The top 10 cars of 2014 – in pictures

Human beings, it would appear, love nothing more than a good list of stuff. From the top 10 films or albums of the year, to beach resorts, financial products, dining establishments, babies’ names, diet tricks and embarrassing bodies, if something – anything – is put into list form, we lap it up, especially online. If you run a website and you want pure and simple click bait to up the traffic, just put up lists of stuff and watch the hits roll in. And it’s no different when it comes to cars.

Perhaps it’s the perfect springboard for discussion. If I list my top 10 cars of the year and you happen to own one, or agree with some of my choices, we’re more than likely to never stop talking about it and the same could be said if you vehemently disagree with my conclusions after a year’s motoring. Naturally, though, as a professional critic, I can never bring myself to agree to disagree, almost always to my wife’s chagrin.

Best-of lists, award ceremonies and trophy handouts – it’s that time of year and, as a conscripted jury member for an awards event that ended up not happening after all (the 2014 Middle East Motor Awards, aka MEMA), it’s probably time I compiled a list of my favourite cars of the year. There will be no black-tie gala dinner, no tacky engraved shelf ornaments, not even any badly printed certificates – just a list with one overall winner of the unofficial, never-before-coveted The National’s Car of the Year title honours.

It would be the easiest thing in the world to bang on about the supercars and hypercars that had everyone frothing at the mouth in 2014. Everyone has their favourite and everyone’s an expert, usually without having driven any of them. Of the big three, only Porsche let me loose in the 918 Spyder, and even then it was only for a small handful of laps at Yas Marina circuit. McLaren didn’t think it was a good idea to let any Middle East hacks loose in its P1, and Ferrari could only spare one seat for the LaFerrari media launch, so I can tell you this: of all the ones I got to drive, the 918 wins by default. But is it the year’s best car?

It can’t be, can it? Available only to the privileged few with deep enough pockets to buy and maintain, cars like this are pipe dreams for the masses but they do make the motoring world a more interesting place.

Having driven nearly 100 brand-new cars in 12 months, I can safely say that (the new Ford Mondeo aside) nothing has really disappointed, but many have deeply impressed. Maserati’s superb Ghibli S, Mercedes-Benz’s mental A45 AMG and the Porsche Macan Turbo were all so good that I didn’t want to hand them back and, while raiding the memory banks has been most satisfying, it’s been extremely difficult to narrow down the best into a top-10 list. But here it is and I can barely believe the results myself but, whether or not you agree with my findings, at the very least it will give us something to talk about.

khackett@thenational.ae

Published: December 25, 2014 04:00 AM

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