Performance 2022 Porsche Panamera
Performance Car of the Year is an accident we absorb months planning. We anxiously baddest and map out the best roads; we defended a arduous chase clue to appraise the cars at speed. Manufacturers accelerate their best, best amazing new metal to attempt for the crown.
This year, for our eighth active of PCOTY, we planned to go to the southeast. A absurd alley cruise through the Abundant Smoky Mountains, topped off with clue time at the fast, intricate Atlanta Motorsports Park in Dawsonville, Georgia, the home of NASCAR champs Bill and Chase Elliott. The acreage of cars we arrive was as assorted as it was exciting. The adequacy of an ballsy week.
Like a lot of things in 2020, it wasn’t meant to be. One anniversary afore our planned departure, an email audacious all staffers at our ancestor aggregation to abstain artery biking due to accretion COVID-19 risk. A multi-day alley cruise through states with ascent positivity ante was aback off the table. And so, we thought, was PCOTY.
But Alley & Clue is annihilation if not plucky. Our anniversary performance-car cool analysis bare to go on. The association at Lime Rock Park, our admired bullring in the Northeast, bound stepped in with two canicule of clue time. Manufacturers rerouted cars. Our multi-day alley drive through Appalachia became a day of bounded loops in upstate New York. Our complete agents got COVID tests; masks were mandatory.
It was a altered array of PCOTY. Area we acclimated to absorb hours whittling bottomward anniversary car’s lap time, now we spent aloof a few laps with anniversary car to get its measure. Canicule of apperception over anniversary car’s claim in every ambiance became urgent, empassioned discussions that bare absolute resolution. At antecedent PCOTY tests, we afraid about backbreaking calefaction and humidity; this year, our meteorological affair was over cold, rain, and worryingly, akin snow.
Certain invitees alone out. The McLaren 765LT, Ferrari F8 Tributo, and Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 were no best able to participate, victims of aircraft delays or apprehension rules that prevented their arrival. Replacements, like the Porsche Cayman T and—wait for it—the Hellcat-powered Ram 1500 TRX, added assortment to the field, and spurred absorbing conversation.
This is a altered array of PCOTY, but the cessation shouldn’t be a surprise.
Each year, we allure the best cogent achievement cars that accept debuted in the accomplished 12 months to participate in this accumulation test. That agency aggregate from high-horsepower pony cars like the 760-hp Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 to agile activity sedans like the Mercedes-AMG CLA45. This year additionally included some cogent cars that weren’t able to accomplish it to aftermost year’s test, like the Bentley Continental GT, Polestar 1, and BMW M8.
This year, we aggregate up nine cars for testing at Lime Rock Park followed by a day on the surrounding country roads. Here, in ascendance adjustment of horsepower, are the competitors:
A failing booty on the atomic able Cayman. Simple and authentic in the best sports car tradition.
Late October in New England is a fool’s gambit. On its best days, ablaze sunshine pairs with august foliage, leaves blame up in your deathwatch as ablaze aeon through anew arid limbs and calmly brittle air wafts through attainable windows. A blur arena brought to life.
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Then there’s the added side. A sky that stays the aforementioned adumbration of blah from brightening to sundown. A connected breeze that’s aloof able abundant to about-face brittle air frigid. Rain that feels like aqueous ice, the affectionate that kills plants instead of ambulatory them. That’s the affectionate of acclimate that accustomed us to Lime Rock Park. Thankfully, the clue broiled afore our lapping sessions, but the skies were blah and the temperature was algid the complete time.
While Lime Rock isn’t a continued track, it is adequate the best arduous 1.5-mile ambit in the country. One lap gives you a abounding compassionate of a car’s activating abilities. And while we ran timed laps in anniversary car, we weren’t block records. Anniversary adversary was allotted a brace countdown laps, again three to four laps at speed—enough to aggregate a adumbrative lap time, but not an affected all-day coursing to acquisition the complete absolute in anniversary corner.
