The 10 Best Cars We've Driven So Far In 2015
Speaking purely in car terms, 2015's been a banner year. All the ridiculously hot cars that were announced last year are finally on the road, and some of them just happened to wind up in Supercompressor's possession for a little bit. Toss in a few of the best cars you can buy that are just a year older, and you've got a potent mix of cars in the stable. These are the 10 best we've driven so far this year.
Note: All cars driven by Aaron Miller unless otherwise noted.
1. Dodge Viper GTS
My first three thoughts on the Viper were, in order, “It’s a f*cking Batmobile!”, “Where the hell is the hood release,” and “Wow, this is the longest pedal I’ve felt in my life." I had this car for a week, and ultimately, it reminded me of all the hopes and dreams you could ever have for an old Mustang, wrapped up in the extraordinarily visceral package otherwise known as Viper. Based on nothing more than seat-of-the-pants feel, it accelerates more quickly than a Hellcat, offers up plenty of cornering prowess on smooth roads, and has just enough technological interference to prevent you from killing yourself. But only just.
2. Audi RS Convertible
Somewhere along the line, Audi decided to build a good old fashioned muscle car…then added in all the tech and style you’d fully expect from an Audi. In no small part due to the Quattro all-wheel drive system, it’s ridiculously easy to pilot. I put the top down on a chilly evening and my back seat passengers didn’t complain about being cold once, both commenting on the rear heat. The best part, though, is the soundtrack. Toss the car into sport mode and use the paddle shifters while aggressively slowing for a corner, and the rev-matching you hear via the exhaust is aural bliss.
3. Mercedes S500 Coupe 4Matic
Confession time: I accidentally went rallying in a $150,000 Mercedes. I was driving through a back road that had become one of my staples when out of nowhere it transitioned to mud and dirt—obviously the result of some minor flooding in the preceding days. The 450 hp all-wheel drive land yacht not only handled it with aplomb, the traction control even allowed for a reasonable amount of slip angle through tighter corners. Throughout the entire time, the sound system sounded like a live concert hall, the A/C blasted freshly scented air, and the heated massaging seats were surprisingly brilliant.
4. Cadillac ATS-V
*Driven by Ted Gushue
This is the car that has German automakers nervously reading press clippings from their BlackBerries, that was penned from paper to metal by semi-professional race car drivers, and that has a built-in SD card slot that automatically records all of your sideways shenanigans at the track. It's one of the boldest moves that Cadillac has made in the battle for world performance and sedan supremacy.
5. Jaguar F-Type S
You don’t need me to tell you how sexy this car looks, or that the sound is even better. The one truly surprising thing I learned from a week behind the wheel was who was staring. Some cars elicit lingering looks from everyone, and most fun-to-drive cars get at least a second look from guys, but this car was a rarity: nearly every female that encountered the car was staring. It had nothing to do with my rugged good looks, either. The car's just that hot.
6. Alfa Romeo 4C
True story: At one point while I was out driving the 4C, I was at a stoplight opposite a McLaren MP4-12C, which costs about four times as much as the Alfa. Despite being a very bright Papaya Orange, the McLaren was virtually invisible, with all eyes locked on the sexy Italian. The car is such an attention-getter that people actually had to reserve time with me so they’d get a chance to ride in the car. It feels like an absolute Go Kart on the back roads, though at higher speeds the steering becomes a little vague. Doesn't matter though: the 4C's a rock star.
7. Bentley Continental GT3-R
When someone hands you the keys to the fastest production Bentley ever made and tells you to check out the fastest toll road in America, you don't say no. You also don't say how fast you were driving.
8. BMW M4
You can take it as read that the M4's a blisteringly quick car. It’s more than that, though: It’s maniacal, lively, and can punish over-exuberance with shocking ease if you’re not careful. This one was a manual, which contrary to what the rabid hordes of “save the manuals” supporters would have you believe, isn’t the best way to enjoy a modern performance vehicle. Equipped with a dual clutch transmission, this is still the benchmark.
9. Dodge Charger Hellcat
The words “traction limited” never applied more to a car than with the Hellcat. Off the line, you’re either burning rubber or engaging traction control all the way to highway speeds. Punch it at 70 mph, though, and it truly lives up to the hype. You might not be able to use that power all the time, but the sound of that supercharger whine every single time you drive is more than worth the cost of admission.
10. Rolls-Royce Wraith
*Driven by Ted Gushue
The Wraith handled beautifully for its size, and under the hood is a Niagara Falls-level of power. The ultra plush woolen carpets are insane, but that headliner is just out of this world. Literally. Blew me away.
Bonus: BMW 228i
Disclaimer: This is my personal car that my wife and I ordered earlier this year.
The truth is that this is such a fun little car to drive that I kept finding excuses to take it out even with cars like the Alfa Romeo and Jaguar in the driveway. I honestly believe it’s the best kept secret in the entire BMW lineup because it’s small, beautifully balanced, and an absolute blast to drive. When you get it with zero options other than the M Sport and Track Handling Package, it really is a throwback to some of the great 3 Series classics of yesterday, and it has a hell of a lot of bang for the buck going for it.
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