Here at AutoNation Drive, it goes without saying that we get to test a lot of cars. It’s all part of the gig — and it’s a crazy-cool perk. Seriously, at some point or another, every writer on the team has been asked, generally after describing a particularly fun press trip, or a week spent flogging something exotic, what we refer to as the question: “And you get paid for that?” So yeah, it’s not a bad gig.
That said, Mike Musto has even more to boast about than most. Over the years, he’s raced motorcycles, appeared on the Bullrun television show, hosted The Drive’s Big Muscle, and served as a high-performance driving instructor. So he was a natural fit when we were looking for someone to serve as our resident hot shoe.
With that in mind, take a look at some of the hottest cars he drove this year. And if you like what you see? They’re all available at your local AutoNation dealer.
“When many people first heard the Redeye was going to be released, they were upset, as they thought it was destined to be some kind of Demon rip-off. Yet while 2018 Demon production was limited to 3,300 vehicles, the 2019 Challenger Redeye is a grand touring car for the people. It looks outstanding, it’s unbelievably comfortable, and it’s incredibly fast.
Given it’s also packed with every modern convenience, this beast is likely to make you wonder why you’d want anything else. No joke – it’s that good.”
“Having a driver-centric interior in a vehicle that’s meant to haul the family around is a bit odd. Then again, there aren’t too many family haulers that will lap the Nürburgring in 7:51.7 (a new record for a production SUVs). For those unaware, this is where the DNA of Alfa comes into play. You see even though the Stelvio offers up to 56.5 cubic-feet of cargo and will tow up to 3,000-pounds, it was first and foremost meant to be driven.
Is it luxurious? Sure, but with a confident emphasis on sport. Is it useful? Absolutely, but this is not an SUV that’s meant to go camping. Instead, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio has a cabin that’s better suited to being flogged around at your favorite raceway or twisty road than on an off-tarmac excursion.”
“With 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque coming from its 4.4-liter twin turbo V8 , the M5 is seriously fast. From a dead stop, 60 mph arrives in just under three seconds, thanks in part to its amazing (and selectable) all-wheel drive system and eight-speed transmission. This system allows one to disable the front drive portion, allowing for rear drive only.
And while doing this induces hilarious burnouts and tail -happy fun, keep in mind that it also fully disables the stability control, which means you’d better be keeping an eye on your trajectory. The power delivery is incredibly smooth, without a hint of turbo lag, and the M5 accelerates with authority when the go pedal is pushed.”
“With 15 extra horsepower over the standard Mustang GT (480 horsepower up from 460 horsepower) along with an increase in top speed (163 mph up from 155 mph), the 2019 Bullitt offers those who opt for nostalgia a little more oomph. This increase in power comes by way of the intake manifold, which sports the 87mm throttle bodies from the Shelby GT350, a refined open-air intake, and a new powertrain control module.
The 5.0-liter V8 still utilizes sixteen injectors, which Ford says delivers a better fuel charge, and numbers aside, running through the gears of the six-speed manual delivers nothing but a joyful experience. The cue-ball shifter fits perfectly in your hand, and thanks to the active rev matching (which can be turned off), getting that perfect matched downshift is no longer an issue.”
“On the raceway, the ZR1 is far more car then most track day enthusiasts will ever be able to utilize, and there’s definitely a bit of a learning curve here. By employing the same Magnetic Ride Control suspension as the Z06 (albeit with different suspension rates to cope with added downforce), the ZR1 is a hammer through the corners. The ZTK Aero Package combined with the sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires provide levels of grip that truly do take some getting used to. The supercharged LT5 delivers every one of its 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque progressively, and works in conjunction with the traction control system to keep the car firmly planted both in corners and on the straights.
We routinely exceeded speeds of 150 mph, and never once did the car feel light or unstable. To the contrary, it exceeded our expectations and allowed us to drive it faster and harder than we thought possible. In short, it’s way more capable then we’ll ever be. Hauling us down from speed were the spectacular and standard, carbon ceramic brakes. With six-piston Brembo calipers up front and four-pistion in the rear, we went lap after lap without a hint of break fade even when coming down from speeds of over 150 mph.”