Part 2: CarBuzz Picks the Best in Show at Detroit in NFL Playoff Format


CarBuzz goes deep with their playoff-style format for picking the Best in Show of the 2012 North American International Auto Show. Words by Phillip Harbor.

The Conference Championships are here along with the final game as the CarBuzz "Best in Show" for Detroit 2012 competition draws to a close. Here is a quick refresher on the rules/format in case you missed Part 1 of the NFL-style playoffs. To determine the Best in Show, the CarBuzz editors have painstakingly decided on several criteria to judge production models which made their world debuts.

The first criterion and most important aspect for choosing the "best car" was relevance. Which model will be the most relevant and important car for the world market is essential in determining the best production debut. The second criterion used for our decision-making was price for value, meaning that performance, luxury and of course price-tag all had to measure up to snuff in order to advance past its competition. Here is how we set up the competition: two brackets, one U.S., one World. Each bracket contains the four most relevant production models which made their official debuts built by their respective manufacturers.

The models were seeded by price tag ie. most expensive model seeded first, least expensive last - just like in the NFL. U.S. Conference Championship 1: 2013 Cadillac ATS vs. 2013 Dodge Dart The 2013 Cadillac ATS is a game-changer and so is the 2013 Dodge Dart. The ATS flips the script in the world market and the sedan is the harbinger of a storied company's rise from the ashes of geriatric consumers into a new millennia of production automobiles. The Dart is an old name rebranded and made for a new design style and a new generation.

As great as the Dart is, as competitive as it will be, everything must be kept in perspective: Dodge hopes the Dart will provide stiff competition for the Chevy Cruze, Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla. The Cadillac ATS will rival the BMW 3-Series and the Audi A4. A step up in class, a step up in luxury, a small step up in price and a huge impact on the world market, that is what sets the 2013 Cadillac ATS apart from the Dodge Dart. Winner: 2013 Cadillac ATS

World Conference Championship 2: 2013 MINI Roadster vs. 2013 Porsche 911 Cabriolet Evolutionary perfection means something. In fact, it means a lot. The all-new Porsche 911 Cabriolet is the product of years of research and development by a forerunner in the performance automotive game. The MINI Roadster, for all its quirks, bells and whistles is a fun, sporty little ride for a reasonable price built on a platform several years old and scheduled to be updated by 2013/14. The new 911 Cabrio is the premier German production model for the new year and can teach MINI a thing or two about excelling in an open-air ride.

If the MINI Roadster personifies the Tebow Broncos, the Porsche 911 is the Tom Brady-led Patriots - smooth, efficient, brings it every year and even with a brand-new receiving core/platform, excels and challenges perfection. Winner: 2013 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Detroit 2012 Super Bowl - 2013 Cadillac ATS vs. 2013 Porsche 911 Cabriolet This is pretty much the matchup you could have expected for Best in Show of Detroit 2012. This is the Green Bay Packers vs. the New England Patriots, two favorites that everyone expects to make the big dance. The World-repping Porsche 911 Cabriolet was clearly the best open-top model at the 2012 North American International Auto Show and with its 345hp 3.4-liter flat-six engine, nothing came close to rivaling it in Detroit.

The thing is, we have seen Porsche 911 Cabriolets before (though not in the new 991 form) and they price, well, let's say just shy of $100K. The 2013 Cadillac ATS is something brand-new. Everyone expects a new Porsche 911, Carrera S, Cabrio, Turbo, etc. The ATS is convertible-compatible and represents the future of the American brand not only in the U.S., but in the world. The rear-wheel-drive sedan is lightweight, has aggressive styling and with a 200hp 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated inline-four (an optional range-topping direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 with 318hp is also available), it will change the way the world views American luxury sedans.

With a price-tag of around $35k it's affordable and you can still impress your cantankerous old-guy next-door neighbor by saying "I own a Caddy" while still pulling girls at the club when you roll up in this beautifully-styled ride. If you wanted to choose a new production model to represent the U.S. of A. against the world in the forthcoming year, you can't go wrong with the new 2013 Cadillac ATS. You can't say the same for the 2013 Porsche 911 Cabriolet. In terms of relevance, revolutionary style, price and performance with value, a clear winner emerges from Michigan. Best in Show: 2013 Cadillac ATS.

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