Alright, just to be clear this is an article about GREAT new cars that have that little bit of a macho edge. This is not a list about cars that scream out “male inadequacy issues” in a manner not heard since The Village People had a hit song with “Macho Man.”
So there will be no Dodge Vipers (the shape is just wrong in a very Freudian psych 101 kind of way) and as this covers only new cars there will be no “fixer-upper” Pontiac GTOs either. Seriously, don’t you have a better use for your garage than as a storage shed for all the parts to that 1960’s muscle car you plan on rebuilding so you can start “cruising for chicks?” Stop it. You are embarrassing your children and your wife.
But what does it mean to drive a “macho car?” Does that mean you have to drive a pickup truck with a gun rack and an NRA bumper sticker? Of course not. Plenty of women drive lifted trucks themselves so the false bravado of that kind of vehicle doesn’t really fit either.
On the flip side there is the even more damaging misnomer than when a vehicle is called a “chick car.” Okay, the VW Cabriolet (perhaps the biggest girl car ever made) fit the bill nicely but that was only because 90% were white with white tops and white leather interiors. Have you ever seen a man driving a car with that color combination?
So often when a man is seen driving a Mazda Miata (on a bang for the buck basis this is easily the most fun to drive sport coupe/roadster on the market today) he lays himself out for derision. A man driving a Miata is seen as weak for driving a “chick car,” or even worse, a car a gay man would drive.
Come on people, it’s 2009! Being a girl or being gay should not imply weakness-even in the context of what kind of vehicle such a person might drive. I’m a gay man myself and just so you know we all had a meeting and decided that we liked the Mercedes Benz line this year. So don’t buy a Mercedes unless you want people to start questioning your manhood! (Last sentence not exactly 100% true except for the fact that many gay men do like Mercedes. Well don’t straight men too?)
Do you see my point, however, that it is ridiculous to not want a certain car (that might be better engineered than vehicles twice its price) just because it doesn’t fit your gender and preference comfort zone? For example I, as a man, do look at the new BMW Z4 hardtop convertible (the first car designed inside and out by two women) as having very feminine lines. Besides being the first hardtop convertible to not be stylistically challenged by the inherent engineering compromises found in this type of car (usually they have bigger rear ends than Kim Kardashian), the Z4 truly is the first BMW since the Z8 that looks good from every angle.
The old Z4, on the other hand, was a hyper-angular visual mess. Perhaps BMW should have these women put their spin on all of vehicles ex-BMW design boss Chris Bangle got his dirty little hands on. One thing is for certain however-this Z4 is effortlessly sexy, classically balanced in way only a roadster can be and I would totally drive one. Maybe just not the one with the “extended” white leather option that covers the dash, center console, doors and seats with cow hide.
As follows are the five greatest “guy cars” on the market today. And while many of these vehicles have more male owners than female that should never preclude a woman (or a gay man or a lesbian) from wanting and driving one of these vehicles. What makes them “manly” emanates from such disparate sources as their styling, their depth of engineering and the fact that they all like to let out loud burps after a big meal (okay, I made that last part up too).
Porsche 911-The archetype for the entire concept of the “guy car,” the 911 is truly an automotive force of nature. It may tell us you are having a midlife crisis but it also tells the world you also have great taste. While the convertible takes a little bit away from the manliness (as all convertibles do), this only makes the car easier for married men to attain. You see, marriage (for men anyway) is about being willing to compromise. And a Porsche convertible will most certainly appeal to your significant other of the fairer sex.
No matter which 911 model you choose, however, you will always be treated to the most unique supercar driving experience this side of a Lamborghini Murcielago. The 911, what with its engine slung way out in the back, should handle with all the precision of a drunken sorority girl. But thanks to a crack engineering team and decades of refinements the Porsche 911 of today is almost as easy to drive as an Accord.
Nissan 370Z-This is a “guy car” because it is one scary looking machine. Looked at from the front it looks like a rattlesnake with its mouth open and its fangs glistening in the afternoon sun. Step inside the 370Z and you are treated to one of the burliest sounding 6 cylinder engines in the world. On manual transmission models the shifter even vibrates in your hand just so you know who’s in charge.
While the 370Z comes with the option of an automatic, this “guy car” is best savored with the manual. And this is possibly the most macho manual transmission on the market today. While the 911 has a light clutch and easy to manipulate gear weight, the 370Z has a clutch with a weighty take up and the shift action can only be described as “meaty.”
