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The Ford Mustang GT: a 5-litre, 6-speed manual, whose sophisticated voice-activated control system and back-up camera aren’t enough to let you ignore the V-8 growl and 19″ wheels of a real Detroit muscle car. (2011 Mustang GT, price as tested: $39,680.)
Can you mention the Mustang, without following up with Camaros? Chevy now has come out with its convertible Camaro models. And since we’ve agreed to talk horsey-power here, let’s go straight to the SS, with its 6.2-litre V8, mated to another 6-speed manny. 20″ wheels and an 8-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system. Between that and the engine note, they will hear you coming, trust me. (Camaro SS Convertible, as tested: $42,200.)
The joker in our pack is Hyundai’s Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track. It has a smaller V-6 engine, with a smaller price tag (see below). I’ve said it before; Hyundai is impressive with its emphasis on quality, and now (finally!), styling. With track suspension and Brembo brakes, you can still get off the lot for under $32,000. That makes the Genesis Coupe the bargain in this crowd.
When we loosened the purse strings, my guys and I came up with the BMW 335i Sedan (Yes! 4 doors!). Smallest engine in the crowd, but still 300 hp, thanks to twin turbos for the “M” performance model (not shown), that takes the 335 from a competitive base price of $42,000 up to $52,275 by the time you add the “M” sport package, the premium package, GPS nav, and some other tidbits. At least you’ll get 4 adults inside without folding them up like grandpa’s war letters from the front lines.
We couldn’t agree which would be the single car we’d pick above all others on our list, but that wasn’t a surprise: we couldn’t agree on what to drink either. One of the great things about being a car-guy (a gender nonspecific term, btw); you can argue for an hour and end up better friends, than when you went in.