© DW Burnett 2021 Achievement Car of the Year
And in adjustment to add in a little added spice, we ran Lime Rock’s alternative artifice in lieu of the fast uphill. This was partly for safety, as some of these cars would hit the acclivous activity fast abundant to bolt air. Cool to see, alarming to experience, and a abeyant adversity in the waiting. We appraisal this blueprint adds about two to three abnormal to a lap time that runs the archetypal configuration.
The artifice added a new braking area and a absolutely aciculate bend to the track. The Porsche 718 Cayman T ate them up. The aboriginal car on track, it ran a 1:04.52 on its fastest timed lap. Quick, but that doesn’t acquaint the abounding story. The Porsche fabricated lapping easy, bung and play. The all-embracing consequence was balance. Annihilation acquainted acid here—even active a fast time in the car was zen-like. This was additionally the alone car that brought three pedals to this year’s test, and thankfully, the Porsche’s shifter is exceptional, one of the finest out there. The abandoned complaint? The gearing is far too tall. Shorter apparatus would beggarly you about-face more—the activity is so satisfying, you appetite to be interacting with it as abundant as you can. The council is additionally beautifully judged, affably absolute and accurate. Staffers agreed.
© DW Burnett 2021 Achievement Car of the Year
“Gorgeous balance, abreast absolute steering,” beamed chief anchorman Chris Perkins. His addendum summed up everyone’s praise, but there was one allotment of the car that came in for criticism: the engine.
The T has the 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four from the abject Boxster. While the numbers are great—300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque—this isn’t the flat-six calling agenda we’ve all appear to expect, the one Porsche offers in the Cayman GTS 4.0 and GT4. While beat administrator Joe Brown “wanted a little added power,” agents biographer Brian Silvestro had a added belittling take, calling the agent “anemic” with “an unexciting, collapsed torque curve.” A accepted burden with so abounding turbocharged cars these days.
A agnate complaint was heard about the Mini Cooper John Cooper Assignment GP, a stripped-out adaptation of the adorable Mini with antic aero touches, no aback seats, and 302 application activity beeline to the advanced wheels, torque beacon be damned. The Mini ran a 1:06.3 on track, about three abnormal abaft the lap time we clocked on the adequate clue blueprint in warmer altitude beforehand this year.
© DW Burnett 2021 Achievement Car of the Year
It’s still an animal, a disorderly bi-weekly that needs you to booty allegation and absolutely ascendancy the torque steer. It’s auspicious fun, and it shows: Drivers lined up for a adventitious in the Mini, their notebooks abounding of praise. Associate editor Mack Hogan said it “feels like the simple flickable bear you want” while Silvestro alleged it “fun to beef around.”
[Note: Due to an accessories malfunction, we were not able to almanac video of the Mini’s lap.]
But there are issues. The engine, a 2.0-liter turbo four sourced from BMW, is characterless, the adeptness bottomward off about 1000 rpm afore redline. And aback larboard to its own devices, the gearbox, as contributor Dave Burnett put it, is “as impaired as a bag of hair.” But leave it in chiral and short-shift it on acceleration, and there’s affluence of thrust.
It was a agnate action with the Mercedes-AMG CLA45, the brand’s aboriginal auto commutual with the world’s best able assembly four-cylinder. With 382 hp and 354 lb-ft, we accepted the little Merc to be quick. And this one had extra-sticky rubber, Pirelli Trofeo Rs, a $2900 advantage we accepted would accomplish it quick on track. It was. The 1:04.55 it angry was appropriate on par with the Cayman. But those appropriate tires aren’t what you’d appetite for alley use. They charge advancing swings of the caster to appear up to acting afore they’ll accomplish any grip.
The agent is a little firecracker, loud and brash, a hornet’s backup cat-and-mouse to be deployed. But it’s so buzzy, it can answer in your head. At times, the agitation was so indiscernible, I wouldn’t apprehension that the car had denied me a downshift, which it will do in braking zones if you grab the paddle too aboriginal for the car’s liking. Still, the little Merc came in for its fair allotment of acclaim, Hogan adage that it “feels acquisitive and abundantly aciculate on about-face in” and web editor Aaron Brown adage that “this area I feel best at home.” You can see why. It’s the appropriate size. It feels aesthetic yet brazen. It’s fast in a beeline bandage and adjustable in a corner, with a antic tail, and has an autogenous that seems to be taken anon from a mid-priced European hotel. The Mercedes-AMG Ibis.
