By on October 24, 2018

Right around this time last week, we featured a QOTD about the most boring car you’d ever driven. Searching through your memories for a boring car was apparently very easy, as nearly 200 comments quickly gathered together to cover all things boring and car.

Today, we’ll head the opposite direction and talk about driving excitement.

Think about a car you looked forward to driving whenever possible. The one car where everything felt right as rain. Nary a gear change was botched, the brake pedal was a familiar friend, and the steering spoke to you with intelligent feedback. You’ve thought about that car often, perhaps even after it exited your life. Passion and soul! And whatever else.

Here’s driving excitement for me. As a fan of sedans in medium or larger guise, luxury appointments, and cylinders of eight or more, the Lexus GS430 fit the bill. I always looked forward to sliding into the very comfortable driver’s seat, starting up the whisper-quiet 4.3-liter as the steering wheel motored down to meet my fingers. The steering, while a bit numb, was accurate and quick. The brakes were the strongest I’ve ever experienced in a sedan, and the power was always more than adequate. Shifts were smooth, and it was hard to catch the transmission in an unprepared moment (unlike a certain Infiniti). The whole car shrunk around you, feeling nowhere near the size it was. The one I owned was a 2001 model, painted Moonlight Metallic silver with a grey interior. I owned it from October 2010 through November 2013, when it was replaced by the current blue Prince-Datsun sedan in my garage. It just so happened that the exciting GS ended up being good value as well, as after three years of usage, I sold it for $700 less than I paid.

Since then, I don’t think I’ve encountered another sedan which combined exciting characteristics that way. Let’s hear your picks for most exciting car you’ve actually driven.

[Images: GM, Toyota]

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118 Comments on “QOTD: The Most Exciting Car of Them All?...”


  • avatar
    Poof

    So assuming you have to actually have driven it…1. e36 M3 racecar, 2. 355 Ferrari, 3.e39 M5. Reasons should be obvious. I think everyone’s list will just be the most exotic cars they have taken for a drive. Kind of boring.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    Of all the cars I have owned, this 1990 Miata I bought back in the spring is the funnest, get in and drive car I have ever had. I almost bought one of these new when they first came out but went with a 1989 Mustang LX 5.0 instead. It is a close second on the list. But the Miata is just a fun car that begs to be driven. Getting ready to put it away for the winter and am already looking forward to driving it next spring. Never looked forward to driving the other vehicles I have owned like I do this car.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    The most exciting *car* was probably the 2003 Viper I got to drive a bit before it was launched.

    wasn’t the most exciting *vehicle*, though. That honor belongs to a 5-liter hydroplane race boat. totally different experience from driving a car on the track.

  • avatar
    St.George

    The most exciting one is your first one!

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    When I was younger I had a Corvette (when Corvettes weren’t considered an old man’s car) , I also had a lot of friends who had Corvettes of various types and years. I would say those where the most exciting, but a Jeep Wrangler on a good trail would be a close second

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I currently have a ’14 Corvette Z51 – old man’s car or not I don’t care because its downright amazing. I was sitting a red light the other day and a kid going to high school on his 10 speed bike stopped in his tracks and gave me the thumbs up so the ‘Vette hasn’t lost its appeal. The ‘Vette is one of those cars that you look back at every time you park it. You almost can’t believe that such thing is yours to drive whenever you desire.

      I can’t wait to get the C7 on the track and get a real feel for how it handles when pushed. On the street its kind of a tease since you can only get a tiny taste of the possibilities that the engine and chassis have to offer.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      “When I was younger I had a Corvette (when Corvettes weren’t considered an old man’s car) ”

      Just how old are you?

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Believe it or not ‘vettes were once ‘cool’.

        Got mine (new) about 14 months after leaving high school. And I was never more attractive to young women.

        But times have changed.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          I think the C7 has turned the tide. Parts of that image will still linger but the current car along with the mid-engine C8 should make it but a memory.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          “Got mine (new) about 14 months after leaving high school”

          How the heck does a fresh-out-of school kid afford a new ‘vette that’s not a Chevette? :P

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Graduation money ;-)

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            $10,650 brand new. I worked part-time in high school and started full-time immediately upon leaving school in a very lucrative industry (at the time) and legal industry. At the age of 20 I was earning more than than the Major League Baseball average salary.

            Actually hung out with some professional athletes who were ‘jealous’ of the ‘vette. Most were driving Monte Carlos and Mustangs.

            Unfortunately that industry changed and so did my income level. While that of professional athletes has skyrocketed.

  • avatar
    CobraJet

    My 69 Cobra Jet Mustang has been exciting me for the past 30 years. My first experience with this make and model was in high school 1969 when my friend got a brand new one. Loved them ever since.

  • avatar
    ajla

    1971 Dodge Demon 340.

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      My brother owns a few Demons. His favorite is his 1971 Demon GSS (Mr. Norm’s Grand Spaulding Supercharged), but my favorite is his 1971 Demon 340 six-pack car with a pistol-grip shifter. Talk about induction noise – you can hear the carbs pulling in all that air. He has endless true stories about getting away from the cops in that car years back, but now these cars are so rare that all the cops would have to do is find out who owns a Demon and come over to your house to arrest you.

