With the first full week of 2014 upon us, we're reflecting on the past year's magazine covers. Call us sentimental old fools, but these front pages captured another year of european car and the unique stories we brought you in every issue. Along with each cover we've also included three stories from within each edition -- let us know in the comments section below which issues and stories you liked best.
2013 started off on a good note with some incredible first drives, feature cars and event coverage. Starting off the year right we brought you the article on two heavyweights; the 2013 Audi RS5 vs. the 2013 BMW M3, testing two segment leaders in the great outdoors. But what's not to love about the mint green 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish pictured above? Just another stunning example of what the 007 automaker can do. And of course there was the report on our 2012 european car Tuner Grand Prix, where 13 cars battled it out for the top spot. Teams and their cars were tested on the dyno and track, where only one winner could reign supreme.
We love Porsches as we're sure most of you do. How can you not stop and stare at the 2008 911 Turbo shown above? This project grip car was given the royal treatment by tuner BBi Autosport out of Huntington Beach, Calif. While we love tuned Porsches, we also love SEMA, a place where you're sure to find at least one. The 2012 SEMA show brought more Euro examples than in years past and the photo shown above is just one example. Speaking of tuned Euros, check out the above 2011 Volkswagen Golf R. We aren't sure there has been a more insane looking Golf R - just look at that stance!
How does 1200hp of pure Italian muscle sound? The above pictured 2008 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera packs a mighty powerful punch under the hood and its "out of my way" exterior. But if driving over 1000hp sounds intimidating, try racing around in the highest performance vehicles offered by Mercedes-Benz. The AMG driving academy at Laguna Seca would surely get any speed junky's heart pumping. If your taste is more old school, then check out the above pictured 1988 BMW M3. While the exterior is modified, the engine is what may surprise you most; the owner completed an E46 M3 S54 3.2L swap.
As the temps started to heat up, so did the cars. Take, for example, the above shown 1971 Porsche 911 T-S/T replica, dreamt by Porsche enthusiast Robert Abbott. This orange beauty was built with the goal of constructing a car that could have been an interim competition model between the 1971 and '72 S/T. If the newer stuff gets you going then check out the 2008 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG pictured above. While it may look all muscle and no function, this red beast takes the kids to school by day and runs the drags by night. Finally if you love a clean M3 see the above 2011 Dakar yellow specimen; while the color may be rare, the owner, Felix Lyubovny, is like most Bimmer owners - he loves his car!
It's hard not to love those iconic gullwing doors (pictured above), especially when the AMG badge is slapped on. While most of us here love loud, gas guzzling machines, it's difficult not to pay attention when a battery-powered version produces 730hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. Your enthusiast heart strings may be pulling you toward the above 2003 BMW M3, our very own Senior Features Editor and Photographer Alex Bernstein's supercharged rocket. The exterior is stunning while the engine sings a beautiful song. In the market for a new car? We tested three industry favorites, shown above, the 2013 Scion FR-S vs 2012 VW GTI vs 1989 BMW M3, to see who would come out on top.
Waiting 50 years for an automaker to producer another sports car is a long time. That's how long we waited for the successor to the Jaguar E-Type, the F-Type. See the above 2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S photo capturing the latest cat from Jaguar. The 550 Spyder replica shown above is a smart way to own this iconic classic without breaking the bank. We'll take one for the steal of a deal starting at $12,000 for a very basic kit. Love at first ride? That's what happened to Jeff Lockhart when he got a ride in a colleague's VW Jetta. The result is the above 2003 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T.
There are many cars you may consider pitting against an Audi R8 V10. Perhaps a Porsche 911, or maybe even a Nissan GT-R. But an old car? That's what we did in this issue. The above photo shows the 2014 R8 V10 battling it out against an old relative, the 1988 Audi 80. Can you say "generation gap"? If you've read any of our issues or online content, you have probably guessed we love ourselves a nice M3. The 2013 M3 Coupe pictured above features stunning Estroil Blue paint and gold wheels. Do you have an M- Fatuation? If you do, check out the 2008 BMW M3 Liberty Walk cars above. Talk about widebody; cutting into an M3 takes guts, and we love that Liberty Walk has them in spades.
We pitted two industry heavyweights against one another in this issue, the 2012 Jaguar XFR and the 2013 BMW M5. The XFR was introduced as our latest project car and was then placed in competition with one of the industry's best sedans. We had another kind of competition as well - not "car vs car," rather coilover vs air suspension. While these may be seen as cosmetic rather than performance upgrades, we pitted the latest air suspension technology against one of the best coilover systems. If you follow Formula Drift you've probably heard Michael Essa won the past season. The above photo shows a close look at the champs 2005 BMW M3 drift machine.
While the weather cooled, the cars and action didn't; in the first of our winter editions, a 2008 BMW M3 and 2013 BMW M3 hit the track. Sounds fun, right? Well, these M3s are bright green and fast as hell. There's another brightly colored Euro in the issue, the 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 we tested. 0-60mph in 3.3sec is enough to make any color look good. Let's not forget about the classics, though. The 2013 Monterey Car Week is one of the largest automotive events of the year, featuring over a week of car shows, vintage races, parties, auctions and more. We brought you some of the finest examples of vintage automobiles, including Aston Martins, Porsches and more.