The AUTOMOBILE staff and key contributors spent multiple days driving the assembled array of 24 All-Stars contenders on the Streets of Willow track at California’s famed Willow Springs International Motorsports Park and a scenic and challenging road loop in the nearby Lake Hughes area. After the evaluation period, votes were cast for the winners by private ballot.
“Each year we strive to assemble an AUTOMOBILE All-Stars field that reflects the best vehicles on the road today. Everything from the most aspirational supercars to affordable performers to cars pushing technological boundaries,” says AUTOMOBILE Editor-in-Chief Mike Floyd. “It always makes for stiff competition, as all 24 were already stars to us. But in the end, only a chosen few can stand atop the All-Stars podium, and for 2019 we elevated seven lucky winners above the rest.”
To learn more about the 2019 All-Star awards and view photo galleries, videos, and much more, please visit: www.automobilemag.com/awards.
The 2019 AUTOMOBILE All-Stars:
BMW M2 Competition
Once the judges got their first-ever taste of the new BMW M2 Competition, their collective grin stretched from one end of Willow Springs to the other. There’s probably no greater compliment for a test car than for auto critics to start picturing one in their own garages. The M2 Competition sparked more than a few buying fantasies among the AUTOMOBILE judges, thanks to its ample power and handling delicacy that make it an immensely satisfying car to drive.
Ferrari 812 Superfast
The Ferrari 812 Superfast is powered by a dazzling 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V-12 that is arguably the best engine in the world, with excellent torque and a high-revving character that pushes to 8,900 rpm. Although it’s a grand tourer in approach, with a front-engine configuration and largish overall dimensions, don’t get it twisted—this Ferrari is eminently capable on a circuit as well. In terms of its styling, “elegant,” “long,” and “lithe” are among the superlatives we use to describe the 812’s exterior.
Hyundai Veloster N
The Hyundai Veloster N was a surprise favorite of this year’s All-Stars competition. And like the protagonist in any good boxing movie, the Hyundai came out swinging. Many of our editors got their first-ever taste of the N on the Streets of Willow, where the hard-charging hatchback proved to be a hoot. Indeed, the Veloster N, swimming among sharks like the Ferrari 812 Superfast and McLaren 600LT, reminded us that big thrills don’t have to cost big money given that it was one of the least expensive cars in the competition.
McLaren has built something special with the 600LT. From tame, slightly aloof models in the early days, McLaren has discovered a burning passion within for extreme, pared-back, and wickedly sharp driver’s cars. On track the 600LT delivers, thanks to its mid-engine layout, the rigidity of the carbon-fiber tub, and the minimalist cockpit which creates a race car vibe. It’s a car that embraces fury, excitement, and fire, and the result is a supercar of pure intensity.
Mercedes-Benz G 550
Mercedes-Benz nailed the formula with its new G-Class, a vehicle that’s as true to the original as it should be and better in every possible way. The G-Class remains an off-road marvel that is engineered to tackle the most rugged trails, but it also says you don’t have to. It says you can afford massive overkill. It doesn’t apologize for its excess any more than you apologize for your success. In short, it’s just about the most American thing Germany has ever made.
Nissan Altima SR
It happens every year during our All-Stars evaluations: At least one car arrives anonymously. Yet it slowly raises its head above the proverbial waterline, eventually also raising eyebrows. This time around, that car was the Nissan Altima SR. Its exterior styling is a massive improvement over the previous model, the interior is clean and clutter free, the chassis is exceptionally well controlled and surefooted in quick transitions, and it’s powered by Nissan’s new 2.0-liter variable compression four-cylinder—one of the best new engines in years from any automaker.
Porsche 911 GT2 RS
To produce a Porsche 911 GT2 RS, imagine a 911 Turbo S given liposuction and a high-dose steroid IV drip. The RS’ chassis and suspension setup is something special. On track, the 911 shows sensational control and accessibility. It has a ludicrous ability to turn GT race car-like lap times by producing effortless downforce, and its handling and driveability are so good, it’s easy to forget how quick this car really is. Short of something costing close to $1 million or more, this is arguably the best, most capable supercar on the planet.
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