The Geneva Motor show is where carmakers like to come out and play. The absence of a major Swiss automaker provides both a level playing field for all manufacturers and a platform for car designers to go a bit crazy, often with radical concept cars. But there is a different class of vehicles, the ones that will see production, fulfilling our petrol-filled dreams by bringing speed, power and ingenuity to the road. These are our ten favorite production cars from the show.
From Pocket Rockets to Black Vented Tanks, We're in Love
The gifts that keep on giving
Just about every morning, before our cup of joe, we slap ourselves as a reminder of how lucky we are to drive some of the best cars in the world and get paid for it. 2013 was another year of stupendous privileges, with wheel time in Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Land Rovers, Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, Porsches, Jaguars, Mercedes-Benzes, Audis, BMWs, Aston Martins and more. We’ve been the beneficiaries of a huge upswing in the automotive marketplace in terms of style, quality and driving excitement through virtually all segments. And you know what that means: 2014 should prove to be even better.
Here are the cars we most covet for the new year, each one a standout in its segment by virtue of its quality, technology, design, driving experience or all of the above. In a stellar field, these are the ones that stir the petrol in our veins the most. As we embark on a new year, here’s a toast to what should be an incredible 2014 on the digital pages of Octane.
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Pages of legends
Every man’s library should consist of great books. Of course, regardless of how many classics you’ve read, if you’re a devotee of automobilia, your shelves should also house some truly great car books. We take a look at some of the best automotive books around in hopes that you’ll get your hands on some of them, park yourself in a comfy chair and spend a weekend afternoon imagining the sights, sounds and smells of great motoring.
Super is an understatement
Supercars are easily the Kate Uptons of the automotive world: stunning to behold, unobtainable by the average human and wicked in all the right ways. Even in an age of high fuel costs and environmentalism, they still get our attention. Exotic materials, radical designs, pavement rippling performance lead to stratospheric prices, which ensure that for most men, these cars will remain a fantasy. We got to drive a handful of supercars that made us happy to be alive and gave us good reason to change our underwear.
Not made as much as folded
Lamborghini never does things quietly — and that’s a very good thing, especially when the goal is to draw the rapt attention of the automotive world. But one model in particular marked the inception of Lambo’s radical styling flavor that would span decades, even into the present: the Countach. Angled to the nines, as angry as a giant bull whacked in the butt with a hot poker and as practical as a Kevlar dinner jacket, the Countach embodied the exotic supercar like no other automobile before it.
Time to Drive
Wheels and gears, second hands and tach needles, power trains and power reserves. Men have always been fascinated by time, speed, accuracy and power — and the beautiful combination of high-end timepieces and exotic roadgoing automobiles captures these obsessions appropriately. And whether the watch of choice is used to measure lap splits or to simply echo the same kind of quality and heritage as his car, you can be assured that careful time was taken to select both. We match up some of the best in timekeeping and automobilia in Gear Patrol style.
Some cars take it to 11. This takes it to 13.
Six hundred ninety-one horsepower. All-wheel-drive. A gearbox so mechanically high strung you instinctively quiver before each pull of the shift lever. And of course, the obscene sheet metal geometry. Enormous in every direction and specification, it makes us pause and wonder if this is what pornographic design is. Welcome to the Lamborghini Aventador.
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Starpower trumps horsepower
Weeding through Hollywood’s entire crop of iconic movie cars in the hopes of arriving at an agreed upon best of list is like trying to choose the sexiest Victoria’s Secret model — it can be grueling work, but the research isn’t exactly painful. Car guys are a picky lot, especially when looking to the silver screen: Some go weak in the knees when they hear an American V8 rumble to life slightly out of frame, while others are gaga for the svelte silhouette of a European exotic on a twisty backdrop. A select few believe the essential chase scene is the deciding factor, while yet another breed is only happy when the director has chosen an “appropriate” vehicle for the character driving, regardless of whether the movie was even watchable.
The GP Team’s collection of petrolheads put all of these variables into play, entered into
deep philosophical debate and eventually agreed to disagree so we could present you with our picks for the best movie cars ever. Gentlemen, start your arguing engines!
Tops be droppin'
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.
