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Tasked with identifying a group of European muscle cars, we first sought the traditional definition of the term. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines muscle cars as “Any of a group of American-made two-door sports coupes with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving.” Translating this to cars of European origin, we were faced with determining which models qualified more as muscle cars, as opposed to sports cars.
We finally settled on models more generally thought of as Grand Touring or GT cars, because when you boil it down, a GT car is basically a very nicely finished muscle car. To further narrow this list of European muscle cars, we took the top-performing variant of each European GT car we considered worthy of a spot—and so here you go:
10. Aston Martin Vanquish:
Aston Martin calls the Vanquish a “super grand touring” machine, not a super sports car; we say it’s so beautiful, we don’t care what Aston calls it. Yes, its sonorous, 568-hp V-12 makes it fast, but many sports cars easily out-accelerate it. It’s also sumptuous inside, if ergonomically challenged. Like to drive topless? Opt for the Vanquish Volante, for a truly rare ride. As with all Astons, its little flaws are all but forgivable, since it is one of the most lovely things on four wheels.
9. Audi S5:
The sexy and sculpted S5 is offered as either a coupe or convertible, both with Quattro all-wheel drive and a supercharged, 333-hp 3.0-liter V-6. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is available on both body styles, but a six-speed manual—the enthusiast’s choice—is offered only on the coupe. Handling is balanced and composed, especially when equipped with the optional sport rear differential. The swanky, driver-centric cabin has room for four, which makes it surprisingly practical.