Lotus Evora: As Porsche, Aston, Nissan and others continue with measured refinements to existing designs, Lotus takes a clean sheet of paper and re-defines the modern sports car with all of its core intact. The result is better true sports car than anything in its price range; including the Porsche 911.
The Evora is powered by a Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter V6 producing 276 hp at 6,400 rpm and 258 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm that drives the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission. Lotus says that the 2+2 seater is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph (96km/h) in 4.9 seconds and reach a top speed 162mph (260km/h) while also delivering over 30 miles per gallon on the highway.
Ferrari 458 Italia: From active aerodynamics to state-of-the art composite/aluminum construction and a V8 with more horsepower per liter than any normally aspirated engine in history, the 458 Italia is the new standard for high-tech hypercar. The new 4499 cc V8 is the first Ferrari direct injection engine to be mid-rear mounted. The Ferrari 458 Italia’s performance: 0-60 acceleration in under 3.4 seconds and a maximum speed in excess of 200 mph. Moreover, it is wrapped in a breathtaking design that is destined for calendar and poster greatness. Ferrari’s ‘baby’ V8 has become the must have Ferrari.
BMW 5-Series Gran Turismo: The 5-series GT is perhaps the most creative and thoughtful expression of the sportback concept where a sharply raked hatchback is integrated into a long wheelbase luxury car. The advantages in aerodynamics and packaging efficiency have been known for a long time. The market appears finally ready to accept the somewhat unusual form, especially when accompanied with top drawer German engineering, sport and luxury.
2011 Infiniti M: Forever in BMW’s shadow as Japan’s only committed sport sedan manufacturer, the new M series Infiniti shows real confidence in its styling and engineering. The expressive exterior conceals class leading interior space, luxury and true driving prowess at a price point that can’t be touched by the Germans.
Much like its Nissan 370Z cousin, the M37 receives a new 330 hp (246kW) 3.7-liter V6 engine in place of the previous 226kW 3.5-liter unit. The range-topping M56 takes the place of the current M45 and receives a new 5.6-liter V8 engine which is rumored to deliver well over 402 hp (300kW).
2011 Mustang 5.0 GT/V6: Wasn’t the Mustang redesigned last year and didn’t it sweep the pony car comparisons? Unbeknown to many, Ford still had some tricks up its sleeves. For 2011 the best executed, practical and most balanced pony car gets state-of-the-art drivetrains. With the new 3.7 liter Duratec V6, the base Mustang is at last something other than a secretary special. Similar to the Camaro’s V6, it’s got useful power and torque (305 hp and 280 pound-feet respectively). A new 6-speed manual replaces the old 5-speed and it all adds up to a real contender in the entry level pony car wars.
Perhaps as important to this segment is the re-introduction of the 5.0 V8. It features 32 valves, twin independent variable camshaft timing , delivers 412 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque and can be paired with 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions. As important as drivetrain specifications will be pricing that is sure to please those who wanted a little more than the stock GT, but don’t need a Shelby.
Volkswagen Golf TDI: While CarReview and others were raving about the Audi A3 TDI as the best of the new generation hot hatches, VW snuck its Golf TDI into the fold. Understated rather than extroverted; the TDI focuses on packaging efficiency, mileage and real behind the wheel character; all at an accessible price point. Based on the new sixth generation chassis that is the foundation for the new GTI, the new platform offers class leading refinement and that place it a notch above its Mazda 3 and Mini competition.
Lead photo credit (red Lotus Evora): AUSmotive.com
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