Esquire, the purveyor of printed pages packed with ads and male-centric eye-candy, has released its list of 2010 automotive award winners. The top award is the Car of the Year and the magazine is handing that title to the 2010 Audi S4. Esquire makes a strong statement behind its reasoning, and it's hard to argue with its logic.
After putting our own butts in the driver's seat, we felt the B8 S4 was a wonderful leap forward over the past B6 and B7 iterations, particularly with the new supercharged V6 and trick torque vectoring sport differential.Numbers and stats are starting points, but we believe that the Esquire Car of the Year should make you feel something deep in your gut. You should lust for it and dream about it, but it shouldn't be an impossible goal. It must be attainable for the average man. It should sit in front of your house or office without drawing attention to itself and tackle four seasons of day-to-day transportation with ease. Yet crucially, sometimes, without warning, it must make you snatch the keys off the wall, haul off to the country and just drive.
Esquire hands out more than just a COTY award as well. The magazine scoured the current crop of automotive excellence and handed out check pluses for: Domestic Car of the Year, Hybrid of the Year, Most Awe-Inspiring Car Built This Year, Compact Car of the Year, Most Beautiful Car of the Year, Truck of the Year, Diesel Car of the Year, Best Foreign Comeback, Best Domestic Comeback and Best Expression of Automotive Passion. Who wins? You're going to have to make the jump to find out. And there's a nice little video of the Audi S4 happily accepting its award.
Photos copyright ©2009 Damon Lavrinc / Weblogs, Inc.
Esquire Car Awards for Automotive Excellence Bestowed to Runners-Up
NEW YORK, N.Y. (September 13, 2010) – Esquire magazine named today the 2010 Audi S4 as the "Esquire Car of the Year." To select the second annual award for the year's most stunning and aggressive yet attainable vehicle, Esquire editors spent six months driving dozens of cars hundreds of miles, carving up mountain roads, slogging through traffic and blasting down interstates. The Esquire Car of the Year appears in the magazine's October issue, on newsstands September 21st. The 2010 Audi S4 succeeds last year's Esquire Car of the Year, the Ford Taurus SHO.
After months of test-driving, the choice was unanimous among the drivers. According to Esquire: "When word got out that Audi was redesigning the S4 for 2010, no one expected the mold to be broken. But break it did." Though the new S4 features a number of upgrades including a new, direct-injected and supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 and increased torque and fuel economy, the real achievement is the way the engine blends into the whole car. The magazine continues, "Gone is the look-at-me beast of old. The new S4 is as confident and mature as other sport sedans are loud and insecure...That you can snag an S4 without spending a fortune is impressive; that it costs thousands less than a similarly equipped BMW or Mercedes-Benz is nothing short of a miracle."
In explaining its criteria, Esquire notes that numbers are just one way to measure best of class: "Speed, grip, handling, even the timbre of an engine's howl – we can measure that stuff down to a fraction...And yet this misses the point. Cars are subjective, emotional things. Car awards are even more subjective. Numbers and stats are starting points, but we believe that the Esquire Car of the Year should make you feel something deep in your gut. You should lust for it and dream about it, but it shouldn't be an impossible goal. It must be attainable for the average man."
"Over several months and many miles, we drove cars -- cars that are the most powerful, most attractive and most thrilling that the auto industry has to offer," says Esquire Editor-in-Chief David Granger. "While a number of the cars we tested were terrific, the Audi S4 truly deserved top honors. Its rare combination of speed, force, design, and price makes the end result a triumph."
In addition to the Esquire Car of the Year award, the magazine bestowed a number of additional honors for the "Esquire Car Awards for Automotive Excellence," saluting best new and current vehicle releases:
• Domestic Car of the Year – 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe: It's bold as hell. Everything American luxury – and a Cadillac – should be.
• Hybrid of the Year – 2011 Honda CR-Z: What we have here isn't quite a sports car, but it's not the typical hybrid sleeping pill, either. It's something the green-car world greatly needs – sporty fun.
• Most Awe-Inspiring Car Built This Year – 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: It apes the form factor: You climb in through a freaking hatch, like an astronaut or a test pilot. With this, it seems, you could go anywhere and do anything. Isn't that what cars are all about?
• Compact Car of the Year – 2011 Ford Fiesta: The Fiesta somehow offers the poise and quiet comfort of a car twice its size. It's also cheap, easy on fuel, and a barrel of giggles in corners.
• The Most Beautiful Car of the Year – 2010 Aston Martin Rapide: The Rapide is the Helen of Troy of four-door sedans, a 470-hp V-12-powered ball of white light that makes every other car on the planet look like a rusty shopping cart. This is art.
• Truck of the Year – 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor: Long-travel Fox Racing suspension, 35-inch tires, and an optional 411-hp 6.2-liter V-8 allow you to pull an Incredible Hulk and leap over most of the continent without breaking a sweat. Overkill? Exactly.
• Diesel Car of the Year – 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI: Whereas most inexpensive diesels feel like the rolling equivalent of sensible shoes, the 140-hp Volkswagen Golf TDI makes no bones about its sporting bent. A whopping 236 pound-feet of torque at 1,750 rpm means you'll rarely want for tire-chirping thrust, and a small, nimble frame lets you chase down sports cars in the curves.
• Best Foreign Comeback – 2011 Jaguar XJ: The new XJ's bones mimic its predecessor but almost everything else was ditched. The suspension is supple, the steering sublime, and for the first time in years, people stop and stare as a big Jaguar wafts by. Tradition is fine, but sometimes you have to reboot. This is how.
• Best Domestic Comeback – 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee: The Cherokee is blessed with bank-vault rigidity, sharp road manners, and an unapologetically luxurious interior. It is a welcome sight, the kind of SUV that the brand, and America, deserve.
• Best Expression of Automotive Passion – 2010 Infiniti G37 Convertible: In the end, Infiniti followed passion rather than practicality. The G37's trunk is a thimble with a lid on it, but the curves are hot. You have to love that heart.