From the July 1989 difficulty of Car and Driver.

No fanatic wants greater than a nanosecond to call the automobile he’d actually wish to personal. Corvette. Porsche. Ferrari. These are the cars that each fanatic lusts after. Unfortunately, most of us are disadvantaged of our dream machines by the realities of a restricted financial institution stability and the necessity for sensible day by day transportation. And except we abruptly grasp the key of insider buying and selling or televangelism, we’re most likely by no means going to have the wherewithal to quench our automotive thirst.

Fortunately, there’s a breed of automobile that may bridge the hole between the fanatic’s goals and his monetary constraints: the supercoupe.

Car and Driver adopted this time period again within the mid-Seventies, when enthusiastic vehicles had been languishing within the shadows of emissions rules and the nation’s scarce gasoline provide. According to our definition, a supercoupe was any compact-sedan-based two-plus-two that had been fortified with the most important engine and stoutest suspension on its maker’s elements shelf. Such vehicles had been sensible: their rear seats, although usually too small for adults, offered room for youths or further baggage. And their mass-market sedan heritage helped preserve them reasonably priced for mere mortals. These vehicles—Opel Mantas, Toyota Celicas, Mercury Capris, and Ford Mustang IIs—appear hopelessly antiquated to us now, however they served to maintain lovers in a interval when thirsty V-8s and wheel-spinning efficiency had been all however extinct.

We definitely don’t endure a horsepower scarcity at present. The market presents extra energy and efficiency than ever earlier than, however the worth of admission into the higher echelons of velocity remains to be prohibitive. Now as then, supercoupes present the answer for the typical fanatic who needs to get in on the enjoyable.

Just as within the seventies, trendy supercoupes are derivatives of mass-market sedans. Not solely does this assist preserve their sticker costs down, it additionally implies that these supercoupes are constructed with confirmed, dependable {hardware}.

David DewhurstCar and Driver

For this take a look at, we specified that every supercoupe will need to have a rear seat of some kind, three doorways or much less, a high-performance powertrain and suspension, a low-slung physique, and a worth underneath $20,000—together with air-con, a superb stereo system, and freight.

The following vehicles met our standards: the Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z, the Dodge Daytona Shelby, the Ford Mustang LX 5.0, the Ford Probe GT, the Honda Prelude Si, the Isuzu Impulse Turbo, the Mazda MX-6 GT, the Mitsubishi Eclipse GS Turbo, the Nissan 240SX SE, the Plymouth Laser RS Turbo, the Pontiac Firebird Formula, the Subaru XT6, and the Toyota Celica GT-S. Three different contenders, the Mazda RX- 7 two-plus-two, the Chrysler Conquest TSi, and the Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R, exceeded our $20,000 worth cap. The new four-wheel-drive Eagle Talon TSi AWD/Mitsubishi Eclipse CSX Turbo met our necessities however was not but accessible on the time of our take a look at.

To slim our 13 eligible supercoupes all the way down to a extra manageable quantity, we assembled eight editors and had every decide one automobile. Each editor was allowed to justify his choice on paper; these rantings are included on this evaluation. The course of pared the checklist all the way down to the next entries: the Mustang, the Probe, the Prelude, the MX-6, the 240SX, the XT6, the Celica, and the Eclipse. (Tony Assenza chosen the Eclipse over its Diamond-Star twin, the Plymouth Laser, after a coin toss. If you are a Plymouth fan, direct your gripes at Tony.)

David DewhurstCar and Driver

The ultimate eight nominees made for a various group. We had vehicles with entrance drive, rear drive, and four-wheel drive. Engines included four-, six-, and eight­-cylinder items. Three of our entries had been turbocharged, two had anti-lock brakes, six had greater than the same old complement of two valves per cylinder, and three had double overhead camshafts. Horsepower ranged from 135 to 225, and all however two of our picks might exceed 120 mph. Clearly, our squadron of recent supercoupes was way over merely a set of sawed-off sedans.

We matched our eight contenders in opposition to one another on our favourite roads in Southern California. From Los Angeles, we headed north towards Santa Barbara through the Antelope Valley, Gorman, Frazier Park, and the snaky two-lane that slices by means of the Los Padres National Forest. We returned the subsequent day over mainly the identical route, although we altered our path to incorporate an prolonged freeway run. All drivers drove all vehicles and logged their likes and dislikes.

