As we gather around the metaphorical trash fire and tuck into our collective can of pork 'n' beans, it's comforting to ponder the abundance of terrestrially priced, pretuned performance cars currently on sale. Peering into the recessionary abyss, we enthusiasts can find solace in the sight of cars such as the Ford SVT Focus, the Honda Civic Si, the Mazda MP3, the Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V, and the Volkswagen GTI 1.8T--cars that represent something often ignored in the plush times just past: real bang for the buck. When NASDAQ-giddy nuns were out-bidding one another for Cadillac SUVs, high price seemed an important part of automotive legitimacy. Now value is king, and we're forced to look a bit more critically at what our money is buying. This is no bad thing, but it's clearly no longer about the Benjamins, baby.
True, the huge gains in dynamic, accelerative, and qualitative performance happening at the exalted end of the motoring spectrum have trickled down, sprinkling their holy waters--chassis stiffness, rich materials, robust engines--onto the mass machines.... Read full article