We’ve all seen it: a frat bro, wearing a backwards cap, a pink polo with the collar turned up, and boat shoes, cruising around campus with rap music blasting. But what’s he driving? Here are 15 cars favored by bros, from trucks to sport compacts to luxury coupes.
Infiniti Q60 (née G37 Coupe)
Most likely to be seen: Revving its engine outside the frat party.
Who hasn’t seen a blacked-out Infiniti G Coupe parked outside of a frat house? Somewhere in the mid-2000s, this shapely coupe developed a strong following among young men. Maybe it’s the impressive performance that drew them in—even late in its model run with a new Q60 nameplate, the Infiniti offers strong acceleration from its 3.7-liter V-6, and a rorty exhaust note to boot.
Most likely to be seen: With one of its many “Bro” celebrity owners, from Taylor Lautner to Jonah Hill.
Like the Q60, the Audi S5 is a sporty luxury coupe with plenty of horsepower and style. This one goes for a slightly classier vibe, though, with more classic proportions and tasteful chrome trim. You still get plenty of performance from a supercharged V-6 to impress your friends, and Quattro all-wheel drive for year-round practicality. A new S5 is around the corner, and spy shots show a mostly evolutionary styling change from the current car—that’s a good thing.
Most likely to be seen: Climbing up the sand dunes to go day drinking.
Pop off the doors, drop the softtop, and the Jeep Wrangler becomes the ultimate summer cruiser. There’s room in the back for your brewskis, and all sorts of off-road capability for conquering sand dunes and the like. It’s also got plenty of retro rugged appeal, as the basic look of this truck hasn’t changed much in decades.
Range Rover Sport
Most likely to be seen: On the way back from lacrosse practice.
This one is for the bro with a little extra cash to spend. Though the standard Range Rover still exudes a sort of old-world charm, the slightly smaller Range Rover Sport is a bit more aggressive and fits in with a younger, more flashy crowd. Get the supercharged SVR model with its 5.0-liter blown V-8 and you’ll attract plenty of attention from the noise, too.
Most likely to be seen: Doing burnouts in an abandoned parking lot.
Though all of Detroit’s Big 3 musclecars could be argued for prime “bro” status, the Chevy Camaro’s attitude strikes us as the most fitting. It’s got a butch, athletic look that’s unmistakably American, especially the new sixth-generation car’s updated styling that keeps the Camaro tradition going. There’s a new four-cylinder engine for 2016, but you’ll want the 6.2-liter V-8 to understand the Camaro’s true character.
Ram 1500 Rebel
Most likely to be seen: Pulling a jetski to the lakehouse.
Like the Camaro is the most bro muscle car, the Ram 1500 is clearly the most bro of the domestic full-size trucks. This truck has a certain attitude, especially when it’s decked out in the new-for-2015 Rebel trim. This specially outfitted truck gets a brash, in-your-face grille to go with its off-road upgrades, and offers a factory-backed way to lift up the truck like so many bros choose to do with aftermarket parts.
Ford Focus ST
Most likely to be seen: Getting pulled over by a cop for speeding.
Ford brought back its hopped-up Focus in 2012, and almost instantly captured a big part of the hot-hatch market. The turbocharged Focus ST received a refresh for 2015, and is better than ever with its 252-hp four-cylinder, sharp handling, and slick six-speed manual transmission. You’ll see plenty of these aggressive-looking hatchbacks on college campuses, as the relatively low price of entry ($25,245 to start) and the high levels of excitement make for a fun-per-dollar quotient that’s hard to beat.
Most likely to be seen: Doing donuts in the snow after finals.
At least in snowy states, you’ll see plenty of bros rocking Subaru’s turbocharged pocket-rocket, the WRX. These Impreza-based performance models are nearly always shod with a big wing out back, and often have big, loud soda-can exhausts to amp up that Subaru boxer growl. They’re a riot to drive, too, with tons of grip and forceful power delivery that never gets old.
Most likely to be seen: Tailgating before the big game.
True body-on-frame SUVs are few and far between these days, but the Toyota 4Runner’s continued popularity proves that there’s still a market for these truck-based bruisers. An off-road oriented TRD Pro package turns up the bro factor with its cool-looking appearance bits and upgraded suspension, and the 4Runner is perfect for a tailgate with its roll-down tailgate window and big rear cargo area with outlets and speakers.
Most likely to be seen: Hauling mountain bikes to the trail.
Nissan captured the active-lifestyle, rough-and-tumble attitude of the early 2000s when it released the rugged Xterra, and young people took notice. This off-road-ready SUV is all about getting dirty and adventuring beyond the beaten path, and plenty of outdoorsy bros love the Xterra for what it is. Sadly, the Xterra probably won’t be around for too much longer, as the current generation will likely be the last due to increasingly strict emissions and crash-test regulations.
Most likely to be seen: Pulling up to the club valet.
Now that Hummer is dead and gone, Mercedes-Benz is your one-stop-shop for blocky, aged military SUVs that fight against the growing tide of blob-shaped crossovers. The V-8-powered G63 AMG version is the one to have, with 536 turbocharged horsepower and three locking differentials for an unbeatable combination of on-road speed and off-road capability. As we said in our recent review of the G-Wagen, “This old-school truck is cool, unique, and a little bit rebellious”—in other words, it’s perfect for a bro.
BMW M3 (E92)
Most likely to be seen: Taking up two parking spots at the gym.
Before the two-door versions split off to become the M4, the BMW M3 range included multiple bodystyles. The previous-generation M3 coupe and convertible, with its loud V-8 engine and muscular looks, perfectly fit into the “bro” mold, especially trimmed in black. You’re bound to see bros cruising around in these E92-generation M3s, and we admit we’re a bit jealous—these high-revving, high-powered coupes arguably rank among the best examples of the M-car spirit.
Most likely to be seen: With a lift kit and black rims.
GM’s big trucks and SUVs come in all sorts of trims, but the GMC Yukon really hits the sweet spot with its combination of flashiness and presence. It’s not as in-your-face as the blinged-out Cadillac Escalade, but shows your frat brothers that you don’t just drive a plebian Chevy Tahoe. A black Yukon with chrome trim imparts the right amount of class from the big SUV.
Most likely to be seen: Challenging Camaros and Mustangs to stoplight drag races.
Take the boring Chevrolet Cobalt, add a turbocharger, and tune the chassis on the Nürburgring, and you get a surprisingly capable sport compact. The 260-hp Cobalt SS could run serious lap times and hang with more powerful cars, but unfortunately came bolted to a package with substandard interior quality and boy-racer exterior bits that weren’t exactly tasteful. And that’s before people started adding their own aftermarket “upgrades.”
Most likely to be seen: With a body kit, big wheels, and a soda-can exhaust.
Remember when Mitsubishi made cars other than crossovers and entry-level hatchbacks? The Eclipse started off in the 1990s as a turbocharged, all-wheel-drive, high-performance sport coupe, but devolved over the years into a heavy, front-wheel drive coupe with styling that promised more than the car could deliver. The last-generation Eclipse was the worst example of this bloat, but the bold look did at least make it stand out on the road. You could at least get a V-6 with 265 hp, which made for decent acceleration. After a six-year run, the fourth-gen Eclipse was discontinued in 2012.