If there ever was a year where it was tough to narrow it down to one new car that really left a memorable impression, then 2016 would be the year. In addition to the fact that there were dozens of fresh new automobiles that hit the road in 2016, the year also gave us one of the most exciting ranges of new car rollouts we’ve seen in decades.
From jaw-dropping energy efficient SUVs to insane-looking coupes, last year might be a hard year to beat when it came to innovative cars. But rather than just zeroing in on one vehicle that impressed us, because it’s kind of impossible, we prefer reveling in the uniqueness of ten rides we enjoyed driving (or at least looking at) in 2016.
The idea of pitching any high-end exotic as a Car of the Year can be a tricky proposition. Namely because unless you’ve already cashed in on that lucrative tech or movie deal, the odds of actually being able to own an automobile like the $350,000 McLaren 675LT is akin to striking oil in one’s backyard. So yeah, not exactly impossible, but highly unlikely. And yet, it’s that sense of inspiration you get to dig deeper to reach those goals when driving the new 666-horsepower McLaren, that makes the supercar so alluring to those of us still chasing the dream to own a ridiculous ride like this.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
If you’ve followed any of our car coverage at Playboy, then you know, selling the team here on a sedan is tough, considering that the general consensus is that a guy with a little extra cash to throw around will always prefer a coupe over a four-door. C’mon, let’s be honest - typically, it’s a need for something more practical that ends up swaying us away from those sports cars. Driving the Alfa Romeo Giulia, however, gives you the best of both worlds with the availability of a 505-horsepower model of the sedan (the Quadrifoglio) that’s every bit as enticing as a high-performance coupe, if not more.
No car that we test drove in 2016 left us more mesmerized than the 2016 BMW M2. In fact, in our opinion, the new coupe might be the most innovative BMW to hit the road in decades. That certainly isn’t intended to make light of some of the German carmaker’s other notable debuts in recent years, and there’ve been a few. Still, not since the reigning heyday of the M3 has the thrill of driving a BMW coupe been so addictive as it is sitting behind the wheel of the new M2.
Infiniti Q60 Coupe
Chances are, you probably didn’t even know Infiniti introduced a new sports car in 2016. Unless you’ve been eyeing a vehicle in the segment, the Q60 has remained fairly low key, overshadowed by a lot of the more, glitzy roll-outs that took place last year. But that certainly is no indication of the new Infiniti coupe’s appeal in the crowded field of luxury sports cars now on the market. Essentially a replacement for the G37, the Q60 builds on the G’s appeal in a much more advanced take on the idea of a luxury sports car with a lot more features to love.
CERTIFIED BAD BOY
The idea of crowning any car with a title like “Certified Bad Boy” can’t be taken lightly. In part, because it’s an honor that you typically associate with a vehicle with deep roots to Detroit as the original birthplace of the muscle car. That said, the new Nissan GT-R (better known as Godzilla) is as fierce on a straightaway as any new muscle car you’ll find in the states. But the latest version of the Japanese-born sports car ups the ante with a number of high-tech features that also makes it as mind blowing cornering through turns as a quarter-of-a-million-dollar supercar, at a fraction of the cost.
Ford Focus RS
We had a good inclination that the new Ford Focus RS would prove to be an interesting piece of machinery when we saw how quick the preorders were piling up for the hatch months before it’s official release date. Still, nothing you’ve read or seen produced by Ford Motor Co. to promote the new RS, prepares you for the kind of thrills the hatch gives you when behind the wheel. The Focus RS is by far one the most insanely fun hatchbacks we’ve ever driven.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan
These days, technology and automobiles are about as synonymous as a pair of tan lace-up oxfords and a gray sport coat in a man’s wardrobe. Still, the more seamlessly that a guy can pull off the look at a weekend outing away from the office (without looking pre-planned), the more likely he is to get the attention of that hot coworker he’s been eyeing two cubicles away. It’s that same seamless approach that Mercedes-Benz takes with packing in a lot of cutting-edge technology in the new E-Class (without sacrificing the classic appeal of a Mercedes) that makes the sedan so seductive on the road.
PERFECT EVERDAY RIDE
Honda Civic Coupe
The fact that Honda would be credited with making another very cool practical vehicle should really come as no surprise. Over the years, the automaker has developed quite an impressive rep when it comes to cool practicality. In fact, you could say it’s a part of Honda’s DNA. Still, the fact that the company has managed to pull off yet another hot Civic in 2016, now that there are so many more practical coupes on the market is an even bigger testament to its appeal as a car with a starting price of under $20,000.
THE ULTIMATE FOREVER CAR
Porsche 718 Boxster S
One of the things we’ve come to realize is that a true “classic” isn’t born, it’s something that’s earned over the years. Point? Regardless of how much you tout a new automobile as timeless, the true essence of that idea can’t truly be assessed until sometime down the road. That said, the Porsche 718 Boxster S certainly meets all of the key qualifications for an “ultimate forever car,” from its classic styling cues to the feeling you get driving the 350-horsepower topless roadster every time you get behind the wheel. It’s just that we have to wait a few years to officially pin it with that classic status.
Every now and then there’ll be a vehicle that comes along that totally redefines your idea of the nameplate. That certainly would be a fitting tag for the new Jaguar F-Pace, which not only provided the 80-year-old British marquee with its first ever SUV, but also significantly upped the appeal of the brand by offering consumers a more practical take on the performance features found in the F-Type sports car from which the F-Pace draws a lot of its inspiration. Available with a number of premium features that you typically don’t find in a mid-size SUV, the long-awaited Jaguar F-Pace proves that, much like a fine wine, some of the best things take time to materialize.