The classic road trip is a rite of passage for all Australians, especially over the summer break.
But there's no point doing it in inferior machinery.
Porsche 911 Turbo S - $461,200
Yes, it's one of the fastest sports cars on the market and, yes, it's a blast to drive. But the Porsche 911 is also vaguely practical, with a four-seat cabin that delivers on head room (up front, at least) and a decent luggage area under the bonnet.
While there's a new 911 in 2019, the current 911 Turbo is still brutally quick off the line; dial up the launch control and you'll smash 100km/h in 2.9 seconds.
That it is so competent and capable over just about any road type means the only thing you have to worry about is not getting nabbed for speeding.
- Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe: Now with the latest 4.0-litre twin-turbo AMG V8 pumping out 450kW the S-Class Coupe is one supreme long distance tourer. Immense pull and sumptuous suspension make it a superb companion for a luxurious getaway.
- Ford Mustang GT: Few cars (at any price) get close to the intoxicating noise of the Mustang's 5.0 V8. Sure, the Mustang is a blunt tool, but it exudes bang for buck.
BMW M2 Competition - $99,900
Arguably the most convincing of the BMW M cars, the M2 Competition ekes so much goodness from the already great 2-Series package.
Its 3.0-litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder dishes up a glorious mix of mid-rev pull that crescendos into a flurry of revs for some serious pace.
Driving the rear wheels, there is an old-school M3 flavour to the way it does its thing.
While it lacks the electronic tailoring of other Ms in some ways it's better for it, the feedback and poise cementing it as a great sensational driver's car.
- Mazda MX-5: Best hope the sun is shining when you hit the road in one of the most engaging two-doors on the planet. What it lacks in outright go it makes up for with beautifully-balanced rear-drive dynamics.
- Hyundai i30N: That Hyundai has managed to create such an engaging (and fast) hot hatch at its first attempt is an achievement. At the price it's a borderline bargain – and ripe for a thrash.
Lexus LS500 - $190,500
It's long been a benchmark for refinement, but not until this latest iteration could you refer to the flagship Lexus limousine as exciting.
The breadth of talent is impressive, able to pamper at any speed but hold its own once you wick up the pace. The new 3.5-litre V6 is an apt replacement for the previous V8 in every area but sound.
But it's the lavish cabin that embraces the Japanese heritage that sets the LS apart.
Acres of space and lashings of standard fare reinforce the premium price tag. Opt for the Sports Luxury and there are brilliant massaging seats.
- Audi RS6: Wagons have no right to be this practical and fast. With a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 at its heart, the bulked-up wagon blasts to 100km/h in 3.7 seconds. Quattro all-wheel drive makes it hugely confident.
- Bentley Continental GT: By coupe standards the Continental GT has cossetting rear pews and up front it's all wood, leather, metal and sumptuous seats. The 6.0-litre W12 engine makes it deceptively brisk.
Fast (short) blast
McLaren Senna - $1.7 million
McLaren may not have the history of its Italian competition, but there's an intoxicating mix of V8 performance, carbon fibre construction and F1-inspired aerodynamics.
The pinnacle of that combo is on display in the Senna, named after triple world champion Ayrton Senna.
With 597kW it's one of the most powerful cars ever created and it's impressively light (about 1.4 tonnes).
But it's the active aerodynamics that help define it, almost instantaneously raising or lowering wings to tailor the balance and downforce depending on what the driver demands.
- Ferrari 812 Superfast: A heady mix of high revs, luscious rear-drive dynamics and sonorous quad exhausts makes for one helluva Ferrari V12 in the 812. Immaculately tuned electronics and superb cornering finesse define one of the truly great Ferraris. Stunning looks seal the deal.
- Mercedes-AMG G63: It's as tough and boxy as ever, but new suspension and a larger body make for an infinitely more welcoming machine – one still oozing character. That the G63 – powered by a 430kW 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 – launches to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds is testament to the excitement, on or off road.
Nissan Patrol Ti-L - $88,990
Forget the mainstream badge, the top-shelf version of Nissan's big daddy Patrol comes loaded with fruit and makes a compelling case for those wanting to dabble in the dirt.
With the Ti-L priced from $88,990 it's sharply priced compared with more fancied competition – at least for those planning to head off-road.
Like all Patrols for more than half a century the Y62 is super capable over sand, rocks and mud, ensuring it'll effortlessly adventure beyond the blacktop.
The (thirsty) 5.6-litre V8 also makes light work of the hefty body, easily building pace for overtaking and hill climbing.
While it's a decent leap into the cabin, you're blessed with acres of space and a commanding view, as well as Bose audio, twin entertainment screens and a fridge.
- BMW X5: Bigger and bolder but also more convincing than ever, the grunty 3.0-litre diesel is silky smooth, while much improved suspension does a better job over Aussie blacktop. Choose the off-road pack for rough road smarts.
- Range Rover Autobiography LWB: Still the king of the luxury off-roaders, especially when it comes to going off-road. The Rangie is big, luxurious and pampering but with genuine ability once things get tough.