Heavy right foots never go out of season. And for drivers who stomp the gas when the weather outside is frightful, they better be piloting a vehicle up to the challenge. The following list of 18 all-season sports cars have the all-wheel-drive powertrains, advanced safety equipment and brute horsepower needed to tame the elements in winter as well as abuse the pavement in summer. Some are true performance icons, some are more luxury oriented, and some are sleepers — but all can be driven like sports cars year-round.
2018 Porsche 911 Carrera 4
Starting MSRP: $98,000
As purebred as a sports car can be, the Porsche 911 blends decades of championship racing pedigree with continuous evolution as a street machine to deliver a car that will idle in traffic as willingly as it fires adrenal glands in the fast lane. Porsche has worked wonders to make the cabin commuter-comfortable, but it’s the rear-mounted 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged flat six powerplant that truly fires the imagination. The Carrera 4 is a mid-trim 911 rated at 370 horsepower; drivers can choose from a 6-speed manual or PDK performance automatic gearbox.
2018 Nissan GT-R
Starting MSRP: $99,990
This Nissan has been touted as the supercar that comes with all the thrills but not the six-figure price tag. Each GT-R features a motor hand-built by one of five Takumi — master technicians whose signature plaques appear on the front of each masterpiece they build. The car’s 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 produces 565 horsepower, although tuners have coaxed much more out of the plant. Nissan offers a NISMO version for $175,000, that delivers a NISMO-tuned 600-horsepower engine and NISMO-spec suspension, aero, and interior touches. Never have supercar performance and everyday reliability been so harmoniously joined.
2018 Ford Focus RS
Starting MSRP: $41,120
Ford has some serious skin in the all-season sports car game. It’s physics-challenging Focus RS features an all-wheel-drive powertrain that can trace its roots to World Rally Championship titles and an advanced-technology engine. The result is a great combination of confident performance driving and civilized road trip cruising. A 350-horsepower 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine provides the soundtrack. The EcoBoost produces a remarkable 152-horsepower-per-liter specific output. Ford also dresses the RS to impress — the interior features the automaker’s sportiest materials and instrumentation, as well as the most-advanced technology from a navigation and connectivity standpoint.
2018 Subaru WRX STI
Starting MSRP: $36,095
Here’s another WRC champion with a little of the edge taken off so it can thrive in the real world. The rally car to road car formula makes sense . . . what other form of racing translates better to all-season performance? Subaru’s big-dog performance car features a 2.5-liter turbocharged Boxer 4-cylinder powerplant that dishes out 305 horsepower and an advanced version of the company’s Symmetrical AWD system. It includes other significant rally touches such as Recaro bucket seats, 19-inch wheels and Brembo brakes. We can testify that the sound of this flat four at full song is unique to the ears, tempting to the right foot, and addicting to the psyche.
2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia AWD
Starting MSRP: $39,995
After decades on the sidelines, it’s great to see Alfa Romeo back in the U.S. market. The Giulia has made quite a splash — the sporty sedan nabbed the 2018 Motor Trend Car of The Year award. This spicy Italian has the right stuff . . . a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 306 horses in the stable, an 8-speed automatic transmission with sport shift mode that quick-shifts to get the most out of every pony, and an all-wheel-drive system to put every hoof to the pavement. Beyond the signature triangular Alfa grille, the Giulia has beautiful bodylines down its sides. We like how configurable the car is. Buyers can choose the color of their brake calipers: black, red, or yellow — or spend $350 to go with a custom color.
2018 Jaguar F-TYPE AWD
Starting MSRP: $82,900
Touted as the preferred ride of evil protagonists worldwide, the Jaguar F-TYPE is a convincing hooligan. We love the car’s low-slung sinister look . . . it pushes the right buttons. The base trim — a rear-wheel driver — features a 296-horse 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and a $59,900 price tag. Getting that all-season friendly all-wheel drive costs more than 20 large. (Yikes.) The extra coin also delivers more power to the tune of 380 horses from a supercharged V6. Lust for a dastardly rumble from under the hood? The F-TYPE can be had with a blown 5.0-liter V8 as well . . . a 550-horse version for $99,900, and a chart-topping 575-horsepower model that goes for $121,900. Does crime pay? It will have to if you want to roll in one of these Leaping Cats.