  • avatar
    vvk

    The most exciting car I have driven is my 2005 Mercedes SLK350. The car is alive with driver excitement. Smooth, precise shifter, great clutch feel, short wheelbase, great RWD chassis and amazing exhaust sound with the top down. This car is so much fun!

    Best car I have driven was my 2003 BMW E46. I regard the E46 as the most perfect car. Sized just right for family use, it feels like a precision driving tool, with excellent feel, telepathic RWD chassis, outstanding steering/brake feel, exquisite shifter and clutch and that sewing machine smooth 2.5l inline six. Fantastic control on slippery winter roads and excellent fuel economy, too! And a full size spare tire on a matching alloy wheel. Perfect!

  • avatar
    SixspeedSi

    My friend had a 2013 Big Turbo Beetle that made some 450hp. Between the heavy clutch and the lag, lag, lag, BOOOST, that car was probably the most exciting thing I’ve driven. It was also on air suspension, which made corners a little more interesting. Miss that car.

    Besides that, I would say the first manual car I drove and learned how to drive well would rank among the most exciting. There’s nothing more satisfying than successfully nailing a heal tow downshift.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    In no particular order – the pickup truck I had in college, M3, M5 (v10 M5 was ridiculously fast), C4 Corvette, Porsche 911S, and my Miata (because it’s always the answer).

  • avatar
    Guythall

    No doubt about it, the Tesla Model S. Unbelievable acceleration – 0 to 60 below 3 seconds, extraordinarily low center of gravity, linear smooth acceleration, no hesitations AND really comfortable, low noise and vibration. Add to that second to none handling and traction control in the snow. Plus, for my family, highest safety of any car. Performance, handling, safety and high comfort for road trips. I can’t think of any other car that can come close.

    I even drove my model S from Tijuana to Fairbanks Alaska.

    However, if you’re still into rumble and see me noise, this is not your car.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      however, if you’re into preening and “see my snarky vanity plate” it’s definitely the car for you. Even more so if proselytizing is your hobby.

    • 0 avatar
      Guythall

      While it doesn’t directly affect the riding excitement, I guess I should add the comfort of driving a car that breaks 3 digits in the equivalent of MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “However, if you’re still into rumble and see me noise, this is not your car.”

      Yea, probably not for me then.

    • 0 avatar
      CobraJet

      I agree about the Tesla. A consultant we use has one and let me drive it. Wow that acceleration. Like a ride at 6 Flags.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      > I even drove my model S from Tijuana to Fairbanks Alaska.

      Wow, do you have it written up somewhere?! I would love to read the details! I assume you took Cassiar Highway — where did you charge?! Last time I drove it, it was pretty desolate, with gas pretty scarce, let alone electrical outlets.

      Is your MS RWD? I find my AWD MS to be pretty inferior to my RWD BMWs in the snow….

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    In 39 years of driving, I’ve never owned a truly exciting car. Only one (lame) V8 among them.

    Two test drives were exciting:
    – Subaru WRX (friend’s car, not a dealer)
    – Model S P85

  • avatar
    smartascii

    I’ve been fortunate enough to drive all manner of Very Fast Cars, but not a one of them has ever made me grin like my unmodified ‘91 240 SX from college. The engine blew right after I graduated, and I bought a new GTI (because I thought I was a grown-up who needed a commensurate car), and I’ve always regretted not fixing and keeping the little Nissan. Finding one now that isn’t trashed, automatic, or modified beyond recognition is impossible.

  • avatar
    threeer

    My 1993 BMW 325is (owned back in the late 90s/early 00s). Not the fastest car, but it just felt right on so many levels. Controlled, responsive, balanced…so much of what appears to be missing from today’s 3-Series. Every drive was a joy, and it was one of the few cars I routinely looked back at whenever I walked away from it in a parking lot.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    I’ve loved every car I’ve owned but the Abarth takes the cake. I can’t get more than 22mpg out of it.

  • avatar
    paxman356

    Since it has to be something I owned by your description, the car in question for me would be a 1983 Plymouth Sapporo Technica:

    https://barnfinds.com/bf-exclusive-1983-plymouth-sapporo-technica/

    I liked it so much, I bookmarked that because I can go back and look at pictures of it and smile. I only owned it for a year, but it was a fun year. I delivered pizza at the time, and getting 25mpg was pretty sweet in 1988.

    It had a 5 speed, cruise control, and the “Technica” package, which included a digital dash, and other tech niceties like being able to talk to you (“Your door is ajar”, “No, it’s a door!”)

    I put some nice tires with raised white lettering I bought from a co-worker, and it looked surprisingly nice. It handled great, too. I wish it had air conditioning, but that was really it’s only shortcoming, especially because the roof was painted black.

