2017 Run to the Sun winner: Mercedes-Benz AMG GT C
2017 Run to the Sun winner: Mercedes-Benz AMG GT C

After testing 24 vehicles on the backroads of Oregon, journalists decided which fast car was the best.

During the 2017 Run to the Sun event, hosted by the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA), journalists got to experience the future of fast cars firsthand. Over the course of three days, reporters drove more than 500 miles and experienced hybrids, thirsty V8s, and a lot of technologically advanced vehicles.

And when speaking about the future of fast cars you of course have to mention electric-assisted vehicles.

Super-Handling Electrification

The Acura NSX offers drivers eco-friendly, full-EV driving with the option to push the pedal all the way to edge of performance. Two electric motors power the front wheels, plus there’s a 75-degree, 3.5-liter V6 engine in the rear. The system pushes out a combined 573 hp. The race-ready clutch delivers lightning-quick shifts, and the Launch Mode can shave more than .5 seconds off a stand-still start.

Acura has also given the NSX their intelligent Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. It puts power to wheels that need it most to maintain traction during high-revving, sporty driving.

While the Acura NSX won the top spot in the Coupe category of Run to the Sun, it didn’t take overall first place.

Formula 1 Tech for the Masses

McLaren is a Formula1 car builder, so much of the technology within the McLaren 570S was derived from motorsports. With weight-saving engineering and performance oriented design in the extreme, this car can go from zero to 62 mph in a scant 3.2 seconds, with a top speed of 204 mph.

Slide under the dihedral doors and into the driver’s seat and push the start button. Listen to the 562-hp, 3.8-liter, twin-turbo engine igniting behind your ears. It’s absolute bliss.

The true magical experience, though, comes in pushing the 570S hard through the corners and using its burst of speed on the exit. Putting the pedal down brought high-pitched, audible pleasure down the spine of anyone within a mile. Yet the 570S was as easy to drive as anything on the road. The future of fast cars was alive and well in the freaky-fast McLaren.

Old-World Affluence Is the Future

However, it was the old-school-style, raucous-sounding, 550-hp Mercedes-Benz AMG GT C Roadster that took top spot in the 2017 NWAPA Run to the Sun competition. The company’s “One Man, One Engine” philosophy combined with the masterful finesse of handcraftsmanship created an air of opulence that is hard to top.

While it has that old-world feel to the luxurious interior, it also has a slew of new technologies for speed, safety, comfort, and convenience. The AMG performance upgrades keep the GT C on the road and in the driver’s in control, while the driver assists give those in the hot seat a chance to relax.

Even without high-energy electric batteries or being a close Formula 1 cousin, the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT C captured the hearts of journalists at the event with its crackle- and burble-filled exhaust and gas-chugging, raucous, 550-hp V8. It stole the show with its handcrafted engine, which was indeed built by one person. And it’s done it with old-world class.—Deanna Isaacs

All photos by Doug Berger.

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