Why is it here? Two reasons: manual gearbox, and natural aspiration. At a time when most other supercar manufacturers are releasing cars powered by turbocharged engines that do with two pedals only, citing emissions and efficiency, Porsche is alone in still offering drivers what they really crave: three pedals and a stick that the driver has to row with speed and precision to extract the best from a wailing, high-rev NA engine. Long may this combo live!
#4 Toyota C-HR
Why is it here? At a time when small crossovers are going all sensible and mature, the Toyota C-HR harks back to the car that started it all: Nissan Juke. Sure, the C-HR may be ungainly from some angles, but it looks nicely aggressive from others, and more importantly does not try to be an inflated version of the Yaris subcompact.
#3 Alfa Romeo Giulia
Why is it here? We may have seen the crazy 500hp Quadrifoglio Giulia before, but this is the first time the “cooking” version has come out from under the camouflage, and we very much like what we see. At a time when the premium mid-sized market is increasingly polarized between the predictably competent (BMW 3-series, M-B C-class, Audi A4) and the unjustifiably offbeat (Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS), the Giulia aims beautifully for the middle-ground between the two extremes.
#2 Volvo V90 / Kia Optima Sportswagon
Why are they here? They are the leading examples of sexy estates, leg one of two in the fightback against crossovers. As more and more families turn away from the trusted estate towards the trendy crossovers, it’s cars like the V90 and Optima Sportswagon that remind us how much one gives up when trading up to their bulky sisters: both are lighter, more efficient and better-looking than the not-to-shabby XC90 and Sorento.
#1 Renault Scenic
Why is it here? The model spearheading leg two of the fightback agains the crossovers, coming from newly-sexy MPVs. The idea that an MPV could be sexy, original and not a slave to the box has been percolating for a while, with some success in the form of the latest Citroën Picasso and Renault Espace, but the Scenic is probably the best-resolved of the lot, with great looks blending seamlessly with practicality and space-efficiency only a monobox shape can give you.
#1 Bugatti Chiron
Why is it here? The Chiron is an engineering masterpiece, a triumph of sheer will over forces of physics in the pursuit of speed. Yet, it is also an appealingly pragmatic car, putting styling and creature comfort higher on the priority list than the Veyron ever did, resulting in a car truly worthy of the Bugatti name. Might have made the top 5 were it not for the almost two-tonne curb weight…
#2 Lamborghini Centenario
Why is it here? Because it’s proof that everyone’s favorite extravagant Italian supercar makers hasn’t gone all soft following the introduction of the driver-flattering Huracan and unresolved Aventador. A instant poster hero for young boys everywhere.