Summer isn’t nearly as enjoyable without top-down driving. As much as we’re fans of hardtop automotive design and the way a sweeping roofline catches the eye, we have to admit that the clear growl of an engine and the wind in your hair makes the warmer months that much better. Even a drive up Pacific Coast Highway in a cream-hued 1995 Chrysler Sebring Convertible can be a pleasure (as long as no one actually sees you). Bully for you, convertibles are better than ever — gone are the fussy tops, the anemic engines, and silhouettes that would make Quasimodo cringe. The crop of current convertibles range from modern nostalgia to supercar power players, but one thing they all do is make your motoring pleasure good for all the world to see.
The Ultimate Dreamliner
Bentley is undoubtedly a mega-luxury brand that backs up ridiculous comfort with serious performance. Take the 2014 Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible ($240,000 base), for instance. Though its looks and interior are nearly pornographic in their excesses, it’ll also punch you in the throat and drink your beer without hesitation. After taking it for a drive in non-ideal conditions — and almost wrecking it on the icy streets of Squaw Valley — I got firsthand experience on why the brand is held in such high regard.
One hell of a legacy
The SLS AMG by Mercedes-Benz is truly the 300SL Gullwing reincarnate. Only the resurrected version is so much faster, you’ll wonder what happened to your eyebrows. How do we know? We got behind the wheel and watched it make people’s necks sore.
The claws are out
Car guys dream of acquiring their own personal track monster. Some are bare bones beasts, as comfortable as a ride on the Coney Island Cyclone; others bear witness to modern sport-luxury. The Jaguar XKR-S GT clearly falls into the latter category, and the automotive world is a better place for it. Check out the nifty bits that $174,000 buys the fortunate in our breakdown of this masterful vehicle.
Just introduced at the Geneva Motor Show, the Spyker B6 Venator Concept should prove to be a step in the right direction for the Dutch exotic car maker. With more pronounced design features than the C8 Aileron, the Venator houses a powerful 385+ hp V6 engine that’s positioned behind the cabin for optimal performance and balance. It also may possess the most beautiful interior this side of a Bentley.
The Wraith Wonder of the World
We expect that buyers of the new Rolls-Royce Wraith (~$325,960) will be equal parts man of mystery and crazy affluent. Just unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, the Wraith maintains the brand’s upper-crust heritage while delving into a level of visible aggression that’s new and refreshing.
The King of Beasts
If military-grade Humvees or the “run-of-the-mill” bores you to tears and you simply can’t afford an M1 Abrams tank for your off-pavement adventures, look to Mercedes-Benz and their perfectly over-the-top G63 AMG 6×6. Yes folks, that’s six-wheel-drive, with enough torque to warp the earth’s crust (if that’s your thing). The limited-production beast is the result of a partnership with Austria’s Magna Steyr and is based on the military version of the Mercedes-Benz G320 CDI — and it’s positively bonkers.
True British Muscle
Aston Martin recently decided that being one of the most prestigious and sexiest car makers on the planet wasn’t enough. They needed to be audacious. Their execution of this? Surgically transplanting the 6.0-liter 510 hp V12 from the DBS into their smallest and lightest offering, the Vantage. The Carbon Black edition adds carbon-fiber side strakes, lightweight carbon fiber and Kevlar seats, piano black accents and gloss black painted wheels, which convey the same kind of ballsy aggression as the drivetrain underneath that extruded aluminum body. Read on for a video and photo essay of this Brit stunner.
Nothing gets the 1% excited like the unveiling of a new Bentley (okay, except for really great stock market news). The 2014 Bentley Continental Flying Spur should certainly illict the best kind of kerfuffle amongst the bluebloods and new money, alike.
I believe I can fly
Most drivers with sport-tuned cars like BMW’s Ms and Audi’s S line are relegated to red light straightaways, only partially exploiting the true potential of their steeds. The pathway to higher speeds lies elsewhere. Mercedes recognized this problem and invited us to Rosamond, CA., a quiet farming town with long, unpatrolled stretches of road, to play with all their AMG
toys offerings for 2013 and to use the track at Willow Springs Raceway for their brand new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT ($200,000 Base Coupe).
Rock You Like a Hurricane
There are a slew of complications that are easy to overlook if you’re not in the market for a watch that costs as much as a nice starter home in Phoenix, but some are interesting enough to merit spending a few minutes gawking at. The Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Hurricane ($280,000) has not one, but two complications that clear this bar, so lest we leave you unprepared should you hit the Powerball, read on.
King of the hill and vale
The remote West is a far cry from where most modern SUVs claim their stomping grounds, but it’s exactly where we found ourselves recently. Utah’s desert landscape isn’t what you’d call sparse, as far as scenery is concerned. Sedimentary rock formations that range from the utterly massive to the small and bizarre are scattered as far as the eye can see, peppered by small patches of remnant snow and capped by the beautiful winter desert sky. But this is where we tested the 2013 Range Rover — and the car felt right at home.
