We’re in the middle of a changeover from the internal combustion engine to electric propulsion. The good news for auto enthusiasts is power comes easily for EVs. The bad news is they’ll mark the end of manual transmissions and rumbling V-8 soundtracks. As the market turns toward more and more luxury and performance EVs, we’ll have a decision to make here at Motor Authority: At what point does an EV win our Best Car To Buy award?
This could be the year. After driving 24 luxury cars, trucks, and SUVs that were new or significantly updated this year, we’ve narrowed down the list of nominees for the Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2022 award to eight vehicles, including three EVs. We’ll announce our winner, be it gas- or electron-powered, on Jan. 3, 2022. We’ll also announce the winners from our sister sites, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports at that time.
Until then, these are the eight vehicles we are considering for the award.
2022 BMW M4 Competition xDrive
The BMW M3 and M4 just keep getting faster around racetracks. The high-performance duo share a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 that makes 473 hp in the standard models and 503 horses in the crazier Competition versions. The M3 and M4 Competition are sports cars in search of a racetrack, while the base versions balance high performance with on-road livability, provided you can live with the bucktooth grille.
2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing
Cadillac is ending its ICE era with a pair of sublime sport sedans. The CT4-V Blackwing rides on an even stiffer version of GM’s fantastic Alpha II platform, and it’s available with a toy box full of performance goodies: active rev matching, no-lift shifts (both for its manual transmission, hallelujah!), carbon-ceramic brakes, and a pair of carbon-fiber packages that give this compact sedan net downforce. Powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V-6 that conjures up 472 horses, the CT4-V Blackwing hits 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. It’s fun to drive on the street and an athlete on the track.
2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing
The Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing will go down in history. With 668 supercharged V-8 horses under its hood and an available 6-speed manual transmission, it will be one of the last, most-powerful cars ever with a manual (joining the Challenger Hellcat). It’s also a track weapon and a street machine that’s comfortable enough to drive every day. Bigger than its CT4-V Blackwing sibling, the 5er isn’t quite as agile, but it boasts bigger performance numbers: 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds, a top speed in excess of 200 mph, and a quarter-mile time of 11.3 seconds.
2022 Hyundai Elantra N
The Veloster N proved that Hyundai could make a fun sports car, and now the Elantra N is here to pick up the mantle, and in a better overall package. The 2.0-liter turbo-4 from the Veloster N hatchback is tuned to 276 hp here (286 hp for short bursts in models with the 8-speed dual-clutch automatic), and it launches the car to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds. The car has the Veloster N’s frisky character that makes feel and engagement the focus. It’s great on a canyon road, but it can handle track duty, too, all for a price that starts under $33,000.
2022 Lucid Air
The Lucid Air posts big stats: 1,100 hp, 520 miles of range, and a $170,000 sticker price (for the initial line-topping Dream Edition). It’s the first effort from California startup Lucid and it’s here to show Tesla a thing or two about efficiency. The Air sticks with a simple, but well-sorted suspension with adaptive dampers as the highest level of technology. Still, it controls this 5,200-lb electric car well, corralling the weight of the two electric motors and the 118-kwh battery pack that powers them.
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS first drive (EQS 450+)
Mercedes has toyed with EVs, offering underwhelming B-Class and EQC models. Now comes the EQS to show the established EV brands how luxury is done. The electric version of the line-topping S-Class, the EQS full-size hatchback bristles with suspension and interior technology. Air springs, adaptive dampers, and rear-axle steering control the ride and handling while delivering S-Class comfort. Inside the new Hyperscreen digital dash looks like something out of NASA. The EQS hits the market with 384 or 516 hp, and up to 350 miles of electric driving, and an AMG model should up the output to 630 hp.
2022 Rivian R1T
Rivian is making a big splash in the EV game with smart design. The R1T pickup not only looks good, but it also has cool storage solutions like the gear tunnel behind the cab that can be used for anything from a camp kitchen to sports gear. Sized between a mid-size and full-size pickup, the R1T offers 11,000 lb of towing capacity, real off-road capability, more than 800 hp that pushes it from 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds, and 314 miles of range from its 135-kwh battery pack. It’s an all-purpose EV that drives well. Sounds like a great electric future to us.
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
The eighth-generation Golf arrives for the 2022 model year, and U.S. buyers only get the fun ones, both with improved performance. The GTI, a perennial hot hatch favorite, ramps up to 241 hp from its 2.0-liter turbo-4, while the suspension, steering, and drive modes are tweaked for more balance and greater control, all for a price in the low-$30,000 range. The Golf R turns up the wick to 315 hp and cuts the 0-62 mph time to 4.7 seconds. The all-wheel-drive hatch gets torque vectoring at the rear and a mid-$40,000 price.