TTAC's Ten Best Automobiles Going (TBAG): Cast Your Vote Now!
You’ve made your nominations. At final count, we received over one hundred entries for our Ten Best Automobiles Going (TBAG). They ranged from the sublime (Ferrari F430 drop top) to the ridiculous (I'm not THAT stupid). Twenty-one of our most expert TTAC writers surveyed each and every entry, and then cast their votes from your list. They narrowed the field to twenty most excellent finalists (listed after the jump). Now it’s your turn. We need you, our well-informed and insightful readers, to link-on-over to our e-poll, cast up to ten votes and select TTAC’s Ten Best Automobiles Going (TBAG) for 2007.
It’s a diverse field. Although some cars received multiple nominations and some received only one, the number of nominations didn’t affect the judges’ selection process. My esteemed colleagues considered each nominee carefully, and then voted for their choices based on their individual merits.
The list of finalists represents cars from all over the globe, in all price classes. Some nominees are fairly new on the market, while others are tried and true. All have that certain something that makes them stand out from the old ennui. Here are the finalists, along with some pros and cons to jump-start your thought processes and stimulate debate:
Acura TSX – Pro: A tasty blend of luxury, economy, style and reliability. Con: A rebadged Euro-Accord with plenty of high-class competition.
Audi RS4 – Pro: Like lightning shagging a tsunami in the middle of a tornado. Con: Audi’s reliability rap sheet stretches back two decades.
BMW 3-Series – Pro: The benchmark for sport sedans: balanced, powerful, tuneful, tactile, grippy. Con: Flame broiled sheetmetal, and expensive options jack up the price.
Chevy Corvette – Pro: Performs like cars that cost twice as much. Con: Built like cars that cost half as much.
Ford Crown Victoria – Pro: Shows us what full-sized American cars once were. Con: Shows us what full-sized American cars once were.
Ford Mustang GT – Pro: An American icon with V8 bellow and woofle and terrific straight-line performance. Con: Very few roads are totally straight.
Honda Accord – Pro: High build quality, exquisite engineering, high mileage and segment-leading resale value. Con: Bland “any car” styling that makes mall parking lots a nightmare.
Honda Fit – Pro: The current benchmark for low-cost, frugal, fun. Con: Light clutch, missing cog.
Honda S2000 – Pro: High-revving VTEC engine wrapped in a nimble rear-wheel-drive roadster. Con: On – off engine makes around town driving lethargic– or loud.
Infiniti G35 – Pro: Near-BMW-level performance at a far-from-BMW price. Con: Near-BMW-level performance.
Jeep Wrangler – Pro: Stays true to its rough and ready Jeep DNA: an American icon-on-wheels. Con: As a daily driver, it’s best suited to park wardens.
Maserati Quattroporte – Pro: A visual, haptic and sonic cargasm boasting a detuned Ferrari engine. Con: The brand has a rep for being less reliable than a pre- (post?) rehab Lindsay Lohan.
Mazda Mazda3 – Pro: Outstanding price-to-performance ratio. Con: Interior design and materials have been well and truly beancounted.
Mazda MX-5 – Pro: Low price, no-hassle roof retraction and go-cart handling equals year-round fun. Con: Chick car rep.
Mercedes E320 BlueTec – Pro: High mileage and low emissions promise the return of the passenger car diesel to the U.S. Con: High purchase price keeps it from those who would benefit most from its lower operating costs.
Porsche 911 – Pro: Legendary handling and performance in a timeless wrapper. Con: High price keeps it from those who would benefit most from its dynamic delights (i.e. me).
Porsche Boxster S – Pro: Faster through a slalom than a Ferrari Enzo. Con: Wind roar above 90mph makes conversation difficult.
Porsche Cayman – Pro: A miniature supercar. Con: Needs more power!
Subaru WRX/STi – Pro: Insane performance for chump change. Con: Only slightly better daily driver than a Jeep Wrangler.
VW GTI – Pro: The high priest of hot hatch hoonery. Con: Questionable quality creates quantum queasiness.
And there you have it. Once you’ve decided which ten of these machines deserve a TTAC TBAG, click on the link below for some (Poll)Monkey business. Make up to ten selections, and then click the “Vote” button. You can only vote once, so make sure your selections are correct before you click on “Vote” to enter your votes.
