2009 10Best Cars_test

2009 10Best Cars_test

Car and Driver's annual '10Best Cars' has been announced. The BMW 3-series receives top honors again, but two American manufacturers make the list. View the gallery below and see all ten cars.
1. BMW 3-series | M3

1. BMW 3-series | M3

What are the key elements of automotive perfection? From our perspective, the list of qualifications includes eager responses, supple ride quality, smooth power, supportive seats, athletic proportions with limited front overhang, attractive styling with familial features that endure through the generations, a car that is always entertaining to drive. Read More about the BMW 3-series at CarandDriver.com
1. BMW 3-series | M3

1. BMW 3-series | M3

For us, the sum of those attributes is epitomized by the BMW 3-series. Not only is this true for 2009, the addition has been coming out the same way now for 18 years: a string of consecutive 10Best Cars appearances that's unique in the 27-year history of these awards. Read more about the BMW 3-series at CarandDriver.com
2. Cadillac CTS | CTS-V

2. Cadillac CTS | CTS-V

Last year, the redesigned CTS was the second Cadillac to win a 10Best Cars award (the first was the 1992 Seville), and this year, it's the first Caddy to become a 10Best repeater. We were impressed with its dynamics, its upscale interior, the performance of its optional 304-hp, 3.6-liter direct-injection V-6 and the fact that it offers manual as well as automatic transmissions. Read more about the Cadillac CTS at CarandDriver.com
2. Cadillac CTS | CTS-V

2. Cadillac CTS | CTS-V

We're still impressed. But impressed is a tame descriptor for our response to the V? version of this car. Overwhelmed is more like it. Like the CTS, the CTS-V is far more refined in its second generation. But that's not the first thing that grabs the driver's attention, particularly if his right foot is flat to the fire wall and he's rowing through the six forward speeds. Read more about the Cadillac CTS at CarandDriver.com
3. Chevrolet Corvette

3. Chevrolet Corvette

The big news in the Corvette camp this year is obviously the ZR1 supercar, the 638-hp rocket that's the capo di tutti capo of Vettes. We're seduced by Chevy's new missile, but we can't include it in our 2009 awards because it has a base price that's some 34 grand north of our maximum base price of $71,000. That cutoff also eliminates the Z06, an '08 listee whose '09 base price has crept over the line. Read more about the Chevrolet Corvette at CarandDriver.com
3. Chevrolet Corvette

3. Chevrolet Corvette

But never mind. Extensively updated last year, including a useful infusion of horsepower, the standard Corvette coupe and convertible continue to deliver a level of performance and style that's unbeatable for the money. Read more about the Chevrolet Corvette at CarandDriver.com
4. Honda Accord

4. Honda Accord

It's equally clear that the Accord has evolved steadily to maintain its position as a mainstream pacesetter. From the compact sedan that won inaugural 10Best honors, the Accord has gone through seven generations en route to today's coupe and sedan lineup, cars that are much bigger, much more refined, and much more powerful than their honorable ancestor. Read more about the Honda Accord at CarandDriver.com
4. Honda Accord

4. Honda Accord

Indeed, in its makeover for the 2008 model year, the Accord sedan expanded to large-car status according to the EPA definition, which is based on a car's interior volume. Bigger is better from a family point of view, and we're happy to report that the increase in size hasn't diluted the crisp responses and exacting path accuracy that have always made Accords so satisfying to drive. Read more about the Honda Accord at CarandDriver.com
5. Honda Fit

5. Honda Fit

The name and the face are familiar, but this isn't the same Honda Fit that rewrote big sections of the subcompact playbook when it made its U.S. debut in 2006. Known as the Jazz in other world markets, that car had been around since 2001, making it due for a major makeover, and that's exactly what it got. Read more about the Honda Fit at CarandDriver.com
5. Honda Fit