We concluded our analysis by placing the entire vehicles by means of our commonplace battery of instrumented assessments. Each contender was then scored in twelve particular person classes, together with an general score. We advocate that you just first learn the accompanying testimonials to be taught extra about every automobile. If you need to get proper to the popping champagne corks, the voting outcomes begin right here.

Eighth Place: Subaru XT6

David DewhurstCar and Driver

Traditional norms of automotive style and design merely do not apply to the Subaru XT6. As William Jeanes put it, “An unusual-looking car to this observer.” The remainder of us agreed. From its weird exterior to its asymmetrically spoked steering wheel to its scattered climate-­management buttons to its unusual change pods, the XT6 appears to be like like a machine from one other world.

Once you memorize the management places, nevertheless, the XT6’s inside appears much less unearthly and turns into a fairly environment friendly base of operations. The instrument cluster and management pods transfer up and down with the lean steering column, guaranteeing that the dials at all times stay seen and that the switches keep inside attain. The driving place was high-quality for many of us.

Phil Berg’s Choice

Comfortable dwelling outdoors the realm of accepted logic? You might belong to the minority that believes Subaru’s Group B-pretender, full-time four-wheel-drive XT6 is the entire sports activities coupe.

Pay no consideration to my associates. They suppose the XT6 is butt ugly. But true magnificence is greater than sheetmetal deep. The XT6 is just not deformed—it is merely aesthetically handicapped. Nor is the $18,346 worth excessive, as these wits would have you ever imagine.

My colleagues ought to pay extra consideration to logic. The XT6 is dependable, it handles a lot better than its appears to be like counsel, it is not topic to extreme theft or insurance coverage charges, and it excels in shifting, straight-line stability, and tough ­street trip and traction. If your folks aren’t impressed by that, you may at all times do this: “I’m driving this Subaru XT6 because my Testarossa is still in the shop waiting for wiper blades and my IROC-Z was stolen again, this time for the door handles and the seat tracks. They missed those last time.” Or simply smile knowingly.

A sports activities coupe is meant to be enjoyable. The 2.7-liter flat-six-powered XT6 is just not the quickest coupe you should purchase, neither is it the best-handling. These guys due to this fact suppose it is not enjoyable. But I believe they only do not know the way to have enjoyable. The XT6 not solely presents traction, reliability, and anonymity, however it has the power to show dangerous conditions into roaring riots of recreation. Life’s too quick to not expertise a nighttime banzai blast residence throughout a hurricane.

The XT6’s windshield is just not rose­-tinted, and that is what I like finest.

Still, the four-wheel-drive XT6 presents the fanatic few good causes to place up with its quirks. With a 16.7-second quarter-mile time, the XT6 was the slowest-accelerating automobile within the group. The flat-six engine offers its all willingly sufficient—accompanied at full throttle by a attribute Subaru throb—however 145 horsepower merely is not sufficient to maneuver the 2887-pound Subaru swiftly.

David DewhurstCar and Driver

The XT6 has little urge for food for laborious driving. Although secure and controllable on the restrict—witness its glorious slalom efficiency—the Subaru does not have a lot grip. Moreover, heavy steering and substantial physique roll hamper the XT6’s twisty-road efficiency.

With an as-tested worth of $18,346, the XT6 will most likely attraction solely to the supercoupe purchaser who values four-wheel drive above all else. And with the upcoming arrival of the four-wheel-drive Eagle Talon TSi AWD/Mitsubishi Eclipse CSX Turbo, even that benefit will not be unique for lengthy.

In this proficient group, the Subaru XT6’s lack of efficiency and quirky persona go away it nicely again of the pack.

1989 Subaru XT6
Front-engine, 4-wheel-drive coupe
145-hp flat-6, 5-speed guide, 2887 lb
Base/as-tested worth: $17,951/$18,346

60 mph: 9.0 sec

100 mph: 30.7 sec

1/4 mile: 16.7 sec @ 80 mph

Braking, 70­0 mph: 206 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.76 g 

C/D noticed gasoline economic system: 18 mpg

Seventh Place: Toyota Celica GT-S

David DewhurstCar and Driver

It’s laborious to imagine what an advance the Celica GT-S’s engine was when it appeared in 1985. Producing 135 horsepower from solely 2.0 usually aspirated liters—because of twin overhead camshafts, sixteen valves, and a 7300-rpm redline—the Celica’s engine set new requirements for energy and class. A scant 4 years later, nevertheless, the engine and the automobile surrounding it are close to the again of the supercoupe class.

