Best: Bugatti Divo
So often in the world of automotive journalism us reporters are given 20,000 tons of hype for a new model, only to be tremendously let down at how underwhelming the final product is. Not so with the Divo, which goes way beyond the facelifted Chiron we were expecting. It looks absolutely fantastic, in some ways even managing to channel the legendary EB110 in its edgier lines. Bugatti also made good on its promise of handling, but with only 40 slated for production this could be the only time we’ll ever see one in the wild.
Worst: BMW Z4
The BMW Z4 was one of the most anticipated vehicle debuts going into Monterey Car Week because of months of spy shots, an attractive concept, and growing expectations. Unfortunately, the German brand’s designers made no effort to push the roadster segment in a new direction. In a niche with diverse, exciting-looking entries like the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Jaguar F-Type, and Mercedes-AMG GT, the new Z4 just doesn’t stand out from the crowd.
The initial promise of a back-to-basics BMW roadster had us excited. Too bad that the designers couldn’t have given the vehicle a little more personality.
Best: Ford GT Heritage Edition
I know, the Gulf livery has been done to death – but it’s appropriate here. The new GT honors its Le Mans-winning sibling with a Heritage Edition trim and an iconic light blue and orange finish. The Gulf-liveried GTs will be available for purchase beginning in 2019, and apart from the handsome finish, will include an optional "9" carbon fiber racing graphic that can be applied to the hood, doors, and interior panels.
Worst: Salaff C2
Carlos Salaff previously designed the attractive Mazda Furai concept, but he really missed the mark with his new Lamborghini-Gallardo-based Salaff C2. The already angular Lambo gets an even sharper look that pushes the styling to cartoonish levels. In an even weirder touch, the exterior also gains ugly gold panels at the front corners and tip of the tail. Don’t let your old Lambo undergo this radical plastic surgery.
Best: Lamborghini Aventador SVJ
Sure, we saw quite a bit of the new Aventador SVJ a few weeks ago when it set a new production car lap record around the Nurburgring Nordschleife, but Monterey Car Week technically marked the new supercar’s official debut. The unveiling provided a great chance to take a closer look at it in a coat of vibrant green paint.
The Aventador SVJ comes with a long list of impressive numbers, including a 770-horsepower V12, 40 percent more downforce, 1 percent less drag, and $517,700 price. Plus, it packs the second generation of Lambo’s ALA active aerodynamics system.
Worst: Acura NSX/Lexus LC
Let’s be clear, there’s nothing wrong with the amazing NSX. Rather, we feel this worst of title is awarded due to the venue in which Acura chose to reveal the updated supercar. Even outside the exquisite atmosphere of Pebble Beach, a fresh color option and some additional minor trim changes wouldn’t be terrifically newsworthy. Yes, there are some suspension tweaks as well, but when you’re competing for attention with ultra-crazy hypercar reveals like the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ and Bugatti Divo, even the brightest shade of orange gets lost in the crowd. The same can be said for the Lexus LC and its yellow finish, which could be neat enough anywhere aside from Pebble Beach.
Best: Audi PB18 E-Tron Concept
The days of true shooting brakes are long behind us, so it’s nice to see that once in a while an automaker such as Audi dusts off the three-door wagon. Some are already envisioning the PB18 E-Tron as a spiritual successor of the ill-fated R8 E-Tron, and we definitely wouldn’t mind seeing this at an Audi dealer nearby.
A concept for now, the Pebble Beach showcar may look like a single-seater, but its tight cabin actually has just about enough room for a passenger once you slide the driver’s seat and the instruments. With great styling, a 15-minute full recharge, almost Golf-like storage space, and 604 electric horsepower on tap – there’s a lot to like about the PB18 E-Tron. A hypothetical production version would probably cost a ton of money, though.
Worst: Speedster Concepts (Mercedes, Infiniti)
I’ll be the first to admit that the Mercedes EQ Silver Arrow concept and the Infiniti Prototype 10 concept are both striking, jaw-dropping things. But how many times have we seen the single-seat speedster template – or at least a variation of it? Too many. Mazda has done it, Aston Martin has too, even Mercedes has done the silver Speedster thing before. Remember the Mercedes SLR Stirling Moss? Neither of these concepts will make it to production, naturally. Just nonsensical visions of what could be.
Best: Hennessey Venom F5 Engine
Hennessey didn’t even need to debut a vehicle at Pebble Beach for the small Texas shop to grab headlines. Instead, John Hennessey and his team showed off the the 1,600-horsepower 7.6-liter twin-turbocharged engine that will power the new Venom F5. It took five years to develop, and will reportedly be able to propel the F5 to 300+ miles per hour.
Best: Electric Jaguar E-Type
Classic cars and environmental conservation are often at odds. Old cars drink gas like college freshman during rush week. But Jaguar is offering a solution – electrifying the classic E-Type. Called the E-Type Zero Jaguar’s Classic division will build them to order or convert an owner’s car to the EV drivetrain. The process doesn’t modify the car’s structure so an owner could switch the car back to a gasoline-powered engine. There are no details on the EV drivetrain. However, the concept packed a 40-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. Range is over 170 miles (274 kilometers) with a sprint to 62 miles per hour taking just 5.5 seconds. Inside, E-Type Zeros receive a new digital instrument cluster and a rotary dial for the single-speed transmission.
Worst: Busted-Up Porsche 959
The benefits of buying a crunched car is getting it for a substantial discount, then rebuilding it to have a like-new ride for a portion of the cost. Yes, $425,000 is quite a discount for an extremely rare Porsche 959, but it’s still considerably more than a whole pile of brand new supercars that don’t have a tree-shaped depression in the front. Mecum actually expected the wrecked classic to bring $500,000, but any way you cut it we’ll never be able to own a Porsche 959.
Best: Guntherwerks Carbon Fiber 911 Body
Not even Porsche’s Project Gold matched the intrigue of Gunther Werks’ amazing 911 carbon fiber body. Designed for the 993 Sport Touring model, the body reduces the 911's weight and adds a few extra inches to the fenders to make way for larger rubber. Only 25 of these carbon fiber exoskeletons will be applied to customer cars, though.
Worst: Porche Project Gold*
For starters, Project Gold wasn't even at Pebble Beach. But you might not know that since Porsche revealed the car at the same time. Still, the company spent weeks teasing its 911 Project Gold without providing much info about the car. During this time, Porsche appeared to be taking a swipe at the companies doing modern modifications to classic 911s.
However, the car turned out to be a rare 993-generation 911 Turbo S with lots of gold details. That’s pretty cool, but competing with Monterey Car Week means that the Project Gold begs for comparison against Gunther Werks’ carbon fiber body for the 993 and Singer’s DLS. These machines go much far further than Porsche’s effort and make the Project Gold appear somewhat boring in comparison to them.
*Even though it didn't actually show up to Pebble Beach, Porsche's debut of Project Gold was poor timing considering all the amazing Porsche products that did make it to Monterey.
Best: Tamiya Sand Scorcher With Remote Control
Sure, the Bugatti Divo and Lamborghini Aventador SVJ are awesome – but this life-sized Tamiya R/C car unlocks our inner child. Complete with a "Baja Bug" license plate and an oversized remote control, the 1:1 model was built in 2010 by German customization and restoration shop, Bug Box. It took to the lawn at The Quail this past weekend.
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