    Looking back over the years, I’ve not really gone for sporty cars, even though I like them. I just don’t want to spend the money on them. I’ve owned way to many Saturn S series (sedan and wagon, no coupe) and have a soft spot for them now. I had a Pontiac Vibe that was pretty sweet, but it had a miss in it from the time I bought it and that wound up being rings. The previous owner found a bullet that could kill that bulletproof engine, probably not changing the oil. The two Olds 88s I owned (the 10th gen H body) were probably the most boring, although the Chevette Scooter and Cavalier I owned come close. I currently own a Suzuki Kizashi that could become the most exciting, but I just haven’t had it long enough to make that call.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    I’ve driven both classic and modern muscle cars, some exotics, almost every generation of German, Asian and American performance sedan (+own one now), from every decade between the 70’s and the present. And yet, the one that I have the greatest fondness for was a bone stock 1989 (E30) BMW 325i 5-speed, in Cirrusblau with a houndstooth cloth interior. I sold that car with 250K miles on the odometer to a good friend when I upgraded to an E36, and it soldiered on. I knew that car so well, it fit like a favorite worn-in baseball glove and I could use it all the way to a 10/10ths clip if desired without fear, because we had years of fast driving together. So many memories, both in the front seat and in the back… :)

    I only regret not finding a way to turn it into a E30 Spec car and going racing. I just didn’t have the time or budget then.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    E39 M5 is still my favorite. It’s been “resting” the past 18 months, but I drove it daily for about 5 years and loved every minute (aside from the maintenance costs). Handling is great for the size, steering is properly heavy but with good feel, power builds naturally and doesn’t feel like cheating the way turbos do, gearbox is good enough, and the sound from the stock exhaust is just right instead of being an attention whore like so many modern sporty cars.

    Runner up: ZJ Grand Cherokee V8- I haven’t driven any modern V8 SUV except for the Tahoe and the current Grand Cherokee, but what made the ZJ so much fun was the huge torque and how overpowering it seemed for that chassis.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Most exciting recent drive: a carb’d (non-Si) 2nd gen Prelude. Everything feels 10x more visceral and exciting than a modern car. Low to the ground with insane visibility, zero NVH insulation, classic Honda ergos, and the carb gives the engine a sort of vintage feel/sound. You don’t care that it has barely more than 100hp, everything feels fast in it. That one was being sold for $2500 or so as I recall, there is a really mint 85k mile survivor (red, Non-Si, stick, $5500 asking) that’s been flipped several times on CL in Indy right now, if I had more garage space I’d honestly be tempted.

  • avatar
    HaveNissanWillTravel

    Not my ‘17 Versa S 5M.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Boring is boring, exciting is exciting; to be quite honest, the average reader here can’t afford a properly exciting car–unless you go sub-mini. For all there are those who pan them, the Cooper Mini, Fiat 500 and a few other of the ultra-tiny cars can be an absolute blast to drive–just plain fun because they scoot around like wild things and carve corners like a go-kart. It’s simply impossible not to want to ‘play’ when they give you that kind of neck-snapping performance. Sure, there are faster cars but the sub-minis can out-maneuver all of them. The Fiat 500 can do a U-turn on a 2-lane highway without even getting off the pavement–almost always without needing to hit the hand brake (j-turn) or two-point backing.

    While I’m no fan of the newer version of a certain gold-robbery movie, the old 60s version had it dead-on. Their tiny size and extreme agility can do things in traffic no other car or even motorcycle can attempt.

    • 0 avatar
      hpycamper

      My 2010 MINI convert brought back memories of driving Italian and British sports car in my teens and 20s. Not as fast as the Audi that replaced it, but a blast to drive and surprisingly comfortable.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    My Deep Jewel Green Metallic 1991 Mustang LX 5.0L notchback, manual transmission, factory 3.08 gears.

    Effortless acceleration (only 225 hp stock, but 300 lbs-ft of torque) and lightweight relative to today’s cars. Burnouts like no tomorrow. Drift machine before drifting was cool.

    And that exhaust, 2 chamber flow masters, with the cool LX polished stainless steel duals. They still sound sweet today.

    I REALLY miss that car, fun as hell to drive and sweet, sweet V8 sounds.

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      I once took a lengthy test drive in the same car, but it was white with that grey Ford cloth. The dealer actually let myself and a friend take it out by ourselves. The burnout we did in a parking lot nearby made the building look like it was on fire. I thought we were going to get a talking to when we returned to the lot because of all the rubber in the rear wheel wells!

      Ahh, to be young, careless and risky again…

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I drove 2016 v8 Mustang California 10 days ago… wow

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Of cars I’ve actually driven?

    They all have their exciting points if you look hard enough.

    82 Celebrity – catching air with all 4 wheels on a hilly back road with 4 high school guys and their golf bags in the car

    1987 Cutlass Supreme – hammering the throttle in the rain trying to quickly get into traffic and having the Quadrajet and the posi conspire to make me do a 180 spin.

    1997 Escort Wagon – catching air because I missed a stop sign on another quiet back road and the crossroad had I high crown. (Bent the heat shield, always had a rattle after that at startup.)

    2004 F150 standard cab long bed V8 – how easy it was to use the throttle to kick the rear end sideways.

    2010 Highlander V6 4wd – doing a little 4 wheel WRC style drift in gravel or snow. (Otherwise though… zzzzzzzzz)

    1967 Mustang Convertible 289 V8 – feeling like your connected to something that is alive, not just machine. The purity of no computers, very little electronic anything.

  • avatar
    285exp

    The best driving car that I actually owned was a 1985 RX7 GSLSE, the most exciting I’ve driven was a 911 Carrera S at the Porsche Driving School at Barber Motorsports Park, the most exciting I’ve ridden in was a 911 GT3 driven by one of the instructors.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    You know they say that it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast…
    Had a 2003 Matrix – definitely not fast – but it had a 5-speed manual and it was equipped with (then large) 17″ Firestone Firehawk Z tires standard. That thing could certainly carve a canyon.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    The obvious answer is my Viper. Driving or riding in one should be a bucket list item for car enthusiasts.

