Jennifer Misaros: 2012 Year In Review
Best exhaust note: Jaguar XKR-S
The Jaguar XKR-S has a long list of laudable characteristics, including a sublime chassis; light, communicative steering; and distinctively British style, inside and out. But nothing about the extreme XK is as desirable as its intoxicatingly husky exhaust note. If you're trying not to wake the neighborhood, light throttle applications will keep the noise down to a fairly civilized level. Be a bit more aggressive, though, and you'll quickly find out where the term 'loud pedal' originated. But it's not the decibel level that makes it unique, it's the snap, crackle, pop aria that is produced on full throttle upshifts and high rpm downshifts that make flogging the Jaguar XKR-S more habit forming and buzz inducing than crack-tainted chocolate covered coffee beans.
Worst racing stripes: Chevrolet Corvette 427 Convertible with 60th Anniversary Design Package
The Corvette has a rich history that, not surprisingly, Chevrolet is wont to call upon to sell more cars. Earlier this year, the company announced that the 60th Anniversary Design Package would be available on all Corvettes, coupe and convertible. While it sounds similar to the aesthetic packages they've offered in the past, this time I think they've gone too far.
The package includes the usual skin-deep add-ons like a unique interior and exterior color scheme along with special badging, inside and out, and an optional stripe package. All of it this is pretty standard fare for a sports car, except for one element: the stripes on the sheetmetal continue onto the cloth top. Some credit is due for the use of a fairly subtle color contrast but, regardless, there's a reason this is not common practice among convertibles: it looks cheesy. We can take solace in the fact that it will only be around for a year.