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Most Overwhelming New Car of the Year
2006 Modern Racer Car Crazy Awards

2006 Modern Racer Car Crazy Awards

And now the highlight of our pointless awards. The most overwhelming car of the year should be one that combines immense driving pleasure with head-turning style; one that makes its price worth every penny and is as satisfying on the track as it is on the street. One that makes you not care that you don't own a Ferrari or a Rolls. This is our version of Car of the Year, but it has little to do with advertising dollars.

2nd Runner-Up :
BMW 330i
The latest mass-market Bimmer is nothing to be disappointed about. Its styling is reminiscent of the previous car with little of designer Bangle's influence, and it drives as well as the previous car, while the interior is as to-the-point as the previous car. In fact, it is hard to discern what exactly is better about the new car besides the decent jump in power. That, and the new option of killing time with something called iDrive. As good a car as this is, we were expecting it to grow wings and fly by now. Nothing much new here, but still a class leader nonetheless.

1st Runner-Up :
Dodge Charger SRT-8
While the Bimmer impresses us with fine-tuned driving dynamics and lazer-guided response, the souped-up SRT Charger is all about brute force, with enough muscle to give any standard BMW owner a wedgie. Packing in excess of 400 horses under the hood, it has more power than C6 Corvettes, a couple of Porsches and a number of German uber-sedans, all the while costing no more than a full-spec 3-Series Bimmer. And in these days high fuel prices, it is not too heavy on the wallet either, with fuel economy similar to most midsize SUVs.

Winner :
Lexus IS350
While the all-new GS is an easily forgettable hit-and-miss affair, the all-new IS is a different case altogether. Featuring what is probably the most powerful V6 engine in a mass-production compact sedan, the rear-wheel-drive IS350 improves on everything that made the previous car a minor celebrity among Europhiles. With handling that is roughly comparable to BMW, styling that is less offensive than the BMW and power that makes the benchmark 3-Series BMW look like a turtle, all for a price that is less than a basic 330i. Well done, Lexus.

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2006 Modern Racer "Car Crazy" Awards
Annual Car Awards

Most Underwhelming New Car
Most Hyped New Car Release
Most Low-Budget New Thrill
Most Practical Performance
Most Outrageously Cool Design
Most Overwhelming New Car


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