Writing about cars is different than owning them. While we’re certainly grateful for the opportunity to cover some of the most gorgeous and exciting cars around, most of these four-wheeled beauties will likely never grace our personal garages. That being said, a fella can dream, can’t he? With that tiny nuisance called reality thrown out the door, we present to you a list of cars we’d love to have delivered to our doorstep this holiday season.
When I reviewed the Scion FR-S last October I declared it the Porsche 911 for the rest of us, a statement I still stand by today. The FR-S does a number of things really well: it’s simple, stylish, and lightweight. But more than anything else its devotion to performance — that rear-wheel drivetrain certainly helps — is astounding and thus quickly etched a place in my heart (and this wish list). Perhaps more than that though, it shows that Japan still has the ability to churn out a great back-to-basics sports car, and even better, it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
Tesla Model S
When the Model S isn’t busy winning awards and causing iPhone-like hysteria on eBay, it’s busy (silently) running rampant in my dreams. No other car personifies the ever-increasing cross section between cars and tech, but then again, the Model S is unlike anything on the market. With a 17-inch Nvidia-powered touchscreen, an 85 kWh battery that can dash from 0-60 in a mere 4.4 seconds, a top speed of 130 mph, and an estimated range of 300 miles on a single charge, the Model S effortlessly blends style, performance, and tech, all while forgoing a single drop of gasoline.
There are a lot of things I would do for an Audi R8, some legal, and some not so much. But one thing is for certain, the sleek and sexy mid-engine supercar represents a pinnacle of design and performance from Audi. Add to that its devilishly stylish quality – a characteristic Audi seems to possess an abundance of these days — and it has no equal. And with the R8 based off the outgoing Lamborghini Gallardo platform, it marries the very best of German engineering with Italian performance prowess. Simply put, it’s one of the most beautiful cars I’ve ever laid by eyes upon. To Audi, if you’re reading this, grant me my holiday wish and get me inside this gorgeous specimen soon, danke.
The Subaru WRX was launched about 10 years ago, and it still does things few cars can. It’s a rally car for the road, and a turbocharged rocket ship that can also serve as a daily driver. That turbocharger, attached to Subaru’s trademark Boxer engine, chucks out 265 horsepower, making the WRX quite a bargain at $25,795. Subaru’s BRZ sports car may offer a more elemental driving experience, but the WRX’s all-wheel drive makes it a more viable everyday ride in places that experience weather.
Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca
There are many Mustangs, but the Boss 302 is the most well-rounded. It may not be as cheap as the GT, or as fast in a straight line as the Shelby GT500, but it’s the best of both worlds. Who wouldn’t want classic Mustang looks and sounds in a package that can hang with a BMW M3 on a road course? I’ll take mine in black with red stripes.
Aston Martin Vanquish
The Aston Martin Vanquish is, quite simply, the coolest supercar around. The body recalls James Bond’s DB5 and DBS, and the Vanquish has one of the best sounding names in the business. The V12 power doesn’t hurt either. It may not have any gimmicky aero effects like the Ferrari F12berlinetta, but the Vanquish is the type of car you just want to get in and drive to the end of time.
Dodge Challenger R/T
I will admit that my reason for choosing this car is solely because I like the way it looks. I’d like to say that I thought long and hard, weighing the many pros and cons of a wide variety of different vehicles, but what it really came down to is that I think the Challenger looks cool.That’s not to say that the Challenger isn’t a good car, I’m also a fan of the 5.7-liter HEMI V8, the ample trunk space, and the excellent stereo. I like the 376 horsepower and six-speed manual transmission too, but it’s the looks that does me in. For fans of classic muscle cars, this is really the best way to go. Sure, the Camaro has its styling cues that are reminiscent of the ’69 model, and the Mustang has its share of 1967 in the bodywork, too. But neither are quite as old-school muscle as the Challenger. It is as aerodynamic as some of the more slippery refrigerator cartons, and fuel economy is something I choose not to think about, but none of that matters when it’s something that looks this good. Did I mention I’m a fan of the way it looks? Just checking…
I used to work for Audi, and during that time my favorite mainstream cars was always the A6. It remained my favorite for many years, and then one day Audi unveiled the A7. Mechanically, the A7 is basically the same car as the A6, but while the current A6 has been criticized repeatedly for having the dullest styling of any car currently available, the A7 is actually quite beautiful.
