The best all-wheel drive sports cars don’t just offer extra traction designed to give them four-seasons status in your fleet – they also leverage their additional drive wheels to enhance their overall performance no matter what the weather might be like. In fact, for some companies, all-wheel drive has become the preferred method for corralling gobs of horsepower with a minimum of drama. Although a rear-wheel drive layout might remain the gold standard for pure driving feel, there’s no arguing with the exceptional handling and mind-blowing acceleration offered by the best all-wheel drive sports cars. Let’s take a quick look at 10 of the best all-wheel drive sports cars on the market.
1) 2015 Subaru WRX STI
The 2015 Subaru WRX STI has been completely redesigned in order to present sports car fans with a stiffer chassis, more aggressive suspension tuning, and a fresh torque vectoring system. The result is the most focused version of the Subaru WRX STI to have ever been offered in America, despite the fact that it maintains the same drivetrain as it did the year before. The Subaru sedan’s 2.5-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder generates a respectable 305 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque, and managed by the car’s standard six-speed manual transmission, it’s enough to launch the all-wheel drive WRX STI to 60 mph in less than five seconds.
2) 2015 BMW 435i xDrive
The 2015 BMW 435i xDrive walks the line between luxury coupe and sports car, but with a willing turbocharged six-cylinder engine under the hood and a platform that still remembers how to tango in the corners, you can’t count the 4 Series out. The secret to the success of the BMW 435i xDrive is its 3.0-liter turbo straight-six, a long-serving mill that is rated at 300 horses and 300 lb-ft of torque but most likely produces more than what’s displayed on the label given its prodigious performance. A six-speed manual transmission is the best way to sample the BMW’s charms, although an eight-speed autobox is also available.
3) 2015 Audi RS 5
The 2015 Audi RS 5 is a ferocious all-wheel drive sports car that provides four passenger accommodations just in case you want to take your family with you on a hot lap or two. Based on the same bones as the still-potent S5 coupe, the Audi RS 5 ups the ante by installing a 450-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-8 engine under the hood. Also capable of generating 317 lb-ft of torque, this motor allows the RS 5 to reach 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. A seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual is the only transmission choice available with the Audi. It’s available in coupe and cabriolet body styles.
4) 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Like the WRX STI, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution can count on a rally car heritage as the roots of its blistering tarmac performance, even though 2015 marks its final year of production. Built around a sophisticated all-wheel drive system that features a computer-controlled center differential, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is equipped with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. In stock trim this unit pushes out 291 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque, and buyers can decide whether they want to shift the gears themselves via a five-speed manual transmission (GSR trim), or step up to the six-speed automated manual provided by the Lancer Evolution MR. Either way, 60 mph arrives from a standing start in roughly five seconds.
5) 2015 Ferrari FF
The Ferrari FF is notable not only for being the first all-wheel drive vehicle produced by the Maranello-based automaker, but also due to its status as the only factory-built Ferrari wagon. Some might call it a hatchback, but the four-seat 2015 FF has a distinctly family-oriented feel – at least, until you turn the key on its 6.3-liter, 12-cylinder engine. At that point, 651 horsepower and 504 lb-ft of torque wake up the neighbors and facilitate a sprint to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. From a transmission perspective, the Ferrari is a bit complicated: its all-wheel drive system is in play until fourth gear, after which the automatic box disengages the front wheels and sends power exclusively to the rear until the top, and seventh, cog is reached.
6) 2015 Lamborghini Aventador
The 2015 Lamborghini Aventador tops out at 217 miles per hour. Once you’ve absorbed that detail, it’s time to move on to the fact that the all-wheel drive Lamborghini Aventador’s massive 6.5-liter V-12 thunders out 690 horsepower and 509 lb-ft of torque, figures that are impressive enough to combine with its lightweight design and help it achieve 60 mph in 2.9 seconds. That’s less time than it took you to read the previous two sentences. A seven-speed automated manual gearbox comes with every version of the Aventador, which is offered in coupe and only slightly-less-quick cabriolet editions.
7) 2015 Nissan GT-R
Want Lambo-like performance, but can’t scrounge together the nearly half-million dollars or so that it takes to park an Aventador in your driveway? Enter the 2015 Nissan GT-R, a high tech marvel that is nearly as fast as its Italian rivals at roughly a fifth of the price. The Nissan GT R’s trick all-wheel drive system is a big part of its ability to break the three-second barrier on the way to 60 mph, but one also has to consider the efforts of its twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter V-6. With a full-throttle exhaust note that makes the coupe sound like it is traveling through time, along with 545 horsepower and 463 lb-ft of torque, the GT-R is a sight to behold as it runs through its dual-clutch automatic transmission’s six forward gears. New for 2015 is a GT-R Nismo edition, which achieves 600 horsepower along with further refined suspension and aerodynamics.
8) 2015 Audi TTS
Although the TT RS may have disappeared from the lineup, the 2015 Audi TTS stuck around to provide all-wheel drive coupe enthusiasts with a fun-to-drive option. The Audi TTS is a stylish compact sports car that adds a tighter suspension setup and a hotter engine to the already-appealing TT package. The 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine offered by the Audi provides 265 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, which is enough to motivate the TTS to 60 mph in just under five seconds. A six-speed dual-clutch automated manual is the only transmission found on the Audi’s options sheet. For 2015, Audi has added the limited edition TTS Competition Package to the line, which stands out with two exclusive exterior colors, special wheels, and leather upholstery with stitching coordinated to the paint.
9) 2015 Porsche 911 Turbo S
The 2015 Porsche 911 Turbo S is an absolute monster of a car, one of the scariest yet civilized sports models on the road today. The Porsche 911 Turbo S is scary because of its formidable 560-horsepower, 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine (which also maxes out at 553 lb-ft of torque with overboost), but civilized due to its gentlemanly around-town demeanor and kid-friendly rear seats. Put the hammer down, however, and the veneer of respectability melts away with the all-wheel drive, seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual Turbo S hitting 60 mph in 2.9 seconds.
10) 2015 Volkswagen Golf R
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf R takes what everyone already likes about the Golf TDI – compact proportions, well-tuned suspension, turbo power – and adds a standard all-wheel drive system. More power is in the mix, too, with the Volkswagen Golf R’s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged motor grinding out 290 horses and 280 lb-ft of torque managed by either a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission.