50,000 - 75,000

* The best 71 new cars revealed * From 7000 to 264,000 * Eight price brackets included...

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What Car? Staff
14 August 2009

50,000 - 75,000

Nissan GT-R
Price 56,800
Target Price 56,800

Performance cars simply don't come any better than this. Just a quick scan of the Nissan GT-R's vital statistics will give you a good idea why: 478bhp from its twin-turbocharged V6 engine, 0-60mph in less than four seconds and a maximum speed not far shy of 200mph.

Still, the figures are only half of the story, and the other half comes when all those numbers get to work on your favourite stretch of B-road. Naturally, the GT-R will get down that road faster than pretty much anything else you care to mention, but it's when you get to a corner that the smile across your lips starts threatening to rip your face in two.

Under that outrageously styled body liesa whole heap of electronic wizardry to ensure that just the right amount of power gets tojust the correct ones of the four driven wheels and you get to where you're going pretty damn quickly.

Most importantly, all those electronic gizmos don't interfere with your enjoyment of driving the GT-R, and you can tackle a typical British B-road in total confidence in any weather. There's nothing intimidating about the car, and as we said when handing this car its Performance Car of the Year award, it makes average drivers feel special, and it makes special drivers feel like they're getting the most out of it'. The fact that it's also a four-seater with a decent boot is just the icing on top of the Nissan's cake.

Jaguar XKR Coup
Price 72,400
Target Price 66,562

We reckon that the XK is one of the most beautiful cars on the road today. The best news, though, is that no matter how good you think it looks, it drives even better.

Can't decide between a grand tourer and a sports car? Well, why not have both in the same car? The XK combines a smooth ride with the sharp direction changes and stunning grip you'd find only in a genuine sports car. This top-spec XKR also has blistering pace from its supercharged engine, and plenty of luxury kit.

True, it will drink fuel at a frightening rate, and the rear seats are next to useless for sitting anyone in, but overall it's a stunning package.

Jaguar XK Convertible
Price 65,900
Target Price 60,593

Not many cars can make you commit one of the seven deadly sins, but if you don't lust after the Jaguar XK Convertible it's just possible you may need to visit an optician. We love the XK as a coup, and it looks every bit as good when you chop the roof off.

It doesn't lose too much of its fantastic dynamics, either. Admittedly, the convertible doesn't ride quite as well as the coup, but it's not far off, and the performance, grip and feedback you get are good by any standards. This is also a superbly comfortable car for the two people in the front seats, and it comes loaded with luxury and safety kit.

Jaguar XJ
Price tbc
Target Price tbc
Verdict tbc
Yes, it's perhaps pushing credibility to recommend a car as a Best Buy before it's gone on sale, but we hardly think we're putting our necks on the line here. After all, the previous XJ was an award-winner, and the XF was our Car of the Year in 2008.

To say that the new XJ is eagerly awaited' is an understatement. What's perhaps most exciting is that Jaguar has abandoned a conservative approach. We've moved on two or three generations in one leap,' Jaguar's design director Ian Callum told us. True, the new XJ looks like nothing the company has ever produced, especially at the rear and that's good.

It also bodes well that the new car is based on the same underbody as its predecessor, but with more magnesium to make it lighter. That should help to improve the car's performance, economy and emissions, while the chassis is much the same as on the recently revised XK models, which have already impressed us.

The interior is just as revolutionary as the exterior, with Virtual 3-D' instruments and a high-definition touchscreen that will allow the driver and front passenger to watch different things at the same time.

Pity we'll have to wait until the Frankfurt motor show in September for the car's first public appearance, before it goes on sale in November.

Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI
Price 55,595
Target Price 51,538

Pub bores will often wax lyrical about the best car in the world. However, unless they include the S-Class in their list, you'll know their knowledge extends as far as their charm.

This is one of those cars, like the Ford Mondeo, that defines its class. It's also one of the very few models to earn the supreme accolade of a five-star rating something that no other luxury car can claim. Still, it's easy to see why. You'll need to split hairs to find fault with its ride and handling, while the quality is equally peerless in this class. Throw in lots of space, decent performance, excellent refinement and surprisingly good economy and this is an unbeatable package.

Porsche 911 Carrera S
Price 69,333
Target Price 69,333

If the 911 is the supreme dream car, the Carrera S is the best all-round version of it. Performance is stunning, and the handling is even better, with sublime steering, astonishing amounts of grip and lightning changes of direction.

Yet you can use it every day, with luxuries such as climate control and leather seats. The driving position and build are superb, while fine resale values help to make it surprisingly affordable to run.

Range Rover TDV8 Vogue
Price 64,695
Target Price 59,130

Ever wondered what it's like to be the Queen? Well, get a Range Rover and you'll have some idea. Wafting along in that high driving position, you can't help but feel regal.

While the car might technically be classed as an SUV and it is as superb off-road as any Land Rover in reality, a Range Rover is a four-wheel-drive limousine. It's an alternative to luxury cars such as the Mercedes S-Class and Jaguar XJ, and a very credible rival it is, too. It's spacious, comfortable and refined, while this is a far better car on-road than you might expect given how good it is when it's up to its axles in mud. True, it will cost a fair bit to run, but it has the quality to match the price, and you certainly get a level of equipment that's fit for a queen.