5. Honda Fit

It's essentially a brand-new car -- longer wheelbase, a little bigger overall, slightly roomier within, a little more mass, a little more muscle, a little more hustle, with the same fuel economy. We were impressed with the high-quality appointments and design that distinguished the interior of the first Fit, but the makeover raises both elements of the inner car by a couple of notches. Read more about the Honda Fit at CarandDriver.com
6. Infiniti G37

6. Infiniti G37

Although BMW still rules this class-entry-level luxury sports sedans and coupes -- Infiniti keeps edging closer to parity with the Germans. A 2003, '04, and '07 10Best winner, the G returns for '09, thanks in large measure to the sedan's new 3.7-liter V-6 rated at 328 horsepower, an increase of 22 over the previous 3.5-liter six. Read more about the Infiniti G37 at CarandDriver.com
6. Infiniti G37

6. Infiniti G37

We're not immune to the appeal of more power, of course, but there's more to the G's story than increased muscle. The powertrain team also improved the refinement of the V-6 and the engagements and feel of the six-speed manual transmission, putting it on par with, if not ahead of, the gearbox in BMW's 3-series. Read more about the Infiniti G37 at CarandDriver.com
7. Jaguar XF

7. Jaguar XF

In our first hands-on report concerning this new car, we described the XF as "an athletic five-seater that defies ancient traditions." That's a key point, because Jaguar had been mired in a styling rut, perpetuating past designs to the point of irrelevance. We've heard a few pundits suggest the XF "doesn't look like a Jaguar." To which we say: Right, and none too soon. Read more about the Jaguar XF at CarandDriver.com
7. Jaguar XF

7. Jaguar XF

Although there are elements from the XK sports car and the S-type sedan, the XF is essentially a new unibody, with distinctly higher platform rigidity than the S-type. It's a little bigger than the S-type, on the same wheelbase, and a little roomier. Interior furnishings are quietly upscale, and there's a sense of tailored comfort that's common to high-end European sports sedans. Read more about the Jaguar XF at CarandDriver.com
8. Mazda MX-5 Miata

8. Mazda MX-5 Miata

Mazda modernized the concept of the classic British roadster with the original Miata in 1989, and two decades later, the process is still in progress. Read more about the Mazda MX-5 Miata at CarandDriver.com
8. Mazda MX-5 Miata

8. Mazda MX-5 Miata

Suspension tuning strikes an inspired balance between everyday comfort and track-day readiness, there's enough power to make a track day rewarding, the transmission is race-car crisp, and the steering provides that rare sense of connection that makes the car an extension of the driver's will. Read more about the Mazda MX-5 Miata at CarandDriver.com
9. Porsche Boxster | Cayman

9. Porsche Boxster | Cayman

The hallmark of a true sports car is how well it involves its driver in the driving. Although the Boxster and the Cayman differ in character -- roadster versus hardtop -- they're alike in terms of how well they communicate every nuance of mechanical information to the pilots and how accurately they convert driver inputs into response. This is the essence of the car-and-driver connection, and few sports cars do it better. Read more about the Porsche Boxster/Cayman at CarandDriver.com
9. Porsche Boxster | Cayman

9. Porsche Boxster | Cayman

Neither of these mechanically identical mid-engined cousins can be called inexpensive. Pricing for a basic Boxster, with a 245-hp, 2.7-liter flat-six, isn't much under $50,000, and a loaded Cayman S easily surpasses $70,000. But we have yet to meet an owner who thinks his car isn't worth the money. Read more about the Porsche Boxster/Cayman at CarandDriver.com
10. Volkswagen GTI

10. Volkswagen GTI

It's been a quarter-century since the first GTI put an exclamation point on Volkswagen's Rabbit lineup, and 25 years of continuous development through five generations have yielded a car that still defines the class it established in that other century. Read more about the Volkswagen GTI at CarandDriver.com
10. Volkswagen GTI

10. Volkswagen GTI

VW's robust 2.0-liter turbo four provides ample thrust, driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission (standard) or, our choice, the slick paddle-shifted dual-clutch DSG automated manual. Read more about the Volkswagen GTI at CarandDriver.com


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