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The 10 That Got Away
Some concept cars are the stuff of dreams, and some make a justified beeline for the crusher. But then there are the truly glorious ones: the concepts built just for show, never meant to be anything more than the Paris runway model of the automotive world, or those lucky few that see their design elements actually influence production cars, even if they themselves never make it to the street. Tragically, for many of the best, somewhere between an auto show debut and the fevered, hopeful dreams of auto enthusiasts, some kind of childhood-hating shutdown switch gets flicked by faceless bean counters. In honor of the fallen, we take a look at 10 of the best concept cars that only ever got to lay rubber on the auto show floor.
Frankenstein is alive and well
The Geneva Motor Show always showcases some of the most original (and still tasteful) automotive works out there, and the Italdesign Giugiaro Parcour is one of them — though no one’s quite sure what category it falls in. Part Lambo Gallardo, part SUV and all badass, the Parcour was designed as an “all-terrain GT” car.
Adidas Crazyquick Feedback loops come full circle as adidas introduces Crazyquick. Designed using athlete input, Crazyquick includes specific lines for basketball, football, running and training. The goal? Greater flexibility, traction and foot lock-down. $100 94Fifty A basketball with motion sensor has finally arrived (hello, future) on Kickstarter. Who needs that sweaty, angry, middle-aged coach, anyway?…
On the verge of being released for the drooling public in Geneva tomorrow, the Lamborghini Veneno has enough hard edges, wings and vents to make the prospect of a carnauba wax a serious headache. That in-your-face exterior should be well partnered with a purported 6.5-liter V12, snorting out 740 horsepower to rocket the Veneno to 60 in under three seconds and providing a top speed of 220 mph.
A sublime encounter with the bull
In the world of exotic Italian automakers, the Lamborghini name needs no introduction — especially with the legacy of V12 superbeasts like the Miura and the Countach. Such icons adorned the walls of many a high school boy’s room just a few decades ago, and still ring true in our memories as a couple of…
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….
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…
Be my Valentino
After more than 40 years as a test driver for Lamborghini, Valentino Balboni retired. In place of a gold watch the Italian supercar maker crafted a limited edition model (only 250) in his honor: the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni — yes, it’s a mouth full. That very car birthed two beautiful descendants. Our…
Horn-y and proud of it
Not since the creation of the extreme Lamborghini LM002 in the 1980s, has the Italian automaker ventured into SUV territory. After years of R&D, Lamborghini has finally created its second coming, the Lamborghini Urus concept. Sounding more like an unmentionable body part than a hyper-exotic SUV, the Urus echoes many of the same lines as…
Full face warp
If you like crazy fast exotic automobiles and you also happen to be fan of getting hit in the face with bug guts, asphalt chunks and other airborne particulate matter, then the Lamborghini Aventador J is your kind of car. Introduced at the Geneva Auto Show and just sold to a clandestine owner for a…
The 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 is unquestionably a work of art, but installing one for an exhibit at Rome’s Chiostro Del Bramante Contemporary Art Museum proved to be slightly more complicated than hanging a painting. Apparently, 16th century doors were not designed to allow enough berth for today’s supercars (we can’t imagine why…) to just…
By the horns
The long-awaited replacement for the top end Lamborghini Murcielago has finally broken cover. Introducing the even more vicious and beautiful Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4. Carrying over several significant design elements from the limited edition Reventon, the all-carbon fiber bodied Aventador boasts a ferocious 6500cc V12 engine that snorts out 700 hp and 479 lb feet of…
Low slung bull
Unlike the Prancing Horse, Lambo lacks any serious racing pedigree. The newly designed Lamborghini PML-F Formula 1 Concept, however, could change that. Part F1 racer, part Dark Knight transport, this demonic creation from Sabino Leerentveld is intended to be propelled by a 3.0L 1200 hp V12. If it ever gets built, pairing that engine with…
The 2010 Paris Motor Show had landed and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to for a man to assume an amplitude of impossibly sexy cars, leggy models, and enough bespoke suits to make the men of Positano blush. Well, if this year’s display of supercar prowess is anything more than a declaration that the recession is…
[click on image to enlarge] One might fear even approaching the Lamborghini Reventon without getting lacerated. It redefines sharp likening itself more to some mass of mechanized evil and we like it. The matte gunmetal exterior simply adds a menacing sheen to the entire package. Not so amazing is the Lamborghini’s interior which looks rather…