If you appetite to advancement to the Ritz, though, you’ll charge the Continental GT V-8. This is not a clue car. Not akin close. If the attractive leather-and-wood interior—which Silvestro said “smelled amazing”—wasn’t a hint, again the 5000-lb barrier weight body-slams the point home.
Like best cars from the VW Group, the Bentley shares underpinnings with bulk of added models. This British animal is best carefully accompanying to the Porsche Panamera, appropriate bottomward to the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 (here authoritative 542 hp and 568 lb-ft) and the eight-speed bifold clamp gearbox.
You’re able for it to be a admirable long-distance cruiser. What you’re not able for is how abundant absolute fun it provides on track. It runs a 1:04.92, commensurable to both the Porsche and the Mercedes, but it’s added amusing accepting there. You bandy it up on curbs to get it angry and aloof assurance that the massive brakes will apathetic it bottomward again every lap. The council is numb—you await on your added senses, not your fingertips, to acquaint you what the advanced end is doing—but the anatomy is able-bodied damped and controlled, adequate added and added fun as you advance it.
Perhaps the joy is in the brusque attributes of it all. While added automakers anguish about stripping out weight, you’re in your active room, accepting a aback massage, while acid sub-1:05 lap times. “I didn’t apprehend to like this car as abundant as I do,” acclaimed agent editor Bob Sorokanich. He speaks for all of us.
That array of affection didn’t extend to the Jaguar F-Type R, now with a new adenoids and 575 hp on tap. Jag has adapted the damping and calmed the accomplished amalgamation down, toning bottomward the animated bankrupt that popped and banged and occasionally articulate burst in favor of a added chastened note. It all should add up to a absurd amalgamation on the street.
But PCOTY is predominantly a clue test. While the Jag ran a 1:03.59 and was affecting 140 mph on the advanced straight, it was calmly the scariest to drive in this group. In fast right-hand corners—i.e., best of Lime Rock—the weight alteration would lift the aback end and actualize an ambiguous mess, area you’re cranking the caster to the larboard to accumulate the rear in check. As editor-in-chief Mike Guy said, “the rear end gets absolute ablaze absolute quick. It’s fast in a beeline bandage but assumption wracking at the limit.”
A aggregate sentiment, and abnormally black because the F-Type acclimated to be lairy on command, casting in oversteer with a ache of the throttle—not on bend access area you charge to assurance it not to chaw you. That said, the agent is still a monster, as Silvestro noted, with “a fat powerband.” That supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 is akin to a gearbox that’s adequate and bad. The good: it’s quick and listens to your commands. The bad? The accouterment are brusque and rough, abashing the car’s already ambiguous antithesis mid-corner. A clue car this is not. Perkins summed it up with one word: “Terrifying.”
Our aboriginal constituent amalgam PCOTY adversary additionally isn’t meant as a clue car, but it is an arresting new booty on performance. The Polestar 1 uses a turbo-and-supercharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder and an chip electric motor to drive the advanced auto additional accompanying electric motors on the rear arbor to accompany achievement to a admirable 610 hp. It’s gorgeous, authentic Swedish abstraction fantasy brought to activity with huge 22-inch wheels, fat arches, and a adorable window in the block bulkhead that lets you attending at the electric drivetrain circuitry. There’s additionally affluence of antic hardware, with adjustable Ohlins shocks and Akebono brakes big abundant to serve Thanksgiving banquet off of.
Those brakes adeptness be the best absorbing allotment of the car. The Polestar is heavy—nearly 5200 lbs—but its brakes feel like they could stop a semi in almanac time. The pedal acknowledgment is aciculate and immediate, and the 1 sheds dispatch clashing any added car here. Absolutely a joy. But the drivetrain arrangement lets the 1 down. The Polestar’s 1:07.36 lap time is a absorption of the amalgam drive arrangement acutely accepting abashed at assertive genitalia of the track, afraid to put the adeptness bottomward or demography a additional to acknowledge to burke inputs.
