Car Performance Fads That Need to Go Away

For many new cars, these features are par for the course. They shouldn't be.

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BMW

These trendy design schemes and gimmicky pieces of tech are the last things new cars need. Here are some of the worst new car design fads, according to you.

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1 Four-Door "Coupes"
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Mercedes-AMG

Within the last few years, several manufacturers have adopted the idea of calling a four-door sedan with a sloping roofline a "coupe" to differentiate it from the other four-doors in their lineups. A coupe has two doors, not four. How hard is that to understand?

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2 Touch Screen Infotainment Systems
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R&T

I personally think touch screens are useful when it comes to controlling media-related stuff in a car, like music or phone connectivity. Where I draw the line is when carmakers make you have to go through a sub-menu to adjust the climate control. Just give us some knobs.

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3 Fake Exhaust Tips
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YouTubeThe Fast Lane Car

Faux exhaust tips have become wildly popular among luxury manufacturers to the point where the actual exhaust exit is no where near the fake "tip" molded into the bumper. The Audi SQ5, shown here, may be the worst offender.

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4 Endless Driving Modes
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BMW

Most modern performance cars are packed full of different driver-centered adjustments, usually for steering weight, suspension travel, and engine response. But it seems that whatever settings you put it in, the car never feels perfectly balanced.

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5 Electronically Controlled Automatic Shifters
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Jeep

We can't fault automatic transmissions for their convenience and ease of use, but we can fault bad shifter design. Most new cars have ditched a more traditional mechanical gear selector for an electronic one, and often times, they're difficult to use and much less intuitive.

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6 Fake Carbon Fiber Trim
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Subaru

In a world where even real carbon fiber interior trim is starting to get tiring, there's really no excuse to have the fake stuff inside any new car. It looks tacky and cheap, like you just added the stuff yourself after a trip to the local auto parts store.

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7 Auto Rev-Matching
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YouTubeZ06 Juan

The whole point of having a manual transmission these days is to enjoy doing the gear-shifting yourself—that includes rev-matching with your own foot on downshifts. Thankfully, in cars like the new Corvette, the feature can be turned on and off with a push of a button.

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8 Electronic Dipsticks
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Brian Silvestro

Since when has it gotten so hard to check your oil? Lots of new cars have gotten rid of the dipstick altogether, replacing it with an electronic system that can only be read through the in-car computer system. Often times, you it won't read the oil capacity at all unless the car is fully warmed up. Talk about inconvenient.

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9 Unnecessarily Big Wheels and Low-Profile Tires
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Honda

In the quest for a balance between looks and performance, manufacturers sometimes go a little overboard on wheels. The Civic Type R, for example, has 20-inch wheels wrapped in skinny rubber, which seems like a bit too much.

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10 Fake Engine Sounds
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BMW

Pumping synthetic engine noises though the speakers into the cabin is a clever way to make any car sound better. In reality, manufacturers are just trying to cover up the fact their cars don't sound as good as buyers would like them to.

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11 Electric Parking Brakes
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Chevrolet

There's a reason they call parking brakes "emergency" brakes—it can be used as a last resort if your normal braking system fails. But with electronically controlled parking brakes, there's no way to activate or modulate the e-brake on the move.

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12
Traction Control System. There's a few of these names floating around for the electronic system that intervenes to prevent your car from skidding. Whether it goes by traction control or anti-slip regulation, it works the same way, monitoring relative speed between the wheels, and activating the brakes or reducing engine power to curb wheelspin.
R&T
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13 Fake Vents
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DW Burnett/Puppyknuckles

Fake vents are pretty awful, but there are reasons manufacturers use them. Things like hiding a sensor or design symmetry are just a few of the ways fake vents are used. Still, it doesn't make them look any better.

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14 Undefeatable Traction Control
Traction Control System. There's a few of these names floating around for the electronic system that intervenes to prevent your car from skidding. Whether it goes by traction control or anti-slip regulation, it works the same way, monitoring relative speed between the wheels, and activating the brakes or reducing engine power to curb wheelspin.
R&T

Traction control is great because it can save us from a sketchy driving situation we might not be able to ourselves. But for some reason, manufacturers build in traction systems that can't be disabled by the driver, which means tire-spinning hooliganism is downright impossible without an aftermarket tune eliminating the program.

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15 Plastic Engine Covers
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Brian Silvestro

Okay, so there's not really much to see under modern engine covers of today thanks to all the wiring and electronics used in modern powertrains. But it's still better to look at actual parts of the engine than some plastic cover.

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16 Alphanumeric Badging
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Infiniti

Not only are alphanumeric car names unexciting, but they make car lineups confusing and hard to remember. The worst offender these days is probably Infiniti. Take one look and tell me I'm wrong.

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