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Illustration by Roderick Mills; photographs courtesy of the car manufacturers.   

6. Recovering from years of station-wagon fatigue now that your kids have finally left home.
BMW 335i convertible.
About $53,000, with several nice options included.
BMW’s latest has a folding steel hardtop, so you get two cars in one—a cozy sports car and a playful, open-top cruiser to compensate for years of minivan duty. Another treat: the twin-turbo, 300-hp engine that goes from zero to 60 in 5.5 seconds. There are lovely German details like BMW’s superb rack-and-pinion steering (not too firm, never loose) and a new “sun reflective” technology option, which magically reduces the surface temperature on dark leather seats by up to 68 degrees.

7. Blowing your Wall Street bonus while showing you’ve got money and taste.
Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano.
About $280,000.
Ferrari’s latest trophy car evokes the classic, long-hood styling of the brand’s storied 250 GTO road-racing cars. With a whopping 611-hp 6-liter V-12, four-second zero-to-60 sprints, and a top speed of over 200 mph, nobody on the road from Wall Street to Westchester will catch you. Ferrari’s easy paddle-shifted six-speed electromechanical transmission shifts more expertly than even a race driver can. And it’s quick to learn if you’ve lost your skills to corporate Town Car service.

8. Fighting your way out to the Hamptons on the L.I.E. with screaming infant twins.
Mazda CX-7.
Under $30,000.
In this stylish and agile sport utility vehicle, Mazda emphasizes the sport. Surprisingly spacious for children and their gear, it’s fun to drive, even on the L.I.E. There’s a turbocharged and intercooled 244-hp, sixteen-valve I-4 with manual and automatic shifting, so you can burn up East Hampton in top gear. With the optional technology package, you get navigation, a quality Bose AM-FM-CD, power sunroof, and more.

9. On-street parking, in a reasonably safe neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Ford Edge.
From $25,995.
Ford’s Edge is a nearly perfect city car. It brings sport-utility functionality to a svelte urban silhouette. It has a husky, 265-hp V-6, anti-skid control, and front, side, and curtain-side airbags. Gridlock regulars will appreciate the interior air filter (you’ll avoid exhaust fumes), heated leather seats with lumbar adjustment, a theft-deterrent system, and an AM-FM-CD-MP3 player with digital-media connection.

10. Taking your kids to Little League games on Randalls Island.
Dodge Nitro R/T.
About $30,000 well equipped (with MyGIG option).
This well-powered family SUV has the bells and whistles to keep the whole gang happy. The optional MyGIG computer system comes preloaded with onboard navigation, Sirius satellite radio (with a free one-year subscription), a 6.5-inch color screen, and a USB port that can download and store 1,600 songs on a twenty-gig hard drive. A nifty rear slide-out tray makes packing bulky items and all the kids’ sports gear a snap. the everything guide to: carsthe everything guide to:the everything guide to: carsthe everything guide to: cars


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