The lap time doesn’t acquaint the abounding story, though, aback there’s a lot of circuitous and absorbing actuality accident here. The torque-vectoring rear arbor helps the rear end rotate, and the abeyance is high-end actuality that’s acutely talkative. Like the Continental GT, this is not a clue car, so the council is numb, and the accomplished amalgamation is acutely not acquainted for lapping. It’s divisive, with some on agents calling it “interesting” and “brutally fast” and others calling it “boring” and “distant.” But a abundant GT car isn’t meant for everyone. It needs to address to a alcove and go all-in. The Polestar is aimed at a assertive blazon of buyer, one who apparently won’t be block lap times.
Time for the M8 Competition. BMW’s flagship auto adeptness accompany aback a archetypal archetypal line, but in reality, like the M6 afore it, this M8 is basically an M5 with a altered body. It does accept all the tech, with an eight-speed automated and added modes and settings for aggregate than you could possibly need. You can akin abstract the advanced arbor to accomplish it rear-wheel drive.
One affair is for sure: It’s bananas quick, putting bottomward a 1:02.06 in aloof three hot laps, with allowance to go akin quicker. One affair it could accept acclimated to put bottomward dispatch added easily: grippier tires. The P Zeroes on actuality aloof didn’t cut it—they absent endless of time mid-corner aback g-loads got higher, and they got anointed as temps increased. But a stickier annoy would cede the car’s well-roundedness on the road.
The agent is a star. The M8’s 4.4 liter V-8 has 617 hp, 553 lb-ft of torque, and feels like it’s consistently in the adeptness band. For an agent architectonics that’s aggregate above so abounding models, it feels far added alien than it is, a attestation to the engineers in Munich. It’s commutual with ZF’s 8HP automatic, a gearbox that’s about all-over in achievement cars now. BMW’s affability of the box is outrageously good. It feels added like a dual-clutch than a accepted torque-converter transmission, with quick, bland accouterment and no lag amid gears.
But while the BMW does aggregate considerately able-bodied on track, there’s article missing. It’s a annoyed burden with avant-garde BMWs, that they’re not what they acclimated to be, but it still rings true. The M8 is fast, with outstanding brakes, and it can acutely obliterate a track, but it does it in a way that feels clinical. It’s afterwards joy, like it wants to amuse a alarm added than a human. Hogan put it best: “Technically good, you aloof won’t be accepting any fun. How does this BMW accomplish ablaze oversteer in a 600-hp monster feel so boring?”
It could be the steering. Already a authentication of the brand, BMW’s electric arbor is overboosted and numb, befitting you distant. Sorokanich additionally had a ache with the arduous bulk of drive modes available: “It’s absolutely cutting and it leads you to consistently catechism the ambience you’ve chosen. I’m larboard apprehensive who this car is for.”
Then there’s the Ram 1500 TRX, a aftermost minute, somewhat amazing accession to our test. A advancement to accompany it aggregate beef in the anniversary afore PCOTY, abnormally afterwards audition how it afflicted our colleagues at added outlets. Also, with 702 hp from the Hellcat-sourced 6.2-liter V-8, we’d accept begin any alibi to drive the world’s best able pickup.
This is a about 7000-lb barter that can get to 60 in beneath than four seconds. On track, it’s affectionate of hilarious, the antagonism bandage adequate a advancement as you grab far too abundant barrier or bandy it in the clay to cut a artifice aloof because you can. It’s so alpine that Silvestro said “it feels like you’re active a building.” And while it’s about hitting 120 mph on the straight, it needs to booty Big Bend, Lime Rock’s across-the-board about-face one, about 20 mph slower than every added agent in the test. Its fastest–and only–timed lap was a 1:16.78 afore it absent about all braking on the advanced straight.
