2013 TopSpeed Car of the Year
It is that time of the year, when we at Topspeed like to look back and relive the best moments the automotive world had to offer in the year bygone. The 2013 calendar year brought a whole new range of interesting and exciting sports cars, luxury cars and even some odd hypercars, as the big names of the industry finally pulled the wraps off some very special automobiles.
Ferrari launched the 458 Speciale — the replacement for the F430 Scuderia; The La Ferrari succeeded the Enzo; McLaren and Porsche too launched the very complicated P1 and 918 Spyder, respectively; and Lamborghini showed the Huracan LP610-4, which will replace the Gallardo. Additionally, the Aston Martin Vanquish proved to be one heck off a crowd-puller and Bugatti continued with more special editions of the Veyron.
Lot has happened in the last 12 months that we would love to talk about. Out of all those cars that were launched during the calendar year, we’ve picked ten cars that made headlines. Following is are finalists that made it into the top 10.
|2013 TopSpeed Car of the Year Finalists|
|Chevrolet Corvette Stingray|
|Alfa Romeo 4C|
|Jaguar F-Type Coupe|
|Ferrari La Ferrari|
|Porsche 918 Spyder|
|Rolls Royce Wraith|
So, the 2013 TopSpeed Car of the Year goes to... Read on to find out.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2013 TopSpeed Car of the Year
2013 TopSpeed Car of the Year
Out of the shortlisted contenders for the "2013 TopSpeed Car of the Year" award, one car received the most number of votes. With a total of 43 points, our team has voted for the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray as the "2013 TopSpeed Car of the Year"
In 2013, the world welcomed the arrival of the seventh generation of the iconic Chevrolet Corvette. The C7 Corvette came to life as the Stingray, whose legacy dates back to the original C2 Stingray from 1962. The Detroit motor show hosted the new Corvette Stingray with enthusiasts, journalists,critics and prospective buyers all waiting keen to get a glimpse of the new car.
It is always a special moment when an icon is reborn. And the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is really special. The C7 hasn’t disappointed ever since the first cars were delivered. Starting next year, General Motors will also sell a convertible version of the C7 Corvette Stingray.
Under the hood of the new Corvette is a revised 6.2-liter V-8 that puts out up to 460 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. Being a Corvette, power goes to the rear wheels via an all-new, seven-speed manual transmission.
The LT1 small-block V-8 is equipped with a Active Fuel Management System that shuts off four out of the eight cylinders while cruising heavy traffic. In this way, the Corvette manages to be more economical than its predecessor and can hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds.
The C7 Corvette is also lighter than its predecessor, thanks to the use of carbon fiber and lightweight aluminum. Inside, the new Chevrolet Corvette gets a revised interior, much to the delight of Corvette fans. Yes, the interior on previous Corvettes was a letdown, but with the C7, General Motors has worked quite hard on improving the cabin feel. Leather and contrast stitching is everywhere, and the instrument cluster is simply far ahead of its time by Corvette standards.
The Runners Up
Second Place: Jaguar F-Type
Jaguar’s newest sports car — the F-Type — came into existence as a convertible. In the latter half of 2013, Jaguar took the wraps off the coupe version. The F-type Convertible looked stunning, but the Coupe looks just fantastic. The F-Type is offered with either V-6 or V-8 engines. A V-8 supercharged flagship is also on offer. Built to rival the Porsche 911, the Jaguar has caught the attention of the masses, thanks to sublime exterior design.
However, there’s one more quality of the Jaguar that does not go unnoticed when you put your foot down. Any guesses? Well, it is the sound it makes that sends a wave of excitement through the spine of anyone who is at the helm of Jag F-Type. What a massively superior machine, this.
The supercharged V-8 on the F-Type R displacing a total of 5.0-liters is enough to produce 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. Peak torque comes at just 2500 rpm all the way up to 5500 rpm. It is a mega engine in a tiny car. A more sensible 340 horsepower is available on the base V-6 model, which isn’t too bad either. The V-6 S will buy you an additional 40 horsepower.
All said, the Jaguar F-Type is certainly a car worth mentioning in the top 5 affordable sports cars of 2013. The world stood stunned when Jaguar released the F-Type roadster and we think the coupe looks even more stunning. Which one would you have?
Third Place: Mclaren P1
The 2013 calendar year saw the rise of the hybrid supercar. McLaren launched the stunning P1; a replacement for the legendary McLaren F1. Like modern McLarens, the P1 too is a lump full of carbon fiber and mathematics. It is probably one of the most complicated machines on the planet and it does not weight more than a feather. It can also do speeds up to 217 mph, given enough track in front of it.
