The cars we want for Christmas

by Autos Staff

We asked Autos’s car reviewers – who drive all sorts of new cars on a regular basis – what car they’d most like to have for Christmas. The usual selection of exotics and luxury cars are represented, but there were some surprising choices too – and no duplications.

Grant Yoxon, Managing Editor – Lexus RX400h

2006 Lexus RX400h
Photo: Grant Yoxon. Click image to enlarge

If I could have any car, any car at all, it would be tempting to select something just for me, me, me. But like a big screen TV or a trip to Disney Land, this gift is one the whole family will enjoy – the 2006 Lexus RX400h. A gas guzzling SUV? No chance. The RX400h is an all-wheel-drive gas-electric hybrid. Sand or snow, no problemo. We can get to where we want to go, summer or winter. And if you think hybrid means boring, this luxury SUV delivers V8 power with four-cylinder fuel economy. Sounds like a gift to me.

Greg Wilson, Editor – Enzo Ferrari

Ferrari Enzo
Photo: Ferrari. Click image to enlarge

Did you say any car? The mind boggles. I’d go for a rare exotic: an Enzo Ferrari. 12 cylinders. 660 horsepower. 0 to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds. Top speed 350 km/h. Formula 1-like handling. And with only 399 made, it’s going to be very exclusive and have a great resale value. I’m a little worried about the annual insurance costs – perhaps I could mortgage my house to pay for them. And I confess I’ve never driven an Enzo – but hey, if I didn’t like it I could always trade it in on a yacht or a villa or something. But I doubt it.

Paul Williams, Senior Writer – Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI

Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI
Photo: Volkswagen. Click image to enlarge

What a question. You mean one vehicle per season, right? Okay – trying to think outside the box, here – I’m going for a Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI. Its diesel engine makes 310 horsepower, 553 lb.-ft. of torque, and moves this 2,642 kilogram vehicle from 0-100 km/h in a shade over seven seconds. The interior is sensational, the exterior is brawny and rugged, and it features every kind of stability technology, both mechanical and electronic, known to automotive engineering. And there aren’t many people packing a V-10 diesel under the hood. So forgive my indulgence, but I’d be very happy taking on an Eastern Ontario winter in one of these.

Jim Kerr, Technical Editor – BMW M3 Cabriolet

2001 BMW M3 Cabriolet
Photo: BMW. Click image to enlarge

Christmas morning, surprise me with a convertible under the tree. A
Mystic Blue Metallic BMW M3 Cabriolet to be specific. Equip it with the
six speed manual gearbox, heated sport bucket seats and a special order
Cream and Navy leather interior. The M3 provides that fresh air
experience combined with a superb engine and transmission and
exhilarating handling and performance. Equally important, there is ample
room for my family and a trunk with room for all their gear. Other cars
may be faster or more exotic, but the M3 is a great looking package
that’s fun to drive every day.

By Bill Vance, Auto Historian – Mercedes-Benz 300 SL gullwing

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL gullwing
Click image to enlarge

There is one car above all others that I hope Santa leaves under my
Christmas tree: a 1954 to 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL gullwing coupe,
colour optional, although silver would be nice. Why a 50 year old
choice? Well, here is a car that has everything: an outstanding
racing heritage; performance that still stands up well today;
stunning styling with the cachet of those majestic gullwing doors;
and the technological leadership of the world’s first production
fuel injected, four-stroke gasoline engine. Oh, some may quibble
about the sedan-based engine, driveline and swing axles. Let them.
What counts is that Stuttgart’s engineers took those everyday
components and created one of the greatest, most timeless, Grand
Touring cars in the history of the automobile. Please Santa? It
would fit in my garage.

Murray Jackson, contributor – London Taxi

London Taxi
Photo: Murray Jackson. Click image to enlarge

Other Canadian Driver contributors will lust after various exotic cars, but I’ll take the contrarian view. My recent retirement has me thinking about buying a new car that I’ll drive forever. There’s only one viable candidate … the London taxi. Designed for an 800,000 km service life, the London taxi’s 2.4 litre TDI engine provides good fuel economy over the long haul. Bolt-on body panels facilitate economical repairs. Passengers have lots of room and their own heating and A/C controls. In my dotage, my kids can use the cab’s wheelchair compatibility to take me out for Sunday drives.

Haney Louka, contributor – Lamborghini Gallardo

Lamborghini Gallardo
Photo: Click image to enlarge

I never thought I’d have so much trouble answering this question. Each year I’m fortunate enough to drive some of the best and most expensive cars on the market. Highlights from the past year include the C6 Corvette, Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, Dodge Viper, Lexus LS 430, Audi S4, VW Phaeton, and the list goes on. But it’s only human nature to covet something that hasn’t been experienced. It’s for that reason that I shift my attention to the Lamborghini Gallardo. Its credentials are hard to fault: all wheel drive, all-aluminum construction for a 1,430-kg dry weight, and a 500-horsepower V-10 engine. I rest my case.

Bob McHugh, contributor – Acura TSX

2004 Acura TSX
Photo: Acura. Click image to enlarge

“Santa doesn’t like greedy little boys who ask for the moon,” my mom use to say, “all you’ll get is a lump of coal in stocking.” So, with that in mind, my taste is both modest and practical. A car I can share with the family – as long as they keep their mitts off the steering wheel! What four-door sedan has an engine as sweet as Swiss chocolate, styling so chic it could strut down a Paris fashion house runway, a chassis/suspension so agile it can twist and turn like Ruud van Nistelrooy with a soccer ball, yet cost less then $35,000? There’s really only one answer: the Acura TSX. Please send it to Bob McHugh.

Jil McIntosh, contributor – Mazda RX-8

2004 Mazda RX-8
Photo: Grant Yoxon. Click image to enlarge

If Santa’s buying, then who am I to worry about cargo capacity and fuel economy? Make mine the Mazda RX-8, please. Sure, it drinks gas and eats oil. Hell isn’t fire: it’s a cross-Canada trek as the rear seat passenger. And I sure don’t want to require repairs in some little town, where mine is the first rotary the technicians have ever seen. But get behind the wheel, and all that is forgotten. RX-8 is smooth power and then some, with superb cornering ability, in-your-face styling and performance that makes you take the long way home. Wrap it up, big boy.

Russell Purcell, contributor – McLaren F1

McLaren F1
Photo: Click image to enlarge

As I have been an exceptionally good boy this year I would be more than pleased if Mr. Kringle and his pit-crew of elves could find a way to park a McLaren F1 under my tree. Although the F1 project has been shelved since 1997, the car still represents the pinnacle of automotive excess. Its carbon fibre body, Formula 1 engineered chassis, space-race technology and overall build quality stretched the barriers of automotive construction. The F1’s 600+ hp 6.0-litre BMW V12 gives it the momentum to obliterate the 300 km/h barrier with ease. Add to this the centrally mounted driver’s seat and you have the closest thing to driving a Lemans prototype on the street. Oh wait, you are!

Richard Russell – Caterham

Caterham Superlight R300
Photo: Click image to enlarge

If Santa wanted to repay me for all those late nights waiting for small people to go to bed before assembling toys and other items, he’d put a big box marked Caterham beneath the tree this year. Assembling that kit would be far more taxing – but rewarding. The last remnant of the brilliant mind of Colin Chapman of Lotus fame, the Caterham is a kit car, a tube-framed piece of engineering that is living proof weight is the biggest enemy of performance. A full-assembled and road-ready Caterham weighs barely 500 kilos. With a modern and reliable four cylinder engine – say that from a Toyota Celica GTS or Honda S2000 producing 250 horsepower, it has simply astounding performance.

Tony Whitney – Bentley Continental GT

Bentley Continental GT
Photo: Bentley. Click image to enlarge

Is it possible to get a Bentley Continental GT with a nice big bow round it under my Christmas tree? Like most other automotive journalists, I get to drive just about everything there is, but this past year, no car impressed me quite as much as this superb new Bentley. It looks absolutely wonderful, it goes like a high-end sports car with its technically sophisticated W-12 powerplant, it handles far better than it’s any right to, it’s beautifully built and it made me feel as though I was putting on a $3,000 Saville Row suit every time I got behind the wheel. What else can you ask of a luxury supercar?

Laurance Yap – Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet

Laurance Yap - Porsche 911 Turbo S
Photo: Laurance Yap. Click image to enlarge

With snow on the ground and winter in the air, it’s tempting to think
of SUVs and trucks for cutting through the Christmas muck, but I’d go
for a bright-red Porsche 911 instead. Past experience has taught me
that – fitted with the appropriate tires – it’s a fantastic snow car
thanks to its rear-engined traction, brilliant stability management
system, and available all-wheel-drive. There are, unfortunately, too many choices. The base Carrera and new S are the first new-generation models and are better than ever, but for the snow, an all-wheel-drive Carrera 4S or Turbo
would be more appropriate. For the most festive mood, how about a 911
Turbo S cabriolet, with 450 hp and enough space in the back seat, once
you retract the roof, for a big bag of toys?

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