We’ve driven them all. Now it’s time to choose the best! The 2017 Digital Trends Car Awards pit the year’s strongest contenders in five different categories against each other, and crown an overall Car of the Year.
Saying one car is “the best” is a difficult thing to do. It’s why we have categories: different cars meet different needs. With that said, our pick for Car of the Year was the one out of the whole lot that really impressed us the most. It could’ve come from any category as long as it just wowed us, and this year, the Audi R8 V10 Plus was the car that did so hands down.
The Audi R8 V10 Plus is a performance car that not only excels in every aspect, it balances them perfectly.
The centerpiece is a a mid-mounted 5.2-liter V10 that produces 610 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. Power is delivered to all four wheels by way of Audi’s patented Quattro all-wheel drive system. It automatically sends power to the wheels that need it most, providing the grip the R8 needs to make you a track superstar. In conjunction with magnetic ride shock absorbers and electromechanical steering, it provides incredible control.
All of this is orchestrated from within an efficient, comfortable cabin that blends just enough luxury with the practical needs of the driver, making it easy to switch from a spirited sprint to a casual cruise. Tying it all together is the 12.3-inch virtual cockpit, which is the interface to all the car systems. Among other things, the Nvidia-powered digital gauge cluster helps drivers nail gearshifts with pinpoint accuracy while displaying Google Earth imagery of whatever track, mountain pass, or backroad you find yourself on.
It’s rare that a sports car balances out performance and livability this well. Striking that balance so masterfully is what endeared us to the first generation R8, so much so that we were concerned that Audi might ruin a good thing with an update. We’ve never been so glad to be wrong.