    Some less obvious ones:

    -2001 MR2 Spyder. Nothing quite like a 2000 lb mid engine car at speed. With some simple mods, these can become a budget Lotus.

    -2005 diesel Excursion with 24″ lift. I didn’t actually get to drive this, but I did ride in it. Completely different type of excitement obviously and absolutely impractical to own. But I had a smile on my face the whole time. The first time looking down at a semi driver was something else.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Chevy 1500 V8 Cargo van. I drove it empty half time. This thing moved. The engine was screaming. The high sitting, like you are on top of the world. It was a sweet ride.

  • avatar
    raph

    2017 GT350 – absolutely love the way this thing handles. Ford really did a great job of setting up a well balanced car.

    I replaced my modified 2009 GT500 and haven’t been disappointed yet with the GT350 despite the lower horsepower and torque and that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the GT500 since that car could rocket to 160 pretty damn quick but there is just something so nice about how balanced the GT350 is making it a pleasure to drive.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    ’97 Escort, Chevy 1500 cargo van, ’03 Matrix…Corey, you sure some of the responses from last week’s piece haven’t somehow made it into today’s?

    Just kidding…

  • avatar
    RHD

    Interesting how Pontiac’s ad slogan, “We Build Excitement!” hasn’t resulted in any vehicles listed here so far, except for a Vibe.

    My most exciting current vehicle – ’93 Miata. It’s always a blast to drive. If you haven’t driven one, you don’t know what you are missing.

    I had a ’69 Datsun Roadster in college, which was exhilarating. It’s now in the garage, gathering dust and awaiting a restoration when other priorities don’t take precedent. The Datsun and the Miata will never get sold.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    Hard to say. I’ve been lucky in a lot of ways. Growing up in a rural area meant the sooner I could drive a hay truck, the sooner I would be useful. To this end, my grandfather had me driving his ’65 Fairlane Sports Coupe at age 13. Anything is exciting at that age, especially if it’s illicit and grandpap is complicit. I graduated to the ’60 GMC 3/4 ton pickup as my first stick-shift vehicle and paid that debt off many times over before I was ever licensed, much less of legal driving age.

    First fast car was a high school friend’s 1973 454 Corvette 4-speed. He got too many tickets and had to sell it, and let me drive it the day before he had to let it go. Remember passing about six cars on one of the few passing straights on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville and being quite surprised how hard it was to slow it back down quickly. A couple years later, my first own muscle car, a 1967 Mustang GT big block fastback. At that point I had some sense of the way a good car should handle and this definitely wasn’t it. But it was never anything other than exciting.

    I worked as a test driver doing on-road testing for OEM prototypes for several years, during which time I drove a lot of uninteresting stuff that was heavily disguised. But it cured me of ever wanting to drive something flashy ever again, as nothing draws attention like camouflage. Some of them were actually very interesting. I had a knack for calling drivetrain issues so I got first crack at some memorable prototypes, including a couple of the first serialized tool-test Ecoboost vehicles, literally s/n xxx000001. Though that calibration never made it to production, a 400hp V6 was a revelation to me.

    But my most exciting rides have always been on two wheels. My first ride on a KZ1000, after which going fast in cars never really made sense again. The first time I got the carbs properly cleaned on my CB750 Super Sport and opened it up. My first trip up through the gears on my new V65 Sabre, where I chickened out long before it ran out of capability, my first truly scaryfast bike. The 2->3 shift is at 105 and there are six gears. It took me years to find the top end of that one. A few exotics like a Bimota DB6 and a Buell S1. Or the ZX9R where I had a truly capable bike on a truly technical road for the first time and discovered I could steer just by looking where I wanted to go.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    The one car I regret selling was my e38/740i Sport in 2010. The car drove like a big 3 series – unbelievable. But a series of electric motors, window regulators and a weird gas tank issue that only allowed me to fill it up to 3/4 scared me away from owning it any longer than a year.

    Should’ve kept it and worked through the problems. I miss it.

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    rode in, but did not drive: my employer’s 1968 maserati ghibli coupé [back in 1969].

    driven myself, but did not own: an acquaintance’s 246 dino coupé, circa early 1970s [back around 1985]. and a new aston martin v-8 vantage at the local dealership [about eight or nine years ago].

    owned, operated and thoroughly enjoyed: my 1997 boxster, ties with my 2007 cayman. bought both ‘new,’ almost 22 and 12 years ago, respectively. just under 110k miles on the boxster. just slightly over 41k miles on the cayman. FUN TO DRIVE!!

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I tend not to drive in a spirited fashion, so nothing really excites me. I just like comfortable and sedate highway cruises with the cruise control set to the speed limit. All the vehicles I’ve owned are/were not performance cars and I like it that way. If I’ve ever driven anything with some extra oomph, I never bothered to put it through its paces. My high school girlfriend, who’s now my wife, had an E46 BMW back in high school. I was as gingerly with her car as I was with mine, which was a Grandma-mobile ’97 Concorde.

    I do like the ’91 LeBaron convertible that I restored earlier this year. I’ve never really had any experience in dropping the top and going on drives in the open air. I want to take it on some drivable forest roads, but haven’t found any with considerable distance that a FWD could do safely and easily. I have done some desert highway driving with it. It is a different experience over just opening the sunroof and rolling down the windows (or, what I usually end up doing on summer days, keeping everything closed and rolled up to run the AC).

