When it comes to Mustangs, they don’t get any wilder than the Shelby GT500. Available in coupe or convertible format, either model comes with a spine-compressing 650-bhp supercharged 5.8-liter V-8 coupled to a 6-speed manual transmission. Top speed is 202 mph and the sprint from 0-60 mph should only take 3.7 seconds. Considering its awesome performance, you might expect the GT500 to be an absolute beast away from the racetrack. Surprisingly, it’s easy to drive – though be warned, the rear tires can spin in 3rd gear. If you’re going racing, the optional Track Package adds an external engine oil cooler, along with coolers for the differential and transmission. Another choice is the Performance Package, which includes sportier springs, thicker anti-roll bars, a Torsen limited-slip diff and cockpit-adjustable Bilstein dampers.
The Hyundai Tucson features a sleek and fluid exterior design and competes in the popular CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle) segment.
The Tucson is offered in front-wheel and all-wheel drive arrangements, and is available in GL (FWD only) GLS, and Limited trims. The GL is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a standard five-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic transmission. GLS and Limited trims receive a 176-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard safety features include six-airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake assist, electronic stability control, traction control and active front head restraints.
If you’re looking for a sport-touring machine with great driving dynamics and high style, look no further than BMW’s 4-seat 6 Series. True, not everyone finds the trunk of the coupe particularly graceful. Same goes for the lines of the convertible top in its up position. Aside from those minor faults, the 6 Series is fantastic, from the 650i and its 4.8-liter 360-bhp V-8 to the M6’s mighty 5.0-liter 500-bhp V-10. Both 650i and M6 come in coupe or convertible form, along with your choice of transmission at no extra charge: the 650i with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic and the M6 with a 6-speed manual or a single-clutch 7-speed SMG paddle-shift. Other than an updated iDrive system, the 6 Series carries on unchanged.
BMW calls its X3 a “Sports Activity Vehicle.” While this is clearly an attempt to distinguish the X3 from run-of-the-mill sport utilities and crossovers, there’s some legitimacy here, for without doubt, the X3 is one of the best-handling crossovers in the world. The X3 comes standard with all-wheel drive and a smooth inline-6, a 3.0-liter that puts out 260 bhp mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic at no extra charge. Although the X3’s starting price is above average for its class, and the interior quarters are on the cramped side, for many, driving “the BMW of crossovers” more than makes up for any faults. For 2010, HD radio becomes standard equipment. An even smaller X1 will arrive in the U.S. in 2011.
Unlike most car models, the Kia Forte comes in several distinct flavors. The brand’s centerpiece is the Forte sedan, offered in LX, EX and SX trim. It’s a comfortable and agreeable ride with a solid standard features package across the board. The SX trim, with its performance-tuned suspension, 17-in. wheels, bigger front brakes and 173-bhp engine is the sportiest of the lot. But if sport is what you’re after, move directly to the 2-door Forte Koup SX—not an aggressive ride, but one that will certainly put a grin on your face in the turns. Buyers who are more in a family-about-town way should give the Forte 5-Door serious consideration. The hatchback opens to provide 19.4 cu. ft. of cargo space, compounded when the second-row seats are folded. All Forte variants enjoy a robust list of standard features.