For anyone that's passionate about cars, 2014 was a damn fine year. The Supercompressor team was lucky enough to get our hands on some pretty outstanding machinery, ranging from the kinds of vehicles we could see ourselves buying, to the kinds of vehicles we could only see ourselves buying until the alarm clock snaps us back to reality.
Below are our 14 favorite cars that we drove this year.
Find a Hot Cheetos Haven in This Car Wash Parking Lot
Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse Driver: Ted Gushue
With 1,200 hp behind you, who cares that it's technically part of Volkswagen? The Veyron blows you away, while making you a better driver at the same time, and the amazing part is that it's the handling that steals the show.
Driver: Aaron Miller
The most shocking thing about the 650S is how easy it is to drive. That's a) the visibility is outstanding by any standard, not just supercars, b) people are so afraid to hit you they stay well clear in traffic, and c) because it's just such a good chassis. It's rare for a supercar to be a car you'd actually want to live with every day, but that's certainly the case here, with tech blending seamlessly into a pure driving experience.
The Aventador comes with its own built-in celebrity status, with basically everyone having a preformed opinion about you and tons of people whipping out cameras. Roll down that rear window, though, and as you're listening to the heavenly sound of the exhaust, it feels like you're the only person on Earth.
On the street, the Huracan's a seductress that puts you at ease during stop light to stop light courtship, where the all wheel drive hooks up with enough electronic aids to make it drive almost like a normal car. On the track it's a different animal, one with needs. Be sensitive and give the Huracan exactly what it wants (i.e. drive it with the proper technique), and you're in for an incredible experience that's over all too quickly.
The best word to describe the GT Speed is "gentlemanlike." As one might expect, Bentley didn't skimp on the luxuries while making this car 206 mph-capable. Consequently, everything over 120 mph blends together until all of a sudden you're on the cusp of 190 mph. If you can afford this car, you can afford the speeding tickets you'll undoubtedly get in it.
The carpet is so nice you'll want to upholster your house with it, and the navigation unit that pivots out from the clock is very Bond-worthy, but it's no one thing that sets the Phantom apart. It's everything. The attention to every minute detail from the hood ornament down to the fiber optic constellation in the headliner that mimics the sky of the night Phantom first rolled off the assembly line, is unparalleled.
The attention to detail that makes the Phantom so incredible is all there in Rolls-Royce's newest rolling palace, but so is some mind-melting technology. The car doesn't just read the road ahead and adjust accordingly, it checks things out via satellite. It's so good that the transmission knows long before you do that you're going to want third gear two bends down the road.
Both the TRD Pro Tundra and 4Runner are modified to a point where they're more capable than the average driver when it comes to playing in dirt. On the street, the Tundra especially doesn't feel like it made any compromises to daily driving, either. If you're planning on going somewhere without roads and can't afford a flying DeLorean, it's a very fine option.
The RC F has split personalities. On a track, 467 hp get it up to speed quickly, at which point the suspension and trick torque-vectoring differential make the car feel much more like a BMW than you'd expect. Out on public roads, however, the omnipresent V8 exhaust note makes it seem more like a high tech, luxurious version of an old school muscle car, albeit one that can corner.
There are a lot of theatrics involved here. When the light turns green and you nail it, there's just a fantastic sound emanating from the exhaust. With the Scat Pack you get all the electronic systems you get in the Hellcat, and the traction control is so good you can actually use all 485 hp in the rain. Probably. This is not a car for corners, by any stretch, but for a daily commute, it's a blast.
Jaguar F-Type R Drivers: Aaron and Ted
You really only need three words to describe the F-Type R: beautiful, and stupid fun. 550 hp is always on tap, and the sound of that V8, especially flat out on track in the convertible with the top down, is etherial. It actually doesn't corner as well as you might hope, but honestly, that's irrelevant. Unless you've recently had a botched Botox procedure, it's impossible to get out of this car without a huge smile on your face.
When used for its intended purpose, the Q50S is actually pretty great. There are so many cameras you can literally watch a dog walk around the entire car via the center console, and the a/c is efficient enough to completely remove the smell of take-out Thai food in 10 minutes flat. That's important. Use the car for other things, though, like hammering it on a race track, and, well, you'll realize it's just not built for that.
As an enthusiast's car built for fun over practicality, the BRZ and FR-S twins are great. They are not cars that will get you in legal trouble during your commute. On the weekend, though, with the temptation of tight and twisting backroads all bets are off. These two might be the least expensive cars we drove all year, but from a driver's perspective, they might just be the most pure. With the BRZ Series.Blue (shown), there's a definite step up in perception, thanks to a number of styling cues inside and out.
By now you should know that this is the most important bike Ducati has made in years. But even if it weren't a Ducati, it's just nothing but fun. It's so personalized that no matter who you are, this bike will fit your mentality like a glove. At the end of the day, it's f*cking fun as hell.