    If we are talking about any kind of vehicle, including riding lawnmowers, my grandfather’s Grasshopper ZTR mower was quite interesting. I think they are pretty cool but I don’t need one. My property is not big enough to warrant the use of a ZTR with a 5-foot deck. They are kind of pricey at $15,000 for brand new one. My grandpa was lucky and got one for next to nothing at an auction.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    1979 Trans Am. 400, 4-speed. Red. T-tops. Last Muscle Car Standing in the malaise era. Belonged to the dude I just met who I carpooled with halfway across the country to go to college. I could easily find a faster car today, but I’ll never be 19 again.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I think you win for me.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I knew a kid in high school who had a ’81 Trans Am Turbo. I walked him in my ’75 Olds wagon (455, no emissions controls).

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Yep, the TA turbos were not impressive. Terrible turbo-lag (like most early-80s turbos) and geared for economy. I had a buddy who’s parents had a mid-70s Buick wagon, with a 455. That barge could move. I’m glad I don’t have to drive a malaise mobile, but I kind of miss them.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        According to its C/D road test, a ’79 Trans Am 400 went 0-60 in 6.7, 0-100 in 16.9, ran a [email protected], and stopped 70-0 in 179ft.

        Definitely nothing lofty by today’s standard, but that’s still comparable to something like the XTS and it has major late 70s style without going Brougham.

        FWIW, the test of an ’80 TTA was 0-60 in 8.2, 0-100 in 24.4, [email protected] and 186ft.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          unfortunately the vast majority of ’79s were built with the Olds 403 which gave up 35 hp.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Keep in mind…this was the same GM that supplied ringer X-cars to C/D a year later.

          Malaise era muscle cars looked good, but by and large, they were dogs.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Maybe, but it doesn’t take much for a private owner in 2018 to build a “ringer” out of a Malaise-era Pontiac 400 or Mopar 360.

            The biggest problem is that these cars are becoming “collectible” enough that breathing on an otherwise “stock” car will materially hurt the value.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Ha, ha, those Vista Cruisers were one of the biggest sleepers back in the day

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Great to see some appreciation for my car’s near twin (mine’s a GS400 silver with black interior). I agree with all you’ve said about this underrated car, fast, comfy, reliable, excellent value. At the end of the day, driving it home is always a small reward. Now, the most exciting car I’ve driven? probably the hot-rodded turbo 911 I drove this year. Great power and sounds, God’s own gearbox, incredible brakes and all the while it’s trying to kill you.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    Toss up between my ’68 Formula S 340 4spd Barracuda, and my ’77 ex cop Fury, but for totally different reasons. The ’68 was real quick, the Fury was less so but had real presence and would surprise you with its nimble and stable handling, and way better brakes. I know a Tesla, and damn near anything now would dust it, but the Fury folks “got outta the way” for it.

  • avatar
    MGS1995

    For me it was my 1996 Saab 9000; when it wasn’t on a flatbed, it was the most planted car I’ve driven. It seemed stable at any speed.

  • avatar
    stevejac

    For me it’s easy: My ’74 FIAT 128. The excitement was when it started for a change. Then there was the time the clutch cable broke in bumper to bumper traffic. About 10 milliseconds to shut off the ignition before rear ending the car in front of me.

    Actually, when it did run, it was a hoot to drive.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Toss up:

    1) 2008 BMW 335 manual sedan. The BMW dealership was stupid enough to let me loose with this alone. Let’s just say I made the most of the opportunity. Absolutely brilliant car – great engine, great steering, great suspension, great brakes. How brilliant was it? They also let me loose in a M5 and I preferred the 335. Sometimes a car just connects with you. It was just…perfect. Too bad the current 3-series is so damn numb (and so junky inside).

    2) 1995 Camaro Z-28 manual. I worked at a Chevy dealership at the time, and I commandeered it for a “lunch break,” which lasted about two hours (I’d turned in my two week notice about a week before, so I figured WTF). I had so much fun that I forgot I was driving a big-power RWD car, got sideways, and almost ended up face-first in a tree. I did so many lurid burnouts that I bet the guy who eventually bought it never understood why he got 10,000 miles out of the rear tires. Long live the V-8.

    Honorable mention:
    1) My dad’s Mercedes 400E. It wasn’t all that exciting, but dear Jesus was that thing fast on the highway.

    2) Dodge Omni GLH Turbo. I was almost stupid enough to buy it as a daily driver.

  • avatar
    carsonthebrain

    I used to own a 1999 Saab 9-3 Viggen. Was not a beautiful car by any stretch of the imagination but it was a white knuckle experience. Front wheel drive with a 5 speed shifter and turbo that loved to kick in right about the time the torque steer was in full force. Accelerating out of a turn made for a fun experience!

  • avatar
    Featherston

    http://www.nytimes.com/1995/07/16/magazine/on-language-how-shrunk-snuck-in.html

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    This is really hard:

    1) Porsche 944S – great handling, braking, balanced, strong power, fantastic to drive

    2) Pontiac G8 GT – super balanced, power like the hammer of Thor, comfortable, underrated

    3) Ford Probe GT (Gen I) – my favorite car – and I was able to get my hands on a 1990 Vulcan powered V6 with a manual last year and learned this wasn’t nostalgia filter. One of the best all around cars I have ever had the pleasure to drive. Comfortable, good handling, communicative, strong brakes, great visibility, light understeer but very controlled. The Vulcan powered V6 isn’t the same – but it is close (suspension softer, brakes are 4-wheel disc but no ABS, etc. etc.)

