The most popular sports cars on MSN Autos

Two American sports car icons, the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Corvette, top the latest list of most popular sports cars on MSN Autos. The Mustang and the Corvette were both redesigned for 2005 and have struck a chord with sports car fans, combining their classic heritage with modern performance. Following in third place is modern sport coupe with a classic name. The Australian-built Pontiac GTO shares its 400-horsepower V8 with the Chevy Corvette.

Four of the top ten are from Europe, including a BMW, Lamborghini and two Porsches.

This list of the ten most popular sports cars on MSN Autos is based on visits to the site's vehicle research pages during the second three months of 2005.

1. Ford Mustang

The Mustang is all new for 2005, powered by either a 210-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 engine or a more powerful 300-horsepower V8 in the Mustang GT. Although immediately recognizable as a Mustang, the latest version offers thoroughly modern performance with powerful engines and a three-link rear suspension with a Panhard rod for its rear-wheel-drive platform. A convertible joined the coupe in the spring with both V6 and GT versions offered.

2. Chevrolet Corvette

The Corvette was introduced in January 1953, and the sixth-generation Corvette debuted for 2005 with a new design immediately recognizable as a Corvette. Powered by a new 400-horsepower LS2 6.0-liter small-block V8 with either a 6-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission, the Corvette is offered in coupe and convertible versions. Three suspension systems are available, and the convertible has an optional power-operated soft-top. For 2006 the high-performance Corvette Z06 will return, powered by a 505-horsepower 7.0-liter small-block V8 delivering supercar performance.

3. Pontiac GTO

The GTO is Pontiac's new high-performance coupe that marks the return of the legendary GTO name from the 1960s in a modern, V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive sports coupe. Based on the Holden Monaro sold in Australia, the GTO was upgraded for 2005 with a 400-horsepower LS2 6.0-liter V8; an available hood with twin air scoops; revised rear fascia with outlets for a new dual exhaust system; polished exhaust tips; larger brake rotors and calipers; and front calipers painted red with GTO logos.

4. Nissan 350Z

Almost immediately after it went on sale, the 350Z rocketed to the top of our most popular sports cars list. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Z car, and Nissan has created a special edition 2005 350Z that features a power increase to 300 horsepower, 18-inch cast aluminum alloy wheels, front and rear spoilers, Brembo brakes and special Z badging.

5. BMW M3

The high-performance version of BMW's 3-Series sedan range began as a limited edition, designed to meet minimum production requirements for touring car racing in Europe and Asia. The M3 arrived in the U.S. in the late '80s and was sold through the 1991 model year as a high-performance 2-door coupe, returning in the 1995 model year. The current M3 is the most powerful yet, with a 333-horsepower inline 6-cylinder engine that pulls this high-performance BMW to 60 mph in less than five seconds