Frankencar 2018: best of our Best Car To Buy nominees


Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2018 Frankencar

Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2018 Frankencar

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Swap the keys of four luxury and performance cars among seven editors for a few days, and opinions get formed. Each guy learns the things he likes about each car and the things he doesn't. We start picking nits and picking favorites. The result of this back and forth was naming the Honda Civic Type R the Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2018, but we were left with plenty we liked about the other contenders.

So, we got to thinking. What if we combined the best elements of our four finalists—the Type R, the Lexus LC, the Porsche Panamera, and the Kia Stinger—into one car? How would we construct this "Frankencar"? We figured it was a flight of fancy worth exploring.

Follow along as I build the best car I can out of the elements from our Best Car To Buy finalists.

Best Car To Buy 2018 Frankencar details

Best Car To Buy 2018 Frankencar details

Enlarge Photo
Best Car To Buy 2018 Frankencar details

Best Car To Buy 2018 Frankencar details

Enlarge Photo
Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2018

Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2018

Enlarge Photo

Powertrain: The powertrain for our Frankencar combines elements from three of our finalists. For power delivery, we'll opt for the Porsche Panamera 4S's twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6. It puts out 440 horsepower at 5,650 rpm and 405 pound-feet of torque from 1,750 to 5,500 rpm, and rockets this 4,213-pound car from 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds. It doesn't have quite as much power as the 471 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque in the Lexus LC 500, but the Porsche just pulls harder, especially at higher speeds. It works quite well with the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission, which delivers quick, decisive shifts, but we #GiveAShift around here and you can't do better than a well-tuned Honda manual gearbox. Thankfully, the Honda Civic Type R has one. It provides short throws, with positive engagement and a clutch feel that most of us felt to be natural and not too heavy.

As for sound, if a naturally aspirated V-8 is music to our ears, the LC 500's 5.0-liter V-8 is Beethoven. Well, maybe it's more like Beethoven as played by Mannheim Steamroller, or better yet Metallica, because this beast is loud, and it pops and crackles on overrun and between shifts. The Porsche twin-turbo V-6 run through the Honda manual singing the Lexus' song? As Matthew McConaughey said it best.

"All right, all right, all right."

Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2018

Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2018

Enlarge Photo
Best Car To Buy 2018 Frankencar details

Best Car To Buy 2018 Frankencar details

Enlarge Photo
Best Car To Buy 2018 Frankencar details

Best Car To Buy 2018 Frankencar details

Enlarge Photo

Styling: If we have to go with an overall design, the Lexus LC takes the crown. It's a seductive car that looks even more expensive than its roughly $100,000 price tag and should hold up well over time. Lexus was studying the contrasts of nature and technology in the design. Nature can be seen in the way the fenders flow out from a jet fighter-like canopy, while technology is evident in the sharper creases, the metallic trim, the pushpin taillights, and the triple LED headlights. The LC's rear pillars are especially sleek. Steeply raked and blacked out to give them floating look, they are highlighted by metal trim shaped like Japanese swords.

Inside, the nature and technology contrast is more striking, with flowing, wave-like lines offset by modern infotainment features.

The Kia Stinger GT could contribute to the styling as well. Its ducts and scoops all serve a function, and its fastback design is functional and appealing, giving it some utility that the sport sedans it competes against lack.


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