There had been two distinct efficiency ranges in our eight-car group: the quickest 4 vehicles might hit 60 mph in seven seconds or much less, cowl the quarter-mile within the low fifteen-second vary, and simply exceed 130 mph. The different 4 had been significantly behind in all three classes. The one-time-powerhouse GT-S managed solely to be the quickest automobile within the second tier.

William Jeanes’ Choice

My decide for the supercoupe runoff turned out to be the Toyota Celica GT­S, a automobile that has an simple attraction to the fanatic who’s not intent on dazzling the freeway patrol with glitz. The GT-S is handsome with out being showy, however Toyota intends to vary the appears to be like earlier than lengthy, which means that you just’d higher act shortly.

The GT-S has the stoutest usually aspirated model of Toyota’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder—a supersmooth, sixteen-valve, double-overhead-cam engine rated at 135 horses and with a most torque of 125 pound-feet. It’s an engine with sufficient sauce picante to boost your commute.

David DewhurstCar and Driver

My nominee places its energy to the pavement by means of the entrance wheels and makes use of a quick-shifting five-speed guide transmission. To the energetic driver, this mixture is much extra satisfying than the elective automated.

There are disc brakes throughout, positioned behind good-looking alloy wheels and 205/60HR-14 high-performance tires. The suspension is absolutely impartial, with coil springs, well-located struts, and anti-roll bars at each ends. The package deal is rewardingly stiff with out intruding on the normal Toyota silence.

At a base worth of $15,738 and an as-­examined sticker of $19,673, the GT-S is not at all a funds chief. But there are compensations. In any rankings we have ever seen, Toyota’s frequency-­of-repair numbers must be known as “infrequency-of-repair” numbers. This, along with a hatchback form and good gasoline economic system, makes this automobile a winner—and a sensible one.

The Celica’s chassis is exhibiting its age; it acquired the bottom dealing with grades of the group. Rich Ceppos summed it up: “The suspension is too soft, and there are all sorts of extraneous body motions when you push the handling envelope.” The Celica’s 0.82 g of grip is admirable, however the suspension is squirrelly and laborious to regulate on the restrict. As a outcome, the Celica turned within the slowest slalom time of any automobile within the group.

The Celica GT-S is a high quality piece, screwed collectively nicely and stuffed to the brim with creature comforts. But then, at $19,673 it must be. At current, this automobile does not supply sufficient in trade for its princely price ticket. Toyota is conscious of the Celica’s shortcomings, nevertheless, and might be introducing a brand new, extra highly effective Celica for the 1990 mannequin 12 months.

1989 Toyota Celica GT-S
Front-engine, front-wheel-drive coupe
135-hp inline-4, 5-speed guide, 2703 lb 

Base/as-tested worth: $15,738/$19,673

60 mph: 8.1 sec

100 mph: 25.0 sec

1/4 mile: 16.0 sec @ 85 mph

Braking, 70­0 mph: 190 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.82 g 

C/D noticed gasoline economic system: 19 mpg

Fifth Place (tie): Mazda MX-6 GT

David DewhurstCar and Driver

You’d by no means comprehend it by taking a look at them, however the MX-6 GT and the Ford Probe GT are digital clones underneath the pores and skin. Both use a chassis derived from the Mazda 626, and each use the identical turbocharged 2.2-liter engine. Compared with the glossy, bullet-shaped Probe GT, nevertheless, the MX-6 appears to be like like an odd two-door sedan.

That is not altogether dangerous. The MX-6 has a roomier rear seat and a extra snug, better-finished inside than the Probe GT. “Its outstanding seats outsit all the others,” wrote Larry Griffin.

Rich Ceppos’ Choice

Hey of us, proper right here—proper right here. Forget the braying of my colleagues: I’ve obtained your winner. It’s the Mazda MX-6 GT, with turbo, entrance drive, 5 velocity, dealing with, consolation—the works. Right right here.

Let’s cease taking part in fantasy video games for a minute and think about what you’d actually put your hard-earned bucks on. Most of the vehicles on this group are so impractical you would be fed up with them earlier than you’d even made it by means of the primary 12 months’s cost e book. But the MX-6 makes as a lot horse sense because it does horsepower.

