Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves. The world's automakers just keep developing new vehicles spanning a wide spectrum of luxury and performance. From ulta-luxury SUVs to high-performance hybrids to driftable hot hatches, automakers are finding new and better ways to coddle customers and create fun behind the wheel. Of course, the old staples work well, too, as sport sedans, and low-weight, high-horsepower coupes continue to hit the market.
This past year we drove more than 30 new or significantly updated models that set new standards for luxury and performance. The sheer array of offerings made it hard to pare down the candidates and we had to leave several great cars off our list of nominees.
After careful consideration, however, we narrowed down our list of finalists to six cars. These offerings stood out for their game-changing engineering, engaging driving experience, and/or rip-snorting power. These are the cars that really got our blood pumping and ignited our desire to spend our own hard-earned money. We will soon drive them all back to back at an undisclosed location, but now it's time to present our readers with the finalists for Motor Authority's Best Car To Buy 2017 award.
2017 Acura NSXEnlarge Photo
2017 Acura NSX: The NSX turns teams batteries, electric motors, and a twin-turbo V-6 to create track-ready handling worthy of a supercar.
2017 Audi A4Enlarge Photo
2017 Audi A4: The A4 doesn't push the envelope. It just refines the sport sedan formula to create a fun, efficient, comfortable, and premium driving experience.
2017 Audi R8, Asheville to Daytona part IIIEnlarge Photo
2017 Audi R8: A mid-engine supercar with a 610-horsepower V-10 and Lamborghini-aided engineering, the second-generation adds even more track capability to its sexy look.
2016 BMW M2 CoupeEnlarge Photo
2016 BMW M2: The M2 is a throwback for BMW and the type of car fans want BMW to make. It balances engaging driving dynamics and willing power with a reasonably comfortable ride quality.
2016 Ford Focus RSEnlarge Photo
2016 Ford Focus RS: How cool is a car that has a Drift mode? Ford has outfitted the already fun Focus with all-wheel drive and a 350-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder to create one of the hottest of the hot hatches.
2017 Jaguar XE V6 SEnlarge Photo
2017 Jaguar XE: The XE marks Jaguar's second attempt at a compact sport sedan, and this effort is much better than the X-Type of the early 2000s. It boasts the combination of ride quality and grin-inducing handling that made BMW so beloved when the X-Type wasn't.
How we choose our Best Car To Buy
We start by only looking at the luxury and performance vehicles that are new or significantly updated each year.
Next, we eliminate vehicles that aren't available for road tests by our editors prior to November 1, 2016 or won't go on sale prior to April 30, 2017.
Then we make the tougher cuts. Luxury and performance marques build most of the finest vehicles on the planet. A car or SUV that might be considered excellent in its segment just might not stack up against other feats of automotive brilliance that came out this year.
That leaves us with a list cars that we need to consider against the established benchmarks and against each other. The cars above made all of those cuts.
We'll announce our Best Car To Buy Winner on November 14, along with the winners from our sister sites, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. We'll also announce the winners in our Driver's Choice awards—as voted by you, our readers—at that time.
We still don't know what car will be the winner, but we are excited to find out. We hope you are, too.