.5 seconds it takes to accelerate from 0 to 188 mph, which is a mere 6 seconds slower than the Bugatti Veyron. Or consider the stopping power of the carbon-ceramic discs, which decelerate the roughly 3,900-pound Lambo from 60 mph to zero in less than 100 feet.” – Georg Kacher
4. McLaren 570GT “There are invariably those who will be drawn to the 570GT’s Jaguar E-Type-like side-hinged rear hatch and its plusher, cleaner aesthetic. But there is likely an equally opposed tribe unable to justify a McLaren that inches incrementally away from its disciplined focus on weight loss and agility. Despite the inevitable naysayers, the 570GT succeeds at its mission because it upholds the brand’s philosophy of performance, successfully avoiding the fate of becoming a fattened up, watered-down, luxed-up redux of the satisfyingly crisp 570S.” – Basem Wasef
5. Flyin’ Miata MX-5 V-8 “How I wish the pioneers who first shoehorned big, American V-8s into small, lightweight roadsters could be here today. The creators of those unruly, poorly balanced little monsters would see my trembling hands and laugh, thinking I had scared myself witless with a gut-wrenching tankslapper. But I’m not scared, just unbelievably excited, stopped on this lonely back road in western Colorado only because a pair of mountain goats wandered in front of me. My fingers rap impatiently against the vibrating shift knob, staying in rhythm with the 525-hp crate engine’s loped idle as I wait to further explore Flyin’ Miata’s LS3-powered 2016 Mazda MX-5. This is one of the most communicative, engaging, and enchanting cars we’ve ever driven.” – Chris Nelson
6. Pur Sang Bugatti Type 35b “After a couple of hours wrestling with the Type 35b’s massive steering wheel, you get a true appreciation of how unbelievably skilled race-car drivers of the era were. You’d have to be a certified lunatic — or a total badass — to drive a car like this at race pace. Special men like Louis Chiron were surely a mixture of both, and cars like Pur Sang’s stunning re-creation offer a window into the world of Chiron and those like him, who regularly risked it all to race.” – Jonathon Klein
7. Porsche 718 “When race drivers and other professors of speed discuss how great sports cars don’t need 500 or 600 horsepower, the Cayman is the first example on their blackboard. We’ve taken the lesson to heart, even as we wish for a bit more straight-line oomph, the 718 Cayman puts a stop to any lingering classroom whispers.” – Lawrence Ulrich
8. Icona Vulcano “Finally, Forneris, the man behind the Vulcano, cuts us loose in the car. You can feel every imperfection in the pavement, and the Vulcano’s overwhelming amount of instant torque necessitates light inputs on the accelerator, especially since almost no roads here are straight. Fortunately, there are plenty of fantastic corners to test the chassis and handling. We run up and down the road until approaching storm clouds force us back up mountain for a few last-minute photos in front of the basilica. Forneris looks on, smiling as local school children being to swarm around the car. ‘It’s the excitement in those kids eyes that helps me realize why my father and I did this,’ he says.” – Shelby Knick, Christian Johnston
9. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 “It’s a wicked drag car that’s perfect for bracket racing, an approachable street car that will put you in a jail if you ask it to, and a balanced, talented, and always-engaging track car. The ZL1 beautifully showcases the serious performance potential of the sixth-generation Camaro.” – Chris Nelson
10. Acura NSX “In a nutshell: The new NSX is as contrarian and occasionally conservative as the parent company itself. And it absolutely earns the NSX moniker. Because the NSX does rock. Think of it as a new class of sports car: The stealth supercar. That’s a concept that takes some time to wrap your head around. The NSX’s approach is a surprising one, and some will knock its philosophy. But the 2017 Acura NSX isn’t soft rock. More like a power ballad.” – Jason H. Harper