TTAC's Ten Best Automobiles 2007

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
ttacs ten best automobiles 2007

You heeded our call. You nominated the cars you considered the best of the best. Without fear or favor, TTAC’s tenacious tribe of telic keyboard tappers selected twenty vehicles from your list of over a hundred superlative automobiles. You voted for 10 of them, creating our first annual Ten Best Automobiles. The voting was often extremely close, but the end result was never in doubt: a selection of ten automobiles that any self-respecting motorist would be proud to own, and delighted to drive. Ladies and gentlemen, raise your tea mugs as I present to you: TTAC’s Ten Best for 2007.

10. Audi RS-4 Last year, Audi’s never-say-die boffins said it: “DIE M3! DIE!” Tired of playing catch-up with the sine qua non of mid-sized sports sedans, Ingolstadt threw their high-tech parts bin at BMW’s uber-3. You like 300 horses through the rear wheels? Ja? How about a 4.2-liter engine cranking out 420hp, all-wheel drive, precise steering, ohmigod brakes and a [nearasdammit] racing suspension? All we can say is: who’s your Daddy? – RF

9. Infiniti G35

For years, Infiniti’s G Force have been the Rodney Dangerfield of automotive enthusiasts. “What's a Japanese sports sedan got to do to get a little respect around here?” they demanded. Wonder no more. Infiniti re-clad Nissan’s 350Z in a Savle Row dinner jacket and gave the G35 road manners aggressive enough to put a vicious little smile on the similarly “refreshed” 007. The smart-handling Infiniti G35 makes Lexus owners wonder what IS is, and forces 3-Series owners to check both their rear view mirrors and diminishing bank balances. – WM

8. Acura TSX Acura's TSX is badge engineering done right. By never losing sight of Honda's racing pedigree or Acura's luxury aspirations, Acura’s engineers created a sublime sedan that has owners snick-snick-snickering with every swap of a cog. Purposeful design, aggressive good looks, inspired handling and excellent build quality make the Acura TSX a heady yet elegant brew. – MN

7. Porsche Cayman

Porsche’s mid-engined Boxster S is the world’s best driver’s car. That makes the Cayman S the world’s best driver’s car with a hard top and a sexier rear end. Fair enough. The roof offers safety advantages and extra-legal schmoozing. The fastback creates Porsche’s coolest car. If and when the Sultans of Stuttgart give their whipper-snapper more power, it will add “unassailably” to “best.” – RF

6. Mazda MX-5

The MX-5 is America’s best value driver’s car. It’s all about finesse– and fun. Whether you’re a hard core enthusiast attacking an apex or a retiree enjoying a bit of drop top nostalgia, the still-svelte third gen Miata is the simplest, best handling, most fundamentally honest and joyful automobile made. – SL

5. Subaru WRX / STI

The WRX is a perfect blend of corner-carver and reliable runabout. The STI provides all-areas access to real world rally racing. Just like the 911, Subaru have continually improved both models’ power, ride and handling without softening their market focus. (The STi still has enough nasty plastic and teeth-chattering compromises to keep poseurs at bay.) The WRX is working class hero, while the STI is destined to end the decade as the benchmark for compact sports sedans. – MB/SL

4. Mazda Mazda3 / Mazdaspeed3

With loads o’ grunt, entertaining handling, mint-popping brakes, daily driver-compatible comfort and admirable frugality, the Mazda3 offers family-friendly fun to the financially fastidious F1 fantasist. The Mazdaspeed3 retains these virtues, kicks it up a notch, and eats the competition for lunch. – ES

3. Porsche 911

If you’ve got a list of “the 100 cars you must drive before you die” and an hour to live, go for the 911. Whether it’s maximum lateral G’s or vanishing point-and-shoot, Porsche’s “everyday” supercar offers terminal drivers terminal velocity. The steering’s perfect, the brakes breathtaking and the engine roar sublime. Each model up the food chain just gets faster and more capable. It’s a sports car to die for. – RF

2. Chevy Corvette / Z06

Fifty-four years post-partum and the Corvette’s just hitting its stride. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better combination of style, performance, handling and (yes) reliability for anything near the price. The endlessly rejuvenated Corvette shows what American automakers can do when the beancounters take a back seat to engineering excellence. – FW

1. BMW 3-Series

The BMW 3-Series continues its reign as the driver’s car. Whether you’re helming the normally aspirated 328i, the twin-turbo 335i, or the [current] M3, Bavaria’s legendary in-line six invites its driver to unleash the powerplant’s silken shove. To needle kiss the redline and savor the compact mill’s sophisticated snarl is to experience mechanical perfection. The completeness of the 3-Series’ dynamic package– ride, handling and brakes– puts the Zen into zenith. In a world of reliable mediocrity, driving the 3-Series remains a peak experience. – RF

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2 of 128 comments
  • Niky Niky on Jun 02, 2007

    Yeah... the superior Civic... with its boingo boingo springs, torture rack front chairs and sightlines worthy of a Volvo (and I hate the sightlines on a Volvo)... The Civic's a great engine in need of a better car...

  • C2100 C2100 on Jun 12, 2007

    Miata - MX5 everyone should drive one at least once in their lives My summer drives are a 1990 classic red and a 2006 Suzuki DL650 VTwin motor cycle- The VStrom My partner has a 2001 Miata - she drives it harder than I dare to drive mine on the street. On the auto cross track its different however. The 90 with ultra high performance tires and a fresh used imported Japanese motor is magic.

  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.
  • Pickles69 They have a point. All things (or engines/propulsion) to all people. Yet, when the analogy of being, “a department store,” of options is used, I shudder. Department stores are failing faster than any other retail. Just something to chew on.