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      You drove a turbo-4 Probe?

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        A neighbor of mine was an immigrant to the USA from Bulgaria. His first new car was a first-gen Probe GT. He said it was one of his all-time favorite cars. He was back in the old country for a year or so and he actually had the car shipped over there so he could drive it in Europe. That car eventually bit the dust (I don’t remember how), and he moved on to Mitsu 3000GT VR4, Lexus SC400, etc.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    My dearly departed G37. It was beautiful to look at and incredible to drive with all the mods I did to it (coilovers + wheels + tires). In the long run though me totalling it (and walking away unscathed) was for the better. A street car can be TOO fun.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “A street car can be TOO fun.”

      I remember reading that you totaled the G on track? Is that correct and if so what happened?

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Yep, that’s pretty much exactly what happened. I had a successful track day on my motorcycle last year, and I figured the car would be a fun outing too. Spun and hit a wall on the last session of the day. Funny thing was, in the prior sessions it became clear the car was not track ready. Coilovers were soft for track duty and the auto transmission just couldn’t hang. Still fun otherwise

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          Sorry to hear that.

          I’d like to buy a cheap 350/370 or FRS/BRZ specifically for the track. Maybe even a Factory Five 818. Thing is, I don’t want to spend a lot of money on it.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Between track fees, insurance and consumables, it’s very expensive. And I imagine it can get boring running the same track all the time.

            Personally, I find sim racing to be pretty fun and enough to fulfill my automotive needs. I do want to do some more bike track days, but I’m going to rent the motorcycles. There are also companies that rent exotics… but the cost per minute is a bit intense. However, compared to owning, insuring, fueling and maintaining my own track car (which I would definitely want to drive on the street as well) it’s not too bad. We have good kart tracks down here as well. Definitely think outside the box.

  • avatar
    pb35

    I’ve had some fun cars over the years. For many years, my favorite was a toss up between my first new car, an ’87 GT Mustang or the MkII GTI that replaced it. Then I purchased a Chevy SS automatic in 2016 then traded it for a manual a year later. That SS was the best, one car that could do it all. Until it was totaled last July.

    I’ve been driving my new CTS-V for the past 6 weeks or so and this one takes the cake. I haven’t looked forward to the end of the workday since I was 20 with a new GT in the parking lot waiting for me. I’m afraid I’m at peak auto and at 51 years old, it’s going to be downhill from here.

    • 0 avatar
      cae

      The black 2011 CTS-V coupe 6-speed I had will remain the most exciting for me. Walking toward it, driving it and walking away with a backward glance – I enjoyed every bit of that car. Second place is a 1972 Warbonnet Yellow Corvette. Both cars had the looks and performance that only Americans could and would build for a price I could afford.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    There will always be a special place in my heart for my ’97 Volvo 850 T5. I especially loved it with the sunroof open, transmission in Sport mode, and the turbo kicked in. The ride comfort was everything you would expect, for a mid-’90s car the automatic climate control was amazing, and the formal lines made it all feel stately.

    I once drove that car down I-81 through Pennsylvania when it was a sheet of ice and only twice was I ever worried about traction.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    Most exciting was a Baja Bug- it always felt like it secretly wanted to kill me and it encouraged me to do real dumb things to oblige it.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    1978 Ford L700 with 18′ dump box. Above 55 MPH, the steering might as well be two long rubber bands stretched from the column to the wheels.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    At first glance, most people would pick the Honda S2000. Convertible fun, super-slick 6-speed manual, and the famous 9,000-rpm-redline F20C. However, I’m going with the ’92 Sentra SE-R. The S2k was a fantastic 8/10ths car but felt ‘heavy’ when I wasn’t caning it. The SE-R is fun at all 10ths.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Mine was already mentioned…but the hands down most exciting car I have ever driven or owned was by far hands down the one that makes me smile the most while bringing back my most favorite memories which would be…
    My first car. A serious contender the 1985 Ford EXP was, it had all the thrills a one would expect, nay, demand from a car with no AC, crank windows, 5 MT, JC Whitney turbo muffler and tape deck loaded with Def Leppard. Easily to date or even in my lifetime I would wager the best $250 I have ever spent.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      I will say that the EXP was underrated in my opinion. My oldest brother had an 83 LN7 5-speed no other options. It was picked up cheap in nearly perfection condition at some point in the early 90s. He drove it back and forth from college/home for several years before passing it to my older brother who did the same and then I had it for a summer after I wrecked my own car. I have no idea how this is possible for an early 80s Ford product, but really NOTHING broke on the thing! There was no rust, no body damage, the interior (rock hard plastic and nasty vinyl) was in great shape, no mechanical issues and it got great mileage too! Somehow that thing just kept on going with nothing more than regular oil changes. It wasn’t fast, but it would scoot if you pushed it hard enough.
      Sadly, despite having nothing wrong with it at all as it approached 100k miles, some bonehead teenage girl learning to drive backed into it while it was parked and caved in the rear wheel arch and bent the rear suspension under. It was deemed to be too costly to fix and was totaled. Shame, I’m sure it would have carried on for quite a bit longer.
      Sometimes a simple car is very good.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    A 1962 Beetle that had sat in someone’s driveway for 3 years before I got my hands on it. Nearly bald, dried out bias ply tires, no heater. Driving that in an Ontario winter really kept me on my toes and my heart racing.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      Had a friend in college that had a Karman Ghia. It had no heat (luckily we went to school in Florida but we still had cold snaps… cold being relative to what Ontario experiences…) and a hole in the floorboard which he covered with a piece of plywood.

