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    • 2020 R&T Performance Car of the Year is... Hyundai Veloster N? Laptimes: Miata, Supra, C8, GT-R, 992, F87 M2 Comp, RC F Track, Evora GT, 600LT, etc.

      Sorry to play spoiler but seeing the Hyundai Veloster N win a Performance Car comparison that includes some very nice hardware makes you scratch your head. BoostAddict will defend Road and Track's choice though but not because the Veloster N is the best performance car produced in 2020.


      The argument Road and Track makes actually fits the idea of a driver's car better than that of a performance car shootout. If comparing performance, well, the Veloster gets smoked by everything short of the Miata.

      Cars are becoming absurdly fast and powerful. That does not mean they are becoming more fun to drive. You would likely have more fun with a standard Porsche Boxster going through the canyons than an 800+ horsepower balls to the wall tuned Audi RS7 or Lamborghini Urus which from a performance perspective destroy the Boxster.

      You can not even approach the limits some of these huge and powerful behemoths on the market offer. A Boxster at 7/10's on a back road is going to be more fun to drive than a Urus at 10/10's which reminds you of its girth as you sweat hustling it at the limit and hoping the brakes and tires don't fail you.

      For all their bluster and power, their lap times and displacement, most of the carmakers at this test made a deal with the devil—they traded what once made them great in the search for outright speed. Never has the disparity been greater between the capabilities of a modern fast car and what is legally possible. The new definition of performance isn’t what a car can do, but what it will do on a good road.
      This the nature of Road and Track's argument. The Veloster is fun. It's light. It's cheap. It is attainable. It is easy to drive fast. It is a lot of fun for the money and the smiles per dollar can not be beat.

      The thing is, this is a performance car comparison and it does not perform anywhere near the others. The Corvette offers a hell of a lot of value too and the C8 unlike say the C7 Z06 is not fighting you the whole time as you try to put the power down. It also tops the more expensive Porsche 992 around the track despite weighing more which is quite the achievement.

      Let's look at the laptimes:

      Mazda Miata RF 1:34.64
      Hyundai Veloster N 1:31.44
      Toyota Supra 1:28.93
      Lexus RC F Track 1:27.56
      BMW M2 Competition 1:26.91
      Lotus Evora GT 1:25.35
      Nissan GT-R Nismo 1:23.80
      Porsche 911 Carrera S 1:23.08
      Chevrolet Corvette 1:22.83
      McLaren 600LT 1:20.42
      Lamborghini Huracán Evo 1:20.00

      It is interesting to note the M2 Competition is quite a bit quicker than the Supra at Thunderhill Raceway in its West configuration. Speaking of the Supra, it is refreshing that Road and Track understands what it is and nails it for what it is:

      Except the Toyota didn’t win. Our judges voted it out, almost unanimously, in the initial cut. The car didn’t leave the track.

      Why? How? The Supra is a magnet, low and small and absolutely electric, our testers trying to hide their excitement at simply seeing the thing, let alone driving it. But there’s not much Supra here—none of the name’s legendary solidity and brawn—or even much Toyota. The chassis and driveline are shared with the BMW Z4; the badge on the hood has a BMW part number. The interior smells like a BMW. And despite the Toyota-specific suspension and driveline tune, the car suffers from the same maladies that plague most modern BMWs.

      “The Toyota somehow manages to be joyless,” editor-at-large Sam Smith said, after his first session. “There’s no reward for focus, no incentive to be a hooligan… It doesn’t feel like any fast Toyota I’ve driven. None of the confidence or unflappability of a second- or third-generation Supra.”

      Some of this likely lies at the feet of the car’s maker—without undoing a single fastener, we counted 28 separate uses of the word “BMW,” or the BMW logo, under the Supra’s hood. For a few years now, the Bavarians have been content to turn out cars the mechanical equivalent of the music student who can hit every note at recital but still miss the point of a piece.
      Someone finally gets it.

      BoostAddict disagrees that the Veloster N is the best performance car of this group but agrees with the premise behind Road and Track's argument.

      The Veloster N is what a great front-wheel-drive car should feel like. A delight that welds a smile to your face every time you drive it. It cheers you on, treating you like the hero. And it came from a company that had no reason to build it. Chevrolet has to make a Corvette; Porsche, a 911. Short of a giant meteorite or nuclear winter, those names will always exist. Cars like the Veloster N are more special, crafted not of obligation, but for the sheer joy of driving. That’s why the Hyundai Veloster N is Road & Track’s 2020 Performance Car of the Year.

      Cars that didn't make it:

      2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera: A lightweight DB11 with 715 hp. Aston elected to not participate in the test.

      2020 Audi R8: The first facelifted R8s arrived in the U.S. a week before our test. Sadly, there wasn’t enough time to get one shipped to Thunderhill.

      2020 BMW M8: The new flagship M car was first shown in June, but BMW only made it available for review (in Europe) the same week as PCOTY.

      2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo: The 710-hp V-8 from the wild, track-focused 488 Pista, in a more road-oriented package. Ferrari couldn’t provide one during our test window.

      2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500: Supercharged V-8 and hellacious speed, but Ford didn’t provide test cars to journalists until a month after PCOTY testing.

      2019 Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro:
      A track-attack version of a car already known for circuit prowess. Only hitch: the first GT R Pros didn’t cross the Atlantic until the tail end of 2019, after this issue shipped to the printer.

      2020 Polestar 1: A 600-hp, hybrid, carbon-bodied GT from Volvo’s new electric-performance offshoot. Polestar wasn’t ready to let us borrow one, but don’t worry—we’ll drive it soon.

      2020 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4: On paper, a PCOTY front-runner. Which is a shame, because Porsche had no test cars in the country.

      2020 Subaru WRX STI S209: The WRX STI might be a few years old, but the S209 promises to be the best version yet. Subaru held a media test event for the car during PCOTY week, so its loaner 209s were all tied up.

      This article was originally published in forum thread: 2020 R&T Performance Car of the Year is... Hyundai Veloster N? Laptimes: Miata, Supra, C8, GT-R, 992, F87 M2 Comp, RC F Track, Evora GT, 600LT, etc. started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 3 Comments
      1. Eleventeen's Avatar
        Eleventeen -
        So they’re saying it’s a better “driver’s car” than a Lotus or Miata? I haven’t driven the car, so I can’t speak from experience, but WTF?
      1. Batman's Avatar
        Batman -
        That Vette is putting in work! I'm impressed! I can't wait to see the better performance of the ZO6 and the ZR1 when they come out.
      1. al pettee's Avatar
        al pettee -
        R&T should have been even more honest and said there is NO winner this year....