The McLaren P1 can be seen as a sum total of the decades of experience in making Formula 1 cars. The 3.8-liter, V-8 engine is equipped with two turbochargers and it works in tandem with electric motors, the P1’s drivetrain is rated at 903 horsepower and 1,100 pound-feet of torque. In a standing start, 60 mph is clocked in just 2.8 seconds while 124 mph is breached in just 6.8 seconds.
Built primarily using carbon-fiber composites, the McLaren P1 also employs active aerodynamics for better handling and high-speed dynamics. The large rear spoiler is controlled via on-board computers in order to generate optimal downforce. An F1-style Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) makes its production car debut.
KERS can be operated via a boost button on the steering wheel which provides instant performance whenever required. The system uses energy stored in the battery to generate more grunt. The McLaren P1 makes it into the top 10 list for the 2013 TopSpeed Car of the Year. But, it isn’t the winner, due to its odd design and high price tag.
Fourth Place: Ferrari LaFerrari
Ferrari too switched over to a hybrid powertrain for the LaFerrari. But, unlike the McLaren P1 and the Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari has gone with a V-12, naturally aspirated engine. The car’s on-board hybrid system, along with the 12-cylinder engine, develops 963 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque. The electric motors alone are able to add 163 ponies to the V-12’s 800 horsepower.
Being a Ferrari, it is no less technical than a jet fighter, and there is lots of carbon fiber this and titanium that going on. The driver sits in a carbon-fiber safety cell of his own; a separate monocoque chassis, which owes its existence to years of Formula 1 racing expertise. Much like its rivals, La Ferrari also uses active aerodynamic surfaces, like the rear wing that slides from under the rear bulkhead to provide optimal downforce.
The suspension with its magnetic fluid is lowered at high speed to adjust the car’s angle of attack. Then, there are flaps that open up and guide air from under the car to produce a low pressure area which in turn sucks the car on to the tarmac. Inside, you get a dashboard laid out specifically with the driver in mind; the steering wheel being the nerve center. The driver can adjust the car’s behavior via the "manettino".
What you get is a V-12 Ferrari that kinder to the environment, and yet does a 60 mph sprint in under 3 seconds and tops out at 217 mph. A worthy successor to the Enzo, then. But, you can’t buy one. Ferrari will make 499 examples of the La Ferrari and all have been sold. Yes, it is a brilliant supercar, but it isn’t our 2013 Car of the Year due to the same reasons that the P1 failed.
Fifth Place: BMW i8
If you are going to make a planet friendly hybrid, then why do you need a zillion horsepower V-12? Well, BMW has taken a different approach on this. The BMW i8 uses a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder gasoline-powered engine that technically shouldn’t be enough to challenge the likes of the P1, LaFerrari or the Porsche. Then again, the BMW i8 isn’t built to compete with any of these hybrid hypercars.
The engine is bolted right behind the driver’s compartment which makes it mid-engined and power goes to the rear wheels. An electric motor is coupled to the front axle, while batteries are hidden away in the bowels of the carbon-fiber-composite monocoque. In fact, the whole car is made up of a new type of composite panels that are strong and lightweight. Thanks to its low overall weight, the 362 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque is enough to accelerate the BMW i8 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph.
Moreover, the BMW i8 is a well-thought compromise between a high-performance sports car and an economical, almost zero emissions city cruiser. We think, the i8 is a revolutionary step towards the future electric/hybrid car and hence it deserves to be in our top 10 list of cars made in 2013, but its low performance for the price dropped it down our list.
Sixth Place: Porsche 918 Spyder
Porsche’s take on a hybrid supercar arrived in the form of the 918 Spyder. Gone is the naturally aspirated V-10 howler, replaced by a more economical V-8. In-tune with current trends, the Porsche 918 Spyder also uses a hybrid powertrain. A complex system of electric motors, batteries, energy recovery almost overshadow the V-8 that lurks under the sculpted, carbon-fiber body shell.
The batteries in this Porsche can be charged either via the petrol engine or you can plug it into a domestic power supply, making the Porsche is a plug-in hybrid, unlike the McLaren and Ferrari. The 918 Spyder has an all-electric range of 15 miles of almost silent and zero emissions driving. That said, the 4.7-liter V-8 is always warmed-up to provide on-demand performance, depending on the selected driving mode.
The cumulative output is rated at 887 horsepower and 940 pound-feet of torque out, of which 154 horsepower is delivered by the electric motor on the rear axle, while the electric motor powering the front axle generates 127 horsepower. This makes the Porsche 918 Spyder an all-wheel-drive, plug-in hybrid. The complete system is controlled via Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission that allows for blistering 0-to-60 mph times and a slightly lower top speed of 211 mph.
