Winter’s typically precipitous weather causes discouraged driving enthusiasts to garage their sports cars until spring. After all, there’s great peril putting 500+ horsepower through the rear wheels in cold and wet road conditions. That brings us to all-wheel drive (AWD).
AWD is now ubiquitous. Even budget cars can be purchased with the road-gripping feature. Therefore, winter tires are all that’s needed—as is careful driving—to continue enjoying a performance car when the frost emerges.
Munich’s barnstorming business-class sedan is a favorite for its track presence tucked neatly into an authoritative highway cruiser. The richly-appointed BMW M5 F90 boasts a 600-hp twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine that now sends power to all four wheels for AWD. Its unique M-tuned xDrive system is perfect for the snow but has a two-wheel-drive mode for burnouts in the dry. Prices start north of $100,000, and the M5’s most athletic CS can be had for $143,995, Car and Driver reports.
Some may disagree with Porsche’s engine placement behind the rear axle. Yet, that’s what makes it such a good driving choice in snowy, swampy road conditions. In selecting the 911 Carrera 4S, buyers get not only a 443-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged flat-six but AWD as standard. Although it may not hit the 3-second 0-60 mph mark in the snow, it’ll ensure safe motoring excitement in winter. Car Buzz states prices begin at $124,000, which includes the lightning-fast twin-clutch PDK transmission and Sport Chrono package.
The 13-year-old track day dominator is beginning to show its age, but Nissan hasn’t neglected the supremely capable GT-R. The Japanese giant has improved on it year after year, so it still has take-your-breath-away acceleration and cornering ability. Standard AWD and a transaxle provide better weight distribution and handling for taming the 565-hp 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6 on icy roads. Car and Driver states prices start around $115,000, surpassing $220,000 for the monstrous NISMO Special Edition.
Arguably the most user-friendly supercar, winter driving pleasure is more than possible with the Audi R8’s standard AWD. Moreover, as it’s the only mid-engine car on the list, the Audi is poised and balanced in any weather condition. The 2023 R8 is Audi’s swan song for the magnificent naturally-aspirated V10, likely to be marked by a special edition. Buyers need to act quickly to scoop up the future classic, and Edmunds reports prices beginning around $200,000.
Even though it may sound bizarre, Ferrari’s GTC4Lusso speedy shooting brake may be one of the best choices for winter driving. A 602-hp 3.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 or a 681-hp 6.3-liter naturally-aspirated V12 powers all four wheels through an exclusive AWD system. A secondary driveshaft from the engine’s front mates to a separate transmission containing one reverse and two forward gears. Top Gear reports the configuration is 50% lighter than a conventional central transfer box and provides better weight distribution. Regardless, for one of Maranello’s finest, listings on Dupont Registry show buyers will have to fork over more than $250,000.