Mary Lowry in the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster at the Erickson Aircraft Collection museum in Madras, Oregon, during Run to the Sun. The roadster was voted best convertible and best overall in the event’s evaluation of fun-to-drive performance vehicles. (Doug Berger / NWAPA)

Mary Lowry in the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster at the Erickson Aircraft Collection museum in Madras, Oregon, during Run to the Sun. The roadster was voted best convertible and best overall in the event’s evaluation of fun-to-drive performance vehicles. (Doug Berger / NWAPA)

Performance cars reign at driving fantasy Run to the Sun

Testing some of the most exciting cars imaginable on some of the world’s best roads.

It sounds like a driving enthusiast’s craziest fantasy, but it’s real.

Run to the Sun is an annual event of the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA). For two days in September, we drive some of the most exciting cars you can imagine on some of the best roads in the world.

Run to the Sun took place this year on Sept. 27 and 28, with participating NWAPA members driving on roads around Mount Hood and Central Oregon, evaluating the performance, handling and, most important, the fun-to-drive aspect of each car. Some performance-oriented SUVs were also in the mix.

The 526-mile driving route was created specifically to provide a wide range of driving conditions including winding canyons, elevation climbs and descents, and long straight stretches.

The cars and SUVs competed in four different categories: Convertible, Coupe, Sedan, and SUV. A winner was chosen in each category, and from among those four winners, an overall winner was selected.

The cars and SUVs in the competition were vehicles automotive manufacturers chose to enter into the event, and NWAPA limited the number of entries to how many could be driven and evaluated within the two-day time frame. Here’s the list of participants:

Acura NSX

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Audi SQ5

BMW M550i

BMW X4 M40i

Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

Dodge Durango SRT

Ford Focus RS

Genesis G80 Sport

Honda Civic Type R

Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Lexus LC 500

Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

McLaren 570S Spider

Mercedes-AMG E43

Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster

Mini Countryman S ALL4


Subaru WRX Limited

Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Volvo XC60 T8

And the winners are:

Best convertible: 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster

Best coupe: 2017 Acura NSX

Best sedan: 2017 Honda Civic Type R

Best SUV: 2018 Audi SQ5 3.0T Quattro

And the overall winner is:

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster.


The Northwest Automotive Press Association is a professional organization of automotive media professionals from throughout the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 1991, NWAPA includes 53 voting members representing more than 100 newspapers, magazines, radio stations, media groups and the Internet. Non-voting members include representatives from automotive manufacturers and related industry professionals.

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association.

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