Last year was a busy year for us. We had a ton of press trips, test drives, reviews and auto shows. It was fun, though, so we’re not complaining. We had the chance to visit beautiful locations and see a lot of new things. But, really, it’s all about the cars. We drove a lot of awesome cars in 2018, from several different brands, not just BMW. Though, there were a lot of great BMWs as well.
So we thought it would be interesting to recap the year a bit and give our best cars of the year, as we head into a new year full of promise and exciting adventure. As well as some more awesome cars. So which were out favorites from last year?
Last year, I drove some really incredible cars from many different brands. I flew all over the country and had a genuinely great time. However, the automotive highlight of my year had to be my week with the BMW M5. Never have I driven a car that was so violently fast while also being so supple and luxurious. It was wonderfully, fantastically violent and it’s my favorite M car of the bunch at the moment. I personally haven’t driven the M5 Competition just yet (I will be in a couple of months, though) but I honestly don’t think it’s necessary. The standard one is a ballistic missile with leather seats and I love it.
If you’ve read some of my articles, you’d know that I love Alfa Romeo. I love the brand, I love its history and I love its cars, all while knowing full well how much of a headache they can be. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is my runner up because it provides just such an intoxicating driving experience. Sure, its interior wouldn’t be acceptable in a Hyundai Sante Fe and it’s about as reliable as a starving junkie. However, and this is fact, there isn’t a single SUV anywhere near its price point that can deliver the driving goods like the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. It’s incredibly fast, handles far sharper than any SUV has the right to and has better steering feel than an M2.
2018 will go down in books as one of the busiest years for BMW and implicitly for us. I went all over the world to test some exciting new cars, so picking a favorite is quite difficult. But since there has to be a winner, I will go with the BMW M2 Competition. I had the chance to drive the refreshed M2 Coupe on the Ascari Circuit and came back impressed by compact coupe’s capabilities on and off the track. BMW has taken an already great package and made it even better with the S55 engine and further suspension and chassis refinement. It’s easily one of the most fun BMWs to drive today, while still being fairly affordable to own.
Since I live in the US, and we’re all about SUVs these days, I’m going with the new G05 X5 as the second best car I drove in 2018. After driving the new X5 in Atlanta, I immediately labeled it as “The Flawless SUV”, thanks to its design, superior interior cabin compared to its predecessor and a long list of tech updates and features.
As with all the previous X5s, customers will rate the new SUV mostly based on its space and safety, but performance, driving dynamics and driving assistance features should become equally important to them. Cue in the high-quality interior and infotainment system, and the new 2019 BMW X5 is a hot contender in a competitive segment, with the likes of Mercedes GLE, Audi A7, Volvo XC90, Porsche Cayenne, and many others.
2018 was definitely a good year for me as I got to enjoy some of the best cars BMW has to offer. When I was asked to choose only two of them to be featured here, the choice nearly paralyzed me, as it was pretty hard to make up my mind, a testimony to the incredible line-up that was presented to me. Nevertheless, it’s those cars that somehow manage to carve out a memory inside your skull that make life worth living, and the experience I lived aboard the BMW M4 CS will definitely stay with me for as long as I live. Sure, some things about it were annoying, especially when looking for a place to put your wallet but once you got going, the ruggedness and analogue feel of the thing make it all fade away.
The BMW i8 Roadster lost to the M4 CS only because it’s not as sharp as the M machine. Alas, you can’t really ask it to be that good by comparison as it wasn’t designed to be the precise scalpel the M4 CS is. Instead, the i8 Roadster was created to show the world what can be achieved when clever engineering and passion join forces. To think that this thing uses a 3-cylinder 1.5-liter engine boggles the mind and is definitely a great conversation starter. And you’ll have plenty of those as the i8 Roadster attracts a crowd wherever you go, overshadowing cars that may be a lot faster or more powerful, just by opening its doors, giving you the full superstar treatment. Don’t be offended when people think you’re lying about the engine though, just remember that not everyone’s up to par with the specs of this hybrid beauty.