  • avatar
    z9

    My dad’s 1976 530i had a cylinder block that repeatedly cracked causing the engine temperature to shoot up spontaneously was pretty exciting. It was also the perfect car for Minnesota driving excitement. These cars had zero traction in snow and the thing was constantly getting stuck. Then there was the time it spontaneously went into a skid on an entrance ramp on a clear day and slid across two lanes of a freeway into the median, where it was naturally stuck in a snowbank again. When it wasn’t snowing, it was generally too cold for the engine to start. Not a car you wanted to park outside.

    However, both inside and out, the original 530i was a beautiful car. It just needed to be in California.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    For me, having fun in general everyday driving, from around town speeds to extra highway speeds it has to be one of these.

    -S2000
    -Miata
    -JCW Mini
    -MR2 Spyder

    All light and agile which I guess is my thing. What’s funny is growing up, in my mind, the best car was the fastest to 60 and/or the one with the most horsepower. How times have changed.

    I’ve been told a Viper is like a Miata on steroids. I’ve never been behind the wheel of of one but it’s an experience I really want to have. I also want to drive a Superformance GT40 and Shelby Daytona Coupe.

    For experiences off of the street a kart is a whole lot of fun. SportyAccordy has been singing their praises and they’re an enjoyable and cheaper alternative to tracking a car.

    Also UTVs like the Polaris RS1 and Yamaha YXZ 1000 are a barrel of laughs. Great thing about them is you can go as fast as you dare over all types of terrain without worrying about Johnny Law.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Of the cars I’ve driven I’d have to place the honor of most excitimg on my friend’s old 99 Mustang GT. It was the first manual I was able to successfully drive without stalling or lurching.

    Of the cars I’ve owned, I’d say the Focus ST.

  • avatar
    Chi-One

    I’ve owned all these cars and loved ’em:
    ’86 Omni GLH Turbo
    ’69 Olds 442 conv w/455 and 4sp.
    ’11 Grand Cherokee HEMI.
    ’89 Caprice 9C1.
    ’07 Crown Vic P71.
    ’13 Challenger R/T 6sp.
    ’16 Challenger R/T 6sp.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I struggle to find cars exciting as far as performance goes. Litre class sport bikes kill any sense of excitement generated by cars. Add to that 500 cc MX bikes. Ice racing bikes, drag racing MX bikes on a strip etc. that also makes cars boring. Even my current DRZ400 SM supermoto with a paltry 32 hp makes a car seem boring as heck on a rough winding back country road.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      They don’t need to be liter bikes. A 750 or 600 will do the trick. A Ninja 400 or KTM 390 Duke are fun because they’re so light and flickable.

      Have you seen Honda’s new Monkey bike. Looks like it’d be a hoot to ride.

      And don’t forget about side by sides and ATVs.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      That’s kind of been my mentality as well. After my Bandit 1200S on a back road where it wants to loft the front wheel cresting a rise, going into a corner, nothing on 4 wheels has felt the same since.

      I just remembered another good one though from not too long ago: a coworker has a pretty seriously track-prepped NB Miata: turbocharged to about 300hp or so, stiff suspension, the works. It was a little chilly out as I recall and he had swapped over some all seasons, so that thing was breathing deep and breaking traction going into third. Being that low to the ground amplified the sensation of speed.

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      It takes an awfully pedestrian motorcycle to be less exciting than a performance car. As I noted above, after my first ride on a 1978 KZ1000, it never really made sense to go fast in a car ever again.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I’ve mostly driven boring cars (FWD Ford sedans in various incarnations, and a Mercury Grand Marquis for a 10.5 year stretch), but I did take a memorable test drive once in a 2015 Taurus SHO demonstrator. First car I’ve ever driven where a blast down the interstate didn’t hit the 90% envelope in terms of capability. At the time I had to reign it back in it felt like it would pull forever, with that Ecoboost power and AWD. Lots of cars make that kind of power and more these days, so I’d imagine that many people get to have similar experiences.

    Most exciting car I’ve owned/leased for any length of time is the 2015 BMW 320i. I’m still impressed with how much speed I can carry into corners, and in sport mode it feels adequately powered. I’d imagine spicier versions are even more fun. I will miss the handling when my lease is up, no doubt about it.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Bought new, still have it, 105,000 miles on it 1990 Plymouth Laser Turbo. To my eye, still one of the all time nicest looking cars. Borderline exotic car fast back then, even if mid 6 sec to 60 and 15 sec 1/4 are quite ordinary now. Still so much fun to drive. My fear is some critical unfindable part will fail, and it will be junked in near show room condition.

  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    I had an ’83 RX-7 with a heavily ported 12A that put out over 200 hp at 9000 rpm. It had 185/70-13s and would burn them all the way through second gear. Sketchy as hell. Most fun ever.

