Lurid acceleration, perfect balance, intuitive handling, pine-tar levels of grip--performance means different things to different drivers.
And sometimes it means everything.
Here at The Car Connection, we rate and review more than 250 new vehicles every year, across six categories including performance. From that group of new and updated vehicles, only a few receive a perfect score of 10 for performance.
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That ultimate rating reveals the ultimate performance cars--even those that don't break earth-shattering records in every category. Some of them we choose because they're singularly brilliant--or even brilliant at their attainable price.
This year, the vehicles that have earned our highest performance score include some of the most desirable new vehicles on the road--everything from Audis and BMWs to a pair of rear-drive sports cars without the benefit of a Ferrari pedigree. Each is remorselessly entertaining to drive, even if there's no massive-displacement V-8 underhood, or track-ready tires underfoot.
According to our editors, these are best performance vehicles of 2015:
Balanced all-wheel-drive handling and a fantastic dual-clutch transmission make the R8 one of the most usable supercars.
2015 BMW M4
In either body style, BMW's archetypal M cars love quaffing long uphill runs at the horizon with gusto, shaving a hundred miles per hour undramatically off with the carbon-ceramics, and settling firmly and predictably into uphill 30-degree bends without a knee bent.
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Seriously fast, incredibly fun, and a monstrous value, the 2015 Corvette Stingray sets a benchmark for performance.
2014 Ferrari 458 Italia
The Italia is one of the most accessible yet capable high-performance cars to ever be produced by the Italian sports-car maker.
2015 Jaguar XKR
It may be off the market, but we can't help to notice the XK still--it has a sleek and sexy shell, and offers a uniquely British experience.
2015 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Final Edition
The swan-song SLS AMG GT is a controllable, manageable, and easy-to-drive super-performance car.
2016 Nissan GT-R 45th Anniversary Gold Edition
You won't believe it until you experience it. The 2015 Nissan GT-R is capable of astonishingly high levels of grip -- and all the performance numbers to match.
2015 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
It's much bigger these days, but the Porsche 911's outline still carries the charm of the original.
2015 Porsche 918 Spyder
Styled in the vein of the Carrera GT supercar, the 918 Spyder draws on the best of Porsche's heritage, while keeping both eyes firmly on the present and future.
2015 Porsche Boxster GTS
The Boxster and Cayman are the quintessential Porsche sports cars, with lovely echoes of classic Spyders.
2015 Subaru BRZ
A sportscar with limits you can approach in the real world, the Scion FR-S is a modern classic.
2015 Tesla Model S
With the addition of the astounding P85D all-wheel-drive performance model, the 2015 Tesla Model S goes from fast to furious.