This year is already gone, having slipped through our fingers like used motor oil spilling all over the garage floor. Even though we already have a whole new year lined up (with some great videos, photos, and drive reports already planned for you), it's worth taking a look back at some of the top moments of 2013, as viewed through the enthusiast's perspective, which is to say, yours.
These are among the top stories we've published this year, and while it's not a strict list of the most popular, it's the stuff that most of you wanted to know more about--and the stuff we wanted to tell you about. It's also a list of some of the most interesting, fun, weird, or just plain awesome things that happened in the automotive universe this past year.
So sit down, shut up, and hold on as we take a look back at the top 13 moments of 2013 (in no particular order), here at Motor Authority.
2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class spy shots
This one might seem like a bit of an odd pick for the top list, but after seeing the result (which is possibly the most beautiful car in an incredibly competitive class), it's no wonder everyone was on the edge of their seats for the arrival of the new C-Class.
Here at Motor Authority, we're still holding a candle for the next generation of the C63 AMG. It will come, and it ought to be glorious.
Third Tesla Model S catches fire after hitting road debris. Photo via Twitter user @NASHVILLAIN_
Yes, much of the mainstream media (and many in the automotive media who should've known better) made a big fuss abut a brief spate of Tesla Model S fires, which were mostly the result of striking road debris.
As we pointed out right out of the gate, however, it wasn't a big deal then, and it's not a big deal now, though Tesla's shareholders might disagree when looking at their bottom lines just after the news broke. Bottom line: yes, a few cars caught fire, but compared to the gasoline-burning majority of cars, the Tesla Model S, and electric cars in general, have shown much lower risk of fire. Bad luck happens to everyone.
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible
No matter your allegiances in the world of high-performance cars, you have to give the Corvette its due. In the case of the 2014 Corvette Stingray, it'll come take its due whether you're willing to give it freely or not. It is, easily, the best Corvette ever, whether in coupe or convertible form--even before the 2015 Corvette Z06 hits the streets next month at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.
We truly enjoyed our time with the car upon its launch, but unfortunately, several owners enjoyed the car a bit too much, spawning a rash of crash reports just after the first cars hit dealerships. Many blamed the Corvette, but having driven several examples of the car as hard as possible, we can confirm that these crashes are just cases of owners getting far more car than their abilities could handle.
2015 Ford Mustang GT
America's pony car is back with an all-new edition, and yes, it's still packing a 5.0. It also offers a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder this time around, as well as independent rear suspension and a host of other upgrades. Though we know quite a bit about the car, the full details on the 2015 Mustang aren't out yet, but regardless, it's the most enticing the Mustang has been since...well, forever.
Proof of that comes in the form of your deep interest in spy shots of the car in development, the leak-tastic fiasco that was the car's launch, and the first video of the car starting up and revving its engine.
Polaris Sportsman WV850 H.O. with airless tires.
On the tech side of things, there hasn't been a lot new added to the fundamental aspects of the automobile's available mechanical equipment--even electric cars have been around for nearly a century. But soon, a complete reimagining of the tire may become a reality, courtesy of Polaris.
The airless tire replaces traditional tire construction with a new mesh-and-tread arrangement that aims to improve durability and comfort. Whether it will be a realistic option for those of us interested in high g-force cornering loads or not, it's worthy of mention as one of those outside-the-box inventions that seems obvious once you've seen it--but has somehow eluded the industry for
more than 100 years.
Air-powered Lego hot rod. Images: Josh Rowe via Super Awesome Micro Project
Building a car out of Legos is something we all did as kids. But building a full-size, running and driving car, with an air-powered lego engine? That's special.
But that's exactly what this Australian-Romanian duo did, and the video of the car cruising along at its 18-mph top speed won our hearts and imaginations. It's also a fine example of how even the most impractical love affair with automobiles can result in true human greatness.
Chalk this up to Florida's penchant for providing the nation with utterly bizarre news items, but the sheer inanity (not to mention the callous, inhuman behavior) of this particular car-meets-pedestrian video caught us off guard, and incensed a number of you--for good reason.
2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S first drive, Bilster-Berg, August 2013
There are supercars and then there are super cars. The 911 Turbo and Turbo S are both.