Of course, Ram didn’t body the TRX with again abundant braking from 120 in mind. It’s not meant to be on a track. It’s meant to batter dunes and abort trails while actuality mind-bendingly quick on a artery merge. While it was fun—and funny—this wasn’t its environment.
But it was the GT500’s environment. Antecedent iterations of the most-powerful Mustang were alone ill-fitted to sprinting in a beeline line, artless anatomy and abeyance architecture authoritative them crumble aback you angry the wheel. The aftermost GT500 was aloof scary, coil to a point area it acquainted like it was activity to breach in half. This newest bearing has 100 added horsepower—760 in total, from a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8—but it additionally has a stiffer chassis, magnetorheological adaptive dampers, Michelin Pilot Activity Cup 2 tires on carbon-fiber wheels, and the aboriginal dual-clutch gearbox to anytime adroitness the Mustang lineup. It additionally looks serious, low and advanced with a massive splitter and an adjustable addition that isn’t aloof for show.
It gets you aback you advance the alpha button, the supercharged V-8 unleashing a able case and clearing into an advancing lope. Like added Mustangs, this is a big car, and at 4059 lbs, it’s one of the heaviest cars in this analysis admitting the failing auto and alternative rear-seat delete.
It shrinks about you on track, activity like a GT4 car. The abeyance is abutting and the council communicative, evocative of BMWs of old. Adeptness charge is burning and ferocious, commutual with that absolutely admirable dual-clutch gearbox. Yes, yes, a chiral would be wonderful, but this chiral is accurately great. Clashing so abounding others, it’s programmed beautifully, acceptance for advancing downshifts that added dual-clutch systems adeptness deny.
A timed run in the GT500 feels effortless, but it’s calmly the quickest car at the track. That’s reflected in my time afterwards three laps: 1:00.15, two abnormal quicker than the M8. And akin on my in-lap, the car told me area I could aces up added speed. It’s infuriating to get that abutting to a sub-minute lap and not able it. This analysis isn’t about block an ultimate lap time, but the GT500 was the exception. It wants to be pushed harder.
There were two places I could calmly accretion time: beneath braking into Big Bend, and with a little added charge through West Bend. I pushed the braking area into About-face 1 a little further, nudging 150 on the abbreviate advanced beeline afore bent adamantine on the abutting pedal to get it stopped. This got me added dispatch in the Lefthander and on No Name Straight, with a massive access in dispatch in West Bend, area the GT500 aloof afraid on and asked for more. Afterwards three added laps, I alveolate in. The time: 59.26. I’m assertive that with added lapping, I could accept begin akin added time in it, but we had to move on with our test.
What’s amazing is aloof how affable it is. Already the tires and brakes appear up to temp, there’s no annoying about grip. None. It address in and begs you to advance it, to eke out that added tenth. In abounding cars, anchor like this can accomplish a car arid beneath the limit. Thankfully, that’s not the case with the GT500, which came in for abundant acclamation from every distinct staffer.
“Not scary,” said Aaron Brown. “Extremely affable and affectionate at all times.” Guy gave the dual-clutch chiral the accomplished acclamation possible, dubbing it “911 GT3-like” and calling the car attainable afterwards actuality spooky. Joe Brown summed it up in one word: “Confidence.” Hogan was ecstatic, calling the GT500 “the coolest affair actuality by a continued shot.”
As we larboard the track, it was bright that one car had fabricated an consequence aloft all others. While some staffers admired the Mini or the Bentley on the track, our conversations aloof kept abiding to the Mustang, and how Ford’s engineers had fabricated such an approachable, fun apparatus out of the best able car in this test, no amount if you were blame it adamantine or aloof block laughs. The big catechism was whether that clue accomplishment would authority up on the road.
© DW Burnett 2021 Achievement Car of the Year
On top of aggregate abroad we’ve all dealt with, this year has presented us with a absolutely agrarian blow season. We’ve had so abounding acclimate events, meteorologists accept run out of names, affective to the Greek alphabet to analyze the latest abutting storms and hurricanes. And it aloof so happened that the day of our alley testing coincided with the accession of the debris of Blow Zeta in the northeast.
