Next week, the Road & Track staff heads to Kentucky to conduct our 2019 Performance Car of the Year testing. We'll be bringing eight of the hottest performance machines the industry has to offer, all of them brand-new or considerably revised this year. And the Class of 2019 might just be the most wide-ranging in the history of PCOTY.
To refresh your memory, the eight competitors this year are:
- Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
- Audi RS5
- BMW M5 Competition
- Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
- Ferrari 488 Pista
- McLaren Senna
- Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon
- Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Ahead of our week of road and track testing, we took a little look at the facts and figures on these eight competitors. Here's some fun facts for you:
- The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is the first utility vehicle to compete in PCOTY. If you've read our review from earlier this year, you'll understand why: It's razor sharp and rewarding on the road in a way that outstrips any other performance SUV.
- The Mercedes-AMG E63 S is not the first station wagon to join our competition. An earlier version of the Mercedes ultra-wagon competed in our inaugural PCOTY test, conducted in 2013.
- The most expensive vehicle in our test is, naturally, the McLaren Senna, with a price that basically rounds out to $1 million. The least expensive competitor? The Audi RS5, with a base price of $70,000.
- The Senna also takes the cake for highest horsepower, with 789. The lowest horsepower rating? Once again, the Audi RS5, with a mere 444.
- But when it comes to torque, the Corvette ZR1 trounces everything with a whopping 715 lb-ft. The least torque-ful of our competitors? It's a tie between the Stelvio Quadrifoglio and the RS5, each bringing 443 lb-ft to the party.
- Going by manufacturer-reported acceleration times, the 911 GT2 RS is the quickest to 60 mph, at just 2.7 seconds. Both the Senna and the 488 Pista have factory-claimed 0-60 times of 2.8 seconds; we suspect these are conservative estimates. The Stelvio at 3.7 seconds and the RS5 at 3.8 are the slowest sprinters.
- The highest top speed goes to the Corvette ZR1, at 212 mph. Senna and Pista aren't far behind at 211 mph, followed by the 210-mph 911 GT2 RS. Once again, the 176-mph Stelvio and 174-mph RS5 bring up the rear.
- The largest engine in the competition is, of course, the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 in the Corvette ZR1. It's also the only competitor that isn't sporting twin turbos. The smallest engines? You guessed it: Stelvio and RS5, each with a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6. Take away the 'Vette, and the largest engine is the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 in the BMW M5 Competition, followed by the 4.0-liters in the McLaren and E63 S.
- Among the eight cars in our test, there are five V8s, two V6s, and one flat-six. Bet you can guess which car that belongs to.
- For the first time in PCOTY history, there is not a single competitor with a manual transmission. The Corvette ZR1 is available with a seven-speed stick, but the example provided to us by General Motors has the automatic.
That last point may make some readers (and R&T staffers) groan, but it highlights a big reason why we do this annual test: To survey the state of high-performance cars on an annual basis. Our world isn't just about two-door sports cars anymore, and this test will help us understand what that means for driving enjoyment.
And that's why this test is about more than just lap times. Sure, running a bunch of cars around a race track is a great way to get concrete information about which is quickest, but fast doesn't necessarily mean fun. These things still have to function like real cars, and we intend to test that.
Will the Senna reign supreme? Will Pista give it a run for its money? Will the ZR1 thunder its way ahead of the competition? Will we decide that the best performance car this year is a four-door sedan, a station wagon, or—gasp—a crossover? Stay tuned. We can't wait to find out and tell you all about it.