It's a shame how often our modern society overuses the word "extreme," but it works perfectly for describing the Koenigsegg Agera R ($TBA). Packing a 5.0L, biofuel-drinking twin-turbo V8, the Agera produces an extreme amount of horsepower — 1,115 hp, to be exact. Other ultra-severe features include a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission, a carbon fiber monocoque so stiff that the roof is completely removable, Vortex Generating Rim (VGR) wheels sporting spokes that act as turbines to maximize downforce, and specially-made Michelins for keeping things under control at extreme speeds.
Apart from its Trident logo, Maserati has recently been known for making very fast, but slightly feminine, cars. That's starting to change. The Maserati GranCabrio Sport ($TBA) sports a manly, more powerful and fuel-efficient version of Maserati's all-alloy 4.7-litre V8, good for 450 horsepower and a top speed 177, along with the ZF six-speed automatic transmission, a revised version of the Skyhook active-suspension system, new grooved and drilled dual-cast brake discs, and more masculine bodywork — because you don't want to be seen driving the same car as Gabby from Desperate Housewives.
If you've been waiting on Aston Martin to release a model between the DB9 and the DBS, a.) You're life can't be too bad and b.) Your wait is over. The 2012 Aston Martin Virage Coupe ($TBA) is meant as a compromise between the elegance of the DB9 and the sportiness of the DBS, featuring a hand-built 6.0 litre V12 engine good for 490 horsepower and a top speed over 185 mph, a six-speed Touchtronic II automatic transmission, carbon ceramic brakes, a new Adaptive Damping System to provide optimum handling, a 50:50 weight balance, and bi-xenon headlamps on the driving side, plus a 6.5-inch display with navigation, 700W Aston Martin Premium Audio System, heated seats, Bluetooth, and full iPod integration on the creature comfort side, making it the best of both worlds.
It's not the company's first beefed up XKR, but it is the most powerful. The new Jaguar XKR-S ($TBA) is powered by a higher-output supercharged V8 good for 550 hp, a top speed of 186 mph, and a 0-60 time of just 4.2 seconds. Other features include a racier revised suspension, new badging, and a new aerodynamically-friendly design that will have passerby stopping in their tracks.
The trend towards retro car designs continues with the Imperia GP (€80,000; roughly $110,000). Resurrecting a brand name that's been dead for over half a century, the GP is a plug-in hybrid with a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder combustion engine and a perky electric engine for a range of around 44 miles on battery power alone, a 0 to 100 km/h time of six seconds in electric mode — and only four seconds when in hybrid mode — and exterior styling that recalls the company's past glories, while bringing the design language into the 21st century.