The new 370Z sporting model also has another trick up its sleeve that can help protect your fragile male ego. Known as “Rev-Synchro Match” this system allows any driver of any skill level to match revs with the clutch-otherwise known as “heel and toe.” Even if you don’t understand what it means you will no doubt notice all your friends comment on what a smooth driver you are. And what man doesn’t like to hear that?
BMW X6-In what is a surprising turn for an SUV, the BMW X6 is being purchased by far more men than women. (Women were the purchasing group that really drove the SUV trend.) When you think about it, however, it is easy to see why the X6 should appeal to men. While not totally practical, it is about as close to a hot rod coupe as a dad with two kids can get.
What else makes the X6 appeal to men? It might have a little bit to do with the 400 horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 available in the xDrive5.0i that does it or perhaps it is the positively huge alloy wheels pushed out far to each corner giving this SUV a look that can only be described as “muscular.” The X6 will no doubt appeal even more to men when BMW unleashes an M-powered version later this year that ups the horsepower to 555. When it comes to driving a “guy car” it is true what they say-you just can never have too much power.
Bugatti Veyron-This vehicle embodies male pig-headedness in an automobile that is less a transportation implement and more an engineering tour de force. The Veyron was the brainchild of Ferdinand Piech (a man who at the time was chairman of the VW Group which owns Bugatti) and was essentially an ego driven halo model that met with huge engineering obstacles.
You see, it is relatively easy to get a vehicle to go 100 miles per hour. But when you want to go 253 miles per hour with each passing MPH marker the power put out by the engine must grow exponentially. What came of this bizarre “need” to ever drive at airplane speed was a vehicle that pumps out 1,010 horsepower via a 8 liter 16 cylinder engine with four turbochargers and a whopping 10 radiators that help keep this monster of an engine cool. If the engine in the Bugatti Veyron was a lizard, it would be attacking Tokyo and fighting off Mothra right now.
The fact that all of the mechanical complexity in the Veyron works together so seamlessly yet it is still a vehicle that most anyone could easily drive really is a testament to the engineers who worked on it. If you have ever had the pleasure of driving a supercar like a Dodge Viper or most any old Lamborghini you will realize how rare it is to find a supercar that doesn’t cause sweaty palmed palpitations when you lay out all the power.
Not that the Bugatti Veyron is Mr. Nice Supercar. At top speed this vehicle runs out of gas in 16 minutes at which point it is traveling only 3 miles per gallon of gas. The Veyron is also a vehicle very much of its own time. Do you think the powers that be at VW would have spent all this money on a project that will never make money in this economy? How a car that costs well over $1. 5 million dollars will never turn a profit is beyond me, however.
Now to the super-rich and super-famous men who are deemed lucky enough to own one of the few hundred Bugatti Veyrons scheduled for production this car truly is an unequivocal statement about their all conquering success. You see, rich men (unless they are rappers) generally don’t wear diamond encrusted necklaces worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or any similarly priced visual accessory.
For the super elite upper percentile male this Bugatti is their most stylish accessory. Just ask Simon Cowell from American Idol-he wears simple jeans and a T-Shirt yet drives all over Los Angeles in a Veyron. I wonder if he knows that the first service on his Veyron costs about $18,000? So much for pre-paid maintenance.
VW GTI-The formula is rather simple really. Take the best hatchback in the world, add a class leading turbocharged/direct injected four cylinder and then offer the option of a sweet shifting manual transmission or wave of the future double clutch gearbox. What comes out of this tasty stew is an entertaining and practical ride for the man on a budget or with a family.
What really makes the GTI stand out is that it is not only a solid piece of engineering but also that there is no stylistic frippery. There is no gaudy ornamentation to be found anywhere and the plaid tartan seat fabric is macho in a way not seen since Mel Gibson told his men in Braveheart that “They may take our lives, but they will never take our VW GTIs.” (Maybe I got that last line a little wrong. I can’t be expected to remember every movie line perfectly. That movie was over 3 hours long!)
The GTI, sort of like the Mustang before it, started a whole new sub-group of affordable sports cars. Based on basic hardware from bread and butter corporate models, the Mustang and GTI are so special because they are attainable automotive icons. But even beyond this, the VW GTI embodies Teutonic efficiency and simplicity at its zenith. It’s also really fun to drive too. And is there any greater qualifier for a “guy car?”