Friday, December 29, 2006

GTI chosen as 2007 Automobile of the Year

Right around this time, car magazines begin publishing their "car of the year" issues detailing what they think deserves the honour of being exactly that, the halo car of the year that every other car should aspire to.

Automobile Magazine has recently released details on their Automobile of the Year and, honestly, it surprised me. The often overlooked GTI gets the nod as Automobile Magazine's 2007 Automobile of the Year. According the magazine, the GTI was chosen because you can do top speed on the highway with all the practicality of a hatchback while still returning 30 mpg. This special mix of performance, practicality, and economy is something that makes for a car that's "right for our times," says the magazine. In fact, Automobile Magazine's editorial staff voted unanimously for the GTI, calling it "Volkswagen's return to form".

Good job, Volkswagen!

Automobile Magazine's press release and links to the full article after the jump.

Source: Automobile Magazine
(ANN ARBOR, Mich.--December 27, 2006)-- AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE, America's leading automotive lifestyle publication, today announced the winners of its 2007 awards for Automobile of the Year, Design of the Year, Man of the Year, and Technology of the Year.

The editors selections represent automotive achievements that combine outstanding innovation, forward thinking, and professional and personal achievement. The four winners will be featured in the pages of the February 2007 issue of AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE, available on newsstands beginning January 9, 2007.

The 2007 AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE winners are:

2007 Automobile of the Year: Volkswagen GTI - Editors judged that this sporting version of the fifth-generation Golf succeeds at fusing exciting performance and handling in an affordable and practical package. The GTI's 200-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission propel the 2-door version to 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds. All this, and the GTI will still return 30 miles to the gallon on the highway. With prices at the pump in constant flux, the GTI is the right car for the times.

"Our editorial team was unanimous in its decision that the Volkswagen GTI deserved this honor," said Gavin Conway, editor-in-chief of AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE. "The latest GTI marks a return to form by Volkswagen, with a car that gives enthusiasts a great driving experience without sacrificing practicality, affordability and fuel efficiency. This is the performance car for a new generation of enthusiasts."

Design of the Year: Aston Martin V8 Vantage - Also selected as an AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE All-Star for 2007, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage proves to the editors that, in an environment of ever-tightening safety regulations, it is still possible to craft an elegant and stimulating driving machine. Taking subtle cues from the design legacy of Aston Martin, the Vantage is respectful of the company's history without being overly retro.

"Without question, the V8 Vantage is the best Aston Martin ever produced," Conway said. "It is a hallmark of great design and arguably the best-looking car manufactured in the last couple of decades. Apart from its aesthetic appeal, the Vantage was selected for combining great looks with an outstanding driving experience."

Man of the Year: Roger Penske - Roger Penske has been described as an icon and a fierce competitor, but the editors of AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE selected him for one reason: his tremendous list of personal and professional accomplishments. In 2006 alone, Penske Racing won its fourteenth Indy 500 and its first International Racing League championship. Penske's United Auto Group currently ranks second among U.S. megadealers. Those accomplishments are in addition to his hero status in the city of Detroit, where he chaired the recent Super Bowl committee.

Conway said, "In selecting Roger Penske, we are not only celebrating his career accomplishments, but acknowledging that his impact will be felt within and outside of the automotive industry for years to come."

Technology of the Year: Electronic Stability Control - Electronic Stability Control has finally come of age for enthusiast drivers. ESC works by monitoring a number of dynamic parameters and then intervenes electronically to help prevent a skid or loss of control.

"Earlier ESC systems seemed heavy-handed and took away from the driving experience," said Conway. "But even the most demanding drivers on our staff agreed that this year's Technology of the Year did not interfere with the dynamic rewards of spirited driving."

Conway notes that enthusiast drivers often turn off the ESC in order to more fully explore the capabilities of a performance car. However, the editors at AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE put various systems through a challenging, rainy few days of performance driving and found that even under the worst driving conditions, the ESC never spoiled the driving experience.

The latest ESC systems mean that electronically controlled dynamic safety and driving pleasure are no longer mutually exclusive. Conway said that modern ESC systems, which will be standard on all cars by 2012, will force auto enthusiasts to think twice about shutting off ESC to get the best our of their car.

AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE, a PRIMEDIA Inc. (NYSE: PRM) publication, was founded in 1986 by veteran automotive journalist David E. Davis, Jr., and has a circulation of 550,000 and a total readership of 3.6 million. Recipient of more editorial awards than any other major automotive publication, AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE is designed to appeal to the interests of passionate automotive enthusiasts. Its diverse editorial mix includes behind-the-wheel experiences in the world's most fascinating cars, as well as personalities, travel destinations, automotive art, vintage cars, and industry trends.


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