SHARP Awards: This Year’s Best Cars

Celebrating the cars (and a few other cool pieces of gear) that moved us in 2023. From modern classics to must-have reference guides to concept cars we’re dying to see built, these are the top automotive achievements.

Range Rover Sport SV EDITION ONE

Range Rover Sport SV dives along mountain path
Wins the overkill award for offering carbon-fibre wheels on an SUV.

In a year where we wanted — perhaps more than anything else — to just go out and have fun, the Range Rover Sport SV EDITION ONE delivered. In fact, it over-delivered. Just look at it: an elegant, slab-sided sculpture of a thing, hunkered down with those flared wheel arches. “Let’s go!”, it bellowed when it was unveiled back in May.

We love it — particularly the sheer overkill of putting an ultra-light set of 23-inch carbon-fibre wheels on an SUV (a world first, we might add). It also comes fitted with carbon brakes and monster eight-piston calipers that look as though they belong on a Boeing. The new “Body and Soul Seats” (BASS) are equally bombastic, each featuring four transducers that give a visceral whomp to every low note from the 29-speaker, 1,430-watt Meridian sound system. And, of course, there’s that 635 horsepower, twin-turbo, 4.4-litre V8 — which makes this the fastest Range Rover ever made. Try not having fun in this thing.

  • Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8.
  • Power: 635 horsepower.
  • Price: sold out (sorry)!

2024 Genesis G70

Genesis G70
The not-an-SUV award in recognition of a great little sports sedan.

A well-made, compact sports sedan may well be all the car you ever need — or want. So allow us to introduce you to the newly updated 2024 Genesis G70. It’s not an SUV or one of the usual German luxury suspects, and that puts it slightly out of the mainstream these days. But, while we already thought that the South Korean carmaker’s G70 had delivered the complete package, Genesis surprised us ahead of 2024 by upgrading the entry-level motor from a 2.0-litre unit to a beefier 2.5-litre turbocharged mill, one capable of pumping out 300 horsepower. That’s right, 300 horsepower in a beginner-spec sport sedan. What’s not to love? Genesis, keep doing what you’re doing.

  • Engine: 2.5-litre turbo I4, or 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6.
  • Power: 300 or 365 horsepower.
  • Price: TBD.

Porsche 911 GT3 R rennsport

Porsche 911 GT3-R
In recognition of Porsche’s relentless quest to fill every product niche.

Whether you’re a dedicated track rat, a top-down Targa lover, a dune-busting rally enthusiast, more of a mountain passes kinda guy, or even a wannabe Max Verstappen, Porsche has you covered. The brand’s ever-expanding 911 lineup (which, at the time of writing, includes a majestic 25 different models of the venerable rear-engined sports car) truly offers something for everyone — no matter how esoteric.

The latest model — the 911 GT3 R rennsport — is the most extreme yet, which is quite the achievement. It’s a limited-edition, created for 77 deep-pocketed drivers who felt that the 911 GT3 was a bit soft and the hardcore GT3 RS was hampered by its road-legal-ness. The rennsport began its life as a thoroughbred FIA-competition spec GT3 R racecar, but the engineers soon threw out the FIA rulebook in the pursuit of finding out just how fast (and beautiful) a 911 racecar could really be. The result, as you might expect, is a surefire future classic. All we ask of those 77 owners is that they please not keep these machines cooped up in climate-controlled garages.

  • Engine: 4.2-litre H6.
  • Power: 611 horsepower.
  • Price: $1,046,000 USD.

Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class

Mercedes-Benz  Concept  CLA
The condo-dweller award for excellence in compact luxury.

Luxury cars don’t need to be huge. In fact, if you live in a condo with a tight parking garage, or if you regularly drive downtown, having a smaller car that can zip through gaps in traffic and take shortcuts is a luxury in its own right. We’re happy, then, to see that Benz understands this. And the luxury German marque is teasing an entirely new line of all-electric compact cars with its Concept CLA Class. It’s a beautiful thing, obviously, but that smaller size doesn’t mean it skimps on the specs. The cabin is controlled by the new Mercedes-Benz Operating System (MB.OS) and the carmaker claims that its new electric drivetrain will offer 800-volt rapid charging (400 kilometres in 15 minutes) with a range of up to 750 km. If they do manage to pack all of that into a sub-compact EV, it’ll be a true game changer.