2018 Audi TT Coupe
Starting MSRP: $43,950
The brass tacks for this German come down to its 220-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and Audi’s rally-proven Quattro all-wheel drive. The system, which earned its WRC stripes in the early 1980s, has no set torque split so it varies distribution according to tire slippage. Gear selection gets handled by an S-tronic 6-speed automatic with Sport mode. An up-level trim, the TTS, bumps output to 292 horses and the price to $52,950. Since its debut in 2000, the TT has retained its unique silhouette and is a great way to stand out from the crowd.
2018 Lexus RC 300
Starting MSRP: $43,330
The RC lineup definitely has “the look.” Sharp edges and deep-cutting body lines promise performance, and there are two RC variants to consider. The RC 300 runs a 255 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Need more thrust? The RC 350 coaxes 306 horsepower from the V6 and starts at $45,735 in AWD trim. Both can be ordered with the F Sport package, which drives home the Lexus sports car aura by adding more aggressive styling, a sportier suspension and exclusive cockpit upgrades.
2018 BMW 440i xDrive
Starting MSRP: $50,700
The design of the 4-Series is boldly sculpted, and we’d have no problem walking up to it every morning for our daily commute. The 440i xDrive is a coupe that delivers all the up-level 4-Series luxury and a swift kick in the pants when dropping the hammer. The major specs include a 3.0-liter TwinPower turbocharged inline six rated at 320 horsepower, and the choice of a 6-speed manual gearbox or an 8-speed sport automatic with paddle shifters. In true sports car fashion, the 440i features lightweight chassis components, cast aluminum suspension parts, and lightweight brakes to enhance the driving experience.
2018 Tesla Model S P100D
Starting MSRP: $135,000
A total departure of thinking, the all-electric Tesla Model S is an incredible performance car. In fact, the P100D’s 2.5-second zero-to-60 mph time makes it the third-quickest production car on the road. It’s all about Ludicrous Mode, which is a software update that optimizes the car’s acceleration, allowing it to attain “Ludicrous Speed” for all the “Spaceballs” movie nerds out there. Tesla’s Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive with one motor powering the front wheels and one the rears also plays a major role in this Tesla’s performance prowess. Tesla souped-up the P100D by adding a high-performance electric motor in the rear not used in other Model S variants. The P100D runs a 259-horsepower motor in front, and a 503-horse unit in the rear, for a total of 762 horsepower.
2018 Volkswagen Golf R
Starting MSRP: $39,785
The R is the most extreme performance version of the long-running Golf lineup. Its 2.0-liter TSI turbocharged 4-cylinder engine generates 292 horsepower. That’s an impressive 146 horsepower per liter. This hot hatch distributes the power to all four tires via VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, which is a front-drive-biased design that funnels power rearward as needed. The Golf R is small in stature, so it can be flung into corners at will as its free-revving engine and 6-speed DSG automatic tranny with paddle shifters keep pace. Considering the standard Golf starts at $18,995, the top-of-the-line Golf R is an expensive proposition . . . but worth every penny in our book.
2018 Subaru WRX
Starting MSRP: $26,995
The WRX is a toned down, more civilized version of the 305-horse WRX STI with a less complex version of Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD, less aggressive suspension and wheels, a 2.0-liter turbocharged Boxer 4-cylinder engine rated at 268 horsepower, and a price tag nearly $10,000 less. But make no mistake — this is a driver’s machine that in many ways is more nimble than its bigger sibling since drivers can be heavier-footed and more blunt in how they drive the WRX and not come off as an unhinged speed demon.
