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From the Ferrari SF90 Stradale to the McLaren GT: The Best Cars of the Year

Our list proves that performance and sustainability can often go hand in hand.

best of the best wheels illustration Illustration by Mathilde Crétier

The Big Idea: Electric Cars Finally Arrive

While autonomous driving remains the overarching fascination of automotive future-think, today’s car headlines are dominated by another technology not long ago considered far-off, even fanciful: electric vehicles. Manufacturers across the world, from start-ups to the biggest names in the business, are showcasing EV technology in everything from SUVs to supercars. And given that battery-powered cars still account for just a flyspeck of the global market and widespread recharging infrastructure remains beyond the horizon, the speed at which EVs stole the spotlight feels abrupt. But, in fact, it’s the culmination of a story line that’s been unfolding for decades.

At the beginning of Bill Clinton’s second term, the hybrid-electric Toyota Prius was launched as a dinky, plodding, hyper-efficient commuter box for the eco-conscious. Today, an all-electric sports sedan from Porsche, the Taycan, not only sold out a year’s allocation before production began but actually lived up to the hype behind the wheel, with road-carving Porsche performance, luxury and real-world range. Even Ford, in a bid to stir greater mass appeal, is attaching its Mustang nameplate—that iconic symbol of red-blooded American muscle—to an all-electric crossover, the Mustang Mach-E, set to go on sale as a 2021 model. And while six or seven years ago high-performance hybrid-electrics like the Porsche 918, the McLaren P1 and LaFerrari were wild outliers, they paved some very exciting roads to the present day: Consider the plug-in hybrid Ferrari SF90 Stradale, with its three electric motors and V-8 engine combining to deliver nearly 1,000 hp, as well as the battle for electric-hypercar supremacy among the likes of the Pininfarina Battista, Lotus Evija, Tesla Roadster, Rimac C_Two and many more. With ludicrous immediate torque and sprints to 60 mph straining the two-second mark, it’s enough to get even petrolheads salivating.

But despite recent studies projecting that up to a third of vehicle sales will go to EVs by 2025, rumors of the internal-combustion engine’s demise are greatly exaggerated. If you find high-octane fuel and the music of a V-8—or V-12, or straight six—to be one of life’s great pleasures, you can rest assured they’ll be around for years to come. Just know there will be an increasing number of silent, emission-free competitors—and, if it comes to it, the electric car will almost certainly be faster off the line.