By Felix 2 Comments
It seems a lot of people have been making a list of their favorite games from the last year, and since there were a few truly note-worthy releases such as Braid and Gears of War 2, there is obviously a good deal of overlap. I've decided to skip the games, since my picks are pretty much in line with what others have, and instead list the five cars that made the biggest impression on me in 2008.
As with anything, peoples opinions will differ. I have long veered away from the incredibly and ridiculously high powered rockets such as Lamborghini's and Ferrari's (that's not to say I don't love to drive them in say, Forza 2), instead my focus seemed to shift in 08 on a car that I can see myself driving everyday, but that of course offers great performance. With that said, I need to make a quick mention of the Ferrari California, which as of this writing is beginning to be sold on the West coast I believe, while the car didn't make the list, it's notable in the fact that Ferrari is gearing the car towards more of what I am looking for, a car that you can drive everyday comfortably, but has more than enough performance if you need it.
Some other honorable mentions go out to the the Nissan GT-R, which is an impressive piece of engineering (that could pretty much smoke any other car on this list), but the styling of the car completely throws me off, and the lack of any interiors specialties that other cars on this list come standard with is disappointing. Two other cars need mentioning, the BMW 135i which is new for 2008 in the states, is a smaller BMW that has plenty of power but can be just as expensive as the 3-series if you start adding features that should be standard for it's starting point, but with a 0-60 time of 4.7 it can hold it's own. Then there's the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR, which is actually one of the slowest Evolution's in recent history, however this car has one of the best all-wheel drive platforms you can find, and while the performance doesn't exactly match something like a WRX, I always preferred the Mitsubishi.
Anyways, on to the list.
5. Honda S2000 CR
Price - $37,995 (Though I've seen them for $32,500)
I'm probably going to sound hypocritical here, since for a price of around $35,000 you get pretty much no standard features. I know someone who's bought a 4Matic C300 for that price, and that comes with heated seats! I'm not joking when I say that you need to add AC as an option, but this is a track car through and through. The CR designation stands for Club Racer, and by shedding the retractable top in place for a removable hard top Honda reduced weight, and by adding more aerodynamic body panels plus spoiler, the CR is stated to be 2 seconds faster around a track than it's standard S2000 brother. Plus, one has to admit that for a naturally aspirated 4-cylinder car that outputs 236 BHP, a low 5 second 0-60 is impressive. More impressive is when you can go through an exit ramp at 60 and still feel fully in control.
Seen in games such as: Forza Motorsport 2 (non CR), Project Gotham Racing 4 (DLC), GRiD (DLC)
4. Maserati GranTurismo S
Price - $110,000
Ahh Maserati, Ferrari's little brother. The car itself doesn't look too outragous, but it offers a nice blend of performance and sweet interior luxery that would make any drive enjoyable, and the extra back seats, which aren't huge, are a nice addition.
I actually haven't seen this car in any games, if anyone knows where it could be found, let me know. I know that the older one was in Test Drive Unlimited but that's about it.
3. Jaguar XKR Coupe
Price - $87,000
The new style Jaguar has recently incorporated takes more than a few cues from Aston Martin, and it shows, this car can look right at home in a James Bond movie. A 420 BHP V8 lies under the hood, and again the extra back seats are a welcome addition to such a high preformance vehicle, and while this is definitely a statement car like the Maserati above, you'll make that statement for a lot less money. Plus coming standard with a 6-CD changer, and a touch screen navigation system always sweatens the deal.
I don't think this is in any games.
2. BMW M3 Coupe/Sedan
Price - $56,500
The M3 is pretty much a legend in it's own time right now, with the new installment BMW threw in a V8 capable of turning out 414 BHP through it's rear-wheel drive configuration. This car has out performed every car in it's class that's been thrown at it, be it an Audi or Mercedes. Plus with BMW's new dual-clutch transmission (but real cars are manual, wah wah wah, whatever...) getting the 4.5 0-60 is more precise as ever. Tuners are already building this car up to be a monster, capable of outrunning it's bigger brother M5. The option for a 4 door sedan is welcomed, especially since it actually has a decreased drag co-efficient believe it or not, well not that the any driver would really notice such a change.
I believe that this is in the new Need for Speed, not that you should actually play that game.
1. Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
Price - $56,300
Let's get something out of the way. I know that the M3 outperformed the C63 in road tests. I know the general consensus is that the M3 is a better track car as well as a daily driver, no argument there. But to me, the C63 AMG is simply a more fun car. AMG somehow managed to get 451 BHP out of a naturally aspirated V8 (and it shows, with a gas mileage of 12/19). For such a heavy car, one that weighs about 300 pounds more than the M3 coupe, it manages an incredible 4.2 0-60 time, with Car and Driver being able to test it at 3.9. But with so much power, comes a draw back, which to me makes it a more interesting drive. The C63 is a beast, one that you have to control, the tires will spin, you will go sideways, you will be happy that you made it to your destination alive, and you'll probably have a lot more fun. The M3 may be more capable, but it comes off as complacent compared to this car. Plus some of the aftermarket things you can get for this car can skyrocket the horsepower to an unholy 580, no joke, as well as stiffening the suspension. Just do a search for Renntech.
Plus, one thing that really stands out for this car compared to the M3, is that it comes with features such as Premium Sound, integrated hard-drive, iPod connectiviy, etc standard. Add those to the M3 and you're looking a price that is almost ten grand more. With that said, if someone is buying these cars for these prices I doubt that would really matter as much as I think.
There it is, my top 5. It will be interesting to see how the economy will affect sales and production of future cars. Maybe the horsepower race is over as we know it. Maybe it's all about being green now, but I like to think that there will always be a sizeable part of the population that will crave that feeling you get only when traveling in excess of 100, and hopefully those people will fuel these types of high performance cars for many years to come. There's something to be said about the roar of an engine that you can't get with a Tesla.