All Stars

2015 AUTOMOBILE All-Stars: The Contenders

The criteria for selecting AUTOMOBILE‘s All-Stars didn’t change this year–we drive them, we argue about them, we choose them–but choosing the contenders was a little different. We started by looking at a list of all new or significantly updated cars, and whittled that down to include only cars with All-Star potential; in other words, no boring cars. 25 cars made the cut and participated in our 2015 All-Stars testing in South Haven, Michigan. See the full list of contenders below, and come back Sunday, November 16 to see the winners.


Acura TLX

Acura is betting big with this new sedan, combining the TL and TLX nameplates into a single model that scales back the previous TL’s controversial styling in an attempt to broaden its appeal. Underneath its slightly bland but inoffensive exterior, can the TLX show enough of Honda’s engineering greatness to bring Acura back to its glory days?


Click here for our first drive review.


Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo’s return to the U.S. market starts here, with the mid-engine, lightweight, distinctly Italian 4C sports car that gives high-buck supercars a run for their money in the looks department. The Alfa’s featherweight carbon-fiber body is purpose-built to provide communicative handling and sprightly performance, and with the Lotus Elise gone from the U.S., the 4C offers arguably the purest driving experience on the market today.
Click here for our first drive review.


Audi S3

“S” is an important letter for Audi performance cars, and it now applies to the newest, littlest Audi, the A3. The S3 may be small, but it still packs quite a punch with its 292-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes for surprising acceleration from this compact sport sedan. Quattro all-wheel-drive is, of course, standard, and the car impresses with its sharp interior and tight driving dynamics, making fora compelling overall performance package.
Click here for our first drive review.


BMW 2 Series

Some think of the 2 Series as the spiritual successor to the legendary BMW 2002, thanks to its small size, rear-wheel-drive layout, and simple mission. The 228i and M235i both replace the 1 Series at the bottom of the BMW range, but purport to offer the same unsurpassed driving dynamics that got BMW to where it is today.
Click here for our first drive review.


BMW i8

With its carbon-fiber construction, plug-in hybrid powertrain, and futuristic design, the BMW i8 is truly a forward-looking supercar. That BMW can provide this kind of exotic vehicle at a relatively accessible price of $136,650 makes it all the more appealing, and despite all the whiz-bang technology, its driving experience lives up to the high BMW standard.


Click here for our first drive review.


BMW M3

The M3 is a hallmark of BMW’s performance reputation, as this 3 Series-based performance machine has been a key component of the M lineup for decades. Through that time, the M3’s engine size has grown from four, to six, to eight cylinders, but this new 2015 model scales things back a bit, replacing the old V-8 with a twin-turbo six-cylinder. Don’t mistake the smaller size for a smaller punch, though, because the new engine’s 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque combine with sharp handling to make this the most capable M3 ever.
Click here for our first drive review.


BMW M4

Also joining the M lineup for 2015 is a new model, the M4. It’s more familiar than you’d think, though, because the new name just denotes the two-door version of the M3 sedan. It has the same forceful six-cylinder and sharp handling as the M3, but wrapped in a more stylish, eye-catching package, especially in our tester’s Phoenix Yellow hue.
Click here for our first drive review.


Cadillac ATS Coupe

We lauded the ATS sedan for its superb chassis when it debuted two years ago, and adding a coupe model was a logical next step in Cadillac’s plan to do battle with the benchmark BMW 3 Series. The ATS Coupe takes all the goodness of the ATS sedan and presents it in a gorgeous new package, with perfectly proportioned lines and a certain swagger that only comes with a stylish coupe model.
Click here for our first drive review.


Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Think the Camaro’s humble roots preclude it from being a real performance car? Think again. The new Camaro Z/28 is a track-ready machine that deserves to be taken seriously. GM’s performance engineers went all-out with this one, fitting it with all sorts of racy chassis bits and stripping out all creature comforts in the name of weight savings. Oh, and there’s also the fantastic 7.0-liter V-8 from the previous Corvette Z06 cranking out 505 hp and making a sound that will force you to take notice of this seriously buttoned-down muscle car.
Click here for our first drive review.


Chevrolet Suburban

We all know GM is good at making trucks, and the newest generation of Chevrolet and GMC SUVs shows how an old-school formula can still learn new tricks. This new Suburban is the practical people- and cargo-hauler that it always was, but a thoroughly modern powertrain, a significantly more premium interior, and surprising refinement help this big beast stay relevant in the modern era.


Click here for our first drive review.


Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

707 hp: That’s all you really need to know about the Hellcat. Dodge’s ridiculous new SRT Challenger has been making headlines for months now, and somehow the shock of a production muscle car with that much mojo under the hood still hasn’t worn off. For just over $60,000, the Challenger Hellcat offers that sensational supercharged Hemi, along with an SRT-developed chassis and the unmistakable retro attitude that makes the Challenger stand out, even as America’s trio of muscle cars are reaching new heights.


Click here for our first drive review.


