• Dec 17, 2008
Click above for high-res gallery of the 2009 Chevy Corvette ZR1

After what we're sure are thousands of miles driven and some undoubtedly heated round table debates, Automobile Magazine has chosen its 2009 All-Stars. The ten winners were chosen based upon attributes that include design, driving enjoyment, performance and value, with vehicles taken from a wide range of segments. This year's winners range from the econobox Honda Fit to the Audi R8, with the spaciously rectilinear Ford Flex somewhere in between. The Chevrolet Malibu was one of four vehicles to make the list for the second straight year, joined by the Corvette (this year in ZR1 trim), Volkswagen GTI and the trophy darling BMW 3-Series. With it's nod from Automobile, Jaguar's XF continues to bring home the hardware, with one tester calling it the best Jaguar sedan he's ever driven (not a stretch in our book). Other winners included the Porsche 911 and the stonking Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG.

Just like with Car and Driver's 10 Best list, the Nissan GT-R didn't make Automobile's All-Stars team – an interesting ommission considering that it was recently crowned their Automobile of the Year. (Note: no price cap got in the way of victory this time). In fact, the only Japanese model to make the cut was the Fit, while the Germans took home five spots. In all, we'd call the All-Stars a solid list, but we're more interested in hearing what you think. What's missing and what vehicle(s) need the boot?


[Source: Trading Markets]

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec 15, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- VLKAY | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- AUTOMOBILE Magazine, America's leading automotive lifestyle publication and part of Source Interlink Media, LLC, a subsidiary of media and marketing services company Source Interlink Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ: SORC), today announced the winners of its 2009 AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE All-Stars Awards.

"This year's list is one of the broadest we have compiled. Our 2008 Automobile of the Year Audi R8 is joined by stalwarts such as the BMW 3-series, newcomers like the Ford Flex, and repeat winners Chevy Malibu and Volkswagen GTI," said Jean Jennings, president and editor-in-chief of AUTOMOBILE Magazine. "These ten cars are the year's fastest, most exhilarating, ingenious, awe-inspiring, accomplished, and compelling cars available in the U.S."

Each year, the editors of AUTOMOBILE Magazine convene to test, evaluate, and debate the performance, significance, and pure enthusiast appeal of the cars that make the biggest impact. Award winners will be featured in the February 2009 issue of AUTOMOBILE Magazine, available on newsstands January 6, 2009.

AUTOMOBILE Magazine's 2009 All-Stars, with editorial assessments, are:

Audi R8 - AUTOMOBILE Magazine calls the R8 the kind of iconic sports car that comes around once or twice a decade. Dramatic inside and out, the R8 is wide, low, and purposeful--it is a luxury grand tourer as much as it is a pure sports car.

BMW 3-series - Don't stop the presses: the BMW 3-series and M3 get another All-Stars award (its fourteenth, to be exact). Isn't this deja vu? As always, the competition for the 3-series keeps getting fiercer, and, as usual, critics say the latest, greatest M3 is a bit too refined. But BMW's masterpiece of all-things-to-all-people engineering remains more fun than anything that's more practical and more practical than anything that's more fun.

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - AUTOMOBILE Magazine editors found that few words have the ability to adequately convey the rush provided by the most powerful Corvette ever. The world has produced faster cars, but few offer the same combination of sound, speed, and exhilaration. 60 mph comes in first gear (in 3.7 seconds) and 91 mph in second.

Chevrolet Malibu - There is no need to assemble a laundry list of the Malibu's strengths versus its many competitors. Drive one, and it is clear why AUTOMOBILE Magazine named it an All-Stars winner two years in a row. The Malibu is the quiet American on this year's All-Stars list: a sedan with crisp handling, commutative steering, a properly tuned ride, and an overall feeling of quality.

Ford Flex - With seven-passenger capacity and generous proportions, the Flex is a vehicle that defies conventional wisdom. AUTOMOBILE Magazine was taken by the Flex's exterior design, which is thoroughly modern while harking back to the glory days of U.S. automakers, and a cabin that is a masterpiece of ergonomic engineering and chock-full of high-tech features. The Flex concentrates on refinement and emphasizes style while being as practical as a minivan.

Honda Fit - More than three decades after the original Honda Civic gave Americans a whole new notion of space utilization, the Honda Fit has come along to amaze a new generation. The new model's extra polish elevates the small-car experience with hidden features, a sleeker exterior, a smoother gearbox, and a nicer cabin.

Jaguar XF - What one AUTOMOBILE Magazine editor calls "the best Jaguar sedan I have ever driven" is a beautiful, composed, powerful, and lush car. The XF is impressively quick and refined. Driving it is not just about going fast; it is smooth, refined and comfortable for driver and passengers alike when being pressed to deliver its full potential.

