As the luxury and exotic car segments continue to flourish, so have duPont REGISTRY’s Reviews. This year, we drove more cars, traveled to more destinations, and brought you more new vehicle unveils than ever. We’ve covered practically every new high-end product to launch this year from nearly every major automaker. As such, narrowing down to our top ten favorites proved more challenging than ever.
However, rather than picking the most impressive cars on paper, we’re narrowing down our best picks to those machines that delivered the most memorable driving experiences this year. These vehicles kept us reminiscing about our time behind the wheel while yearning for more. This list doesn’t just pick out those cars that are technically “the best” but instead highlights those that deliver the most memorable driving experiences.
10. Aston Martin DBX 707
The 707 treatment brings much-needed excitement and flare to the Aston Martin DBX. It takes a solid base and improves it with tremendous speed and performance. However, what impressed us most was how exciting the 707 is to hustle up a twisty back road. While its 697-horsepower AMG-sourced twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 grabs all the headlines, this DBX’s suspension and the calibration of its all-wheel drive allow for a bit of tail-happiness when you want it and exceptional grip when you don’t. Combine a lively chassis with a high-strung V8 and surprising road feedback, and you get one of the most thrilling SUVs on sale.
9. Maserati MC20 Cielo
Although we tested its coupe counterpart last year, it’s the Maserati MC20 Cielo and its retractable hardtop that managed to secure a top spot on this year’s list. The Cielo loses none of the coupe’s speed or agility but adds an extra dimension to its driving experience with its top-down. While its twin-turbo V6 isn’t the most exotic-sounding powerplant in the segment, it’s powerful and surprisingly responsive, all while generating excellent turbo spooling noises. However, without a doubt, what kept us thinking about the Cielo is its styling. As far as modern supercars go, its uncomplicated, elegant, and stunning.
8. Lotus Emira
The Lotus Emira earned its spot on the list by reminding us what a sports car should be. While its competitors grow larger, heavier, and more tech-filled than ever, the Emira offers all the creature comforts you’d ever want in a package that still feels genuinely light. Hustling it around at practically any speed is a thrill. Close gear ratios mean you’re constantly upshifting and downshifting as you try to keep the revs high. It’s a sports car in the traditional sense and one we’d have over some competitors that can cost up to twice as much.
7. Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT
To date, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT is the most capable performance SUV we’ve tested. It’s not just quick in a straight line but genuinely athletic in the bends. It tackles a back road like no SUV should be able to, yet still manages to double as a cozy commuter. It received a facelift and a power bump up to 650 hp with the 2024 model year car’s arrival, making it one of the best all-rounders currently on sale.
6. BMW M3 CS
Drawing inspiration from the M4 CSL, the M3 CS pushes this sporty sedan’s persona closer to that of a dedicated track toy. It’s lighter, firmer, and more powerful, making it feel far more exciting than its standard production counterpart. Although arguably too stiff to drive daily, the CS brings forth the persona we’d always hoped the M3 Competition would offer. As the carmaker’s products become more refined with each new generation, the CS reminds us that BMW can still build a raw and thrilling four-door.
5. Bentley Flying Spur S V8
Unusually for a big luxury sedan, what impresses most about the Bentley Flying Spur S V8 is how it drives. Downsizing from a W12 to a V8 takes the weight off the nose while its active anti-roll bars and finely tuned suspension allow it to tackle a twisty road in full anger. It’s balanced, genuinely agile, and properly quick in a straight line. A subtle growl from its massive exhaust tips adds a hint of sportiness, resulting in a nicely rounded driving experience. Oh, and of course, it’s a beautifully appointed luxury sedan, too.
4. Lucid Air Sapphire
Of the entire list, we spent the least time with the Lucid Air Sapphire, yet it still managed to make a lasting impression. It’s not just a spec monster, although its 1,234-hp output certainly helps. Instead, it’s the Sapphire’s dynamics that landed it in a top spot. It’s genuinely supercar quick in the bends, and thanks to all the custom development by Lucid’s engineers, it confidently puts all of its power down even in less-than-ideal conditions. Perhaps no other car we’ve tested is easier to drive at speed than Lucid’s $250,000 flagship.
Although the McLaren Artura hit some bumps on its way to production, the resulting car is worth the wait. It seamlessly integrates its electric motor with its 120-degree twin-turbo V6 to deliver effortless acceleration despite many behind-the-scenes complexities. Yet despite housing an electric motor and a small battery pack, it tips the scales at 3,303 pounds, making it not just powerful with 671 hp but a genuine lightweight amongst its peers. Add in hydraulic steering and a stiff chassis, and it delivers tons of feedback, making the Artura one of the most exciting supercars of the year.
2. Rolls-Royce Spectre
The Rolls-Royce Spectre is worthy of a long list of superlatives. Its electrification ultimately serves its broader luxury goals. It’s likely the quietest and most comfortable luxury car we’ve ever tested. We’ve driven it around Napa Valley, the Valley of Fire, and on a road trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Every time we log more miles, the Spectre further cements itself as one of our favorites. Costing more than $500,000 with options, such excellence is expected. What isn’t is how far it surpasses even its closest siblings.
1.Ferrari 296 GTB Assetto Fiorano
Although we drove the Ferrari 296 GTB Assetto Fiorano towards the beginning of the year, nothing else we tested could dethrone it from the top spot. Like the Artura, it combines an electric motor with a 120-degree twin-turbo V6. However, it develops a whopping 819 hp, making it one of the quickest cars we’ve ever tested. Speed aside, the 296 is nearly faultless from a driving perspective. Despite weighing close to 3,700 pounds, it’s nearly impossible to tell behind the wheel. It feels light and agile and generates tremendous grip. Yet it’s still easy to hustle up a canyon road. Combined with elegant styling and a unique engine note, our time spent with the 296 GTB tops our list as this year’s most memorable drive.