The speed and agility of modern cars are wasted on too many roads. In same way that off-road vehicles can't be tested by peastone driveways, souped-up sedans can't be pushed to their limits on suburban cul-de-sacs. In order to drive – truly drive – a car, modern commuters have to head out of their way to one of the rare stretches of American asphalt designed to push vehicles to their limits. These winding, curving sections of tarmac not only give great cars a chance to show off the muscle under their hood, but also give great drivers a chance to remind passengers why the American road was once considered the purest embodiment of freedom.
U.S. 212 (Montana)
Spanning four states, a thousand miles, and a nosebleed's worth of elevation changes, U.S. 212 is one of those highways that's difficult to describe in a single (non-run-on) sentence. The single section of this road that runs from Yellowstone National Park across the state of Montana packs in as many rollicking good times as most interstates in their entirety. The Beartooth section, which extends from Red Lodge to Cooke City Montana (and dips into Wyoming) is particularly challenging with its steep, switchbacked sections, and sometimes snowy conditions, but foolhardy motorists are rewarded with what chronic road warrior Charles Kuralt once pronounced, "The most beautiful drive in America."