David DewhurstCar and Driver

Let me clarify. You begin out with a generously sized compact sedan that has sufficient room for 4 actual folks. Then you add the makings of a sports activities automobile. Power comes from a 2.2-liter turbo-four that belts out sufficient energy to mild up Milwaukee. (According to our calculations, Mazda’s 145-hp declare is about 40 horses quick.) The suspension—struts throughout—is calibrated agency sufficient for razor’s-edge management, however it’s not so tight that you just’d shrink back from driving the MX-6 all the way down to the nook for a quart of milk. And the inside is tailor-made to suit critical drivers.

But this coupe’s coup de grâce is its capacity to deceive. Cops suppose it is a Tempo and do not look twice. I’ve heard that the insurance coverage firms nonetheless have not caught on to it but. Stealth, my mates, stealth.

Are you getting the concept the MX-6 does a number of issues nicely for not some huge cash (beginning at about sixteen grand)? Are you getting the concept the MX-6 is a winner? Right right here, mates, proper right here.

There’s no efficiency penalty for this consolation, both. The Mazda-built turbo 2.2-liter engine shared by the Probe GT and the MX-6 GT is rated at 145 horsepower, however that score is, nicely, conservative. We know of no different 145-hp, 2900-pound vehicles that may hit 60 mph in 7.0 seconds and canopy the quarter-mile in 15.3 seconds. The engine is robust at any rpm and is all however freed from turbo lag. It’s not essential to row by means of the graceful Mazda gearbox to maintain the engine on full boil, however we discovered ourselves shifting to keep away from spending an excessive amount of time within the engine’s higher rev vary, the place it will get considerably buzzy.

David DewhurstCar and Driver

Just a few minor suspension tweaks account for the one mechanical variations between the MX-6 GT and the Probe GT. Although each supply three-­place shock absorbers, the Mazda’s suspension is tuned considerably softer and with a bit extra understeer than the Probe’s. This ends in barely much less grip however higher stability and a smoother trip. In truth, most of us most well-liked the MX-6’s suspension for all however laborious driving.

At $18,383, together with anti-lock brakes, the MX-6 GT is an efficient worth. Fifth place might not seem to be an acceptable reward for such a lovely machine, however the MX-6 is tied with the 240SX SE and is inside three factors within the general standings of the subsequent three vehicles. In this aggressive class, that is a high-quality exhibiting.

1989 Mazda MX-6 GT
Front-engine, front-wheel-drive coupe
145-hp turbo inline-4, 5-speed guide, 2861 lb 

Base/as-tested worth: $15,499/$18,383

60 mph: 7.0 sec

100 mph: 20.3 sec

1/4 mile: 15.3 sec @ 90 mph

Braking, 70­0 mph: 189 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.80 g 

C/D noticed gasoline economic system: 20 mpg

Fifth Place (tie): Nissan 240SX SE

David DewhurstCar and Driver

Rich Ceppos summed up the 240SX SE when he known as it “a clean-steering, sharp-handling piece in need of 40 more horsepower.” Because of the 240’s rear­-drive format, its steering is splendidly responsive and freed from the unintended effects (dartiness, lack of really feel, torque steer) that lurk in virtually all highly effective front-drivers. And the 240’s near-equal front-to-rear weight distribution supplies impartial dealing with that is not in the least sensitive. We weren’t stunned when the 240 turned in our take a look at’s finest slalom time.

Larry Griffin’s Choice

You’re taking a look at good work. Nissan zooms proper into the entrance ranks of this half-zany, all-zingy class with the 240SX. Its swoopiness solely suggests the delights inside. Anybody with a really feel for equipment will get greater than a visible zooming from the 240. The mechanical bone and muscle and tendon and coronary heart wrought by Nissan delivers pleasant gusto. The driver lets out whoops of discovery, celebrations of nuisances vanquished—tough corners and lumpy braking zones and pony-car believers caught out by their mounts’ latent underengineering.

