What’s life without passion? We don’t want to know. For people like us, cars excite those passions. The thrill of acceleration, the exhilaration of a track drive, and the need for speed all set the heart aflutter.
At The Car Connection, we ignite those passions in hundreds of cars every year on tracks and canyon roads. When we get the chance on a closed circuit, we toss the cars into corners to see what kind of line they carve, jump on the gas to see and feel just how quickly they can accelerate, and rail on the brakes to experience their strength and stability. We look for other traits, too, like steering feel, response to inputs, body lean, and ride quality. In this type of testing, certain cars stand out and we reflect that in the ratings we award for performance. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The following are the five and only five 2020 vehicles we award a perfect 10 in performance.
2020 Chevrolet Corvette media drive, Spring Mountain Motor Resort & Country Club, February 2020
The Corvette has been America’s performance superstar for most of its 67-year history, but the 2020 model really nails the performance formula. A switch to a mid-engine design puts more weight over the rear wheels where it helps the car create traction for violent acceleration. With 495 horsepower on tap from its 6.2-liter V-8, the 2020 Corvette with the Z51 Performance Package rockets from 0-60 mph in just 2.9 seconds. Purists might miss the manual, but the 8-speed is up there with Porsche's PDK as one of the best dual-clutch transmissions available. It’s a blast to drive around corners, too. The mid-engine design moves the cockpit forward, which creates better sightlines and makes the driver feel more like a part of the action. On a track, the Corvette carves a precise line through turns. Its tail steps out only when aggressively provoked, and it’s easy to catch before the glorious blast down the next straight.
2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo
First released in the U.S. in 2008, the GT-R may be old, but it’s still a performance monster and it’s more refined than those early cars. Its twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6 makes 565 hp in most models and 600 hp in the Nismo and Track Edition. It suffers from a bit of turbo lag as its big turbos spin up, but then gives you the one-two gut punch and neck snap as it launches the car from 0-60 mph in less than 3.0 seconds. The car weighs in at a hefty 3,933 pounds and comes standard with all-wheel drive, but it attacks corners like a smaller, rear-wheel-drive car. It brakes confidently, rotates willingly, and even kicks its tail out from time to time, but the AWD system always helps it send the power to the pavement efficiently.
2020 Porsche 718 Boxster T
Porsche’s dirty little secret is the 718 is better balanced than its 911 sibling and it provides almost as much performance with less power. That’s because the mid-engine design moves some of the weight forward versus the 911 which places the engine behind the rear axle. Buyers can choose a 2.0 or 2.5-liter turbo-4 with 300-365 hp, or a 4.0-liter flat-6 with up to 414 hp. Zero to 60 mph times are as low as 4.2 seconds. The turbo-4s don’t offer the sonorous note of the flat-6, but they’re lighter and they help these cars feel lithe and tossable. For agile moves and engaging road feel, you can’t beat a Porsche 718.
2020 Porsche 911 - Best Car To Buy 2020
Point the 2020 Porsche 911 down a track, mash the throttle, jam on the brakes, and crank it into a turn and the car reacts with the cold precision of the German engineers who have perfected it for more than 50 years. It suffers no extraneous movements. It’s simply unshakable. The twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-6 in S models feels stronger than the quoted 443 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque, and the base engine’s 379 hp is only a half second slower to 60 mph at 3.8 seconds. On-road comfort, great steering feel, and strong brakes round out the list of strengths for this iconic sports car.
2020 Porsche Taycan
It may be an electric car, but it’s the performance that’s electric. The Taycan, especially in 616-hp (750 hp in an overboost mode) Turbo S trim, makes handling and acceleration its main missions. The 200 or so miles of electric range are just icing on the cake. Synchronous motors on the front and rear axles and a 93.4-kwh battery pack catapult the Turbo S from 0-60 mph in just 2.6 seconds and down a quarter-mile dragstrip in 10.8 seconds. The battery pack is set low between the axles, giving the car a low center of gravity that also aids handling despite its 5,100 pounds of mass. It grips relentlessly, carves a tight radius (aided by rear-axle steering), and remains stubbornly flat through corners. The Taycan is an EV only Porsche could make, and it proves the electric future will still inspire passion.