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Surveying the Superstars, Present and Future

Looking back at the 2018 All-Stars competiton

Mike FloydwriterAndrew Trahanphotographer

Supercars, sports cars, and crossovers with plenty of cool. Even a wagon made an appearance. Our 2018 All-Stars evaluation was arguably the most stellar constellation of vehicles this publication has ever assembled in one place. Of the 26 on hand, this year we landed on eight to represent the best the market has to offer, the All-Stars. You can take it all in beginning on here.

In the run up to our annual All-Stars event, we scan every major automaker's roster and identify the all-new, significantly revised, or otherwise interesting variants of vehicles on sale or about to be in the 12 months preceding our test each December. Then we cull our exclusive list of invitees from there. While we aim to get every last car we'd like to evaluate and think you'd enjoy knowing more about, sometimes we aren't able to do so. For example, Dodge couldn't pry loose a Demon, Porsche wasn't able to score us the 911 we wanted, and we couldn't get our grubby hands on a Tesla Model 3. Bummer. Some cars hit the market just after our test, so we endeavor to have them along the following year, with the Alfa Romeo Giulia's inclusion this year being one of the latest examples.

In the spirit of the founders of Automobile, our All-Stars test is as representative as possible. So there are no rules about prices and no complicated and convoluted criteria. Our only goals are to give every vehicle on hand an honest and thorough evaluation and have a little fun—because almost every one of them is an absolute blast to drive, and they're all special in their own ways. Simply put, the ones that move us the most are the ones that make the podium after our vote, with 19 judges submitting ballots for 2018.

Since I've been in this position, one of my greatest satisfactions has been working with our crack squad of staffers and contributors as we continue to develop our signature event. Each year we add more information on every car we bring for evaluation, more video components, more social media, and more photography. Our top flight creative team is evolving the All-Stars branding, and we've partnered for the second consecutive year with the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance for our awards presentation. Indeed, we're always thinking of new opportunities, new ways of bringing the All-Stars to you.

This year was one of those star-aligning times car-wise, with some of the most impressive high-performance machines in the world available to us. From the McLaren 720s to the Audi TT RS, the Ferrari GTC4Lusso T to the Honda Civic Type R, there were superstar offerings in almost every price range. Interestingly, and going against the grain of what's happening in the marketplace, no crossovers made the final cut, but the Volvo XC60 and Range Rover Velar might have made it through had they not been in this batch of vehicles. It's also probably one of the last years where an all-electric vehicle won't be in the mix. The Bolt EV was a 2017 All-Star. There are more to come, with the Jaguar I-Pace headed into showrooms possibly as early as this year.

Despite the march toward electrification and the doom and gloom surrounding what many believe to be a future where we'll be autonomously chauffeured around in shapeless, electric-powered pods, things still look bright for people like us who love to drive cars and want to learn more about everything from a Honda Accord Sport to exotic unobtanium like the astonishing Ford GT.

Next year's All-Stars list is already shaping up quite nicely. We'll be all over the monstrous Chevy Corvette ZR1, and just maybe Porsche will bestow a dazzling 911 GT2 RS upon us. The new BMW M5 and 8 Series, Ferrari Portofino, Aston Martin Vantage, Audi RS 5, Mercedes-AMG GT sedan, and Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class are some of the other performance-oriented machines also on the way. Buick is bringing a new Regal GS to showrooms, and the Volkswagen Arteon is set to spice up the German manufacturer's lineup. Hyundai is rolling out a hot-looking N-performance-branded version of its Veloster hatch, and Genesis will show off its all-new G70 sedan.

More compact crossovers are coming, of course, including the Jaguar E-Pace, Volvo XC40, and BMW X2. The new Jeep Wrangler is headed for the trails, and the Mercedes G-Class, though capable enough to hang off-road with the Wrangler, will do most of its work preening in fashionable locales and fancy mall parking lots.

No matter what vehicles show up in succeeding years, there's one thing you can be sure of: We'll keep grinding away, keep building, and keep the focus on bringing you the best All-Stars presentation possible