What are the models you can’t wait to drive in 2007? A BMW, an Audi or a Mercedes? or maybe a Ferrari, a Lamborghini or an Aston Martin. How will you choose your car? By performance, power or design? Or all?
The best example is Audi R8, a model I am sure we all wish to have a chance to drive it. It will go on sale this summer for $120,000 to $130,000. Headlight design is pretty straightforward stuff, but the carmaker’s designers and engineers have used LED technology to build internal headlight reflectors that, they say, resemble miniature Sydney Opera Houses. LEDs are smaller than conventional lamps, so they free up extra space and give carmakers room to be more creative.
- Aston Martin V-8 Vantage convertible: The British automaker recently unveiled this stunning, drop-top version of its entry-level V-8 Vantage two door. Aston designed the Vantage to challenge Porsche’s iconic 911 sports car. The hand-built interior will feature the finest leather and wood available.
- Audi R8: Fellow German automakers Mercedes and Porsche have built six-figure supercars in recent years, and now Audi is joining the club. The 2008 Audi R8 coupe will have a 420-horsepower V-8 engine and cost $120,000 to $130,000. The car also uses a lightweight, aluminum body and full-time all-wheel drive.
- Bentley Azure convertible: Bentley’s new Azure is a convertible version of the company’s full-size Arnage flagship sedan, a vehicle which costs over $200,000. The Azure’s clubroom-like interior features wood veneers and rugs made of lamb’s wool.
- Cadillac CTS sedan: Cadillac’s overhauled, entry-level CTS sedan is humble compared with many of the cars on this list (it starts around $30,000) but could become a threat to the best-selling luxury car of all: BMW’s 3 Series.
- Lexus LS Hybrid sedan: A gas/electric hybrid, this full-size luxury sedan will have a combined horsepower of 430, more than a Corvette. It’s also one of two cars offered this year with LED headlights (the other, Audi’s R8, is also on our list).
- Maybach 62 S sedan: Maybach’s new 62 S, a hot-rod version of the company’s flagship, $390,000 62, will feature a souped-up, 604-hp V-12 engine that can propel the car from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. Certain design elements set the 62 S apart from the regular 62, such as a more stylized grille, chrome-trimmed fog lights and carbon-fiber interior trim.
- Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG coupe: Mercedes will improve on its $100,000 CL-Class flagship with the introduction of the CL63 AMG hot-rod version. The CL63 will feature a 518-hp version of AMG’s new, 6.3-liter engine. What’s more, the CL’s front seats come with massage capabilities.
- Nissan GT-R coupe: Nissan will not disclose the price or engine specifications of its forthcoming GT-R supercar. It is only saying that this long-awaited dream machine will show up at October’s Tokyo Motor Show.
- Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead convertible: The company’s only convertible has two suicide doors and a soft top (bucking a trend in which all luxury convertibles seem to have retractable hardtops).
- Volvo S80 sedan: The S80 is the first Volvo sedan with a V-8 engine—a near-requirement for premium automobiles. And since Volvo is all about safety, enhancements to the new S80 include smarter airbag design and a blind-spot information system, in which cameras near the outside mirrors detect vehicles that might be in a blind spot. The system then relays the information to the driver.