Our favorite week of the year
As if you couldn’t guess, let us confirm it for you: Best Driver’s Car is our favorite week of the year. Twelve sports cars and super cars, a closed road, a racetrack, and one mission: identify the best new car for the passionate driver.
Best Driver’s Car isn’t about finding the quickest or fastest car. We run every contender through our standard battery of testing, and we’ve employed champion racer Randy Pobst to give each of them hell at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but those results inform our decision rather than dictate it. Randy and the test crew aren’t just number-producing machines. They have critical insights into how the cars perform at their absolute limits.
To their controlled-environment insights we add the real-world impressions of our editors. It’s not Best Track Car. How the cars drive on your favorite road and on the way home matters greatly. To get a feel for how the cars will most often be driven, we close a 4.5-mile (7-km) stretch of California State Route 198 to create a 9.0-mile (14-km) hill climb and descent on which the judges evaluate each contender. It’s hot, it’s twisty, it’s bumpy, and it quickly separates the best all-around performers from the super-focused cars.
In between, we drive hundreds of miles from Los Angeles to Monterey and back, with a stop right at the end for an epic 12-car drag race. By the time we’re done, each contender has logged nearly a thousand miles (1,600 km), a dozen runs through a short familiarization route, another dozen runs up and down 198, more than two dozen runs in the World’s Greatest Drag Race to get all the camera angles, and countless quick trips from hotel to venue and back. Just finishing Best Driver’s Car without a mechanical issue is a victory in and of itself.
This year, 12 cars from 10 manufacturers representing five countries on three continents went through hell for a chance at being named our 2017 Best Driver’s Car. In alphabetical order they are:
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Aston Martin DB11
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
Ferrari 488 GTB
Lexus LC 500
Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Club
Mercedes-AMG GT R
Nissan GT-R NISMO
Porsche 718 Cayman S
Porsche 911 Turbo S
For the next few days, we’ll count down from last place to runner-up, with the big reveal and full story on Wednesday. Thursday gets a cherry on top in the form of World’s Greatest Drag Race 7. Along the way, you’ll read impressions from Randy Pobst as well as our 10 judges: