Ten years ago, I was planning a New Year's Eve party and desperately hoping that Y2K would not mean the end the world (and therefore cause my guests to end up crashing in our pad in the post-apocalyptic chaos). Well, we have no such things to worry about this time around.
Here is my take on the best sedans of this decade. In order to qualify, they have to have come into production in 2000 or later. As for qualities I am looking for, it's a combination of power, technology, aesthetics, and that je ne sais quoi.
10. Subaru Impreza WRX (2001-07). Rally fans bicker over the superiority of the WRX over the Lancer Evo (and vice versa). They are both extraordinary cars, in whatever iteration. Probably due to the fact that this WRX was a best seller, its unforgettable exterior-- blue paint and gold wheels, ironing board spoiler, hood scoop large enough to swallow a Golden Retriever-- will remain in my mind as the quintessential street legal rally car of the decade.
9. Pontiac G8 GT (2008-09). I still want to buy this Australian sedan and get a Holden body kit conversion, but the current economy makes me hesitate to even Supersize my Value Meal. In one sense, it is not an extraordinary car. Lots of horsepower from a large V8 that is rear-wheel drive. Not exactly a feat of engineering. But it's the fact that it's semi-affordable and is sold as an American car (though the Pontiac brand is almost defunct) that makes it special.
8. Audi RS6 (2002-04). Most of us on this side of the pond associate the RS6 with the Avant wagon, but a sedan version was available. The twin turbocharged 4.2 liter V8 produced 444 horsepower, which was almost unimaginable at the beginning of this decade.
7. BMW E60 M5 (2006-present). There's no question that the latest M5 is a tour de force. But if I had my pick, I would choose any M5 but the E60 version. However, any top ten list without an M5 would be sacrilege, so there you go, I've fulfilled my BMW quota.
6. Mercedes CLS (2004-present). Mercedes-Benz reached its nadir in the 1990s. Its quality and cachet were virtually wiped off the face of the Earth. But my fondness for Mercedes was rekindled, however slightly, when the CLS was introduced. Though arguably a coupe (I am still recovering from a mild concussion caused by getting into the back seat), this is one of the most beautiful four-door cars to come out in recent memory. And with the SLS Gullwing, I may just respect Mercedes once again.
5. Maserati Quattroporte (2004-present). If I had a bottomless wallet and assurances that I would never have to drive through any sketchy neighborhoods (I'm terrified of being carjacked), I would buy this Maserati. It is bold, stylish, and plain ol' awesome.
4. Cadillac CTS-V (2004-present). The CTS-V, especially the latest version, proves that Detroit can still beat anyone in the world. Got Hope?
3. Alfa Romeo 159 (2005-present). This in my opinion is the most beautiful car on the market right now. I heart it.
2. Citroen C6 (2006-present). Since globalization and mergers, Citroens have never been as quirky as they used to be. But this bad boy is still weird. The extremely concave rear window. A vibrating seat to remind you that you are off-course. And a hydropneumatic suspension that is more complex than ever. What else can you ask for?
1. Volkswagen Phaeton (2002-present). Outrageous, you say. No joke. I think the Phaeton is the best sedan of the decade. The amount of engineering that went into this car would put any other production car out there, aside from the Veyron, to shame. It is underrated and laughed at only because it was produced by VW and because its exterior is a tad on the bland side. My favorite feature-- draftless air conditioning.