I was prone to fits of intemperance in my youth, wild acts of immaturity. I once boasted of being able to beat up any other automotive journalist, a claim I'm sort of glad no one asked me to prove. I'm not chicken or anything, just not in any hurry to rearrange some very expensive dental work. Yeah, that's it.

I'm thinking of beating on a few automotive journalists again, guys with names like Karl Funke, Colin Ryan, Mike Febbo and Rob Hallstrom. One good kick in the knee would down Hallstrom, all six-foot-seven of him. Funke is a skinny little shit, so no problem there. And although Febbo is broad of chest, I'm just plain meaner. Ryan might give me trouble, so I'd need to ambush him in the dark with a pointed stick or something. So what brought us to this sorry state of discontent? Women? Money? Spite? Property? Women?

Nothing so obvious. We were choosing our 'Best of Class' winners for 2008, cars we've come to love and sometimes hate.

Talk about a group of back-stabbing bitches. For the longest time, I thought we all had pretty much the same thoughts on cars. I thought wrong. Funke started it by belittling my love for the Gallardo claiming:

"It isn't a true Italian, you infidel!"

Febbo stabbed at me with talk of the GTI and why it no longer deserves the hot hatch designation.

"It's a great car... it's just too damn big."

Ryan flat-out told me how politically incorrect I was for loving Audi's Q7.

"You could power a city with that thing's prodigious petrol appetite." He later went on to choose the Cayenne Turbo as a class leader-oh yeah, what a fuel miser that is.

And Hallstrom, my long-suffering ex-friend.

"You obviously have no idea what a luxury limo is all about. If you did, the S-Class would be first on the list."

Et tu, Brute?

So you see, I must beat them all, beat some sense into them for their own good. They know not what they do.

Or maybe they do.

After a half dozen spirited meetings, we settled on a group of cars that fully embodies all that is good about European vehicles. Actually, 'spirited' is an understatement. There were rash incriminations, vulgar maternal analogies, IQ questioning and lots of cursing. Next to actually driving these cars, talking about them is a huge load of fun, especially when the speaker can defend his choice with supporting fact and anecdote.

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