    Now I have a Jaguar with a 500 cid Cadillac motor for Lemons racing. If I can find the title I’ll register it for the street.

    If you’re asking about “exciting”, I think it’s in proportion to the horsepower and craptitude of the car involved. My Mustang could outrun either car, but listening to the Offspring while cocooned in leather just doesn’t hold the thrill of being assaulted by a 3″ exhaust and praying the engine doesn’t puke parts.

  • avatar

    The XKE I owned. Of course it was HO scale and ran on electricity. :)
    Also the GT40, but it was 1/32nd scale.

  • avatar
    TheDutchGun

    When I was 23, I bought my first brand new car, a 2006 mustang GT, cloth interior, 5 speed, decklid spoiler delete, grey. Throughout the 7 years I owned it, things were done bit by bit. By the end of my time with it, the Ford racing suspension package was added,Hurst shifter, new wheels and tires (Carroll Shelby cs66), new exhaust and everything I could do under the hood short of forced induction (was never in the budget). In
    it’s final setup, it was quite exciting and a joy to drive.

    Technically my current 15 F150 has a better motor and more power, but it is obviously nowhere near the same experience.

  • avatar
    Funky D

    I’ve been fortunate to have a few:

    1995 Impala SS. On my test drive, I was stunned to be driving a genuine full-size Chevy that didn’t wallow over bumps and had unbelievably crisp handling. About $1500 in mods later, I was autocrossing and beating Mustangs with this over 18′ long tank!

    The last couple years living at home, I couldn’t get enough seat time in Dad’s 1987 Fiero GT. Handled like a rail sled, and with a modern 3800, would be more fun than should be legal!

    Best ride though was definitely my 2006 GTO. 10 glorious years of driving a red rolling can of whoop @$$. The first few months of ownership, I felt like I was trying to walk a pack full of Rottweilers! That feeling never did go completely away. Just about every morning, when starting up the LS2, I hummed the first 4 notes of “Bad to the Bone”! It’s a crying shame that GM turned it into a parts orphan. I hope the Mustang GT convertible that is next on my list is as much fun.

  • avatar
    DEVILLE88

    1994 Mazda Miata, that car was one well ballanced machine even my wife who gets scared of speed enjoyed it. Followed by my current daily driver 2001 BMW 330xi its definately the best handling sdan i’ve ever owned.

  • avatar
    DEVILLE88

    also forgot to add my 1972 Cadillac Eldorado, nothing like getting in that car and seeing that wreath and crest hood ornament 6ft in front of me!!! Definately a thrill to drive and know you’re driving the best of the best.

  • avatar
    Tennessee_Speed

    My 1966 Lotus Elan, British racing green, was the best handling car I ever had. Easily outran 911s in the curves, not so much in the straight aways. Fast up to 80 mph, then that’s about it. A maintenance nightmare, but I’m sorry I sold it.

  • avatar
    ceedub1170

    My two favourites:

    1985 Toyota MR2

    1999 BMW 528i

  • avatar
    izackl

    In 2002 I bought a 1995 Taurus SHO.

    I have owned moderately fun everyday cars before,
    but THAT THING was much more fun than I expected.

    I was always amazed at how different that thing was under
    4k rpm then what it was like over 4k rpm.

    I didnt keep it long, but god i loved the curves in that car.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    In no particular order:

    2004 BMW 325i – so balanced, so connected. It felt like the car was part of your body. Not the fastest thing around but so right. I thought it was the best handling car ever until I drove a…

    2003 MINI Cooper S – yellow with black stripes. That supercharger whine, the go-kart handling. Again, not the fastest drag racer but it can chew through corners like nothing I’ve ever owned.

    1994 Buick Roadmaster – not a handler, and not really a muscle machine but, for its era, one heck of a sleeper. Surprised a lot of cars in that brown grandpa bomb.

    1986 Monte Carlo SS – 305 pulled and replaced with a “370hp” 355 with a ZZ4 roller cam and Vortec heads. It made the car scary as hell – a wet pavement and the non-posi rear would want to swap directions with the front. Very tricky to drive, a case where the engine overwhelmed the stock chassis and brakes.

    My current ride: 2014 Mustang V6 with a 6-speed manual. Yeah, there are a lot faster cars out there but this is perfect for me. Can drive like a grandpa, or you can stretch out the 3.7L engine and get some really nice performance. If you turn off the traction control, watch out, since the car wants to go sideways. A good bargain performance machine, just wish the steering had better, BMW E46 like feedback.

  • avatar
    Artie

    1996 Nissan Maxima SE, part of the legendary 4th (and 4.5) generation of Maximas. It was black, with a full Infiniti I30 leather interior swap, Stillen intake and exhaust, and clear sidemarker/tail light conversion. It was agile, fast, great steering feel, perfect throttle response, great brakes (with the right rotor/pad upgrade), reliable, roomy, had the perfect seating position, great visibility, easy to work on, and there was a great owner community across a few websites. The spoiler wasn’t pretentious, the fog-lights had these beautiful yellow PIAA bulbs, and I had a fantastic Panasonic CD/EQ setup, with RF amps, Infinity sub, and POLK speakers, that was clean but not overwhelming. It’s the one car I miss the most, and it’s been my baseline to compare other cars against. Every car I’ve driven since gets compared to it, but none are as good.


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