2024 Nissan GT-R

Nissan GT-R
The modern classic award for being a bonafide legend.

It’s back! Well, actually, it never left. Believe it or not, the current R35-generation GT-R was unveiled back in 2007, and has been in production since 2009. These days, it’s considered a classic — albeit one you can buy with a new warranty. And that the GT-R can still melt drivers’ faces with its sheer grip and speed speaks to just how ahead of its curve it was back in the day. A “supercar, for anyone, anywhere, anytime” remains a novel idea and, for 2024, Nissan has given its flagship a tasteful redesign to keep things fresh, including a dash of “Midnight Purple” paint as a throwback to previous GT-Rs. So what if its interior is starting to look a little dated? The GT-R is a classic, and we’d recommend you scoop one up while you still can.

  • Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6.
  • Power: 565 horsepower.
  • Price: $157,498.

TAG Heuer Carrera Team Ikuzawa by Bamford

Tag Heuer Carrera Team Ikuzawa by Bamford
A watch to celebrate a titan of motorsport.

The high-octane swiss watchmaker partnered with Japan’s Team Ikuzawa and British Bamford to create this clean, limited-edition Carrera chronograph earlier this year. Paying homage to Tetsu Ikuzawa, a racing driver from Tokyo whose illustrious career has left an indelible mark on motorsport, the boldly asymmetric design features a white opaline dial, punchy red detailing and rhodium-plated indexes and hands. Finished with the team logo, it’s a fitting tribute to a truly excellent racer. ($6,300 USD)

Genesis House Restaurant

Genesis House Restaurant
Wait, what? An award for a Michelin Guide-mentioned restaurant from a car company?

Genesis House in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, just off the High Line, is noteworthy for several reasons. For starters, it’s maybe the chicest car showroom you’ll ever set foot in; 46,000 square feet of oak, copper and glass designed by Seoulbased design firm Suh Architects. But the space is more than merely motor-minded. Offering “extraordinary experiences influenced by Korean culture and community,” it also features a restaurant — one that was recently recommended by the Michelin Guide. Among other things, the French institution praised the “Gamja Dububap,” a plate that “dates back centuries and features a bowl of rice cooked with seaweed and potato, accompanied by pine nut tofu, seaweed broth and seasonal kimchi.” It seems the carmaker is cooking — in every sense of the word.

2023 Nissan Z Proto Spec

Nissan Z 2023
Paint job of the year.

We took a walk around the 2023 Nissan Z and fell in love at first sight. Now that it’s painted in a vibrant yellow, we’re falling deeper. The two-tone “Ikazuchi Yellow” shade with the black roof and RAYS brand wheels? Chef’s kiss.

  • Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6.
  • Power: 400 horsepower.
  • Price: $53,844.

The Atlas of Car Design

Atlas of Car Design

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Atlas of Car Design

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A must-have reference for motoring enthusiasts.

Can cars ever be considered art? New from luxury publishers Phaidon, The Atlas of Car Design: The World’s Most Iconic Cars offers a concise, coffee table-adorning answer: yes. Leaf through its large, glossy pages and you too will be convinced. The weighty release was written by a trio of veteran car critics and writers — Jason Barlow, Guy Bird and Brett Berk — and features more than 650 of history’s most head-turning models, from over 190 manufacturers and 30 countries. The cars included tend to reflect the prevailing social and economic moods of their home countries and, in this way, the book becomes not only an indispensable reference for industrial designers and car geeks, but also for those keen to chart world history through marques’ booms and busts. ($200)

Forza Motorsport

Forza Motorsport
For offering a quick way for us to build our dream car.

