2010 has been quite a year for the auto industry’s sports car segment. With auto brands becoming more and more aggressive in their pursuit of power, speed, and consumer preference, sports cars have become about as popular in 2010 as Justin Bieber’s hairdo.
So with all these choices, one can just imagine the painstaking labor we went through in determining our choices for the 2010 Sports Car of the Year. Of all the categories, this one was, without question, the hardest to agree on, especially when the multitude of choices available are considered.
In the end, we did find a common ground in selecting the five best sports cars of the year, despite the fact that there were some arguments along the way. Of the five that we chose - one of them is a one-off sports car - four of them came from Europe whereas the only non-European sports car on the list calls the Land of the Rising Sun as its home.
The New Lancia Stratos is the only one-off sports car to make it on our list so that in itself is an achievement in its own right. Commissioned by Michael Stoscheck, the new Stratos shares a lot of its underpinnings with the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, making it a pretty powerful machine. The New Stratos is powered by a 4.3-liter V8 engine that produces 540 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque with a 0-62 mph time of 3.3 seconds and a top speed of around 200 mph. While some people might argue that the New Stratos’ exclusivity should have it higher on the list, we think that the car’s one-off status goes both ways considering that only one person is going to enjoy the car.
Just when you thought that Audi had squeezed just about everything there is to squeeze with the Audi R8, the company outdid themselves once more with the Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI Quattro. Powered by a 5.2-liter FSI V10 that delivers a maximum output of 525 horsepower at 8,000 RPM, the R8 Spyder is capable of bursting out of the block to 60 mph in under 4.1 seconds while reaching speeds of just a shade under 200 mph. You know you’ve had a good year when you make yet another appearance at another Hollywood blockbuster for 2010. Yep, there’s a reason Tony Stark – a.k.a. Iron Man – loves him some R8 Spyder.
In a year that has been dominated by over-the-top sports cars that promise a whole lot more than they deliver, this British aristocratic sports car came to the party dressed like a sure-fire winner. As the newest DB9 model to come out of the UK, the 2011 Aston Martin DB9 is the epitome of a finely-tailored thoroughbred with some serious power hiding underneath its classy exterior. The new DB9 is powered by a 6.0-liter V12 engine delivering an unchanged 470bhp and 442lb ft of torque with a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 190 mph. More than the impressive numbers, the new DB9 brought a style and panache in a segment where power and speed are considered religion.
Of all the Porsche sports cars released this year, the Porsche GT2 RS stood out from the rest for a number of reasons. Lighter and more powerful than the standard GT2, the RS version shaved 154 lbs off of its weight while also increasing its engine output by 90 horsepower up to 620 HP. That spike in ponies translates to a 0-62 mph time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph. More to that, the GT2 RS reportedly ran an entire lap of the Nurburgring in just seven minutes and 18 seconds, which is quite a feat for a Stuttgart-born Porsche. Finally, there’s also something to be said for a car that only comes in 500 units and already sold out all 500 models even before the car hit dealerships.
A lot of impressive American and European sports cars were released this year, but as far as we’re concerned, the king of the sports car mountain for 2010 resides on the other side of the world in Japan. Staking its claim as our 2010 Sports Car of the Year is the fire-breathing monster that’s affectionately called ‘Godzilla’ by auto enthusiasts from here to Osaka, Japan: the Nissan GT-R.
The all-new GT-R made its debut later in the year at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. But despite the late reveal, the car still made quite an impression on all of us, not only because of what it’s capable of – how does 530 horsepower and 612 Nm of torque sound to you? - but also because of the cheaper price tag compared to just about every car on the top five. Of all the sports cars on this list, the new Nissan GT-R is the only one that you can buy without crossing the six-digit threshold. With a combination of stunning good looks, high-grade power, and a cheaper-than-most price tag, the new Nissan GT-R is our winner for 2010 Sports Car of the Year.