The cars we want for Christmas

Every year, the Post Driving team members choose the cars they would most like to get for Christmas. Following, in alphabetical order, are the choices from cars driven this year by David Booth, Patricia Cancilla, Clare Dear, Howard J. Elmer, Graeme Fletcher, Brian Harper and Derek McNaughton:

The Editrix says I can’t wish for another 1982 CB1100RC — the bike that currently holds centre stage in my garage — as my Christmas wish. In fact, she insists — hang that woman! — that I pick something with four wheels and something current. So, I will have to decide between BMW’s 135i Cabriolet and Mini’s Cooper S, preferably in John Cooper Works guise.

And the winner is … the Mini. Yup, the so-cute-it’s-almost-a-girliecar Mini gets my vote for car of the year or, at least, David’s car of the year. It puts a smile on my face every time I see one. Ditto for every time I sit behind the wheel. It’s waaaay fast and gets incredible fuel economy to boot.

Make mine green, please, with a white racing stripe. — David Booth

Since I am the Editrix, it is my prerogative to change the rules. That’s why I’m choosing two cars — one I drove and one in which I was the passenger.

Unlike David’s almost-a-girlie-car, both of my choices are powerful, muscular supercars — the Mercedes SLS AMG and the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera.

With its sleek look and attention-grabbing gullwing doors, driving the SLS AMG made me feel like a star. With its 6.2-litre V8 engine producing 563 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, the SLS had an as-tested price of $205,000. That’s not asking for too much, is it? I’ll take mine in silver, please.

My other choice is Lamborghini’s Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera. I was the passenger, but I couldn’t complain with Lambo’s legendary test driver, Moreno Conti, at the wheel. Cool and composed, he expertly weaved in and out of traffic on the country roads of Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy, at speeds I’ve only dreamed of achieving.

The 570-hp 5.2L V10-engined super-car goes from zero to 100 kilometres an hour in just 3.4 seconds–although it felt even faster than that. It has a top speed of 325 km/h.

I may not have been the driver, but it was an incredible ride! Any colour will do. — Patricia Cancilla

Passion overrules practicality when I dream about cars I wish I had parked in my garage. What would really get my heart pumping is a hot red Ford Shelby GT500.

I do have a bit of a bias: I once owned a candy-apple-red ’67 Mustang GT — there’s a diecast model of it on my dresser — but simply turning the key of the new Shelby and hearing those 550 ponies come to life is enough to crank my juices. The bark from the twin exhaust pipes gives me goosebumps — and that’s before I drive it. Nail the go-pedal to the floor and the acceleration sucks your breath away. Toss it into a corner and it hunkers down like a thoroughbred race car.

It puts a grin on my face. What more could one want? — Clare Dear

What vehicle do I want from Santa this year? Well here’s a hint: It’s large and in charge — the Ram 2500 Cummins diesel-powered pickup truck.

I had the good fortune to drive this truck this year, complete with a fifth-wheel hitch that towed various trailers filled with off-road toys and a few choice recreational vehicles as well.

This powerful, confident truck is a design delight, with a sumptuous interior including great comfort features such as heated and cooled seats, as well as a heated steering wheel.

The two-tone deep red colour scheme of my truck set off the beautiful chrome of the wheels and the massive signature Ram grille. It was a delight to drive, earned its keep and made me swoon just looking at it in my driveway.

Pleassseee bring it back! — Howard J. Elmer

I’m no sure if I’ve been naughty or nice, but if the jolly old gent stops by the Fletcher house this year, I’d like the keys to the Audi quattro concept.

Don’t let the name deceive you … this car is anything but a concept and it will come to market next year (fingers crossed). This ultra-lightweight seductress (1,300 kilograms!) has it all–the styling is as good as anything I cast an eye upon this year; the performance is simply sublime. The 408 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque warp the riders to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. However, it is the mid-range performance that truly wows. With an 80-to-120-km/h time in the three-second range, it is world class. It also handles as well as any car I have driven, features a sleek carbon-fibre cabin, nifty instrumentation and a great set of bucket seats.

Breathtaking! — Graeme Fletcher

In a year that saw me behind the wheel of sublime new sports cars (Porsche 911 Turbo S and Jaguar XKR)as well as old (1962 Porsche 356B Carrera 2 Cabriolet), not to mention driving the surprisingly speedy Mini E electric car, it was a pedestrian-by-comparison compact sedan with a price tag of $22,450 that proved to be the delight of 2010. Yes, Chevrolet’s Cruze charmed the socks off me.

Here is a well-engineered four-door that dispels the notion General Motors is incapable of building an economical car without it looking and driving as though the corporate bean counters had their way with it. Stylish inside and out, fuel-efficient and decently peppy — thanks to the available turbocharged 1.4L Ecotec four-cylinder (recommended) — the Cruze is the class leader in its segment, plain and simple. Way to go, GM.

Put a bow on it and leave it in my garage. — Brian Harper

The 2011 Audi R8 Spyder equipped with the 5.2L V10 should be my favourite car of the year. It is deliciously quick, sounds insanely wonderful and is remarkably easy to drive — slow or fast. And, holy jeepers, is it sexy. As much as I love Gwyneth Paltrow, I’ll have to admit I’d take this car over her. But was it my favourite of all? Inclined to say yes, I’m afraid there’s another car that holds a spot slightly dearer to my heart– the Porsche 911 Turbo. Not the 530-hp 911 Turbo S, which itself is something to behold and a dream to drive, but, rather, the standard bearer of Porsche pride: the $167,900 911 Turbo with an old-school six-speed manual transmission.

Why this car and not the bombastic Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG? Perhaps it is the simple yet modern shape of the 911, the racing heritage or the ease with which it allows you to perform so admirably on a race track one day and ferry the kids to school the next.

Beyond that is something that sounds like hyperbole but is understood by anyone who has ever driven a 911 Turbo: No other car becomes so instantaneously intimate, love-able and a source of so much pleasure. That attachment was stronger in the 911 than any of the other wonderful automobiles I was fortunate enough to drive this year. — Derek McNaughton

Photograph by: Stan Honda, AFP/Getty Images