David DewhurstCar and Driver

The 240SX weighs in as 2800 kilos of sophistication. It’s filled with four-wheel disc brakes (ABS is elective), an all-independent suspension (struts up entrance, a terrific multilink format on the rear, and an anti-roll bar at every finish), and an engine outfitted for worthy propulsion: port gasoline injection, an overhead cam, three valves for every of its 4 cylinders, 2.4 liters of displacement, and—at 140 ponies—virtually one horsepower per cubic inch. Pumping the rear wheels by means of a five-­velocity gearbox, the 240 unreels the great occasions by means of its supple suspension, dwelling as much as its promise virtually with out fail. All for a base worth of $13,499. The solely actual shortcoming, aside from an annoying top-speed reduce­off, is in pure horsepressure. Luckily, rumor has it that extra energy is within the making. It ought to go nicely with the 240 platform. The suspension flexes and reciprocates, ever adaptive, just like the legs of a spider, taking part in easy tips on gravity. About the one factor the 240 will not do is run on the ceiling.

Sadly, the 240’s excellent chassis is dulled by the engine’s lack of energy. The 140-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder underneath the hood merely cannot generate sufficient thrust to train the suspension absolutely. In this group, a 16.4-second quarter-mile run and an electronically ruled high velocity of 107 mph merely aren’t sufficient. In addition, though the engine pulls cleanly to its redline, it will get a bit shaky above 5000 rpm.

Still, there’s a lot to love about this automobile. It has a beautiful physique, and its inside is probably the most trendy of the group. The seats are seamlessly upholstered and the sprint is so fantastically sculptured that it belongs in an industrial-design museum. We would like longer seat cushions with a tilt adjustment, however the 240’s cockpit is in any other case excellent.

David DewhurstCar and Driver

Given its energy deficit, nevertheless, the 240SX SE appears costly. Our take a look at automobile earned a $17,134 sticker, and the elective anti-lock brakes would add one other $1450 on high of that. That’s a number of money for an underpowered automobile on this performance-oriented class. But in case your priorities are stellar dealing with and glossy styling, then this Nissan could be the supercoupe for you.

1989 Nissan 240SX SE
Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe
140-hp inline-4, 5-speed guide, 2798 lb

Base/as-tested worth: $13,499/$17,134

60 mph: 8.6 sec

100 mph: 26.1 sec

1/4 mile: 16.4 sec @ 83 mph

Braking, 70­0 mph: 195 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.83 g 

C/D noticed gasoline economic system: 17 mpg

Fourth Place: Ford Mustang LX 5.0

David DewhurstCar and Driver

In this group of supercoupes, the Mustang LX 5.0 has two compelling benefits: it’s each probably the most highly effective and the least costly automobile in our take a look at. If your aim is probably the most mph per greenback, the Mustang is the clear alternative.

The Mustang generates its efficiency with a giant, old school V-8 that is been up to date with electronically managed port gasoline injection. Easily the smoothest engine in our group, the beefy V-8 delivered easy, hair-straightening thrust at any rpm in any gear.

Nicolas Bissoon-Dath’s Choice

An excellent sports activities coupe wants many issues. A well-tuned suspension linked to the bottom by numerous grippy, low-profile rubber is obligatory. Good ergonomics are essential. Massive, fade­-free brakes with good modulation and stability are a should. And a five-speed guide transmission feeding energy to the rear wheels is the one strategy to go. But there’s another factor that an awesome sports activities coupe completely, positively will need to have: cubic inches.

The Mustang LX 5.0 has all of the necessities lined. This Ford’s 225-hp V-8 engine is a monument to Detroit. It has baggage of low-end torque, it pulls like a freight practice when unleashed, and it delivers neck-straining energy all the best way to its redline. It additionally delights the ears with a rumbling bass burble at idle and a throaty V-8 bellow at velocity—two fantastic noises.

David DewhurstCar and Driver

Ford has endowed the Mustang with a suspension that is a worthy companion to the engine. The format consists of struts in entrance and a complicated inflexible axle within the rear. Coil springs and anti-roll bars full the package deal.

The V-8 pony automobile is splendidly entertaining. It’s a toy for giant boys, a critical street automobile that may tame probably the most wrinkled two-lane. And it is potent sufficient to depart just about every part else on the street for useless. Yet a loaded LX 5.0 prices solely $13,671.

The Mustang LX 5.0 has all of it: brutal acceleration, high-quality dealing with, room, consolation, versatility, solidity, refinement, and reliability. If you are contemplating the acquisition of every other sports activities coupe, then you definitely clearly have not pushed this Ford these days.

