There are those who breathlessly dissect numbers, narrow the focus, or decide to revisit the same old models when contemplating what they believe to be the best car (or cars) of the year. That’s not us. Instead, during our annual All-Stars event, we set out to simply tell you which vehicles left us breathless and why.
Throughout each year, we’re constantly evaluating the best in breed. Everything from mainstream models to the world’s most mind-blowing supercars can get the nod to join the All-Stars fray, and just being asked to be a part of the field is an accomplishment. This isn’t an all-inclusive group, but it’s a wildly diverse one, meant to represent the most aspirational, attainable, and otherwise exceptional offerings of the past calendar year.
Although we try to secure for our evaluation an example of everything we think has All-Stars potential, it’s not always possible. Sometimes an automaker won’t let a car out to play (hello, Tesla Model 3) or timing can interfere (we’ll see you next year, BMW Z4 and 8 Series). The ones that do show up are subjected to several days of driving, on track and off. For our 2019 event, we shifted our venue from Las Vegas to the Streets of Willow road course at Willow Springs International Motorsports Park about an hour north of Los Angeles. Along with a challenging new road route near the facility, we put this year’s 24 contenders—you can view all the contenders here—through one of the most rigorous events in Automobile history.
Whittling down a stellar field to seven standouts was far from easy, and as always, there were some surprises. But it’s all part of the process, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Because in the end, it’s about the year’s greatest cars—and what makes them so special.
2019 BMW M2 Competition
Sometimes, you know a car is going to fare well at All-Stars just by watching our editors’ faces as they climb out of it. By midafternoon on day one at the track, as many of us got our first-ever taste of the new M2 Competition, the collective grin on Team Automobile’s mug stretched across the Antelope Valley from Willow Springs all the way to Palmdale. We still had days of driving to go, but already it was clear: BMW’s brilliant new M2 was a shoo-in. [Read more]
2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast
On the short, tight Streets of Willow circuit, there’s really only one place to detonate the 12 cylinders of fury residing under the Ferrari 812 Superfast’s sculpted hood—down the front straight. Light the fuse out of the last turn and unleash the 812’s prodigious power, and you’ll feel it wiggle out back with each shift. Whoa, big fella. [Read more]
2019 Hyundai Veloster N
“How much fun can you have for less than $30,000?” asked contributor Steven Cole Smith, who then proceeded to answer himself: “This much fun. Overbuilt like an armored car, the Veloster N alone proves Hyundai isn’t paying Albert Biermann—the engineer it stole from the BMW M Division—nearly enough.” [Read more]
2019 McLaren 600LT
It pays to look ahead in the McLaren 600LT. Far ahead. You sit incredibly low, laid back a little further than perhaps seems “normal” in the context of most road cars, and the view out is as vivid as an IMAX cinema screen thanks to the low scuttle and slender A-pillars. You feel you could reach out and touch the road. Not that you need to. McLaren has resisted the call of electric power steering, and the simple Alcantara-covered wheel dances in your hands, putting you intimately in touch with the contact patch between tire and tarmac. [Read more]
2019 Mercedes-Benz G550
Just ask Dodge how hard it was to design a new Challenger, or Chevrolet how much is riding on a new Corvette. Better still, ask Porsche about the conflicting goals and considerations that go into every all-new 911. Then you’ll have a pretty good idea just how risky it was to build an all-new G-wagen after nearly 40 years of success. But fear not, G fans, for Mercedes-Benz has nailed the formula with the 2019 G550, a vehicle that’s as true to the original as it should be and better in every possible way. [Read more]
2019 Nissan Altima SR 2.0
It happens every year during our All-Stars evaluations: At least one car arrives anonymously. It garners little interest from most of our evaluators up front—relatively speaking, especially when there are six-figure supercars on hand. Yet it slowly raises its head above the proverbial waterline, eventually also raising eyebrows. [Read more]
2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS
We’ve noticed something. Once someone drives a 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS, they change. Expressive faces freeze, talkers become mute, the silent bark like dogs. You doubt us? Then we suspect you haven’t driven one. [Read more]