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Motoring: Audi R8 outclasses '07 class

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | March 3rd, 2008

As years go, 2007 was a good one. I got to drive many different cars and hence I can reliably make my personal list of the five best and worst cars from 2007.

In the “best” category, in fifth place I'd put the Audi S6. This luxury sedan is not only very comfortable and safe, but also goes like the bullet train thanks to its 435hp V10 engine.

But even the S6 would be put to shame in the speed game compared to the car that I rank as fourth best, the Fisker Tramonto. This rebodied, retrimmed and re-engineered Mercedes-Benz SL55 is a sensation. It looks magnificent inside and out, and then there is the performance, with 610hp on tap available at the twitch of your toe, it'll get you to prison far faster than you can possibly imagine. But its not just the speed that'll impress you, it sounds glorious too and when you need to relax and just cover the miles, it does that beautifully too, as I found out on my drive from Toronto to Chicago. I then also had a Tramonto in California in July and it was brilliant. I loved it and it was just about the most perfect car for cruising around Los Angeles.

However even the Tramonto is beaten in my books by another Fisker, the Latigo CS V10. This is based on the platform of a BMW M6, but muscled up with steroids. For a start, RD Sport in Italy tunes the V10 to punch out 648hp, which is a lot honestly. Since all that power goes to the rear wheels, it is like a modern muscle car, scary as you open the taps wide open, but controllable as the cars dynamic control systems keep you on the road. Plus, thanks to its new body and interior trim, this car is a truly spectacular machine you will cherish forever.

However, even I can realize that these Fisker's are ultra expensive play things for the filthy rich, and thus the car I place at number two is something that is a lot more affordable and honestly just as much fun to drive, the Porsche Cayman S. This has just about the best mid-engine chassis in the business, so the handling is unbelievably awesome. Then it happens to have the healthiest 296hp I have ever come across, which makes it far faster than I expected it to be, and then the fact it is a Porsche, so you know this car is engineered like few others.

The only car that beats it in my books is a car that has re-written the supercar rulebook. I am talking about the Audi R8, which are in my opinion not only the best car from 2007 but also the best car I have ever, ever driven. This car is gorgeous to behold, and you get all the luxury amenities you can wish for. Then there is the performance, its 4.2-litre V8 is a sensation, is easily the world's best engine, and puts its 420 hp on the ground through its excellent Quattro all-wheel drive system. Its handling is amazing, its speed is intoxicating, and just the overall experience this car delivers is phenomenal. So the Audi R8 is easily the best car from 2007.

Now to the five worst of 2007. At fifth place is the Buick Enclave, which was incidentally in the running for the North American Truck of the Year award. Thankfully it didn't win. The thing with the Enclave is that while it is a beautiful looking truck inside and out and has lots of cool features especially for the price, it was very dull and boring to drive. The disappointing drive is the main reason it is on this list, plus the brakes are horrid and I did notice a few issues with fit and finish. So while I didn't want to put the Enclave in this list, I had no choice but to have it here.

The fourth worst car from last year has to be the Saturn Aura, which incidentally was the North American Car of the Year 2007. Well I guess I failed to see what the fuss was about. I found the quality very chintzy, the performance ho-hum, the brakes were horrid and the price of ownership too high for what you get. As I said last year, to an unbiased jury, it wouldn't even win car of the week, let alone a year.

Still, it was better than the two sister cars I put in second and third worst list, the Saturn Sky Redline and the Pontiac Solstice GXP. These cars might look gorgeous, but are terrible vehicles. Everything about them is bad. The quality of plastics used are cheap, the cabin is tight and uncomfortable, their practicality is even bad for the two-seater convertible genre, the handling was scary, the brakes were scarier, and while I had the turbo-charged versions their performance was very disappointing. These two roadsters have committed the ultimate sin, and should be labeled the worst cars of 2007, but they aren't, because the Volvo C30 is.

In many ways the C30 is better than the Solstice and Sky, but the reason I place it as the worst is because I expected so much more from this Volvo. The C30 looks awesome, but the interior is dull, and its performance duller still. I tried both the regular and the turbo-charged version of the C30, but hated both. I also didn't think it was very practical, and it is very expensive for what it gives you in return.

Putting everything into consideration, I place the Volvo C30 as my worst car of 2007.
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