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There are a lot of reasons to love a car. Some are attractive because of their design; some are attractive because of their engineering and performance; some are attractive because of their luxury; and some are attractive because of a certain je ne sais quoi. The following are all examples of attractive cars for a variety of reasons that have been ruined by the joy-sucking, understeering horror that is front-wheel-drive. If these cars had at least some of their power going to the rear wheels, they'd be awesome, but as it stands they're naught but wasted potential.
The new baby Benz is a nice proposition. You get a Mercedes-Benz, complete with that nice German feeling of Autobahn-tuned solidity and a well sorted, beautifully finished interior at a price that mere mortals can look at without shriveling into a fetal position.
These cars would be awesome as little sporty daily drivers with either rear- or all-wheel-drive powertrains. Yes, you can get the AMG variant for a whopping $17,000 more than the 250, which does come with AWD. The problem is that even AMG didn't take it far enough. The AMG AWD system puts 100% of the torque to the front wheels during most situations, and is only capable of sending a maximum of 50% of its torque to the rear. We would have preferred something much more hardcore from AMG.
Hyundai Veloster Turbo
Hyundai made a weird, weird car. It has one door on the left and two on the right, and if you're not careful you can bash the hell out of your rear passengers' heads when you close the hatch. Despite that, the proportions for a hot hatch are basically perfect.
The standard Veloster is a decent economy car with cool styling, and that's fine. Cheap-wheel-drive is perfect for the base Veloster. We wish that, instead of the Veloster Turbo being a not-quite-sharp-enough version of a VW GTI, it had been a WRX competitor with ties to Hyundai's awesome, 500 hp, AWD Veloster that races in Global Rallycross. That would have been glorious.
Okay, so "Lincoln" isn't a car; it's a whole brand. It's a whole brand that's flailing around making drowning motions without having realized that it's actually in the shallow end of the pool. Ford Motor Company has some great rear-driven platforms like the Mustang and the Falcon (RIP Ford of Australia) and FoMoCo also has some great engines and some truly impressive technology.
The fact that Ford is still treating Lincoln like a Ford trim-level despite having all those great parts is maddening. It's like watching a kid sitting on the floor mashing churros together next to an unopened box of Legos and crying because he can't make an X-Wing fighter.
Nissan marketed the Maxima as "the four door sports car" as if throwing a decent engine in a torque-steering FWD sedan somehow turned it into a sports car. Nobody is claiming the Chevy Impala is a sports car. Better yet, we also live in a world that includes the Audi S4, S6, S7, RS4, RS6, and RS7; the BMW 335is, 550i, M5, M6 Gran Coupe, and M3; the Mercedes C63, E63, S63, CLS63, CLA45, and S65; the Aston Martin Rapide; the Ford Taurus SHO, the Dodge Charger SRT-8, the Cadillac ATS-V and CTS-V; the Chrysler 300 SRT-8; the Hyundai Genesis R-Spec; basically every Jaguar that's not the F-Type; the Subaru WRX; the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution; the Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte; Nissan's own offerings under the "Infiniti" brand; and many, many more. The worst part is that all of the four door sports cars mentioned above have power going to the rear wheels — and the Maxima does not.This is like if Arby's marketed the classic fish sandwich as "the fast-food hamburger."
Volvo wants desperately to be the Chinese auto industry's Trojan horse a real competitor to BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and the S60 can almost accomplish that. Volvo has solid engines and a good suspension in that car, as well as a clean and distinctive design that manages to proudly proclaim its heritage without looking like the cinder-block Volvos of yore. Sadly, the front-wheel drive dynamics just don't add up to a convincing alternative to the German sport sedans.