When it debuted in 2008, we were intrigued — a guy with Bimmer and Aston Martin credentials building his very own hybrid. Now it's 2010, and the very first factory-built Fisker Karma Plug-in Hybrid ($80,000) is rolling off the line. It still makes it from 0-62 in 5.9 seconds and hits a top speed of 125 mph thanks to its 403hp powerplant, while offering fuel economy of 100 mpg and looks worthy of a luxury car design legend.
The Lotus Evora gave us a hint of where the company's design language was headed, but we still weren't quite prepared for the sleek, angular lines of the Lotus Elite ($180,000). Powered by a front/mid-engine 5-Liter V8 sourced from the Lexus IS F and hooked to an automatic tranny with optional use of hybrid technology with KERS, the Elite boasts 611hp, a 0-100 km/h time of roughly 3.6 seconds, and a top speed of 195 mph, this retractable hardtop 2+2 is primed to vault Lotus into the supercar market in a big — and stylish — manner.
Based on the company's standard Evora, the new Lotus Evora S ($TBA) ups the ante with a mid-mounted, 345 hp 3.5L Toyota-sourced V6, a zero to 60 time of just 4.8 seconds, a top speed of 172 mph, a sport button that gives the driver more control over the throttle response, a higher rev limiter, modifies the stability control settings, and activates an exhaust bypass valve, 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels, Eibach springs, Blistein dampers, a forged aluminum double-wishbone suspension, and an Alpine-branded media system with a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, and video playback. Notably missing is a price, which is probably somewhere between "a lot" and "more than a lot."
Can't afford your own F1 team? Perhaps you can afford the Lotus Exos Type 125 ($1 million). Powered by a 650 HP Cosworth V8 and weighing in at just 1,433 lbs., the buyers of this racing car will be enrolled in the "Exos Club," which offers extensive drivers training, mental and physical preparation, and then a five-race series across Europe in 2011 for all 25 owners. Some say it's a way to get around the F1 testing ban, but we say it sounds like a helluva way to blow those extra lottery winnings.
You didn't really think the world was going to let GM bring back the Camaro without creating a Firebird-like counterpart, did you? The Firebreather ($60,000) is as close as you're going to come to a 2011 Firebird, with a modified body that goes as far as you can into F-bird territory without running into GM design patents, a supercharged, 6.2L V8 good for 599 rear-wheel horses, a custom interior, and custom 20-inch wheels.