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Play Car of the Year Nominees 2016

By Cars.com Editors
December 29, 2015
img2022377717 1447968135983 jpg 2016 BMW M235i; | Manufacturer image

2016 BMW M235

When BMW turned the 1 Series into the 2 Series a couple years ago, the M235i was the model everyone pointed to as the perfect example of “the way BMWs used to be.” Its handling is sharp and direct, with feedback that lets you feel what’s going on beneath the 19-inch tires. It packs a wallop with its 320-horsepower twin-turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine that rockets the M235i from zero to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. Sure, you can shift it yourself if you want to, but the eight-speed automatic is so well matched to the engine and bangs off shifts so quickly that you’re likely better off just keeping both hands on the wheel and hanging on. The adjustable suspension lets you modify the damping, steering effort, feedback, transmission behavior and throttle response, and it can turn the M235i from a pleasant touring coupe to a wild-and-crazy track star. It may not have the all-wheel-drive option of the Audi A3, but with 50/50 weight distribution, it’s one of the most balanced, well-executed sports coupes you can buy. You can even specify a convertible version if you feel the need for some wind-in-the-hair action. For these reasons, we award the BMW M235i our Play Car of the Year.

img408117220 1448045930218 jpg 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet; | Manufacturer image

Play Car of the Year Nominee

Available with a turbocharged V-6 or V-8 engine, the E-Class Cabriolet is a comfortable soft-top cruiser with room for four adults and power to spare. The top drops at speeds up to 25 mph, and two air deflectors, one atop the windshield, the other behind the backseat, electronically deploy to keep the wind from mussing your 'do. Mercedes' optional AirScarf system blows adjustable heat at your neck to extend top-down convertible season through the cooler months, and when that season finally ends, the fabric top insulates well enough to fool you into thinking you've got a coupe.

img1376346268 1448321679958 jpg 2016 Land Rover Range Rover; | Manufacturer image

Play Car of the Year Nominee

Always a strong contender in our luxury and off-road categories, the Land Rover Range Rover has off-road technology that puts the Range Rover in a class by itself. It offers a choice of supercharged V-6 or V-8 gasoline engines as well as a new 3.0-liter turbo-diesel. The fast-reacting adjustable and active air-ride suspension is coupled with a terrain select transfer case that allows the driver to select the type of weather or obstacles anticipated; we like that each terrain select choice adjusts throttle response, traction control and transmission shifting to keep everyone safe. Great ground clearance and excellent traction all wrapped up in a luxury interior. What more could anyone want?