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Students of the work of Rick Ross will unite in the opinion that the man loves cars. The musician and business mogul named his label Maybach Music Group, such is his affinity for the palatial four-wheeler, while further clues were dropped with the single “Aston Martin Music” back in 2010. But really, it’s the 200-odd vehicles in his collection (he’s not certain of the official number) that kinda give the game away. Ferraris, Rolls-Royces, Lamborghinis, Bentleys… but also vintage Chevys and a sparkling gold Pontiac Trans Am show Ross to be an aficionado of not just the big-name big hitters but also characterful, stylish motors that speak of a certain flair and showmanship. “If I want it, then it’s worth it,” he tells us in this issue. 

Funnily enough, we didn’t really hang out with Ross to talk cars at all: We had mostly traveled to Miami to explore his new plaything, a Gulfstream G550, which he’d just gutted and redesigned from the carpets up, complete with a black-and-gold exterior paint job with mammoth “Rick Ro$$” insignia, in case there was a danger of anyone mistaking this for a plain old corporate bird. He’s as giddy as a kid in a candy store about it all, as well he should be. (The passengers he chose for his first flight? His mom and sister.) Check out the exclusive tour he gave us of his favorite onboard tweaks and modifications, on robbreport.com, and to see inside the aircraft hangar where he keeps his collection of arcade games, plus a few other trappings of his success. Ross doesn’t just love cars, he loves life. 

Sticking with automotive appreciation, this issue is our annual Car of the Year celebration. We hosted 123 judges across two bicoastal locations, to put 10 extraordinary vehicles through their prodigious paces on road and, for the first time in California, on track. Featuring an eclectic roster of motors that would have made Ross himself sit up and take note, this year saw BMW battle Alfa Romeo, Maserati take on Maybach, and Mercedes-AMG go head-to-head with Rolls-Royce. What really stood out, though, was the prevalence of alternative power trains on display—not something that all our test drivers entirely relished, it must be said. (That’s the thing about the future: It’s coming whether we like it or not.) In fact, of the 10 autos, just under half eschewed ICE for all-electric or hybrid power sources, and one of them even had the temerity to come second in the competition. 

The victor, however, houses a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 under its gloriously curvaceous hood, as Aston Martin’s DB12 ran away with the prize. “One of the best cars ever made,” enthused one of the judges. Which is remarkable considering the turbulence that Aston has had to endure over the past many years, as the business threatened to crumble around the marque’s impressive heritage. This is the 76th anniversary of the DB line, so its success feels especially timely. Turn to page 124 to read the whole story—which model do you have your eye on for this year? 

Elsewhere in this issue, we venture to Alaska, home to some of the most epic heli-skiing in the world and, up to now, some rather less-than-impressive accommodations. But two new properties are providing worthy lodging for those who dare wish for world-class hospitality alongside their desire for exceptional guides and virgin powder on precipitous slopes. And we visit the winter-sport options in Japan, where around 450 ski resorts cater to every ability and some lodges receive over 900 inches of snow in a season. 

Plus, we examine the curious evolution of desert modernism; explore the resurgence of seaplanes; dispel the myth that the higher the proof, the better the whiskey; and make the case for a new wave of abstract artists. And don’t miss our back page this month, where Watch Guy goes head-to-head with Car Guy in the Duel. But be warned: It might make for uncomfortable reading! 

Enjoy the issue.



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