The Ultimate Car Guide for Gentlemen – Sporty Cars

Honda CR-Z

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The CR-Z is an ambitious attempt at making a sporty hybrid, but its performance doesn’t match its adventurous styling. The good news is that it’s the only hybrid sold with a manual—a six-speed—but the bad news is that the combined output is a mere 130 hp. A 1.5-liter four-cylinder pairs with an electric motor; the EPA rates it for 36-mpg city/39-mpg highway with the optional CVT; the manual gets 31/38. Standard features include Bluetooth capability, automatic climate control, and cruise.

Hyundai Veloster

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The Veloster is a pseudo hot-hatch—its quirky styling stands out in traffic—yet its racy looks deceive. The base engine is a feeble 132-hp 1.6-liter four with a standard six-speed manual; a dual-clutch six-speed automatic is optional. The Turbo boasts 201 hp and a six-speed manual; a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional. Handling is predictable and lively, yet steering feel is vague. If a funky-looking hatchback is all you want, step right up, but enthusiasts will be disappointed.

Kia Forte Koup

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The Forte coupe—or Koup, in Kia-speak—is sportier and more elegant than other Fortes; it’s also well equipped and surprisingly refined. The EX is powered by a gutsy 173-hp, 2.0-liter four; the SX model’s 201-hp, 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder makes it even quicker. A six-speed manual is standard, with a six-speed automatic optional on both. Steering and handling are nicely balanced. Alas, the Koup is no screamer, but it is sporty enough to satisfy all but the most hard-core enthusiasts.

Mini Cooper Convertible

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Sun worshippers and Mini mavens continue to find this convertible irresistible—and can you blame them? Its attractions include a power top that folds flat in 18 seconds, an “Openometer” gauge that keeps track of how long you’ve motored with the top down, the joy of unlimited headroom, and plenty of charisma. Otherwise, it’s just like driving the previous-generation Mini hardtop with the base four-cylinder engine. Downsides include leisurely performance, a tiny trunk, and annoying cowl shake.

Mini Cooper Coupe

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Styled like a Cooper hatchback wearing a backward baseball cap, the Mini Cooper coupe forgoes the Cooper’s back seat and practicality for a short roof and conventional trunk. Alas, the sweet-handling two-seater looks faster than it is. Power comes via a weak but fuel-efficient 121-hp four-cylinder mated to a standard six-speed manual or optional automatic transmission. Like all Minis, the Cooper coupe has tons of personality and is highly customizable, but it can get pricey with options.

Mini Cooper Roadster

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Basically a Cooper convertible with a chopped windshield, a soft top, and a trunk instead of a back seat, the roadster trades practicality for spunky, two-seat style. It drives just like all other Coopers, with great steering and slot-car handling, though with just 121 hp from its a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, it is a bit on the slow side. Still, the Cooper Roadster is a fuel-efficient two-seater that lets the sun shine in with a flick of the wrist. For more speed, see the S/JCW models.

Scion tC

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Along with the rest of the Scion brand, the Scion tC model was discontinued in 2016. Under the hood, you’ll find a 179-hp 2.5-liter four; it powers the front wheels through a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. Handling is confident and body motions are well controlled, but its rivals easily outperform it. However, the tC offers a roomy cabin, top-notch build quality, and a good reliability record.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

 

The Golf GTI is the progenitor of the hot-hatch genre, and age has not dulled its abilities—and so we name it a 10Best winner. The base engine is a 210-hp 2.0-liter turbo four with a six-speed manual. A six-speed automatic, an extra-cost option, is almost as much fun as the manual. Choose the Sport model for 10 more horses as well as upgrades to brakes and a torque-sensing limited-slip differential. GTI’s classic plaid seats come standard, as do agile handling and hatchback practicality.

About the Author Arnold Sithole

I help men look and feel their best by providing them with information to make affordable choices and to take decisive actions so they can get what they want in the world.

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