7. 2016 Porsche 911
Base price range: $85,295-$195,595
No 911 is ordinary, but no sports-car line stretches from the extraordinary to the near exotic the way this one does. Few automobiles of any stripe so honor their heritage, either. Porsche proudly (and stubbornly) hews to the rear-engine layout and general body profile introduced on the first 911 back in 1964. Today’s 911 is the product of almost constant upgrades that make it arguably sport motoring’s gold standard. It’s a matchless blend of thrilling performance, the relative practicality of 2+2 seating, unparalleled build quality, and great resale value. And the array of permutations is bewildering. There are coupe, convertible, and targa body styles, with near-numberless trim and appearance-detail variations.
Every 911 uses a horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine and they range from a 350-horsepower 3.4-liter through 3.8s of 400, 430, and 475 horsepower, to a 4.0 with 500. The twin-turbo 3.8 in the Turbo models makes 520-560 horses. Every version can be had with rear- or all-wheel drive; a seven-speed manual transmission is available but most models come with Porsche’s ultra-quick-shifting seven-speed automated manual. The slowest does 0-60 in about 4.6 seconds, the fastest in under 3. All present a master class in handling, steering, and braking and some are in effect roadgoing race cars. Their evolution will continue for model-year 2017 with a mild facelift accompanied by a new flat-six engine, a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter. Rated 370 horsepower, it’ll replace the naturally aspirated 3.4-liter in the base Carrera and, with 420, the naturally aspirated 3.8 in the Carrera S.