1. 2006 BMW M5
Editors' rating: 8.7
The good: The 2006 BMW M5 packs a 500-horsepower wallop from its state-of-the-art V10 engine, with extensive electronic transmission and chassis controls complementing the power well. Interior appointments befit the upscale price tag and tech-oriented mission.
The bad: The sequential manual gearbox (SMG) is best suited for the track but is the only choice available, thereby joining iDrive on the list of BMW "improvements" that can't be avoided.
The bottom line: The 2006 BMW M5 will appeal to cutting-edge speed demons who are willing and able to master new technologies. Once the transmission has been mastered, performance is stunning, with plenty of comfort features to boot.