_ Another year is fast approaching its end, and 2011 has been a great one for cars. Although car manufacturers seem to be more concerned with achieving the lowest possible carbon emissions from their fleet, that doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been anything exciting this year. Plenty of good cars came out this year, but the ten cars listed below have a special something that makes them a 2011 standout car.
Range Rover Evoque
The Range Rover Evoque makes the list simply for being one of the best looking small SUVs to go on sale this year. The Evoque is available as either a three-door or five-door, and with the most powerful version pumping out 240hp, from a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine, it has enough shove to compliment those concept-car looks. Shame it’s on the expensive side, though.
Citroen is well-known for producing cars that look anything but ordinary, and the DS5 is the latest addition to their list of eye-grabbing cars. The exterior isn’t the only bit that’s interesting to look at; the interior makes use of nicely stitched leather, a glass roof that makes way for plenty of natural light, and buttons to keep the kid in all of us happy. Also, the Hybrid 4 model combines a diesel engine and electric motor, enabling a low CO2 output of just 99 g/km.
The GT-86 signifies the return of the Toyota brand to the small, rear-wheel drive sports car market. After many years in the making, the GT-86 (developed in partnership with Subaru) has come equipped with a naturally-aspirated high-revving 2.0-litre flat-four engine producing 197hp – although, many of us enthusiasts did expect it to follow the current trend of using turbos. At this moment, the closest competitor to the GT-86 (in terms of layout) is Hyundai’s Genesis Coupe – so not a lot of opposition. But what really makes the GT-86 stand out, is the fact that it has brought back something fun and exciting to the Toyota brand – long overdue but we’re glad it's finally here.
Where do we start with the Aventador? First off, it’s a true Lamborghini on the design front, so standing out will be no problem. Second, it has 700hp from a brand new 6.5-litre V12 engine – the first in more than 45 years. Third, there’s the new seven-speed single-clutch gearbox that can change gears in 50 milliseconds. Fourth, there’s the acceleration from 0-62mph – 2.9 seconds, and a top speed of over 230 mph.
BMW 1 Series M Coupe
When BMW released press photos and videos of the 1 Series M Coupe, standing side-by-side the first-generation M3 (E30), they were suggesting that it was its spiritual successor. That is a lot to live up to not just in performance terms, but also in status, considering how loved the original M3 is by enthusiasts. Luckily, the press have done nothing but praise the 1M – its turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six engine and well-sorted chassis working together to provide performance to even surpass the original M3. However, only time will tell if the 1M will ever be a legend like its predecessor – we’ll be sure to check back on it in 20 years time.
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
The Camaro ZL1 is Chevrolet’s answer to the Shelby GT500. It too comes with a supercharged V8 engine, but at 6.2-litres and 580hp at its disposal, it’s bigger and more powerful than the current Shelby’s. However, not too long ago, Ford released details on their new and improved 650hp Shelby GT500, but that car is expected to go on sale well into 2012. In the meantime, the muscle-car wars have only just begun, and the Camaro ZL1 is angry and ready for a fight.
The Kia Sportage made it to the list of 2010’s standout cars, and this year another Kia makes it too – the Rio. The Rio stands out for the same reason the bigger Sportage does – and that’s being an affordable car with a design that makes it look more expensive than it actually is. Prices for the Rio start at $13,600 in the US, and £9,995 in the UK, making it one of the best-looking cheap cars currently on sale.
Porsche 911s haven’t looked that different from each other ever since the first one was introduced in 1963, and the latest generation 991 model is no different. Porsche claim it’s more efficient yet more powerful than the model it replaces, but that’s not what makes it stand out. The new 911 is the first production car to feature a seven-speed manual transmission. Many sports car manufacturers are abandoning the stick-shift for smooth and quick-shifting automatics and double-clutch units. This new gearbox will no doubt make other manufacturers produce something similar – already there have been reports that the next Chevrolet Corvette will have a seven-speed manual. Porsche may have just saved the manual gearbox in sports cars, and for that the new 911 is a standout car.
Morgan 3 Wheeler
It’s not a motorcycle, but it’s not exactly a car (at least in the traditional sense) either – it’s the Morgan 3 Wheeler. The original Three-wheeler was the first car Morgan Motor Company ever made, being produced between 1909 and 1952. While that car was made in order to avoid taxes on cars (it was officially recognized as a motorcycle), the new version is here to provide a different, more exciting way of getting to your destination. It uses a V-twin S&S engine, so it sounds good too.
Aston Martin V12 Zagato
Originally intended as only a race car, the V12 Zagato created such a stir within the automotive enthusiasts’ world that Aston Martin gave in and have promised to build 150 of them. The V12 Zagato is based on the V12 Vantage, which also means that it has a 6.0-litre naturally-aspirated engine producing 510hp, but comes equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. The price is £330,000, but considering its gorgeous design, glorious noise, and inevitable price appreciation in the coming years, the V12 Zagato looks like a worthwhile 190 mph investment.