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Autocar

Car of the

Year

The latest 5 Series range covers all the luxury bases with its extensive line up, which offers refinement, abundant features and a nod to efficiency. The base model is now powe'ed by a 2 0-litre diesel, while the representative on the day was the top-of-the-range 550i, a massively powerful yet efficient V8 (efficient, that is, as long as Owen isn't behind the wheel), "he new sheetmetal drew consistent praise, and high scores were netted for performance, dynarrics and practicality. The quality was recognised, and even the 'value' to be had. Brady described it as 'refined, and [it] performs as good as it looks'; Summerfield reckoned it was 'crushingly good'. The 5's dynamics were summed up by Louisson: '[It] utterly subdues the road beneath it'; Owen reckoned the transmission was brilliant, 'even if it has the stupidest gearlever ever'; while O'Carroll baulked at the cost: 'Amazing, but $200K? Jesus!' However, the 5 is refined, effort ess and understated - everything a luxury car shojld be.

Though the Performance Car category usually requires fierce debate to find a winner, the value-for-money quotient of the Sjbaru WRX made it an easy pick this year. While not all-new, the reworked model bucks the trend of price rises; in fact, the new Rex is actually cheaper than its predecessor, redefining 'bang fcr buck' (nearly every judge trotted out that well-used phrase in describing this car). Few deducted points for dynamics but most were hard on the design: 'Back-roac weapon for NZ conditions. Don't Ike the look, but still the most driving fun you can have for $45K,' reckoned Owen; while from O'Carroll: The WRX is a car that everyone who truly loves driving needs to drive.' 'Shame about the cheap build quality,' noted Simmerfield, 'as this is a quality car to drive'; while Louisson asked, 'Can anything top this for sheer value and adrenaline rush?'

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