Conditions were awful. The aerial temperature was 48 degrees with a 100-percent adventitious of abundant rain the complete day. Not absolutely ideal for testing any vehicle’s back-road handling. With assimilation altitude that acquired continuing baptize and low visibility, we had a lot to anticipate about, abundant of which accompanying to befitting the cars on the alley instead of hydroplaning into a ditch. So we took some of the cars to Lime Rock’s bound autocross to get a faculty for absolute administration in safe, closed-course circumstances.
© DW Burnett 2021 Achievement Car of the Year
In reality, there isn’t abundant you can apprentice from best of these cars on a day like this. Bad acclimate played into the easily of the Ram TRX, staffers attractive for puddles, mud pits, and jumps, annihilation to analysis the off-road shocks and huge horsepower. That’s the Ram’s forte, but it’s not our archetypal belief aback acrimonious a country alley barnstormer.
Our analysis included four all-wheel drive, year-round GT cars: The M8, Polestar, F-Type, and Bentley. Literally and figuratively, they floated calmly and contently through our deluged testing day. The less-aggressive tires that bedfast these cars in one way or addition on clue came good, accouterment anchor and aplomb beneath altitude area the dispatch absolute became an absolute best speed.
One affair that’s credible on the road: The Polestar is gorgeous, lower and added than you expect. But the added you beam at it, or sit in it, the added you apprehension its Volvo roots. That’s not a bad thing—right now, Volvo is architecture the best admirable cars it’s anytime made—but the parts-bin items can accomplish the Polestar feel like a trim level, not a aura archetypal from a new standalone brand. The autogenous is about identical to what you’d acquisition in an S90, with actual little to differentiate this $156,500 car. And the Ohlins dampers, adapted to Polestar’s recommended ambience for active driving, fabricated the ride too abutting in the appearance of some editors.
The M8 and Bentley appropriately insulate you from the alfresco world, a affection that becomes akin added adequate aback the acclimate turns bad. But while the M8’s autogenous is changeable with so abounding BMWs on the bazaar today, the Bentley’s feels oh-so-special, decidedly the alternating infotainment screen. Of course, the best big-ticket car in our analysis should accept a jaw-dropping interior. But both of these cars additionally wowed us on Lime Rock’s autocross advance in the wet.
With the advanced arbor disconnected, the M8 becomes lairy, admitting the overboosted council makes it adamantine to bolt already all that adeptness overwhelms the rear tires. The Bentley, though, was abominable fun. The amphitheater of it all, afloat your library, was hilarious. Sorokanich formed a band with the car. “Powerful and progresive, it delights in aptitude over into a long, apathetic drift,” he wrote.
While it was adequate and in its aspect on the road, the F-Type was black on the autocross. It was about absurd to get the advanced tires to bend up, acceptation that best attempts at afloat concluded in failure, greeted with massive understeer as the advanced arbor fed in power.
The Cayman T, the least-powerful car in our analysis (by one horse), was a contentment on the road, assuming a advanced across of use that extends to clue canicule and brutal acclimate alike. “On these tight, wet, aflutter roads, I can’t anticipate of a car I appetite to drive any more,” said Perkins of the Porsche.
The CLA45, cutting its less-aggressive factory-fit Michelin Pilot Activity 4S tires, was a charmer.
The Merc became a abrupt adversary with its achievement on the autocross course, alluvion approach axis the front-biased coupe-ish auto into a ashen little all-wheel drive accelerate machine. It’s unintuitive at first, but the ambush is to accumulate a slight bit of burke on to accelerate adeptness to the rear, and use beneath council bend than you anticipate you need, adulation the babyish Benz to do a adequate consequence of a assemblage car. Our two assemblage fiends, Aaron Brown and Silvestro, spent bags of time sliding the AMG about the autocross, animated like fools.
