Car and Driver
It was a weird year, and we’re even not talking about that. We’re talking about Car and Driver covers. We put a goat on one. For our December issue, we let an illustrator doodle a bunch of demonic hellbeasts with odd numbers of eyes around a 591-hp wagon. And another cover featured a vehicle in water deep enough to cover the tops of its tires.
There were moments of normalcy, too. Like the month we caught 2207-hp worth of American muscle cars in the middle of a smokey burnout. Or the mid-engine sports car photographed to perfectly capture the thrill of speed. Car and Driver covers tell a story about what’s new and noteworthy in that moment while fanning the flames of enthusiasm and celebrating the truly special machines. We take them seriously, and we have fun with them.
Here we’ve compiled all twelve covers from 2020 with a short backstory on each. Like what you see? Subscribe to Car and Driver to get magazines with covers like these delivered to your mailbox.
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The Chevrolet Corvette and Jeep Gladiator are as different as four-wheeled vehicles can be, but they landed on our January cover together thanks to one shared attribute: They both won 2020 10Best awards, which recognize the vehicles that best live up to their purpose while delivering great value and exceptional fun.
The cover turned incandescent for our Tesla Model S versus Porsche Taycan Turbo S comparison test. We pitted the electric sports sedans against each other in head-to-head tests of performance, real-world highway range, and fast-charging speed, then honed our impressions in California’s Angeles National Forest.
With the mid-engine Corvette finally on sale, what’s the next big thing? A more powerful mid-engine Corvette, obviously. A speculative rendering of the Corvette Z06 carried the cover for our 25 Cars Worth Waiting For feature, which also included scoops on the Nissan 400Z, the GMC Hummer EV, and the rear-wheel-drive Mazda 6.
The Porsche 718 Cayman is one of the purest driving experiences you can buy today. And that was before Porsche’s GT team got their hands on the current car. For our Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 road test, staff photographer Marc Urbano pointed his camera at the business end of the mid-engine sports car, where a soul-stirring, 8100-rpm flat-six resides.
You can imagine the amount of debate that went into compiling Car and Driver’s Greatest of All Time list. Fortunately, it was much easier reaching a consensus on the cover for our G.O.A.T. issue. Inspired by the iconic Ferrari emblem, we commissioned our own symbol of greatness, a chrome-plated prancing goat.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI is a perennial enthusiast favorite. It’s cheap, it’s practical, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun. In other words, it’s idyllic, much like the German countryside where we shot the eighth-generation GTI. We didn’t get to drive during this first close encounter with the new GTI, but we still came away plenty excited.
Porsche’s iconic 911 has been drifting away from sports car purity and toward grand touring refinement for years. When Chevrolet rebooted the Corvette and moved the engine to the middle, it sealed our decision to pit America’s sports car against Porsche’s mid-engine hero. The new sports-car rivalry is Corvette versus Cayman.
Our annual New Cars, Trucks, and SUVs issue covers every vehicle on sale for the coming year—more than 300 models. One new arrival had clearly captured more of America’s attention than all the others combined, though. We shot the Ford Bronco shining bright in Cyber Orange paint surrounded by a sea of vehicles living in its shadow.
The typical road test wasn’t going to cut it for the new Land Rover Defender. To prove it was worthy of the storied nameplate, this luxe SUV needed a proper off-road test. So we took it to Drummond Island in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and drove farther and farther off-road until we were swimming.
Something possessed us during the creation of Volume 66, Issue Number 6. Maybe it was the wicked 591-hp Audi RS6 Avant. Maybe it was the Hellcat-powered Ram 1500 TRX that defeated a Ford F-150 Raptor in a comparison test. Or maybe it was the fact that our hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, had recently decriminalized psychedelics.
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