Luxury is in the eye of the beholder, but when it comes to the luxury cars, we like to think that we know a thing or two.


Look at an Aston Martin -any modern Aston Martin, really – and you immediately know you’re looking at an Aston Martin. That certainly goes for the latest Vanquish, but in this case the body is rendered in carbon fiber and draped over the latest iteration of the company’s VH platform. Available in either coupe or Volante convertible form, the Vanquish is powered, once again, by Aston’s ubiquitous 6.0-liter V12 engine, now producing 565 horsepower. That’s more than any Aston Martin this side of the hyper-rare One-77 – including the DBS which Daniel Craig drove in the James Bond movies or the previous Vanquish favored by Pierce Brosnan. So you’ll still look like 007 behind the wheel, only with an even faster ride.


The first four-seat convertible in the venerable Italian automaker’s 96-year history, The Maserati GranTurismo succeeds in combining unrivaled class and elegance with uncompromising sports performance car. The external lines exude dynamic tension and sporting prowess. A 4.7-liter V8 Ferrari-delivered engine coupled with a ZF six-speed automatic and more than 444 horsepower make the GranTurismo a supreme supercar. The Pininfarina design and the ergonomically correct and luxury-laden cabin distinguish the 2012 GranTurismo from the pack. There are new customization options in interiors in both the S and the S Automatic models.


Throughout Bentleys history, iconic grand tourers have forged the brand’s reputation, and for the second year this classic couple has continued to win awards. A classic luxury automobile that gets edgier and more technologically advanced with each release, now this car is even faster than its predecessor. The sporty all-wheel drive Bentley Continental is powered by a 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W12 that delivers a top speed of 198 mph. This year’s Continental GT is sleeker in appearance and weighs 150 pounds less than its predecessor. The new grille and width in the rear give it the look of a heavyweight performer. Its eight-speed automatic transmission and dual-fuel capability improve its efficiency and drivability.



How could Bugatti possibly improve on the Veyron? It did, after all, shatter all the records when it debuted in 2005 with a 8.0-liter quad-turbo W16 engine. More power is one way, as the Alsatian automaker proved with the even faster Super Sport. An open roof is another, as it demonstrated with the Grand Sport roadster. But the ultimate Veyron is the Vitesse, combining the more powerful engine from the Super Sport with the removable roof panel of the Grand Sport. Billed as the fastest roadster in the world, the Vitesse will set you back nearly $3 million, but as of the time of writing these words, there are fewer than 50 still to be claimed before the Veyron is retired entirely.


Designed by Ferrari’s own Flavio Manzoni, the Ferrari 488 GTB is a return to the classic style Ferrari enthusiasts have come to love. Expect sharp, sculptural flanks and an interior that marries style and ultimate driver comfort. With 661 horsepower at 9000 rpm, this is the Ferrari’s most efficient and powerful vehicle yet. Unlike its predecessors, the 488 is capable of reaching 124 mph in 8.3 seconds, with a total speed capability of 205 mph. The 488 GTB promises exceptional performance with aesthetic appeal to match.


There are few supercars as exotic as a Koenigsegg. From its factory in Sweden, Koenigsegg has been building some of the world’s fastest cars since 2002, but took another big step forward with the release of the Agera in 2010. Gone are the superchargers, in favor of twin turbos to give it around 1,000 horsepower depending on which version you choose. The new Agera One:1 is the most extreme with one horsepower for every kilogram of weight, giving it a perfect ratio and ? with an actual megawatt of power (1,341 hp) on tap ? emerges as the world’s first megacar.


The Gallardo was the best-selling model in Lamborghini’s history. But after 10 years on the market and over 14,000 units sold, Lamborghini is gearing up for another chapter in the history of its ten-cylinder supercar. The new Huracán still packs a 5.2-liter V10 engine, but with direct injection, now produces over 600 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, driving through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to rocket to 62 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds and on to a top speed in excess of 200 mph. Lighter, faster and more powerful than the Gallardo it replaces, the Huracán poses a genuine threat to the likes of the Ferrari 458 and McLaren 650S while serving as a suitable counterpart to the twelve-cylinder Aventador.


Beauty is in the details when it comes to the Audi R8. Featuring legendary Audi all-wheel drive experience vehicle nirvana. Tailored specifically for its mid-engine configuration, with a V8 and V10 engine options, is filled with luxury gadgetry and creature comforts galore, this car is unapologetically focuses on creating the ultimate driving experience. Motor Trend gives the 2012 Audi R8 a five-star rating and says, “[it is] as accessible as supercars get.” We concur.


When the original McLaren F1 hit the scene in 1992, it redefined our notion of what a supercar could do. Over two decades later, McLaren has returned with its successor. The new McLaren P1 packs the same 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission as the 12C and 650S, but mated to a hybrid boost system, now packs over 900 horsepower into a lightweight carbon-fiber chassis capable of hitting 60 in 2.6 seconds and a top speed of 217 mph. In the same hybrid hypercar league as the Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari, the McLaren P1 is one of the most extreme performance machines money can buy, but at $1.15 million apiece, McLaren has sold all 375 examples it intends to make. Fortunately McLaren has a series of other supercars in the works, all based on the same chassis and powertrain but at different outputs and price points.


Until 2007, Jaguar had to share space under the Ford Premier Auto Group with Aston Martin, and that meant it could only make a sportscar so fast or so expensive. But those days are long behind us, and Jaguar is keen to show that much with the new F-Type. Available as either a coupe or a roadster, the F-Type is what Jaguar stands for today, the quintessential British sportscar and one of the most eminently desirable cars on the market ? regardless of your budget. $65,000 will buy you the entry-level V6 model, but stretch your budget up to $100k and you’re looking at the F-Type R with 550 supercharged horsepower and one of the best soundtracks money can buy.


With 385 horsepower and at 7400 rpm, the Porsche Cayman GT4 was sure to deliver a powerful punch. In addition to setting the standard of vehicle performance, the GT4 ensures spectacular interior features like an ascending center console. Even without a turbo engine, the GT4 reaches 0 to 60 mph in approximately 4 seconds, making it significantly more agile than its 911 and GT3 counterparts. Not for the faint of heart, the GT4 is surely one of the most exciting vehicles to hit the market this year.e


There are those who feel the Lotus Evora line has yet to reach genuine supercar status due to its minimalistic approach toward luxury appointments and aesthetics. On the other hand, drive one and try to forget about it. The Lotus Evora S–with performance numbers comparable to a Porsche 911, has designs on appealing to a wider sector of the luxury-car market than it has with the racy Elise and Exige models. The Evora’s optional 2+2 seating layout and mid-positioned engine make it one of only five cars ever built that way. Change never comes easy.

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