Photograph by Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

The Eight Most Impressive New Cars Right Now

  1. Ambitious Models

    Ambitious Models

    In the race for car buyers, conditions have seldom been better. Engineers are making vehicles smarter, safer, and more efficient. Executives are emboldened by the strengthening global economy and cheap financing.

    The result is a rash of new and ambitious models, and as industry analysts and executives converged on Detroit this week for the annual car show, we asked several which of the current or coming vehicles they are most impressed with. Not necessarily the nicest or most expensive rides—just the ones that handily beat expectations. (And we made sure that the folks working for car companies called out a competitor.)

    Here’s what they chose.

    Photograph by Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg
  2. Audi S8

    Audi S8

    Tony Nicolosi
    North American chief executive officer
    Volvo (VOLVB:SS)
    Pick: Audi (in total); pictured: Audi S8
    “Audi scares me a little, because people seem to think they are the cool thing now. But when I get in one, I always think: ‘Man, our cars are just as good or better.’”

    Photograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
  3. Toyota Corolla

    Toyota Corolla

    Mark McNabb
    North American chief operating officer
    Volkswagen (VOW:GR)
    Pick: Toyota Corolla
    “They did a nice job with the refresh of the car. Good, solid car. Big steps for them.

    Photograph by Toyota/AP Photo
  4. Chevrolet Corvette Z06

    Chevrolet Corvette Z06

    Kevin Tynan
    Bloomberg Industries
    Pick: Chevrolet Corvette Z06
    “You are asking the wrong guy. I love every car. But I think the new Corvette is incredible; 625-horsepower from the factory is awesome.”

    Photograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
  5. Audi A6

    Audi A6

    Scott Tobin
    Head of product development
    Pick: Audi A6Q5
    “We respect all of our competitors. There isn’t anybody bad, and I mean that sincerely. But I think the Audi guys have got a pretty interesting product line. They’re investing in China, and that’s somebody we’d target.”

    Courtesy Audi
  6. Jeep Cherokee

    Jeep Cherokee

    Xavier Mosquet
    Senior partner
    Boston Consulting Group
    Pick: Jeep Cherokee
    “It’s a true child of both Chrysler and Fiat. And it’s a product that by size is in a place where a few years ago the U.S. companies wouldn’t have competed. It’s going to be a global success.”

    Photograph by Chrysler Group LLC/AP Photo
  7. Audi “Shooting Brake”

    Audi “Shooting Brake”

    Bill Visnic
    Senior analyst
    Pick: Audi “Shooting Brake” (concept)
    “The ‘shooting brake’ body style—essentially a melding of coupe and station wagon—can be fabulous when executed properly. … What I like equally is Audi’s ongoing interpretation of hybrid and electric blending in this car’s driveline. It’s the sort of cutting-edge technology exploration that’s become an Audi watchword.”

    Photograph by Carlos Osorio/AP Photo
  8. Ford Fusion

    Ford Fusion

    Larry Dominque
    Executive vice president
    Pick: Ford Fusion
    “It’s Ford’s first truly competitive vehicle in the midsize segment in years. And that’s followed on that with the Focus, which has been a very good product for them as well.”

    Courtesy Ford
  9. Ford Fiesta ST

    Ford Fiesta ST

    Daniel Gray
    Pick: Ford Fiesta ST
    “For that amount of money, you can’t find a more fun car to drive.”

    Courtesy Ford