Porsche 911 - From its birth in 1964 to the arrival of an improved edition last year, the Porsche 911 has been a rare island of tranquility amid the automotive industry's seas of turmoil. The fortified sixth-generation 911 is gutsier and quicker accelerating, yet it squeezes an additional mpg or three from every gallon of premium. Breadth of character is another of the 911's endearing traits. Rear or all-wheel drive, coupe or convertible, outfitted for grand touring or track days, there is a 911 for every purpose.

Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG - Mercedes-Benz's mind-set for its AMG cars is to offer insane power in a package that skews towards luxury. The C63 AMG makes the leap to the All-Stars list because it sacrifices the posh-performance DNA of Mercedes Benz in its quest to be a better driver's car. Other cars in the AMG portfolio are faster, but this one is the most fun.

Volkswagen GTI - With a new version of the GTI due in the U.S. in September, AUTOMOBILE Magazine applauds this return-to-its-roots VW with yet another All-Stars award. During its three-year run, the GTI's performance, comfort, and functionality kept it out front in the race to be the best sporty compact car and also made it the 2007 Automobile of the Year.

Criteria and Evaluation

The AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE All-Stars are chosen by the AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE staff, its worldwide bureau chiefs, and its contributors, following an intensive test drive of the year's most innovative and important new cars. Vehicles considered for the All-Stars awards combine the following traits:

-- Redefines an existing category or creates a new market segment

-- Provides excellent value and performance for the money

-- Exhibits an exceptional design

-- Offers pure driving enjoyment

After a 1000-mile road trip, winners are determined by a round-table discussion that results in a vote for the ten winners. The award decisions are not made through an instrumented test process.

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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      While I do believe that the Malibu has far exceeded its own past standard, I don't think it is quite class-leading as many say it is. While the driving dynamics are quite good, the car itself is kind of narrow (squeezing people together a little more than I'd like), and the interior materials are kind of cheap in quite a few places (enough that I can't simply overlook it). I would have picked the Hyundai Sonata, as it gets everything the Malibu gets right and the interior quality too. (Also, the Sonata is much more viable for Hyundai sales-wise than the Genesis. Look at the sales numbers.)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Complaining the GT-R is on the list is like winning the oscar for best actor, but crying because you didn't get best supporting actor too.

      well not quite, but you get the idea.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm always surprised to not see the G8 or Genesis (but then again, I've never driven either).
      • 6 Years Ago
      Look out for that warranty coverage on the Z06 and ZR1.

      http://forums.corvetteforum.com/c6-z06-discussion/2203669-c-6-z06-blown-engine-not-warranted-by-gm-6.html

      "Just for the record My engine blew while on track at a performance driving school and our friends at GM WILL NOT WARRANTY THE ENGINE REPLACEMENT. The warranty language states that they will not cover damage caused while racing or competetive driving."
        • 6 Years Ago
        Every warranty manual, for every car made today has the same verbiage....

        Corvettes are notoriously very reliable cars......

        I doubt abuse would come into play, on a race track and all.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Who expects companies to warrant race driving?
      • 6 Years Ago
      So, in other words,

      cars that the editors want to drive but can't afford them
      concession to everyday motoring needs that reflects the economy
      bit of domestic shoulder patting
      dose of vengeance no-we-don't-award-the-best-and-revolutionary-cars-come-what-may and the Golf GTI that everybody takes for granted but they're wrong.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Everything makes sense but the GTI. Its outclassed by so many other cars. The Mazdaspeed3 and Cobalt SS come to mind.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ridiculously outclassed. It doesn't even have an LSD.

        All it has going for it is the DSG, and as nice as that is, it doesn't put it over the top for me. Things always start anew with the new models though, which is only a year away.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I like the GTI, its consistently good quality and good to drive. I do agree tho that the MazdaSpeed3 is a bizarre omission, bigger than the GT-R in my mind. At least 90% of the populous could afford a MS3
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree, the GTI is pretty out-classed in the sport compact market.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Flex really doesn't belong. How about the CTS? Is it too old? Cause I thought the Malibu has been around for a while too...
      • 6 Years Ago
      ridiculous that the gt-r isnt mentioned.. even with all the controversy, this car should be mentioned.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Automobile Magazine awarded the GT-R their Automobile of the Year. That is why it is not an All-Star. Automobile of the Year trumps All-Star, if you will.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It was Automobile of the Year. . . . The AOTY is NEVER listed on the All-Stars. Never. Ever. Never, ever.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Time to replace the 3 Series with the Cadillac CTS.