Ford Mustang

For its 50th birthday, Ford’s iconic pony car gets a whole new outlook on life thanks to a redesign that brings modernized styling, a vastly upgraded interior, and, finally, an independent rear suspension. The new Mustang is more refined than ever and it now offers a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but if this all makes you think that the new ‘Stang is losing its roots, it’ll only take one listen to the 5.0-liter V-8’s roar to change your mind.
Click here for our first drive review.


Honda Fit

We said “no boring cars,” not “no geeky cars.” And the 2015 Honda Fit is not boring, especially when equipped with a six-speed manual (up from five in the last generation). We have a long and happy relationship with Honda’s versatile hatchback, which we named an All-Star in 2009. What we instantly notice about the new 2015 Honda Fit is its refinement. The interior gains soft-touch materials while giving up none of its incredible cargo capacity. The once skittish handling now feels settled even at higher speeds.
Click here for our first drive review.


Hyundai Genesis

It’s a measure of how far Korea’s leading automaker has come that we and the rest of the car-reviewing world is not losing its mind over the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, as we did when the first car debuted in 2009. Make no mistake, this is a much better car. The styling expresses a confident identity, rather than trying to copy Mercedes-Benz. Hyundai has also learned a lot about how a luxury car should drive. The first Genesis skittered like an economy car over uneven pavement; the new one soaks them up. Most significant, the Genesis now offers all-wheel drive, crucial for markets like the Northeast, where rear-wheel drive is a non-starter.
Click here for our first drive review.


Jaguar F-Type Coupe

We’ve already spent plenty of time with the Jaguar F-type—we drove a convertible several thousand miles as part of our 2014 All-Stars road trip. We thus already know that it’s viciously fast (emphasis on vicious) and incredibly sexy. Our only real question for the 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe is whether it can sound as as delicious with a closed roof.
Click here for our first drive review.


Kia Soul

If we gave out awards for “most improved car,” the new Kia Soul would be a clear winner. The first one, which debuted in 2009, rode like an ox cart, had the interior quality and color of a kid’s lunchbox, and offered truly awful transmissions. Mind you, that didn’t stop thousands of people from buying it—the Soul is a smash hit. The new one finally delivers on the promise of its fun-times styling, with excellent powertrains, a much-improved interior, and a compliant ride.
Click here for our first drive review.


Lamborghini Huracán

The least boring car in our collection of not-boring contenders. The Lambo literally outruns its own license plate; it blew off with this writer at the wheel, never to be seen again. Even when posing for photos (lots of them) the Lamborghini exudes all the electric excitement you’d expect of a Lamborghini. Yet neither is it a garish parody of itself as so many Lambos from the last two decades have been. There’s a subtlety to its sinewy sheet metal, and German competence underpinning its Italian exoticness.


Click here for our first drive review.


Land Rover Range Rover Sport

The last Range Rover Sport, while surprisingly devilish to drive on the street, had very little practical appeal. With three rows and even more performance, the new Range Rover Sport is a seriously impressive SUV that feels wholly different from its predecessor.
Click here for our first drive review.


Lexus RC F

The Lexus was the most controversial car at our All-Stars testing. Some editors loved it for its V-8 roar and shock value. “It’s an orange Lexus with a pop-up carbon-fiber spoiler,” said associate web editor Jake Holmes. Others derided its open-maw grille and lack of handling poise as compared with its main rival, the BMW M4.


Click here for our first drive review.


Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class at last feels like a real Mercedes. Editors raved about its interior, its rock-solid ride, and its overall refinement, which is a level above anything else in the segment. “Feels 100 percent like a Mercedes inside,” says contributor Marc Noordeloos. “And it’s so smooth.”
Click here for our first drive review.


Mini Cooper

The latest Mini Cooper has grown a little too large, a little too pricey, and a little too pleased with itself. But it’s still fun to drive and balances out its kitsch with better-thought-out details (you won’t be missed, center-mounted window switches). We brought the 189-hp Cooper S to our testing, but if we’re being honest, the new three-cylinder offers more than enough grunt.
Click here for our first drive review.


Porsche Macan

Remember when the Cayenne came out? How everyone worried it would be the death of Porsche, and then the crossover turned out to be pretty good? Consider this a repeat performance. We’re confident it will also duplicate the Cayennes success on the sales charts. Still, it’s hard to escape the idea that an All-Star Porsche should look more like the Cayman sports car, a member of last year’s All-Star list.
Click here for our first drive review.


Subaru WRX/WRX STI

The little rally car has matured considerably since we first locked bug eyes with it more than a decade ago. Specifically, the 2015 Subaru WRX and WRX STI have the steering feel and reflexes to go along with their prodigious all-wheel-drive grip.
Click here for our first drive review.


Volkswagen Golf GTI

The new, 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI again proves that enthusiast cars need not be expensive. In fact, many of us thought the latest GTI a much better performance than its more expensive sibling—and fellow All-Star contestant—the Audi S3.
Click here for our first drive review.

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