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Blessed be the acrid olfactory kiss of torched tires. Burnouts are as American as apple pie and obesity and were born from that all-American motorsport, drag racing. Burnouts allow racers to heat and clean specially constructed tires and lay two stripes of sticky, fresh rubber. Doing a burnout on street tires makes a lot of smoke, removes layers of expensive rubber, and accomplishes nothing of dynamic significance. But it does elicit a big grin from the driver and perhaps the police officer who will write the ticket for an “unsafe start.”

Burnouts occur when engine power, and often use of the brakes, overcomes the driven tires’ ability to maintain adhesion with the road, and the heat caused by the friction between the tires and road surface melts the rubber, causing smoke.

Here are 10 cars with which to express your disdain for traffic law (only where legal, please). You may notice a disproportionate percentage of American iron in the list. ’Merican muscle has a long and proud tradition of doing better burnouts than vehicles born elsewhere — such is our love of reasonably priced, rear-wheel-drive vehicles with large-displacement, torquey engines.

Why is there no Ferrari in this list? No Porsche? High-powered sports and supercars are generally not ideal burnout machines, as they wear huge, sticky tires that are more difficult to start spinning, and the weight of the engine is often perched over the driven tires. Expensive, high-power rear-wheel-drive cars, usually European, have all sorts of electronic stability- and traction-control systems that are next to impossible to defeat. In any case, burnouts offend their continental sensibilities.

The CARandDRIVER.com Top 10 Burnout Kings of 2007 are ranked in descending order of published horsepower. All performance metrics were gathered from vehicle research data published on CARandDRIVER.com.

Cadillac XLR-V
2006 Woodward Dream Cruise Photo Gallery
Dodge Ram SRT10: If any vehicle is more conducive to burnouts, we don’t know about it. Dodge stuffed in the 500-hp, 8.3-liter Viper V-10 backed by a six-speed manual to create the fastest production truck in the world (147 mph). Hooliganism is guaranteed, as is creating a Superfund site every time you dump the clutch.

Cadillac XLR-V: Under all those aggressive, creased body lines is a Corvette chassis married to a supercharged and intercooled 4.4-liter Northstar V-8 producing 443 horsepower to motivate the quickest Cadillac ever. That huge number connects with not-particularly-wide 255mm rear tires, making for rubber hazed more readily than a fat boy in boot camp. We suggest you torch the tires with the hardtop down.

Chevrolet Corvette: With the wimpiest example making 400 horsepower, any Corvette has little trouble incinerating the inevitable Goodyears strapped to the back. Coupe, convertible, automatic, standard, Z06, base model, whatever — any Vette smokes meats better than a Texas BBQ.

Pontiac GTO: Rental-car looks only encourage you to lay waste to the GTO’s rear tires as if Avis would be replacing them. The 400-hp Corvette-sourced LS2 turns tarmac into a cheese grater once you disable the traction control. Despite a published base price of $32K, a lukewarm reception by buyers means you can get a GTO for significantly less.

Jaguar S-type R: Coventry was considerate enough of vulgar American sensibilities to supply a traction/stability-control kill switch in its elegant S-type R. With windows up to protect the bird’s-eye maple and Connolly leather, full access to 400 supercharged ponies will liquefy costly rubber in a spectacular and ungentlemanly fashion.

Dodge Charger R/T: Yes, it has a Hemi, and the Charger, in either R/T or SRT8 form, is about as good a four-door smoke show as money can buy. Its $30K starting price includes the benefits of Mercedes engineering and 340 horsepower.

Ford Mustang GT: Ford offers the cheapest 300-hp car money can buy with its $25K Mustang GT. Modular V-8 power, a solid rear axle, and easily defeated electronic gimmickry make for a package that demands you punish those naughty hides.

Cadillac DTS: The only front-wheel-drive vehicle on this list is powered by a 291-hp Northstar V-8. This is sufficient to leave two smoldering piles of redistributed silica and carbon just aft of the DTS’s Grandpa-hauling rollers. One of our editors got pulled over doing just that, and the cop couldn’t help laughing. No ticket!

Infiniti G35: The G35 is the lone Japanese offering in this bunch, but it does a good job of representing the land of specific output. Buy the manual transmission, rear-drive version, switch off the traction control, and learn to use both feet for warranty-threatening, intersection-fogging fun.

Pontiac Solstice: GXP One of the cheapest paths here to destroying a perfectly good set of gummies is the turbocharged 260 horsepower found in the Pontiac Solstice GXP for about $25K. Burnouts might, in fact, be a required part of the ownership experience, necessary each time a neighbor asks if you borrowed your hairdresser’s car.

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47 Posts
Was on a WRX forum today and those Subie guys believe and take in every negative thing said about their Goat. Even told me I should pay more attention to the professionals at Car and Driver. Car and Driver is as biased as any mag I've seen.
All mags are biased and for that matter so are all people, its part of human nature. If car and driver said the goat rocked and the sti sucked the they would all of a sudden be much less biased. Car and driver IS a highly respected auto mag and its reviewers have a better perspective on cars than any one who owns a 33k gto and post on a forum in their spare time. They drive way more cars each year than any of us could hope for and they get to drive cars that we couldnt even get a test drive in. Gm sent them a free gto and they got paid to beat the hell out of for a few days, no one on this forum could even be half as lucky. If you love your car who gives a rats ass what anyone else thinks.

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Yea right, where you going to get a Solstice GXP for $25K? The only one I have seen was priced at $40K at a local Pontiac dealer.

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