E-Class is in session
Opting for the standard 2014 E-Class coupe, sedan, convertible or wagon gets you the new grill, hood and lights (along with a serious list of safety features) for a streamlined Optimus Prime look to the front as well as the put-a-drink-on-it wide and flat backside. But because we all need a little more-cedes in our…
If you needed any more proof that Jaguar is serious about performance driving, the newly unveiled 2014 Jaguar XFR-S ($99,000) should wake you up. Yes, it’s as serious as it looks. With a 5.5-liter supercharged V8 that provides 550 horsepower to the rear wheels, this top-of-the-line XF cat gets 0-60 in 4.4 seconds and tops…
Batten down the hairpieces
The Lamborghini Aventador is unquestionably a land rocket. Trust us. We’ve driven it, and we’re still trying to massage our organs back into alignment. Now that Lamborghini has pulled the curtains back on their roofless V12-powered Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster (~$381,000), we’re prepared to search for our scalps after a quick jaunt around the block….
A Vantage to a Kill
Though Skyfall has Bond piloting the classic DB5 (of “Goldfinger” notoriety) rather than this new 510 hp rear-wheel-drive beauty, we felt it only proper to salute our favorite (rebooted) hero with some auditory and sensory overload. The full Behind The Wheel is on the way in the next few months, but this little teaser is…
If you hanker for an impressive triumvirate of modern technology, off-road chops and vintage style, look no further than the utterly desirable Legacy Power Wagon ($114,950+). Need to pull out King Kong’s molars? This would be your truck of choice. In two or four-door format, the Legacy Power Wagon (by Legacy Classic Trucks) is based…
Biscotti, Pavarotti, Maserati
Maserati’s singular focus on high-end beautiful Italian machinery has made them masters. The GranTurismo, GranTurismo Convertible and the Quattroporte are all essentially a variant on one auto. They’re vehicles with gorgeous lines and roaring V8s; each is designed to be (Maserati vernacular) “a good host” (however, as Olivia Munn and Mario Lopez demonstrate, good hosts…
A shock to the eyes, as well as the wallet
Supercars tend to be about as subtle as an MMA pugilist after a couple Red Bull and vodkas. Stuff that mess into a retina-searing blue dress and you’ve got the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive. Forking up $530,000 for this gull-winged Smurf-mobile gets you 750 e-horsepower from four electric motors (one at each wheel) and…
Drop Top Gorgeous
Legend has it that when you drive a supercar, your biceps and pectorals enlarge by up to 30% and your testosterone levels climb rapidly, giving your confidence a much needed kick in the basement. On the down side, you become increasingly discourteous and you can’t seem to supress the desire to purchase (and wear) a…
An Earthbound Moonwatch
By now, anyone even mildly interested in wristwatches knows the story of the OMEGA Speedmaster Professional. Perhaps more than any other timepiece, the Speedmaster has transcended its genre and actually become a symbol of a bygone era of grit, honor, adventure, and American ingenuity and pluck. Its story is almost too good to be true,…
German four-wheelin' fury
What’s not to love about the all new Porsche 911 Carrera? Longer, wider, faster and more balanced than the previous generation, the car can make heroes out of the ham-fisted. Porsche now has even more to brag about with the pre-2013 Paris Auto Show announcement for the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and 4S (Carrera…
Hiss-tory in the making
The new SRT Viper is a sight to behold (at least when it’s standing still enough to see), and the 2013 SRT Viper GTS Launch Edition makes the bodywork look even better. The striking GTS Blue with Bright White twin stripes that extend the full length of the car, just like the 1996 and 2006…
The second time's the charm
Back in May, we whet your appetite with photos of the Lamborghini LP550-2 Spyder, and we promised you a revisit in a video clip. What you need to know is that even though Lamborghini specializes in their all-wheel-drive setups, the rear-wheel-drive LP550-2 Spyder is perhaps one of the most exciting to drive, largely due to…
Makes Hummers quiver in fear
Conquest Vehicles describes their new Conquest Evade ($579,000) as “elegant.” And that’s certainly the case if your notion of elegance involves looking like a giant knurled iron fist on wheels. It’s their follow up to Conquest’s 13,000 pound, fully armored Knight XV. The Evade weighs “significantly less,” according to Conquest, which should aid in performance,…
Refreshing a supercar is like asking Aishwarya Rai to pretty herself up. No easy task. Well, Audi recently released photos of their R8 V10 Plus, the new supercar range topper for the German automaker, and though the design changes are fairly noticeable via updated tube LED headlights and revised taillights, it’s the performance that gets…
The Chicago way
Having been finally verified as the real deal, this 1928 Cadillac V-8 “Al Capone” Town Sedan may very well be a real life version of a “Bond Car,” albeit for the wrong side of the law. Replete with 3,000 pounds of armor plating (since removed during restoration), inch thick glass and a drop down rear…
No question the McLaren MP4-12C is a remarkable automobile, often pitted agains the likes of the venerable Ferrari 458 Italia and holding its own. Now it’s gone topless as the McLaren MP4-12C Spider, and it’s quite the looker, especially in Volcano Red. Not common knowledge, the MP4-12C (say that ten times after a few dirty…
Makes its own shortcuts
Niche British car maker Bowler has been making road rally vehicles that can take serious punishment since 1989. Now they’ve gone all pedestrian on us by making a street-legal passenger vehicle. With the assistance of Land Rover in the creation of its powertrain, the all new Bowler EXR S ($242,000) delivers some serious automotive firepower…
Two years ago, we were invited to visit the Glashütte, Germany workshops of A. Lange & Söhne, and ever since then, we’ve been a fan of the brand. Their understated elegance flies under the radar of all but the timepiece cognoscenti, most of whom shorten the tongue-twister name into simply, “Lange”. Since the brand emerged…