I drove more than 75 new vehicles this year. When the Wheels editor asked me to pick my favourite, I had to give it some thought.
There were several contenders:
The $80,000 Audi TT RS — with its 400-horsepower, turbocharged five-cylinder engine, Quattro system, and limpet-like ability to stick to the road.
The $52,000 Kia Stinger was as a delightful surprise. The South Korean conglomerate’s first shot at the luxury sports sedan segment, dominated until now by the Germans, had a turbocharged 365-horse V6, sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, and a suspension tuned under the guidance of a former BMW chief engineer.
The Genesis brand has garnered a lot of attention for its unique approach to communicating with and caring for the customer. The $58,000 Genesis G70 is a legitimate luxury car with serious performance credentials I was able to experience on the race track and pubic roads.
The $61,000 Mustang Bullitt — the best Mustang yet — has the looks, handling, power (475 hp) and exclusivity to make it stand out. And it sounds great!
The Porsche Carrera T deserves honourable mention for no reason other than it is a Porsche sports car. At $120,000 with a 370-horsepower flat six stuffed in the tail it embodies all that has made this marque so revered.
The Honda Insight, at $28,000 and 151 horsepower, appears out of place in this field. But it might just be the most perfect hybrid yet, because it doesn’t look or act like one.
But my favourite ride of the year was the Jaguar F-Type SVR. This $167,500 road rocket left a smile on my face every time I pushed the start button — and it remained there long after I pressed that same button to shut it down.
The two memories at the top of the list are the wicked, and all but illegal, sound from the lightweight titanium and Inconel pipes and the wheel spin at 120 km/h as the all-wheel-drive system struggled to cope with 575 horsepower from the supercharged V8.
The electronic nannies did their job, but only after a brief reminder of how difficult that task is.
The spiritual successor to the legendary E-Type, the Jaguar F-Type is available in coupe or convertible format. Both have two doors and two seats.
The gorgeous sports car boasts the long hood, sloping roofline, and short deck of its predecessor. The interior of the eye-magnet was also worthy of the brand and price.
The SVR will dispatch the quarter mile in 11.7 seconds on the way to a top speed of 322 km/h.
It has what might be the best sound system in the industry — and the 12-speaker Meridean audio system isn’t too shabby either!