THE ITALIAN STALLION
Alfa Romeo 4C
If you’re one of the most storied sports car makers in history, you don’t come half-assed when plotting a return of international proportion. Say buongiornoto the 4C, a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive piece of rolling Italian art that will be Alfa Romeo’s first major U.S. rollout in almost 20 years. Founded way back in 1910, the legendary automaker comes from a racing tradition like no other. (Let’s put it this way: One of its top drivers from back in the day was a fellow named Enzo Ferrari, who went on to start a little car company of his own.) Fast-forward 103 years and Alfa’s tradition of speed, sexiness, and something else that starts with an “s” continues to grow. Now, this comeback model may have only four cylinders, but a turbocharger and an extremely lightweight carbon frame—the car is 2,100 pounds—translate to an almost unheard-of power-to-weight ratio of 1 hp/8.8 pounds. (That’s extremely good, trust us.) Alfa Romeo, Alfa Romeo. Wherefore art thou Alfa Romeo?
Base Price:$86,000 (est.)
Engine: 1.7-liter turbo 4
Torque: 258 lb.-ft.
0–60: 4.5 seconds
Top Speed: 160 mph
BEST ELECTRIC CARS
They’ve only been making production cars since the mid-2000s, but British automaker McLaren has been building some of the winningest Formula 1 racers since the ’60s. (If you saw Rush, it’s what James Hunt drove to take down mighty Ferrari.) The P1 is powered by a twin-turbo V-8 mated to an F1-style kinetic energy recovery hybrid boost system. We don’t know what that means, either, but we do get arriving at 60 mph in under three seconds.
Base Price: $1.15 million
Engine: 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 with electric motor
Torque: 531 lb.-ft.
0–60: 2.9 seconds
Top Speed: 217 mph
Tesla Model S
The term game-changing is thrown around quite a bit, so when something revolutionary arrives, you really need to stand on the rooftops and shout. Well, picture us on your house bellowing at the top of our lungs. The Model S is for real. It’s fully electric, has a range of 265 miles, and goes 0–60 just as fast as a BMW M5...all in nearly silent style. Hey, automotive world, bow down to your new electric leader.
Honda Civic Hybrid
While the Prius may be the eco-friendly MVP thanks to celebrity fans—tip of the cap, Larry David—with an edgier look, a redesigned interior, and better body control compared with last year’s, the Civic Hybrid gets our vote for most improved. Its 111 mph top speed won’t leave anyone in the dust, but you’ll sleep better knowing that chunk of ice some polar bear is balancing on isn’t melting because of you.
BEST TOPLESS CARS
Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible
For nearly 100 years, Bentley has been turning out one incredible machine after another, and with the introduction of the Continental GT Speed—the fastest four-seat convertible on the planet—the English car manufacturer can be crowned king of the ultra-luxury sports car world. With its Goliath twin-turbo 6.0-liter W-12 engine, it’s like one big, gorgeous middle finger to all the other car manufacturers.
Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster
If you’ve ever wanted to know what it feels like to fly—albeit two feet off the ground in a seated position—hop into one of these. With 583 German horses at your disposal, this powerful wonder commands your foot to hit the gas hard at any given opportunity. (It’ll make it all the way to just under 200 mph.) Put the top down, hit the open road, and just try to resist belting out “Life Is a Highway.”
Mini Cooper S Convertible
We’ve been telling women for years that bigger isn’t always better. It seems that the good folks at Mini couldn’t agree more. Strapped with a free-revving 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and 181 horses, this little puppy moves. Combine that with some of the tightest handling in the game and you’ve got a car that’s quick, agile, and a total blast to pilot…despite the fact that you look like a character from Mario Kart.
Aston Martin Rapide S
You did everything they ever told you to do. You went to college. You got a job. You met a girl, married her, and produced 2.5 kids. Now, assuming your first job was at a start-up that went public and you made some serious, serious bank, the time has come to reward yourself. Besides its angelic design, crazy speed, and beyond luxuriously appointed interior, the Rapide S is also one of the most exclusive cars in the world. You did us proud, boy!
Base Price: $199,950
Engine: 5.9-liter V-12
Torque: 457 lb.-ft.
0–60: 4.7 seconds
Top Speed: 190 mph
Germans love high-performance auto divisions almost as much as they love poo-poo porn. BMW has M, Mercedes has AMG, and Audi has RS, or its “Racing Sport” wing. The souped-up version of its A7 five-door hatchback truly delivers on both the “R” and the “S.” A comically powerful 4.0-liter twin turbocharged V-8 churns out an unholy 560 horses. Did you just poo-poo yourself? Film it!
Mazda6 2.2L Clean Diesel
Like crack, diesels developed a bad rep back in the '80s. They were slow, made weird noises, and put out more stinky exhaust than a contestant at a burrito-eating contest. Well, times have changed. Today’s diesels are clean, get hybrid-like mileage, and have sick torque. Our favorite example sits in the Mazda6, a sleek, affordable sedan that gets about 40 mpg and, rumor has it, 310 lb.-ft. of twist.
BEST BIG BOYS
Range Rover Sport Autobiography
Wanna stand out from the baseball dad masses? Pull up to the kiddies’ next game in this. A rugged exterior makes it look like it’d be at home darting across the African savanna, while the plush interior and carlike drive make it just as suitable for darting across the parking lot at Stop & Shop. It’s also quick as hell (its supercharged V-8 makes 510 horsepower).
GMC Sierra 1500
With its brawny 450 hp V-8 and beautifully sculpted body, the GMC Sierra 1500 is big and powerful and can pull off a chrome grille without looking like it’s trying too hard. Despite the Sierra’s tough exterior, its spacious inside is pure luxury, making for a comfortable ride even when tackling tough terrain…or “accidentally” backing over your neighbor’s yappy dog.
Nissan Juke Nismo
It kind of resembles a pissed-off amphibian, but the Juke Nismo is a low-cost, high-fun alternative to your standard SUV, and its unique look just might get you more tail than the average old toad. This “cross-sport” is roomy for its size and speedy for its weight. Our favorite part? It comes standard with a manual, which makes this a real driver’s drive.
BEST SPEED DEMONS
If Alexander the Great ever came back from the dead, this is the car he’d drive to lead his second conquest of the known world. Capable of reaching 60 mph in less than three seconds, this Italian stallion will feel like a brutal slap in the face when it blows by you in whatever it is you’re driving. Oh, and did we mention that it tops out above 217 mph? Ferrari LaFerrari, we officially forgive you for having the dumbest name in the history of the automobile industry.
Base Price: $1.4 million
Engine: 6.3-liter V-12
Torque: 660 lb.-ft.
0–60: 2.9 seconds
Top Speed: 217 mph
Unlike many carmakers, BMW has a model-naming system that makes sense. Even casual car enthusiasts know the 3 is the small one, the 5 is the midsize one, and the 7 is the big boy. So why is it introducing a whole new number? What is this, math class? Well, think of the 4-series as a sportier version of the 3-series. In other words, a sportier version of what is widely regarded as the world benchmark of midsize cars. Fine, BMW, your new number adds up.
Ford Fiesta ST
There are few things on Earth more fun than a hot hatch, and the brand-new Fiesta ST is the hottest and hatchiest out there. Shaped like the head of a killer whale, Ford’s tiny terror hugs curves, zips out of tollbooths, and still has enough room in the back for your collection of vintage Highlights magazines. (Gosh, that Goofus is a troublemaker!) As an added bonus, the little guy is very thrifty with gas while still managing to pack a pocket-size punch.