The polls are open until midnight EDT, Saturday May 19. We’ll announce the winners on Monday, May 21 (or maybe Tuesday, May 22 if we’re a bit alcoholically indisposed).
At this point it’s anyone’s game. Please use the comments section below to lobby for your choices, or explain them, or rail at our underpaid writers for failing to see the undeniable excellence of your neglected nomination. Thanks again for your intelligence, civility and enthusiasm.Click HERE to vote here for the Ten Best Automobiles Going
Mgoldleaf on May 21, 2007
Quite frankly, I’m a little suprized that the Lotus Elise wasn’t nominated. Nothing handles better - it looks great - its cheap - and, it is practically daily-driver friendly. I'm not in the camp that is willing to compare the Elise to the Boxster. The Porsche is a much more comfortable, more expensive, less engaging drive. And, to my eyes looks a little funny. The mid-engine layout is right on but the chassis can handle a lot more power. Its also common - seems like every other car I pass on the way out of Manhattan is an leased, automatic Boxster on its way back to New Jersey.
Evohappy9 on May 24, 2007
Maxb49, The statements in your second thread have me listening. I will ask you, though, why it is that Mustangs are rarely seen at race tracks? From my experience, and that is with considerable driving on European tracks, Mustangs almost never make an appearance. When they do, modified or not, it is never a good showing. I will apologize to you for coming off rather harsh. I was simply nonplussed when you stated that you had considerable seat time in Porsches/Ferraris and still deigned to ask the question "what is a proper race car?". That put me out. With my experience with the Z06 it seemed to me to require rather hard throttling to push (force) it through the corners which per force prematurely wears the tires. If that technique is not used record lap times will probably not be met (from my perspective). I know several Z06 owners that admit to this handicap. Do you have any insight into proper throttle positioning in agressive cornering for the Z06- is there a different way to corner that does not involve modifications to the rear suspension? Since you own a Z06 you obviously have experience with the car and as I have yet to meet anyone that could offer up a different method maybe you know someting the rest of us don't. As far as your comments on the GT500, how then do you compare the two in aggressive maneuvering? I have driven a stock Shelby GT500 and was completely unimpressed. No doubt, the engine is huge and straight line power is not an issue. My primary concern is that of curb weight. Extra body welds and suspension tuning will only go so far - I think that you will agree that the Roush modifications are fairly radical compared to what other cars need to race. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that the few Mustangs I have met at the track were owned and modified by blockheads. Always a great deal of talk on suspension work/chassis mods followed by lackluster performance. A GT500 in the high tens is a breeze (comparatively speaking) to achieve. So I would like some informed insight into the maneuvering dynamics of the GT500 (modified to your specs) and why you feel it is superior to the Z06. My 11.4 time is an average - as I don't spend much time at the trap I can't give you a true number. What I can say is that the 11.4 comes from a soft launch as I do not feel the need to hard launch unless under special circumstances (transmission/transaxle preservation). Twice at the trap I ran a 4500rpm drop and achieved a 10.94/11.05 respectively. To get an Evo to start racing consistantly in the high tens and lower will require considerably more money. There is a limit to the madness. I know this is long winded so bear with me. Straight line power is achievable in almost any car, it's getting the machine to harness the power and channel the physical loads against the chassis in a way so as to maintain stability while at high speed. Let me give this example: There is a beautifully serpentine, poorly paved/buckling back country road not too far from me. About two weeks ago - around 7:50am Saturday morning I was tooling about in my daily driver Evo going to pick up a friend. The next thing I realize there is a Roush GT500 (flaming white with blue racing stripes right? or is that a different model?) riding up my trunk. I waited until we were entering a hard right ascending elliptical turn and went full on the throttle - once you emerge from the turn you can see the road for quite a distance and there are many right to left short swings, almost like a 3/4 mile long chicane. Comming out of the turn and into this "chicane" I could see that the Roush GT500 driver was taken aback by the speed with which I could negotiate the first turn and my lead continued to rapidly increase. Was this a case of not enough mettle on his part or sheer physical limitation of the car? I live in the Mid-Atlantic area and also have a regional licence. I specialize in gravel and tarmac rallying. Regarding the not "outgunnung" the Shelby comment, if you are referencing brute force I totally agree (though I have seen some 1000hp Evos - whether they worked or not I don't know). Surely you realize though that speed through the corners and proper braking skills wins the race. I am simply having a difficult time envisaging a Mustang that handles as well as an Evo.
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