Of course, the Mustang has some drawbacks. Its low price is essentially as a consequence of its previous design—a design essentially unchanged since its introduction in 1979. The Mustang was the largest and heaviest automobile in our gathering, and it felt considerably unwieldy. Its unsophisticated suspension labored nicely sufficient on clean roads however had issue holding the large, sticky tires planted over bumpy pavement.

The Mustang’s controls are one other weak spot. Its steering felt numb and lifeless, its brakes felt spongy, and its shifter lacked the delicacy of the opposite transmissions within the group.

David DewhurstCar and Driver

In its favor, the Mustang has acquired loads of updates, and its inside is engaging and nicely laid out. There’s a usable rear seat and loads of baggage area, and the hatchback physique fashion permits you to stow gear simply. The dated sheetmetal even has a sure down-to-earth attraction: it is easy and neat, like a sixties Road Runner.

If the Mustang offered for $20,000, we’d most likely be delay by its age and accompanying disadvantages. But at $13,671, together with a beneficiant load of creature comforts, the LX 5.0 is an unbelievable performance-car cut price. As Ceppos put it, “The Mustang is still strong after all these years.”

1989 Ford Mustang LX 5.0
Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe
225-hp V-8, 5-speed guide, 3187 lb

Base/as-tested worth: $12,265/$13,671

60 mph: 6.2 sec

100 mph: 16.7 sec

1/4 mile: 14.8 sec @ 95 mph

Braking, 70­0 mph: 177 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.84 g 

C/D noticed gasoline economic system: 14 mpg

Third Place: Honda Prelude Si

David DewhurstCar and Driver

On paper, the Prelude Si appears inferior to the 240SX SE. It has just about equivalent velocity and decrease dealing with limits, and—at $17,279—it prices greater than the Nissan. So why did we fee it greater?

The reply lies within the Honda’s subjective virtues. For starters, though the Prelude isn’t any faster than the 240, its engine is significantly smoother and noticeably happier at excessive rpm. As a outcome; the Prelude appears peppier. The Prelude’s gearbox can also be superior to the Nissan’s. If there is a better-shifting transmission on the planet, we would wish to strive it.

Bill Visnic’s Choice

It’s robust to boast a couple of automobile just like the Honda Prelude Si in one among these shoot-outs. That’s as a result of it is an entire lot simpler to boast when you may wave round a bunch of spectacular numbers—blinding acceleration, a excessive high velocity, a low worth.

Judged strictly by the numbers, the Prelude Si does not appear significantly spectacular. The $17,279 asking worth is admittedly stiff. And the 135-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder supplies solely a average quantity of efficiency for this class.

But do not be fooled. The Prelude Si might not blow away the competitors on paper, however on the street it’s so good at every part it does that it is simply one of the best automobile on this group.

David DewhurstCar and Driver

The Si’s all-independent suspension has world-class refinement. The 2.0-Iiter 4 is clean and versatile. The five-speed gearbox must be awarded a everlasting show within the Museum of Uncannily Good Engineering. And the Prelude’s sheetmetal—a refined transforming of the earlier, second-generation design—exudes an air of magnificence and continuity that the trendier members of this group lack.

You merely will not discover a sports activities coupe that is simpler to stay with than the Prelude Si. What the Prelude offers up in straight-line velocity, you may make up within the curves; whereas different guys get hammered over the tough stuff, you may stay snug and in management.

The naysayers within the group say the Prelude Si is a nasty worth. I say $17,279 for a front-drive Porsche 944 is a hell of a deal. Unless you are a type of folks decided to stay by the numbers.

The Prelude’s dealing with was additionally subjectively pleasing. Although its limits aren’t significantly excessive, the Si’s conduct is completely predictable. Its steering and suspension transmit info from the tires so faithfully that you just really feel completely snug sliding the automobile and utilizing each final little bit of its grip. Of all of the vehicles within the group, the Prelude was by far probably the most satisfying to drive.

David DewhurstCar and Driver

The Prelude additionally has a lovely and helpful inside that is straightforward to stay with. The seats are glorious, the usually low Honda cowl allows a panoramic view of the world, the entire controls are fantastically laid out, and every part is screwed collectively tightly.

