Total Car Score Ranks Top 10 Best High-Performance Cars of 2012

American brands dominate the list, but Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz take top two spots

Jul 11, 2012, 07:40 ET from Total Car Score

LOS ANGELES, July 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Total Car Score (, the most comprehensive automotive ranking and comparison website, today issued its list of the Top 10 High-Performance Cars for 2012.


The high-performance cars on this list come from a wide variety of vehicle types, including street-ready muscle cars, high-performance luxury sedans, and even a full-sized racing truck. Performance cars remain a vital part of most automakers' product plans, despite increasing sensitivity from the marketplace and government regulators regarding fuel economy.

"High-performance cars still matter," said Karl Brauer, CEO of Total Car Score. "Performance models sell in relatively low volumes, so automakers can justify the image boost they provide against the small hit they cause to Corporate Average Fuel Economy statistics. There's also a technology play here. Performance cars are often on the leading edge of vehicle research and development work, and this work eventually benefits the entire model line."

Total Car Score's ranking of the top high-performance models for 2012 is based on the website's aggregate scoring model that incorporates the car reviews and rankings of top automotive authorities. The top 10 high-performance cars, listed in order of their Total Car Score, are as follows:

1. 2012 Infiniti IPL G Coupe – Total Car Score: 85.21, MPG 19-22 Combined

The 2012 Infiniti IPL G Coupe earns one of the highest Total Car Scores in the Luxury High-Performance segment, which is quite a feat considering that other cars in the category include the BMW M3 and the Boxster and Cayman from Porsche, Brauer said.

2. 2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG – Total Car Score: 84.45, MPG 18-19 Combined

This is the high-performance, high-class, high-tech version of the company's premium midsize sedan, coupe and wagon, the E-Class. The 2012 model year has seen a radical change under the AMG version's hood. Where there was once a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8, there now resides a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8.

3. 2012 Cadillac CTS-V – Total Car Score: 83.65, MPG 14-16 Combined

The Cadillac CTS-V, with its sophisticated chassis hardware and powerful engine, is a genuinely strong contender among the usual suspects in the high-performance segment.

4. 2012 Ford Taurus SHO – Total Car Score: 83.22, MPG 20 Combined

While this performance-oriented version of the Taurus sedan has several admirable qualities, what makes it unique is the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine and the firmer suspension tuning for confident handling.

5. 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 – Total Car Score: 82.59, MPG 17 Combined

The Chrysler 300 SRT8 makes the list mostly due to its 470-horsepower Hemi V8. Small improvements to its suspension, steering and brakes give the 300 SRT8 handling capabilities uncommon in full-size sedans.

6. 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 – Total Car Score: 81.77, MPG 17 Combined

Even with its aggressive styling and powerful Hemi V8, the Charger SRT8 can serve family transport duties due to its comfortable and well-designed interior.

7. 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 – Total Car Score:  80.00, MPG 14 Combined

The Grand Cherokee's standard features include heated and ventilated front seats, a navigation system and a rearview camera. Not bad, but the 6.4-liter V8's acceleration and sporty handling place it in the top ten.

8. 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – Total Car Score: 78.80, MPG 16 Combined

The ZL1 sets a new performance bar for the pony car portion of the high-performance segment with the 580 horsepower coming from a supercharged V8, a sophisticated traction control system, a magnetic-ride suspension system, and one of the smoothest-shifting six-speed manual transmissions on the market.

9. 2012 Chevrolet Corvette – Total Car Score: 78.03, MPG 18-19 Combined

The Corvette's list of strong points includes its winning combination of sex appeal and bang-for-the-buck. With a 430-horsepower V8 engine under their hoods, both the coupe and convertible are strong performers.

10. 2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor – Total Car Score: 77.93, MPG 13 Combined

The Raptor earned a surprisingly high Total Car Score given the fact that it is a pickup truck in a very competitive segment full of sports cars and sport sedans. The Raptor makes the list due to its powerful V8, long-travel suspension with advanced shock absorbers, and sophisticated electronic traction controls optimized for a variety of terrain types.

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Total Car Score is an automotive research and comparison website that establishes a new industry-wide standard for ranking every car, truck, van, SUV and crossover on the market. evaluates and ranks cars according to an aggregate score based on the most trusted automotive authorities available. The site also features original content, reviews and insights from a veteran automotive journalism and data team. For more information about cars, please go to

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