Esquire’s 2019 Best New Car Awards

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We drove dozens of cars to get ready for 2019—we know, a big chore. From our choice for car of the year, to our favorite ultra-luxury vehicle, to the crossovers we think are leading the pack, these are the ones we wanted to hop into again and again. Especially if money were no object.

Have you just stepped into a Tesla Model 3 or are you in some Scandinavia–meets–Silicon Valley mobile kiosk? Can I order an algorithm-perfected latte from this screen?

Welcome to the future of the everyman automobile, human. The Model 3 has only three buttons, and you get the sense from the glass-roofed cabin’s austerity that they are there because the government said they had to be. You unlock it with your phone or a key card. And nearly everything you need to do, short of braking, accelerating, and , is done via a 15-inch touch screen mounted in the middle of the dash, which is really one long, uninterrupted vent. You can precisely control its airflow by moving your fingers across the screen.

But how is it as, you know, a vehicle that moves? A hoot. The sporty, quiet car proves that if this is indeed the paradigm for the next chapter in automobiles, even ordinary ones will be extraordinary in the gasless future. As a torque-heavy electric car, it never feels slow. Need more adrenaline? The Performance version, which has an additional motor, can accelerate to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds. That’s zippier than a Porsche Boxster.

The problem with a Tesla? After a few hundred miles, I became so accustomed to the smooth acceleration and elegantly minimal interior that when I jumped into my Lyft after dropping off the 3, it felt like I had stepped into the past, where we might as well have been burning coal for heat. If you’ve always believed Tesla owners have a superiority complex, then you’ve probably never driven one.
People often ask me: Which car would you buy if money weren’t an object? Then I’ll ask for clarification: Is this the only car I could own? Would I take it on the track? Does it need a backseat? Convertible? How comfortable? And then, usually: Wait, where are you going?

It’s not my favorite question. Still, I understand why someone asks it. I think they’re waiting to hear about a car that they’ve never really encountered. They want to hear about something singular, special, out of this world. They want to hear about what it’s like to experience mind-bendingly fast acceleration with the roof down—alas, people want it to be a convertible—and how awesome it is to throttle through tunnels and have your eardrums practically explode.

Ask me this today and I will tell you it is the McLaren 570S Spider that I lust after. I like that the British company designs only two-seater sports cars with no intention of making crossovers. I like that, as Silicon Valley’s Russ Hanneman puts it, the car has the doors of a billionaire—they flip up. Really, this should be a prerequisite for all truly special cars. I like that it has stuck with analog, electro-hydraulic steering, as opposed to the numb, electronically assisted steering of nearly every other car out there. I like how that steering talks to you, tells you about little dips and imperfections in the road that you would have never known were there otherwise. It’s a car that makes you feel truly one with the asphalt, despite the fact that it looks like it was designed by aliens. I like that when people see the car, they say, “It looks like it was designed by aliens.” I like that it makes me feel like I’m driving technology pillaged from Area 51. I like that it’s not the mystique of McLaren I’m attracted to—as a relatively new company, it has virtually none—but rather the visceral, spirited thrills that the 570S Spider delivers. I like that it’s weird. Original. Out-there. Take me to your leader.