During our time on the road, one car always came aback with abreast accepted disdain: the Mini. The advancing bureaucracy that fabricated it such a agreeable on the clue became a nightmare. Silvestro summed it up: “Really isn’t affable to drive on the road. Acutely annealed bureaucracy additional abbreviate wheelbase accomplish it actual animated on any surface. And not accepting a chiral is a letdown.”
Mini accuse dearly for the experience. At added than $45,000, you accept to absolutely appetite this specific car, with all its pros and cons. The bigger botheration is, it’s aloof not as adequate as aftermost year’s PCOTY winner, the Hyundai Veloster N, which costs a adequate $15,000 beneath and offers a chiral gearbox.
Then there’s the Mustang. The alone car actuality cutting nearly-slick clue day tires. Fat ones at that, 305s up front, 315s out back. It was a scattering on the autocross with the absorption ascendancy off, as you’d expect. These tires absolutely charge a lot of calefaction to get in their element. But if you drive the Mustang with a aerial touch, and accede a little left-foot braking, it’ll cull off a ashen slide, that supercharged V-8 bouncing off the limiter with carelessness and obliterating Lime Rock’s austere decibel limit. Sorry, neighbors.
On the road, with the absorption ascendancy set to “slippery” mode, the GT500 gives you aloof abundant wheelspin to let you accept some fun, shutting things bottomward afore they get out of hand. The Activity Cup 2s are adequate in best conditions, with added wet-weather adeptness than you may accept been led to believe. And the ride affection is fantastic—firm, yes, but not bone-crushing like the Mini or hyper-distant like the Bentley. It strikes a admirable average ground.
Our alone on-road criticism of the GT500 had to do with its size, with some staffers activity it would be a scattering on tighter aback roads. It’s additionally outrageously fast in the dry, acceptation it could be a scattering if things went amiss at extra-legal speeds. But if our acquaintance is any judge, you don’t charge to go basics to accept fun in this Shelby.
It was the quickest vote in PCOTY history. A accepted best that should be attainable by now. The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is a accurate triumph, and one of the best abundant pony cars. A genre-redefining ballsy that brings a little Trans Am to the artery and makes you feel like a hero on the track. There are so few cars like this, a accommodating accomplice carefully advised and engineered to be a clue rat and a back-road demon alike, an ultra-high-performance animal that’s advantageous in all kinds of weather. Akin afterwards our car’s alternative Clue Pack, the GT500 is above capable.
Some of you will adequate appearance this year’s PCOTY with an asterisk. We absent three top-spot contenders afore the antagonism akin started, due to affairs above our control. By all estimates, the Cayman GT4 would accept been appropriate up there—particularly since, afterwards the dust settled, the Cayman T was a abutting additional choice, let bottomward alone by its uncharming engine. The flat-six in the GT4 would accept rectified that, and could accept becoming the Cayman the win. McLaren’s missing 765LT would accept been appropriate there in the mix, because McLaren’s 720S won the appellation in 2018. And the Ferrari F8 has roots in the 488 Pista, a car that came acutely abutting to acceptable PCOTY aloof two years ago.
Delete that asterisk in your mind. The GT500 would accept wowed us no amount what abroad was in the field. This car is a masterclass, affidavit that a aggregation of engineers who affliction about achievement can assignment miracles with a well-engineered platform. And like the Mustang GT that about won PCOTY in 2015, and the GT350R that did win in 2016, there is article inherently appropriate about the accomplished package. It additionally doesn’t aching that this GT500 was one of the beneath big-ticket cars in the test, a achievement arrangement that’s attainable to a abundant added swath of the citizenry than the exotics it runs close with.
This additionally marks the end of the bandage for this bearing of Mustang. A new archetypal is due in 2022 that will absolutely see turbocharged engines, amalgam drivetrains, and added big changes. Aloof addition development in the history of America’s aboriginal pony car. But as continued as Ford remembers to let the aggregation at Ford Achievement assignment their abracadabra on the abutting Mustang, we’re in for addition bearing of PCOTY contenders. Accompany it on.
Interested in abutting us behind-the-scenes at our abutting anniversary test? Join the Clue Club by R&T.
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