      Yes, you heard right - the CTS is a better car than the 3 (and probably the 5) and the CTS-V is a better car than the M3 (or M5 for that matter).


        • 6 Years Ago
        Sorry mate but you're wrong. The CTS is a good car but needs polishing to be outstanding. The CTS-V has a hell of a lot of grunt but needs finishing school. That said, it's a ton of performance for the money. Have you driven all of them? I have.
      • 6 Years Ago
      11. Nissan GT-R
      12. Hyundai Genesis
        • 6 Years Ago
        Hyundai Genesis has not proven itself yet. Who is buying them?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Genesis is good, so idk why it wasn't mentioned, but the GT-R is already COTY. twice
        • 6 Years Ago
        maybe there all being sold in california, in the bay area i see more genesis' than i want to
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Genesis contains much of the traits listed in the article for consideration:

        "-- Redefines an existing category or creates a new market segment" - check

        "-- Provides excellent value and performance for the money" - check

        "-- Exhibits an exceptional design" - exceptional in that it's non-offensive, check

        "-- Offers pure driving enjoyment" - for a luxury car, check

        That's why it's #12 on my list.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Rick is right. I see more Phantoms on the road than Genesis.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is it possible to remove the heavily-recalled Jaguar XF or the warmed-over Lambo R8 to make room for the Hyundai Genesis?

      (I automatically typed Sega Genesis and had to go back and correct it!)
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Is it possible to remove the heavily-recalled Jaguar XF or the warmed-over Lambo R8 to make room for the Hyundai Genesis?

        (I automatically typed Sega Genesis and had to go back and correct it!)"



        Can you do me a HUGE favor and please list ALL the "recalls" that Jaguar has on the XF? And please number them so we readers don't get confused since there are SO many.

        Here, you know what, I'll help you out and list two of them that I know of.

        1. Faulty seatbelt D-Ring assembly - NHTSA has reported that there has been no injuries due to this recall and it isn't considered a serious threat. In fact, the recall can be taken care of in about 2 minutes with taking anything apart.

        2. INSTRUMENT CLUSTER SPEAKER FUNCTION - Risk of faulty wiring which could result in *gasp* NOT HEARING AUDIBLE NOTIFICATION. OMG
        Are you telling me there might be a chance that the speaker could stop working and not warn me about me not being properly buckled up and such?
        My gosh, how did people manage 15-20 years ago when those weren't around. Must've been awful.

        These aren't serious recalls when compared to the ones we regularly hear about with other manufacturers. But can't let Jaguar slide you know. The moment you here about a recall on a current Jag, sh*t hits the fan. POS this and British that, out come the morons that love to throw in there worthless 2cents.

        Despite what you and others think of the XF, it is a safe and wonderful car. Just about every magazine review that I've seen on it has given it praise and good marks. There have also been several comparisons done using the Audi A6, the MB E550, and the BMW 535 with the XF always coming out ontop.

        - Cars.com user ratings: 4.8 out of 5 stars with 89% of consumers recommending
        - AOL Autos user ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
        - Edmunds user ratings: 9.2 out of 10
        - Yahoo Autos user ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars
        - CNET user reviews: 4 out of 5 stars
        - TheCarConnetion.com review: 9 out of 10

        TopGear, Motortrend, CarandDriver, Car Magazine, InsideLine, RoadandTrack, and Autoblog all love the car from what i've read.

        What does it take for Jaguar to make to please some of you? I understand that in the past, right about the time it was aquired by Ford, the brand WAS tarnished by some very unreliable models that kind of left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. But times have changed for the Marque. Yet all I hear is the same crap over and over.
        Some of you need to really get your facts straight.

        PS. As for your "Lambo R8" comment. It's no surprise that when Audi announced a premium sports car a couple years ago that it would be heavily based on the Gallardo. Just as the Gallardo uses alot of Audi technology and mechanicals. They are both great cars and IMO the R8 wouldn't be the car it is without the merger of platforms.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I thought their have only been 2 recalls on the XF ???

        If so.... heavily recalled ???
      • 6 Years Ago
      honda fit and chevy malibu? wtf is the auto industry really that crappy these days that these have to be put on the list?
        • 6 Years Ago
        What's wrong with the Fit and Malibu? The Fit is an economy car that isnt boring. The Malibu is an affordable American family sedan that is actually worth buying.
        mmstowes
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ignorance is so 90s...
        • 6 Years Ago
        They're both very good at what they do, and good values in their (admittedly boring) segments. 'Nuff said.
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