The S7 is just simply an A7 with a bigger engine, all that beautiful sheet metal stays, but there is an extra 118 horsepower. That 414 total horsepower is delivered from a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, which was originally built for the Bentley Continental. It’ll do 0-60 in 4.0 seconds, and thanks to the Quattro all-wheel-drive, it’s perfectly comfortable in the snow as well.
The interior is as much a work of art as the exterior, with an expertly laid out mix of wood, leather and aluminum that is rivaled only by much more expensive luxury cars. Audi built this car knowing it wouldn’t be as popular as the more traditional A6, and that it would be a niche vehicle for people who bought it because they really loved it. Those are always the best cars, but sadly they tend to be terribly expensive. The S7 certainly isn’t cheap, but it’s still cheaper than most cars bred for pure passion.
Porsche 911 GT2 RS
Porsche is occasionally a very aggravating car company. It retains an incredibly strict model hierarchy — insert joke about Germans and their rules here –, which means you know they aren’t building their cars to be the best they can be, but rather, into a specific slot in their lineup. Obviously, every carmaker does this to an extent, but few are as annoyingly precise about it as Porsche. So when the Type 997 911 first debuted in 2004, it could only be so fast, so as not to compete with the Carrera GT supercar.
But when the Carrera GT was retired in 2007, a special project was started to build the ultimate type 997. The result is the 612-horsepower beast that is the 911 GT2 RS. The Porsche 911 has, to me, always been the perfect sports car, and this the greatest version of it ever made. The car is not only a full 10 seconds faster around the Nurburgring than the old Carrera GT was, but it is one of the fastest production cars of all time around the famous track. Now, when you consider that the regular 911 starts around $80,000, the $245,000 price tag on the GT2 RS might seem a bit high, but at least you’ll know you are for once getting a Porsche that is truly the very best they can build.
More Subaru than Scion, the FR-S has been forced to battle in the new car market with its virtual twin: the Subaru BRZ. The FR-S is a bizarre love child. Although it wears a Scion badge, in the rest of the world it wears a Toyota badge and is sold as the GT-86.
The ultimate boy racer machine, the FR-S was designed to fit four spare wheels, tires, and a helmet in the trunk with the seats down for days at the track. The Toyota D4S fuel injection system bolted to the Subaru boxer four-cylinder allows for either port or direct injection to fill out mid-range torque.
We love this car; not because it’s $24,000 price tag; not because of its peppy 2.0-liter boxer motor; and not because of its Torsen limited slip rear differential. No, we love it for how all those things make us feel. Pound-for-pound and dollar-for-dollar, no car made got our heart racing quite like the FR-S.
Audi TT RS
If you had told us a few years ago that Audi would build a TT so good that R8 owners would trade in their supercars for a TT, we would have thought you mad. Low and behold, that day has come.
The 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder-powered TT RS makes 360 horsepower and will rocket to 60 MPH in 4.1 seconds and hit a top speed of 174 MPH. This all-wheel drive little German coupe absolutely stole our hearts this year. And now we can’t imagine a world without the TT RS in it.
The acceleration is voracious. The handling is impeccable. The noise it makes is intoxicating. The looks are superb. And the interior is every bit sporty as it is luxurious. For $56,850, the TT RS blows similarly priced American pony cars out of the water.
Unfortunately, the TT RS is quite possibly one of the rarest Audis around. With a limited run, word spread of its road-going wizardry and the TT RS sold out quickly. We wish, however, deep down, that we could get our hands on the TT RS once more, if only for a moment.
BMW Aplina B7
We were fortunate enough to drive this $130,000 German land monster on both the hilly roads of Monterey, California and on the Laguna Seca racetrack. In both realms, the Alpina B7 thoroughly impressed us.
For the uninitiated, Alpina is an independent aftermarket BMW outfitter that takes ordinary BMWs and ups the power, performance, luxury, and exclusivity. When Alpina is done with a BMW, few features are left untouched. Aplina offers exclusive paint colors and bolts its signature 20-spoke 21-inch alloy wheels to each model.
The Aplina B7 is no different. Starting life as a BMW 7 Series, the B7 is transformed with an Aplina 540-horsepower V8 eninge and eight-speed automatic transmission that allows the B7 to reach speeds of 194 MPH.
We drove the B7 head-to-head against the brand-new BMW M5 at Laguna Seca and were astounded how a purpose built sports sedan like the M5 could be nearly matched by the B7 behemoth.
What makes us so giddy about the Aplina B7 is that it takes the ultimate driving machine and turns it up to 11. It really does. Nothing on earth drives quite like it. Forget the Mercedes S63 AMG because the Aplina has it beat.