Does your foot hit the gas pedal like a brick? Do you feel the need to own a car that is a little more capable in the speed department? You're not alone. Many new car buyers are also feeling the lure of high performance driving. However, getting that need satisfied can require some rather expensive modifications if you do not purchase a performance car direct from the manufacturer. This begs the question, what makes a performance car? What should such a car offer? What's the biggest performance bang for the buck right off the lot?
Well, speed and acceleration are usually at the top of the list, but to a true performance driver these are just two factors among many. Handling is every bit as important and braking is also a necessity. However, the list goes on. Everything your car is made to do must be done through a contact patch made up of a few square inches of rubber. It takes more than raw horsepower to make it all come together.
When we compiled our top 10 performance cars of 2011 list, we had to make some surprising sacrifices. There are a lot of cars out there at all price points that put up some very impressive performance figures.
We compared speed, acceleration, handling, drive type, and even reliable operation to define our list of top 10 fast cars. Our defining criteria, of course, was acceleration times, as those vehicles able to attain the highest speeds and lowest times are usually (but not always) better honed in other areas. That said, we also considered drive type (AWD vs RWD, for example) and handling capabilities. After all, what fun is it driving really fast if you can only go safely in a straight line?