jeudi 13 octobre 2011

best designed cars of 2011

Best Handling: 2012 Porsche Cayman R

The Porsche Cayman R is a mid-engined, rear wheel drive 2-seat sports car produced by Porsche AG of Germany. First launched in the 2010, the Porsche Cayman R is based on a 2009 Porsche Cayman S. The Porsche Cayman R featured a new body kit, new 482-millimetre lightweight wheels, lighter aluminium doors, lighter bucker seats, and together with the removal of radio, storage compartments, air-conditioners and interior door handles, the Cayman R weighs 54.8 kilograms lighter than a 2009 Cayman S. With the help of the new sports suspensions, the Cayman R is 20mm lower than a 2009 Cayman S. The engine was a 3.4-litre flat six Direct Fuel Injection boxer engine which can produce up to 330 hp (246 kW). The standard Cayman R can finish 0-60 mph in 5.0 seconds, but with the optional 7-speed PDK dual clutch transmission and the Sport Chrono package, it can finish 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds. The Cayman R with the manual transmission can reach the top speed of 175 mph (282 km/h), and 174 mph (280 km/h) is the maximum speed of models equipped with the PDK.

Most Gorgeous Car Under $20K: 2011 Kia Optima
(designed by Peter Schreyer)

The 2011 Kia Optima was unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, and was launched in the market in 2011. The Optima uses the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid powertrain, combining a 2.4-liter engine with a six-speed automatic transmission, and a 30kW electric motor and lightweight lithium polymer batteries to produce a full gasoline-electric hybrid with an estimated 37 miles per US gallon (6.4 L/100 km; 44 mpg-imp) city and 39 miles per US gallon (6.0 L/100 km; 47 mpg-imp) highway. There are no apparent features that differentiate it from the Kia Optima except for a badge, different wheel discs and special Light Platinum Graphite paint color.

Most Impossible Performance-to-Price Ratio: 2012 Nissan GT-R
(Designer by Kazutoshi Mizuno)

Two-point-nine seconds — that's how long it takes the 530-hp Nissan GT-R to reach 60 mph. For reference, this is roughly half a second slower than the 1,001-hp, million-dollar Bugatti Veyron, a feat that should be impossible at the GT-R's $90,000 price. The Nissan accomplishes this trick through a complex drivetrain-management system, one that watches everything from tire slip to the health of the transmission's clutches. Thus equipped, it can rip off eye-watering launches all day long without wearing out or asking anything of you — a landmark intersection of low price and insane capability. The automotive media calls the car Godzilla.

Manual Gearbox of the Year: 2012 Honda Civic SI

The computerized automatic transmission — two pedals, no lesson from your dad required — has essentially rendered the manual gearbox obsolete, shuffling cogs faster and more efficiently than any human being. Which makes it all the more amazing that the world's best stick shift lives in a Honda, not an unattainable exotic. For under twenty-five grand, you get the 201-hp Civic Si's six-speed wonder box: feathery effort, eyeblink-short throws, a sublimely easy clutch. Grab the lever and sneeze, you've gone from first to second. Twitch a shoulder and you're in third, yowling out of the last corner at Monaco and reliving every racing fever dream you've ever had. No silicon chip is anywhere near this much fun.

Most Understated Supercar Ever Built: 2012 McLaren MP4-12C
(Designede by Frank Stephenson)

Supercars are almost always emotional things — you don't buy a six-figure sportster if you can't get all hot and bothered about it. It would stand to reason, then, that a cold, distant machine like the McLaren MP4-12C wouldn't be worth your time.

As if. McLaren is the legendary British Formula 1 race team — the same group of speed-mad loonies that created the epochal F1 supercar of 1994 to 1998 — and the MP4 is their attempt, in reserved British fashion, to take on the Ferrari 458 Italia. The tech comes hot and heavy: An active air brake lives on the MP4's rear deck. A trick hydraulic suspension lets the car alternate between cushy comfort and roll-free max attack in seconds. And a twin-turbo, 592-hp V-8 sits under the rear deck spitting out a whooshy, subdued, often guttural noise, more concerned with doing its job than with impressing bystanders. That's the McLaren in a nutshell: Unlike the Ferrari 458, it isn't a spine-tingling hard-on machine. Its plainly designed cockpit isn't the bell-and-whistle joy buzzer you get in a Lamborghini or Aston Martin. Even the name is soulless. This is a tamed racing tool, and it doesn't care if you like it or not. Which, all things considered, is pretty damn exciting.

Most Innovative Drivetrain of the New Century: 2011 Chevrolet Volt

When you drive the Chevrolet Volt for the first time, you feel a little underwhelmed: It feels ordinary, without drama. That's the point. The 95-mpg Volt's basic ingredients — two electric motors, an 84-hp gas engine, and a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack — mirror those of other hybrid cars, but the end result is extraordinary. You can knock off your commute without burning a drop of gas. You can drive from New York to L. A. without finding a place to recharge the lithium-ion battery pack. You can even break a few speed limits, and have a good time in the process.

Exhaust Note of the Year: 2012 Audi TT RS

Audi's championship-winning 1980s Quattro coupe sported a raucous five-cylinder engine. It sounded like hell come to breakfast — loud, bloodthirsty, able to explode small birds. That also describes the Audi TT RS. Qualities the TT shares with its forebear: all-wheel drive, a turbo, more thrust than you need (340 hp, 332 lb-ft). What it adds: a comfy cockpit, achingly modern styling. What you will never need: earplugs. When the oil inevitably runs out, this is the noise that'll be left ringing in humanity's collective head.

Most Desperately Welcome Drop-Top: 2011 Chevy Camaro SS Convertible
(designed by Sangyup Lee)

Problem 1: You cannot see out the back of a Chevy Camaro SS coupe. Problem 2: You cannot hear the car's 426-hp V-8 getting angry, cannot immerse yourself in clouds of burnout smoke on the way home from the Styx/Foreigner Fourth of July rocktacular. The drop-top Camaro solves these issues and adds a heaping blue-sky dose of possibility.

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