Despite its lowered top speed, the Porsche 918 Spyder has set the fastest time around the infamous Nurburgring Nordschleife in Germany. Apparently, McLaren failed to beat the Porsche’s 6 min 57 sec time in its first attempt, while Ferrari is yet to challenge this. Like the old Porsche Carrera GT, the 918 Spyder will be a limited-production model and Porsche has got orders for every single one of them. Although, it is a truly great automobile, very few will ever get to own one and that’s the problem with special edition hypercars.
Seventh Place: 2014 Cadillac CTS
The first thing you notice about the new, third-generation Cadillac CTS is that its longer and lower than before. It looks spectacular with those vertical LED daytime running lights and the wide expanse of the traditional Cadillac grille. The new CTS uses a aluminum, which has made it leaner than the previous model. It also boasts of its ride and handling that has been tuned over multiple laps of the Nurburgring.
It is where most German car makers go to test their cars and they also happen to be great rivals of the Cadillac CTS. With the 2014 CTS, General Motors has taken the fight to the BMW 5 Series which as we know is among the best handling sedans available today. Engineers at Cadillac deserve a pat on their back, for sure.
On offer are three engine option; 272 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 321 horsepower 3.5-liter V-6, and a twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 420 horsepower in the 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport. The CTS finally handles like a sports sedan should, courtesy of the hours spent tweaking and tuning at the Nurburgring. Although, you don’t have the V-8 anymore, the Cadillac CTS has improved its game substantially.
Considering the overall improvement compared to its previous models, the 2014 Cadillac CTS deserves a place in our top 10 list of the best cars of 2013. In a market that has been dominated by the Germans, Cadillac has shown the world the true potential of the CTS sedan. Impressive!
Eighth Place: Alfa Romeo 4C
No one can beat the Italians when it comes to designing cars. They seem to have figured out the answer to the equation of beauty and proportions. The Alfa Romeo 4C is one such example of exquisitely designed automotive brilliance. The company had been in the news for all the wrong reasons for sometime, but, after all the struggles, Alfa has remained true to its roots.
Alfa’s latest creation — the 4C — combines classic design cues with modern technology. Soon it will be available in the U.S.
Don’t be fooled by the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that hides under the graceful curves. This turbocharged engine puts out a healthy 240 horseopower at 6,100 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque 2,100 rpm. The 4C is built around a weight-saving carbon-fiber monocoque tub, like most supercars. The engine is bolted behind the driver’s compartment and power goes to the rear wheels. The 40:60 weights distribution and double-wishbone type suspension means you can pull off never-ending powerslides.
The Alfa Romeo 4C is one of the most exciting cars launched in 2013 and it does not cost a fortune. The car combines supercar levels of performance in a tiny, lightweight body that looks gorgeous to say the least. Its elder cousin — the Alfa 8C Competizione — was a limited-run production car. This however, should cater to those who couldn’t buy one of the earlier V-8 models.
Ninth Place: Maserati Ghibli
In 2010, Maserati made an announcement about a premium sedan that would mark the maker’s debut in the midsize luxury market. Until now, the Quattroporte has been the only super saloon made by the Italian brand. Finally, after a wait of almost two years, we have among us the Maserati Ghibli.
Speaking of sports sedans, Maserati has a long sporting history and in the U.S. market, so the Ghibli fits quite well among the Cadillac CTSs and Bimmers, Audis and Mercs. Being a Maserati, performance is something that comes with badge. The 3.0-liter, V-6 twin-turbo engine generates a meaty 345 horsepower. The 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged oil-burner puts down no less than 404 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque from 1,750 rpm.
Step inside the luxurious cabin of this modern Maserati saloon and the experience is unlike any other car in its segment. The attention detail is just mind-bending in any Italian car for that matter. The steering wheel is a sporty, three-spoke with paddle shifts coupled to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.
Though the Ghibli was surprise to us in how well it was received, it still came in low on our list because it simply doesn’t have the looks of the cars above it.
Tenth Place: Rolls Royce Wraith
2013 saw the launch of not one or two, but more than a handful of expensive luxury cars. When it comes to luxury, no car maker can match the quality, finesse and flair of a Rolls Royce. This year, the company added a brand new model to its portfolio. The Rolls Royce Wraith was reborn in 2013 and is now the most powerful Rolls on sale.
The Wraith’s exterior is characterized by its long hood and a raked rear windshield. Inside, you get all the luxuries of a Rolls Royce and that includes the finest quality leather and veneer. The roof of the car is lined by 1,340 individual fiber optic lights that mimic a sky full of stars. Under the long hood though is much more potent V-12 engine with 624 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.
The eight-speed automatic transmission has a world-first GPS-guided technology that works in conjunction with the satellite navigation to select the right gear. Despite its mass, the Wraith is quicker than any every other Rolls Royce. It does 60 in just 4.4 seconds.