Our largest criticism was the engine’s lack of energy. The Prelude’s conservative exterior styling and comparatively excessive worth additionally drew criticism. But in case your supercoupe preferrred is a automobile that allows you to turn out to be one with the machine, the Prelude Si is the one strategy to go.

1989 Honda Prelude Si
Front-engine, front-wheel-drive coupe
135-hp inline-4, 5-speed guide, 2656 lb

Base/as-tested worth: $16,965/$17,279

60 mph: 8.6 sec

100 mph: 29.5 sec

1/4 mile: 16.5 sec @ 83 mph

Braking, 70­0 mph: 202 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.77 g 

C/D noticed gasoline economic system: 20 mpg

Second Place: Ford Probe GT

David DewhurstCar and Driver

The Probe GT completed close to the highest of the heap in three vitally necessary supercoupe areas: styling, efficiency, and worth. Thus, regardless of a number of tough edges, the potent Probe grabbed second place general.

There’s no denying the Probe GT’s velocity. With the identical keen, highly effective turbocharged engine used within the Mazda MX-6 GT, the Probe GT likes to run laborious. The engine will get a bit buzzy at excessive rpm and the shifter is not fairly as slick because the Prelude’s or Eclipse’s, however this automobile is nonetheless completely thrilling to drive.

Csaba Csere’s Choice

American-car lovers had been all set to hate the Probe when it was slated to interchange the Mustang. No small, foreign-engineered, front-drive, 4­-cylinder wimp automobile would ever substitute the muscular, home-grown Mustang, mentioned the trustworthy.

Fortunately, Ford sensed the gathering storm and deployed the Probe to complement relatively than substitute the Mustang. It was one of many smartest strikes the corporate ever made. Ford offered greater than 77,000 Probes final 12 months—with out reducing one bit into the Mustang’s still-healthy gross sales.

David DewhurstCar and Driver

That success comes as no shock, as a result of the Probe GT is one of the best of the brand new era of sport coupes. It’s blindingly fast, because of a turbocharged 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine that clearly produces significantly greater than its rated 145 horses. The Probe GT additionally presents a slick-shifting five-­velocity gearbox, entrance drive for good all-weather traction, and—because of its modest weight and small engine—first rate gasoline economic system.

The absolutely impartial suspension makes use of tautly damped struts, agency springs, and beefy anti-roll bars entrance and rear. Four-wheel disc brakes present ample stopping energy, and the elective anti-lock system retains the binders at their finest underneath any situations.

Combine these mechanical delights with a glossy, wind-swept form and you’ll perceive the Probe GT’s attraction. At lower than $17,500 absolutely optioned, the Probe GT is an incredible worth. Let the Neanderthals preserve their Mustangs.

It can also be gorgeous to gaze upon. Along with the 240SX and the Eclipse, the Probe GT is head and fender flares above the opposite vehicles on this class. The inside is equally fashionable. The neat, businesslike sprint flows easily into the door panels, and the controls are cleverly formed and nicely positioned. The instrument pod adjusts with the steering column, making it straightforward to discover a snug driving place. Unfortunately, the cabin is spoiled considerably by so-so-looking supplies and an enormous expanse of uniformly coloured inside surfaces (maroon in our take a look at automobile).

David DewhurstCar and Driver

We even have a number of reservations concerning the Probe’s suspension. Although the GT handles and rides extraordinarily nicely on the graceful roads you discover in Southern California, over Michigan’s climate­overwhelmed streets its trip will get uneven and its straight-line stability suffers. The Probe GT can eat up winding pavement with ease, but when the street is not fairly clean it’s a must to pay extra consideration than whenever you’re driving, say, the 240SX or the Prelude.

But we’re being laborious on this automobile. The Probe GT is a wonderful supercoupe. At $17,462—together with extra energy choices than every other automobile on this take a look at, a premium stereo, and anti-lock brakes—the Probe GT belongs excessive in your shopping checklist.

