A dozen sweet rides to choose from

Cana­dian Au­to­mo­tive Jury re­veals its Best of the Best fi­nal­ists

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - AUTOS - By John LeBlanc

AS the 2014 model year clicks into full gear, the Cana­dian Au­to­mo­tive Jury has an­nounced the dozen fi­nal­ists for its fifth an­nual Best of the Best new ve­hi­cle awards.

The jury’s Best of the Best are unique among the plethora of an­nual car-ofthe-year awards. The not-for-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion is in­de­pen­dently funded by its ju­rors, 11 se­nior au­to­mo­tive jour­nal­ists.

As we wait for the lone 2014 Best of the Best win­ner to be an­nounced in Jan­uary, here are this year’s nom­i­nees: Audi RS 7 Sport­ing a twin-tur­bocharged 4.0-litre V8 en­gine that di­rects 560 horse­power to all four wheels via Audi’s leg­endary quat­tro AWD sys­tem and an eight-speed Tip­tronic trans­mis­sion, the $115,000 (all start­ing MSRPs) RS 7 can rocket from rest to 100 km/h in less than four sec­onds, and, with an op­tional Dy­namic Pack­age Plus, top out at 305 km/h. BMW 4 Se­ries Coupe More than a two-door ver­sion of BMW’s 3 Se­ries com­pact sedan, the new, $44,900 4 Se­ries Coupe moves up­mar­ket, with more room and fea­tures than ever be­fore. Of­fer­ing the same pow­er­trains as the 3 Se­ries, the 428i uses a 241-hp tur­bocharged 2.0-litre four, while the top-line 435i em­ploys a twin-turbo 3.0L six mak­ing 300 hp.

Cadil­lac ATS (2013 Best of the Best win­ner)

To keep the new nom­i­nees in check, the CAJ in­vites back the pre­vi­ous year’s win­ner. And for 2014, the $36,985 Cadil­lac ATS com­pact sports sedan hasn’t lost any of the lus­tre that made it the CAJ’s 2013 Best of the Best win­ner. The sports sedan marks a mas­sive shift for Cadil­lac, and Gen­eral Mo­tors as a cor­po­ra­tion, and is al­ready hav­ing a trickle-down ef­fect on the en­try-level lux­ury car mar­ket. Chevro­let Corvette Stingray Sport­ing new carbon fi­bre body­work, more up­scale in­te­rior, and gear­boxes and a 6.2L V8 gas en­gine that make 460 hp, a 3.8-sec­ond 100 km/h time, and a claimed “best in class” fuel econ­omy of 12.2 L/100 km in the city and 6.9 on the high­way — the $54,454 2014 Chevro­let Corvette Stingray sends a clear mes­sage that Gen­eral Mo­tors is se­ri­ous about mak­ing great cars. Chevro­let Im­pala Prov­ing it’s not sav­ing its best for just lux­ury sedans and sports cars, the new 2014 Chevro­let Im­pala heav­ily ben­e­fits from rid­ing on the same Gen­eral Mo­tors full-sized sedan plat­form as the Buick LaCrosse and Cadil­lac XTS. In ad­di­tion to a host of state-of-the-art safety fea­tures, the value-laden and boldly styled $28,445 Im­pala can be had with ei­ther a 196-hp four-cylin­der, a 305-hp V6 or as a mild hy­brid. Kia Forte As per any new Kia, the $15,995 2014 Forte looks more ex­pen­sive than its price would sug­gest. Its lux­ury-car op­tions in­clude three-mode steer­ing, rearview cam­era and heated and cooled seats — to name only a few. Hav­ing a choice of a four-door sedan, hatch­back or 201-hp two-door coupe broad­ens the Forte’s ap­peal. In­finiti Q50 The new Q50 is just the start of an am­bi­tious plan to jump-start Nis­san’s In­finiti lux­ury brand. Re­plac­ing the out­go­ing G37 com­pact sports sedan, the new, rear- or all-wheel-drive $37,500 Q50 is larger, gets a new hy­brid model in ad­di­tion to the gas V6, and of­fers a pha­lanx of safety, lux­ury and con­ve­nience fea­tures to add to its al­ready top­notch bang-for-the-buck rep­u­ta­tion. Jaguar F-Type As the spir­i­tual suc­ces­sor to the iconic Jaguar E-Type, the new, rear-wheeldrive $76,900 F-Type two-seat road­ster has been the Jag en­thu­si­asts have been wait­ing for for decades. The three-en­gine, F-Type lineup starts with a pair of su­per­charged 3.0L V6s, with ei­ther 340 or 380 hp, and a su­per­charged 5.0L V8 mak­ing 495 hp. But even the base FType is quick, tak­ing only 5.1 sec­onds to go from zero to 100 km/h. Mazda 3 Play­ing in Canada’s most-pop­u­lar car class, the all-new com­pact Mazda 3 is an im­por­tant car for the Ja­panese au­tomaker. Avail­able in four-door sedan and hatch­back mod­els, the third-gen­er­a­tion $15,995 Mazda 3 of­fers pre­mium styling out­side and in, up­scale fea­tures and a choice of two four-cylin­der en­gines: a 155-hp 2.0L unit and a 184-hp 2.5L mill. A 30 per cent lighter chas­sis not only aids in fuel econ­omy, but also al­lows the sus­pen­sion to de­liver ex­cel­lent han­dling. Mazda 6 As the sec­ond model af­ter the newlast-year CX-5 com­pact crossover to of­fer a com­plete ap­pli­ca­tion of Mazda’s so-called Sky­ac­tiv Tech­nol­ogy, the $24,495 mid-sized 2014 Mazda 6 pro­fesses to bal­ance fuel ef­fi­ciency and Volk­swa­gen Jetta Turbo Hy­brid On top of a pair of nat­u­rally as­pi­rated gas en­gines, a tur­bocharged diesel and a tur­bocharged gas model, the $27,875 turbo-gas-elec­tric hy­brid be­comes the fifth en­gine op­tion in Volk­swa­gen’s pop­u­lar Jetta com­pact sedan lineup. Unique, the Jetta’s 1.4L four-cylin­der is tur­bocharged and in­ter­cooled. And in­stead of a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion, the VW hy­brid uses a du­al­clutch au­to­matic. The re­sult? The Jetta Turbo Hy­brid is both fast and fru­gal.

2014 Chevro­let Corvette Stingray.

2014 Mazda 6.

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