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Five cars for Father’s Day

  • Father drives best

    Come 16 June, fathers all over the world will unwrap unsightly ties and coffee mugs proudly emblazoned with this phrase in their native tongues: “World's Best Dad”.

    Children consume time, energy, money and patience, and on any other day of the year, Dad might be rewarded with little more than grubby kisses and some fairly rudimentary artwork for the fridge. Though the happiness of a child is its own reward, a little bit of driving – good driving – has a way of making those sacrifices (as well as those neckties) more bearable.

    Here are five exceptional automobiles that allow dear old Dad to tote car seats and diaper bags, while experiencing absurd levels of fun. Consider it a fatherly duty: sharing enthusiasm for the road with the next generation aboard, to ensure that manufacturers build and sell great cars well into the future.

  • The Supercar: Nissan GT-R

    It is not what you would call a thing of beauty. Nissan's all-wheel-drive coupe is a slab-sided monster with an insatiable appetite for tarmac. No wonder the high-tech track terror has earned the nickname “Godzilla”.

    Despite its ferocious nature, the GT-R is also a fairly family-friendly conveyance. The trunk is large enough to accommodate a folding stroller and necessities, and the two rear seats, while child-size, offer legroom comparable to that in a Porsche 911.

    Best of all, there is something about the GT-R that touches the imagination of even the most jaded youth. It is arguably the dream car of the Xbox generation, a modern equivalent to the Lamborghinis and Ferraris that adorned Dad's bedroom walls so long ago. (Nissan North America)

  • The Classic: 1985-88 BMW M5 (E28)

    BMW has not always offered a boulevard-blitzing version of its sensible executive sedan. In fact, the practise started in North America, with the first hand-built M5. US models came with a healthy 256-horsepower rating, though European versions were blessed with 282hp and could claim to be the world's fastest production sedans.

    The first-generation M5 is durable and priced accessibly, yet is rare enough to be on the upswing for collector status. It is also an entirely sensible car to own, with four doors, a large trunk, brick-solid build and plenty of room in the backseat. (BMW of North America)

  • The Lightweight: Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S

    Big power is not necessary for a thrilling drive – just take a look at the success of Mazda's long-running Miata/MX-5. Where that two-seat sports car might not work for the family man, these twins from Toyota and Subaru offer baby-carrying capacity with that stripped-down, elemental feel.

    Both the BRZ and FR-S offer usable small rear seats fitted with the easy-install LATCH system. Rear-facing child seats are a tight squeeze, but booster seats fit without much bother. The trunk will swallow a modest amount of baby gear, too.

    These cars are a return to the ideals of lightweight motoring, and with 200hp on tap, they are quite fleet. Priced from roughly $25,000, they also might be an accessible luxury for Dad, leaving the college fund unraided. (Toyota Motor Sales)

  • The cross-continent missile: Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 Wagon

    It is a rarer sight than a Ferrari 458 Italia: Mercedes-Benz builds only a handful of these high-powered station wagons, and each one is a special order requiring a large deposit up front. One does not simply walk into a showroom and drive out in an E63 wagon – ownership requires forethought and deep pockets.

    Eschewing the more common high-powered-SUV path has its benefits: 550 turbocharged horsepower’s worth, to be exact. With a twin-turbocharged V8 engine and steamroller tires, this five-seat estate is quick enough to embarrass most modern muscle cars, while supple enough to keep baby snoring contentedly. (Mercedes-Benz USA)

  • The mud wrestler: Ford SVT Raptor

    The perfect companion for a little dirt-diving exuberance is this, the ultimate expression of the contemporary pickup truck. Ford's Raptor is essentially a Baja racer for the road (and far off road). With a big-bore 6.2-litre V8 engine producing a dune-conquering 411hp, there is little that can stand in its way for long.

    A long-travel suspension ensures that modest aerial manoeuvres end in soft landings, and extra underbody protection helps deflect the trials of the trail. Four doors in the pictured SuperCrew specification mean that younger passengers have ringside seats to their own personal monster-truck show. (Ford Motor)