1989 Ford Probe GT
Front-engine, front-wheel-drive coupe
145-hp turbo inline-4, 5-speed guide, 2940 lb

Base/as-tested worth: $13,794/$17,462

60 mph: 7.0 sec

100 mph: 19.8 sec

1/4 mile: 15.3 sec @ 90 mph

Braking, 70­0 mph: 194 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.81 g 

C/D noticed gasoline economic system: 17 mpg

First Place: Mitsubishi Eclipse GS Turbo

David DewhurstCar and Driver

Take the entire second-place Probe GT’s qualities, polish and improve them, and you will have the Mitsubishi Eclipse GS Turbo. With 190 horsepower propelling its 2834 kilos, the Eclipse Turbo is the quickest and quickest front-drive automobile available on the market. (The Mitsubishi’s twin, the Plymouth Laser RS Turbo, is equally fast.) Although its engine does not have the low-­rpm response of the MX-6 GT/Probe GT powerplant, the Mitsubishi four-cylinder makes up for it by winding greater and working extra easily. Thanks to its twin stability shafts, the engine by no means feels labored—even when spinning to its 7000-rpm redline.

The Eclipse’s chassis handles the engine’s energy remarkably nicely. It presents loads of traction, immense cornering grip, and high-quality steering that suffers from torque steer solely underneath heavy functions of the throttle. The Eclipse feels mild and agile, desperate to run and play each time you’re. Our solely main criticism centered across the brakes, which might fade badly when used laborious. A automobile with a high velocity of 143 mph wants extra highly effective binders. (Mitsubishi tells us that upgraded pads and calipers might be added as a working change quickly.)

Tony Assenza’s Choice

In the previous, we did not anticipate a lot from Mitsubishi or from Chrysler. Neither maker had the sort of monitor document that might trigger us to pant on the considered one among its new fashions. So it is doubly shocking that these two firms, by working collectively, got here up with a automobile as full of life because the Mitsubishi Eclipse/Plymouth Laser.

Because they’re twins, I flipped a coin and went with the Mitsubishi—the GS Turbo, that’s. Just take a look at this Eclipse’s numbers: it will probably speed up from zero to 60 mph in lower than seven seconds, it will probably attain a high velocity of 143 mph, and it goes round corners at 0.83 g. We’re speaking about critical giggles right here. All for round $15,000.

David DewhurstCar and Driver

Now, turbochargers aren’t precisely my concept of the way to make an awesome engine, however 190 horses from 2.0 liters of displacement is difficult to argue with. The identical goes for the suspension: the Eclipse does not have an impartial rear set­up or a elaborate dual-control-arm format up entrance, however it will get the job completed proper.

This automobile isn’t just a sled with a scorching engine and steamroller tires. It’s refined, see, with an inside that is each bit as subtle and accommodating as a few of the dearer manufacturers. The Eclipse additionally has an awesome shifter, glorious steering, and a good, rattle-free, all-of-a-piece really feel.

What we have here’s a extremely competent velocity device for not an entire lot of money. I do not need to beat this automobile’s sturdy factors to demise, however if you wish to argue, let’s go do it the place there is not a lot visitors.

No upgrading is required for the Eclipse’s styling: the glossy, muscular form appears to be like as rakish as any purpose-­constructed sports activities automobile. The inside is equally interesting. The devices are easy and legible, and the controls are well-arranged. Visibility is nice. The largest shortcomings are a puny rear seat and a driver’s seat that’s too low and lacks a bottom-cushion adjustment.

David DewhurstCar and Driver

Price is the Eclipse’s strongest level. You should purchase a GS Turbo with the entire speedy trimmings for lower than $14,500. Even our well-equipped mannequin price simply $15,978. (If your native Plymouth supplier is nearer than the closest Mitsubishi outlet, after all, you might go for the equally interesting Plymouth Laser RS Turbo.) For a supercoupe with the Eclipse Turbo’s skills, a sticker underneath $16,000 is a steal.

The supercoupes on this take a look at are various of their strengths, and your explicit wants might imply that our favorites aren’t best for you. Each of the highest six finishers in our take a look at is worthy of your consideration. But in case you’re searching for a flexible supercoupe that provides refinement, high-quality dealing with, outstanding velocity, and an admirably average worth, your first alternative must be the Mitsubishi Eclipse GS Turbo.

1989 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS Turbo
Front-engine, front-wheel-drive coupe
190-hp turbo inline-4, 5-speed guide, 2834 lb

Base/as-tested worth: $14,169/$15,978

60 mph: 6.6 sec

100 mph: 18.5 sec

1/4 mile: 15.1 sec @ 93 mph

Braking, 70­0 mph: 183 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.83 g 

C/D noticed gasoline economic system: 18 mpg

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