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2016 AUTOMOBILE All-Stars Contenders and Behind the Scenes

25 of the year's top vehicles set out to claim our No. 1 award. Here’s a look at the rest of the field

The Automobile staff huddled months prior to All-Stars 2016 and identified 83 new or heavily revised vehicles that emerged throughout the previous calendar year. Following several rounds of eliminations based on earlier test drives, compiled notes, physical contact, seat-of-the-pants feel, and sleep-deprivation-enhanced shouting matches, our editors invited these finalists to participate. Though the seven ultimate winners stand out as the year's alpha dogs, the other 18 strongly held their own, forcing our voting panel to make more than a few tough decisions.

Audi R8 V10 Plus:
"Better interior, driving position, and infotainment system than both the Ferrari and McLaren, but it doesn't have the same sense of occasion as those cars. "
-daily news editor Eric Weiner

Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S:
"A beast capable of taking you anywhere on the road in style and comfort. "
-graphic designer Michael Cruz-Garcia

Mercedes-AMG GT S:
"Now you actually have to think before you buy a 911. "
-senior editor Chris Nelson

Nissan Maxima SR:
"This is the sporty driving surprise of All-Stars. I had a complete blast on the track; it rotates into every corner no matter the speed. Excellent fun. "
-contributor and pro racer Andy Pilgrim

Mini JCW:
"A fantastic set of brakes let down by the cutesy, just OK car built around them. "
-Chris Nelson

Cadillac CTS-V:
"The CTS-V is one heck of a mean machine. Massive power, serious chops out on the track, and easy to drive off it. "
-editor-in-chief Mike Floyd

Cadillac ATS-V Coupe:
"Better than a BMW M4 on the track but lacks the on-road refinement. "
-contributing writer Marc Noordeloos

Jaguar XF S:
"The XF is more likable than comparable Bimmers and Benzes. It's like the 5 Series I have fond memories of. A little car made big, instead of a big car made little. "
-West Coast editor Michael Jordan

Chevrolet Camaro:
"Props to Chevy for taking weight out of the Camaro and working hard to improve it dynamically. It shows. But I was hoping for a bit more pizzazz inside and out. "
-Mike Floyd

Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE:
"The budget Land Rover feels budget, but it's still better than most of the offerings in the burgeoning three-row crossover class. "
-Eric Weiner

BMW 7 Series:
"Impressive but not as mind-blowing as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. BMW has lost its way in recent years, and I'm not sure the 7 Series represents a change in direction. "
-contributing writer Preston Lerner

Audi TT:
"Handsome update to the original Freeman Thomas design but hardly a revelation. Like it, don't love it. Too bad, because I used to. "
-contributing writer Steven Cole Smith

Jeep Renegade:
"Extremely functional, unexpectedly capable off-road, and an excellent poster child for Jeep's personality. "
-Michael Jordan

Lexus GS F:
"The powertrain is thrilling, and I downshifted over and over again just to hear it wail above 6,000 rpm. "
-daily news editor Joey Capparella

Mercedes-AMG C63 S:
"Great sound, immense power, fantastic chassis. A bit of a handful, but absolutely in the spirit of AMG. "
-daily news editor Jake Holmes

Honda Pilot:
"Reasonably compact but packs three rows of seating and lots of clever storage options. "
-Preston Lerner

Dodge Viper ACR:
"This is effectively a street-legal GT3 race car that blitzes everything on the track. Not even close to a fair fight. "
-executive editor Mac Morrison