10) Hyundai Elantra Sport
Korean car maker Hyundai gave the Elantra a more powerful turbocharged engine for the 2017 model year. They also added a sport tuned multilink rear suspension and a drive mode selector with ‘normal’ and ‘sport’ options. The car’s flat bottom steering wheel is also sport tuned.
The new Elantra has a 1.6 litre turbo GDI four cylinder engine with twin exhausts. Power transfers to the wheels via a 6 speed manual transmission. A 7 speed dual clutch automatic transmission is available as optional.
Stopping power is provided by 4 wheel disc brakes which have been enlarged for the front wheels. Other features include HID headlights, LED taillights and a power sunroof. On the inside the car has been equipped with an 8 inch touchscreen navigation panel, heated front sport seats and illuminated vanity mirrors. For a car which starts at US $20,000 the Elantra is a more than decent package.
9) 2017 Nissan Maxima
This car evolved from its predecessor, the Datsun Bluebird and started life in 1981 as the first generation Datsun Maxima. Eventually the Datsun brand was replaced by Nissan and the car was rechristened the Nissan Maxima.
The 8th gen Nissan Maxima took some design cues from aerospace concepts, and was unveiled in 2015. The 2017 Maxima comes with a 3.5 litre DOHC 24 valve V6 engine with Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS) and electronic drive-by-wire throttle. The engine produces 300 hp @ 6,400 rpm and 261 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm.
The car bristles with features and extras, including a Remote Engine Start System, sport tuned suspension, 4-wheel ABS, Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), side impact airbags and voice recognition for audio and navigation. Nissan claims the Maxima will get 21 miles per gallon during city driving.
8) 2017 Subaru WRX
Originally released as the Impreza in 1992, the WRX series of cars were Subaru’s high performance versions of its superbly engineered passenger cars. Elite police forces of several countries including Singapore and Japan have used these cars as interceptors. The cars have also had much success at the world rally championship events.
The 2017 model year ushered in the fifth generation of the car. It was also the first model to be manufactured outside of Japan. It is now being offered in 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback variants.
Subaru’s symmetrical all wheel drive system comes as a standard on all models of the 2017 WRX. This feature of the car ensures optimal power distribution and maximum traction, making it ideal for any road condition. The car also has active torque vectoring which reduces understeer while cornering. The WRX has a stiff chassis and double wishbone rear suspension for very responsive handling. It is easy to see why this is one of the best rally cars ever.
7) 2017 Jaguar XE
British manufacturer Jaguar first built the XE in 2014. It is meant to be a small executive car, in the same category as the Audi A4. The XE became the first car in its class to be built with an aluminum monocoque structure. The use of modular aluminum for as much as 75% of the car’s architecture is a major change from Jaguar’s preceding models. This design makes the car stiff and light.
Jaguar has given the XE a double wishbone front suspension and an integral link rear suspension. It has an All Surface Progress Control (ASPC) system which is a multifunctional traction control developed with decades of Jaguar’s off-road experience in the Land Rover.
The XE comes in three variants, all of which have a 2 litre petrol engine and an 8 speed automatic gearbox. All models come with rear wheel drive as standard but Jaguar may also make all wheel drive configurations available.
6) 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-class Coupe
This is a two-door, four seat version of their popular C-class sedan. Finishing touches include the car’s frameless doors and muscular styling. The sloping rear end bears a likeness to the S-Class Coupe.
The car is being offered in multiple variants with several optional features. The top variant of the same car may cost thrice as much as the basic model. Foremost among the desirable extras is the air suspension system, which provides a luxurious ride when set to ‘comfort’ mode. On the ‘sport’ mode the suspension stiffens to facilitate better cornering.
The car’s AMG 3.0 litre V6 twin turbo engine sends 367 hp to the wheels through a 9 speed automatic transmission. The car can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than 4.7 seconds. A dynamic-select gear shift with five modes comes as optional. The mode setting defines how the system changes gears, depending on whether the driver wants to get good fuel economy or a track day feel.
5) Audi S4
The S4 has always been based on the A4 and has represented the apex of Audi’s compact executive car. Its evolution since 1991 has also paralleled the A4. The 2017 B9 S4 can be differentiated from the A4 by its LED headlights, flat-bottomed steering wheel, custom seats and quad exhausts.
The S4 is more than just a top spec A4. It packs a 3.0 litre V6 engine with a single turbocharger connected to ‘reverse flow’ heads. The engine was developed by Audi in collaboration with Porsche, and produces a peak power of 354 hp.
An 8 speed torque converter automatic gearbox transfers this sizable power to Audi’s signature all wheel drive system. The result is that the S4 goes from 0 to 60 mph in less than 4.7 seconds; not bad for a midsize sedan. In the 2017 model year multi piston brakes replace the single piston sliding caliper designs.
4) Mercedes-AMG C43 / C63
(Same as 5)
3) Cadillac ATS-V
Cadillac’s V-series represents their race-ready road-legal cars. The ATS-V is their compact sports sedan, and is also available in a coupe variant since 2016.
The 2017 ATS-V has an LF4 3.6 litre twin turbocharged DOHC V-6 engine with titanium connecting rods and titanium aluminide turbine wheels. This brute produces 464 hp of peak power and 445 lb·ft of peak torque.
6 speed manual transmission is standard, although an optional eight speed automatic transmission with magnesium paddle-shift certainly improves performance. The latter can catapult the car from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and make it reach a top speed of 189 mph.
The ATS-V also has something called ‘launch control’, which means the driver revs to the right RPM before letting the foot off the brake to lunge forward. The car features rear wheel drive and a sport suspension. These combined features make it just about the fastest car in its class.
2) BMW M3
The M3 typifies the top end of BMW’s ‘3’ series. Till 2015 the M3 range spanned several versions and nomenclatures including convertible variants. BMW has since reclassified many of those models, reserving the M3 designation specifically for the performance sedan.
The 2017 BMW M3 is equipped with a 3.0 litre M TwinPower Turbo inline 6 petrol engine which produces a peak power of 431 hp. BMW’s 7 speed transmission can take the M3 from 0 to 60 mph in less than 4.3 seconds.
In addition to a very responsive engine and transmission the car has better handling than its previous model, better suspension, enhanced aerodynamic components, reduced weight and optimal weight distribution.
The M3 now comes with an optional ‘competition pack’ which gives the car a higher engine output. It also features a specially tuned adaptive suspension, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and lighter wheels.
1) Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
The Giulia was finally unveiled in 2015 after several design delays. With all the technology incorporated in the car’s design, the wait seems to have been worthwhile. Quadrifoglio represents the top end of the Giulia range.
The car’s frame, body and suspension combine steel, aluminum and carbon fiber to create a balanced look, feel and performance. The 2017 Quadrifoglio features a longitudinally mounted 2,891 cc all aluminum, twin turbocharged 90° V6 petrol engine, which was developed by Ferrari. The engine develops 503 bhp at 6,500 rpm. It also has ‘cylinder deactivation’ which means that three of the six cylinders can be switched off. This improves emissions and fuel economy.
Rear wheel drive is standard, although AWD models are also expected. Like the 2017 BMW M3, the Quadrifoglio has a 50/50 weight distribution. This essentially means that there is equal weight on both axles. An adjustable carbon fiber spoiler improves downforce and handling.
The Quadrifoglio has a double wishbone front suspension and a multilink rear suspension. Torque vectoring technology optimizes traction without reducing power.