Crazy fast, fun to drive, and still remarkably useful and comfortable, these cars epitomize the very best of modern engineering framed in the context of what it has always meant to have a world-class performance car.
Trying to tame these beasts on the vicious and tricky Bilster Berg circuit made for one of our best drives of the year. It's one worth reliving.
Equus Bass 770
This chimera of a muscle car takes the best from many worlds, mashes them together, and ends up in a truly beautiful and impressive place. Sure, the price is a bit excessive, and it's not going to beat the pants off the (somewhat less expensive) 911 Turbo S, but it's a hand-crafted masterpiece--and one you all loved (or loved to hate).
W Motors Lykan Hypersport
The Platonic ideal of excess, the Lykan Hypersport is utterly expensive, utterly wacky, and utterly over-the-top. Making its debut at a place known for its penchant for the nuttily extravagant, the Lykan Hypersport captures imaginations almost as well as it does Swiss bank accounts.
We're still not sure if it's properly called the Ferrari LaFerrari, the LaFerrari, or just LaFerrari, but we're positive that it doesn't matter. This new-breed hypercar simply is, and it's fantastic. With a staggering 963 horsepower from its combination of a 6.3-liter V-12 engine and a HY-KERS hybrid drive system, the LaFerrari is hyper-quick: 60 mph hits in less than 3.0 seconds, and the top speed is in excess of 217 mph (perhaps as high as 230 mph).
As one of the new trio of hypercars that use hybrid drive systems to not only massively enhance performance, but also lend a greener side to their existence, the LaFerrari points the way forward for high-performance motoring--and perhaps the industry as a whole.
2. McLaren P1
Britain's pre-emptive answer to Italy's LaFerrari, the McLaren P1 does many of the same things in similar ways--but with a style and pedigree that could only come from McLaren and its legendary F1 and GT racing programs. Rated at 903 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque, the P1's combo of a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8 and an electric motor come up a bit short of the LaFerrari, but may yet prove to be more than a match for the Italian hypercar.
Active aerodynamics, its own unique take on how to add performance and efficiency with hybrid drivetrain bits, and McLaren's unique ability to tune a chassis to perfection aid the P1's claim to the status of the world's best hypercar. But it's not the only one challenging the LaFerrari.
Ferrari LaFerrari versus McLaren P1, by the numbers
Porsche 918 Spyder
Though it's a bit less powerful than either the McLaren P1 or LaFerrari, the Porsche 918 Spyder is the most beautiful of the group (to our eyes, anyway), and it has also been the one longest in the public eye, first hitting the ground in very similar form way back in 2010 at Pebble Beach.
Revealed at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show in full production trim, the 918 Spyder packs its undercarriage with a 4.6-liter V-8 rated at 608 horsepower, plus a 154-horsepower rear and 127-horsepower front electric motor setup for a total of 887 horsepower and 940 pound-feet of torque. The all-wheel-drive solution (when in all-out performance mode) should help overcome the 918 Spyder's slight power deficit, as the already-logged 6:57 minute Nordschleife lap intimates. Neither McLaren nor Ferrari have thus far released final 'Ring lap times.
2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG
Now for a bonus 14th item to ring us into the New Year: Motor Authority's Best Cars To Buy 2014: The Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG and Porsche Cayman
Our choice of two cars for the Best Car To Buy award this year breaks from our tradition of naming a single winner, but we had good justification for the change. The Porsche Cayman is, truly, a brilliant piece of mortal-attainable engineering, and one of the most satisfying cars to drive on the market, while still retaining a fair amount of daily usability. But it's very similar to the drop-top Boxster that won our award in 2013.
On top of that, the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG is a whole new foray for American luxury/performance cars in that it's rather pint-sized yet not at all a masterwork of bean-counting. In fact, when well-optioned, the CLA45 AMG can offer some truly luxurious accommodations while also remaining fast and fairly light on its feet. All-wheel drive, turbocharged to 355 horsepower from its 2.0-liter four-banger, and seductively styled, the CLA45 AMG presents such a well-rounded package at such a reasonable price, you almost have to wonder how Mercedes and AMG did it.
But then you put your foot down, turn the wheel, and stop caring about the technicalities. This little thing is just plain fun.
2014 Porsche Cayman