The Jour­ney

Automobile - - Contents - By AU­TO­MO­BILE STAFF

We trav­eled once again to

Las Ve­gas, this time with 26 of the best ve­hi­cles on the Amer­i­can mar­ket, and put the con­tenders to the test at Speed­ve­gas and on the chal­leng­ing mountain roads high above the din of Sin City at scenic Mount Charleston. Not all would make the win­ners’ cir­cle, but they all dis­played star ap­peal.

EACH YEAR WE as­sem­ble a com­pet­i­tive group of the most in­trigu­ing new cars pro­duced in the pre­vi­ous 12 months. For the sec­ond year in a row, we eval­u­ated them on road and race cir­cuit, specif­i­cally Ne­vada’s breath­tak­ing Mount Charleston and the Speed­ve­gas road course 15 miles south of the Las Ve­gas Strip. So although the places haven’t changed, some­thing about this year’s crop of 26 com­bat­ants was pal­pa­bly dif­fer­ent. Namely, this might be the most im­pres­sive All-Stars con­tender lineup of all time, most cer­tainly the strong­est field of can­di­dates in years.

So good is this as­sem­bly of ma­chines that our edi­tors at one point stood atop Mount Charleston, soaked in the in­tro­spec­tion-in­spir­ing views, and mum­bled some­thing about nam­ing ev­ery car present an of­fi­cial All-Star, and it wasn’t the thin mountain air talk­ing. We can’t be more clear about this: To re­ceive an in­vi­ta­tion to our an­nual shootout, culled from an ini­tial list of dozens more, al­ways means a car is mas­sively im­pres­sive and al­ready a win­ner wor­thy of recog­ni­tion. This year more than ever, there are ab­so­lutely no losers in this group.

As al­ways, our for­mula is sim­ple: no price caps, no cat­e­gories, and no con­vo­luted point-scor­ing rules. We pride our­selves on be­ing this in­dus­try’s most straight­for­ward awards shootout: The ve­hi­cles that spark the most pas­sion, in­spire the big­gest grins, and de­liver an ex­pe­ri­ence as true to their orig­i­nal in­tent as pos­si­ble in­evitably walk away with an All-Stars tro­phy.

Is it raw speed that mat­ters most? Physics-de­fy­ing han­dling? World-class in­te­rior ap­point­ments? Those things all count, but this isn’t just a num­bers game. It’s a soul-search­ing quest to iden­tify cars that stir emo­tions, achiev­able only by driv­ing them and, more crit­i­cally, feel­ing them, hear­ing them, even smelling them. Be­cause of­ten­times the most im­por­tant ele­ments to ded­i­cated car en­thu­si­asts aren’t ap­par­ent on a stop­watch, a dyno, or a score sheet but only through the heart.

There are 26 win­ners, then, but this year eight ul­tra-fan­tas­tic cre­ations earned the right to of­fi­cially be called an Au­to­mo­bile All-Star, our most pres­ti­gious award. Over four eye-open­ing days on the mountain and the track, our staff and con­trib­u­tors iden­ti­fied al­most unan­i­mously the ab­so­lute best of the best from around the world. Now is the time to cel­e­brate not only those eight but also ev­ery one that came to our party.

Ve­hi­cles that spark the most pas­sion, in­spire the big­gest grins, and de­liver an ex­pe­ri­ence as true to their orig­i­nal in­tent as pos­si­ble in­evitably walk away with an All-Stars tro­phy.

MAY 2018 AU­TO­MO­BILE ALL-STARS IS­SUE

TO THE TEST Putting this many ve­hi­cles through the wringer in just a few days is no easy lo­gis­ti­cal task, but the pic­ture that emerges is al­ways fas­ci­nat­ing.

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