The best racing simulator ever offered on Xbox is, after a long wait, back for next-gen consoles. But fans won’t be disappointed. The handling model has been re-built from the ground up, so cars feel more realistic than ever to drive. And that makes things especially exciting and rewarding when you successfully tweak your car into a race-winning weapon. ($120, Deluxe Edition)

Ferrari (2023)

Ferrari 2023
A cinematic retelling of one of motoring’s greatest men.

Michael Mann has made his fair share of classics, from Heat to Collateral. But his latest, an impassioned Enzo Ferrari biopic, has the makings of an all-time great car movie — one up there with Ronin, Drive, Ford v Ferrari, and Tokyo Drift (we said what we said). The SHARP team is on the edge of our seats to see Adam Driver embody the hard-headed, well-dressed motor magnate, alongside Penélope Cruz and our latest The Book For Men cover star, Patrick Dempsey. Mann has allegedly been warming the engines on production for over two decades, with stars including Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman coming and going. But, judging by the throaty old Ferrari V12s away in the trailer, the wait will be worth every second.

BMW Concept Touring Coupé

BMW Concept Touring Coupe
The please-build-it award for concept of the year.

Unveiled earlier this year at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como, the Concept Touring Coupé from BMW proved that the Germans can do ‘dolce vita’, too. We thought BMW’s Z4 convertible was an unlikely candidate for a shooting-brake conversion, but this just works. The Italian leather from Poltrona Frau and a custom-made luggage set from Schedoni in Modena? Masterstrokes. And those glorious 20-spoke wheels? Enchanting. Of course, BMW has dabbled with shooting-brakes before: the 1940 Mille Miglia-winning 328 Touring Coupé, the 02 Series Touring of the early 1970s, and the legendary Z3M “Clown Shoe” to name but a few. But this new concept stands out as a singular vision — totally unique, completely beautiful and enough to make us beg BMW to please, please build it.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Syntopia

Rolls-Royce Syntopia
For demonstrating the British brand’s talent for customization.

The Phantom Series Ii is — in our humble opinion, at least — the best car in the world. But, like every Rolls-Royce, it is just a blank canvas, an open call for customization. The one-of-one Syntopia, revealed earlier this year, provided an example of just what is possible. It was created for a client in collaboration with Dutch designer Iris van Herpen. A team spent over 3,000 hours developing the shimmering clear-coat paint for the car, which looks almost liquid under sunlight. The illuminated headliner in the cabin features 162 delicate petals crafted from glass organza. The seats are quilted silk. The British brand says that this is the most technically complex commission it has ever undertaken. Looking at it, we wouldn’t question that claim.

  • Engine: 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12.
  • Power: 563 horsepower.
  • \Price: If you have to ask…

2025 Jeep Wagoneer S

Jeep Wagoneer 2025

Special achievement in piquing our curiosity.

Now what could this be? We’re not entirely sure but we can’t wait to find out when, next year, Jeep launches itself into the crowded Canadian EV market with a pair of all-electric SUVs. There’s the previously-teased Jeep Recon, and this: the Wagoneer S. We know the carmaker has dubbed this a “mid-size SUV,” so it’ll probably be a little more downtown-friendly than the full-size Wagoneer. But the brand is also throwing around big numbers, like 600 horsepower and a 640-kilometre range. Judging by the design direction on show here, with the concept’s illuminated grille and cleverly-designed rear wing, it looks like we’re in for a treat. And, given that by 2030 Jeep expects half of its U.S. sale to come from EVs, you can bet the Wagoneer S is just the beginning.

Porsche × BOSS Jacket

Porsche x BOSS Jacket
A car-ready mid-layer that captures drive and determination.

Every driver needs a go-to jacket, and this collaboration between two German titans is as good as such garments come. BOSS takes the wheel by deploying a Kent collar, smooth zip and ribbed cuffs to great effect, and Porsche keeps the branding to a minimum with just a subtle shoulder patch. With its high-cut hem and articulated shoulders, wearers should have no problem sliding this goat-leather mid-layer into their deeply bolstered bucket seats. ($1,995)