2018 Infiniti Q60 2.0t Pure AWD
Starting MSRP: $40,950
We’re back in the luxury sport coupe realm where the trick is to get the best balance of performance and extravagance to fit your driving desires and daily commute. There are 10 trims available under the Q60 banner, five of them feature Infiniti’s Intelligent All Wheel Drive system. The party starts with the 2.0t Pure and its 208-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The next step up is the 3.0t Luxe AWD and its 300-horsepower twin-turbo V6. It comes in two price points: the base at $46,300 and the Sport at $50,300. Want to go for the gusto? Meet the Red Sport 400 AWD that drops a 400-horsepower version of the 3.0t engine under the hood and has a sticker price of $54,000. Any one you pick is a winner.
Nissan Juke S
Starting MSRP: $20,250; AWD $22,100
The Juke is a vehicle hard to classify, with a ride that can really scoot when road conditions take a turn for the worse. There are three flavors to choose from. In base S trim, the all-wheel-drive variant costs a mere $1,850 more than the FWD . . . it’s a no-brainer. All Jukes are boosted, running a 1.6-liter turbocharged four cylinder that dishes out 188 horsepower. The only gearbox choice in the S is a CVT and it does not come with a sunroof, climate control or heated seats. Jump to the NISMO AWD variant and get an aggressive aero package, 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, and a 6-speed manual as standard fare for $27,230. Going all-in on Juke with the NISMO RS at $30,020 gets a NISMO-tuned engine rated at 215 horsepower, a NISMO exhaust, bigger brakes and some other exclusive upgrades.
2018 Mercedes Benz C-Class 4Matic
Starting MSRP: $45,200
This is a tale of two cities featuring an entry-level ride and a factory-tuned version. The C 300 coupe features a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 241 horsepower, Mercedes’ 4Matic full-time 4-wheel drive, and a 9-speed automatic. Hand the reigns to the automaker’s tuning arm, AMG, and watch output go up by 121 ponies. The AMG C 43 Coupe 4Matic costs $53,900 and its 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 develops 362 horsepower. Both versions project a great road presence, are filled to the headliner in luxury appointments, and look fast sitting in the driveway.
2018 Acura TLX V6 SH-AWD
Starting MSRP: $38,200
The TLX sedan is an all-new design for 2018, so there is a freshness to the car going in. Acura’s Super Handling All Wheel Drive is the key to the TLX’s success as an all-season sports car. It is only available with the TLX’s up-level 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 powerplant and 9-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Moving up to an A-Spec adds Acura’s digital and connectivity-focused Technology Package, more aggressive styling cues, and an exclusive interior treatment featuring black Alcantara or red leather seats and interior. At $44,800 the A-Spec is $6,600 more than the standard AWD TLX . . . but it’s a lot more fun.
2018 Cadillac 2.0L Turbo CTS
Starting MSRP: $49,490
The CTS is a fit-and-ready sedan that can be had in two pressurized all-wheel-drive configurations. The 2.0L Turbo CTS features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder that generates 268 horsepower, has a quick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, and high-performance Brembo front brakes. Power mongers can turn up the CTS volume with the 3.6L V6 Luxury variant. It adds a 355-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 motor to the equation and costs $56,195. Cadillac has made great strides in designing edgy-looking coupes and sedans, and the CTS is no exception. We like the aggressive angles of the nose and the use of LEDs in the headlights and front fascia.
2018 Volvo S60 T6 Polestar
Starting MSRP: $60,000
Thanks to the harsh winters in Scandinavia, Volvo knows all-season performance. The company’s Polestar versions take performance to the extreme. In fact, more than 70 modifications are made to the standard-issue S60 before it earns its Polestar status. These include 80 percent stiffer spring rates, a race-bred brake system, and an advanced technology engine. The Polestar’s 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Twincharger engine is both turbocharged and supercharged. This setup generates 367 horsepower — a whopping 183 horsepower per liter — and provides crisp boost responses and optimized high-end performance. If your eyebrows are raised, act fast since 2018 will be the last year for this future classic.