Mini is a brand that typically sticks with tradition, so the 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe ($TBA) comes as quite a surprise. The newest Mini is the company's first two seater, available in base, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works models, the latter of which also takes the crown for as the fastest-accelerating Mini ever thanks to a 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with twin-scroll turbocharger pumping out 208hp, good for a 0-60 time of 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 149mph. Other features include an active rear spoiler that raises at 50mph — another Mini first — Electric Power Steering, standard DSC stability control, and either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.
Joining the ranks of other luxury cars to see recent colorless conversions is the BMW M3 Frozen Black Edition ($80,000). Boasting the full power of a normal M3 — complete with competition, premium, and convenience packages — the Frozen Black features a four liter V8 good for 414 hp and a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds thanks to the M DCT dual-clutch transmission, matte black exterior paint, black M3 GTS wheels, red brake calipers, black Novillo leather seats with red contrast stitching, heated seats, a premium sound system, and the exclusivity that comes from being one of only 20 examples ever made.
Mini Coopers are lauded for their incredibly fun handling characteristics and sporty S configurations, but their plasticy interiors tend to drive off more discerning customers. Not so with the Vilner Mini Cooper Italian Job Edition ($TBA). This specialty Cooper S conversion replaces the standard interior with seats of diamond-quilted Nappa leather, two-tone Alcantara coverings for the inner roof, pillars, and trim, and an exterior featuring a custom matte gray paint job, a matte black roof, trim, and wheels, and classic racing lines with side number decals.
The latest version of the world's most iconic car is nearly here. The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle ($TBA) carries its bloodline forward well, with a body that's longer, wider, and inspired by the original, a healthy range of engine options that includes a 200hp turbocharged 2.0L with XDS electronic differential lock, tons of high-end options like Keyless Access, bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, navigation, and the always popular panoramic sunroof, and a more aggressive stance that won't have your ride mistaken for that of a high school cheerleader.
When is a coupe not a coupe? When it's got three doors. The all-new 2012 Hyundai Veloster ($TBA) is indeed a three-door coupe, packing a third door on the rear passenger side, as well as features like a 1.6L in-line four cylinder engine good for 138 hp and fuel efficiency of roughly 40 mpg, your choice of six-speed manual or dual-clutch transmissions, a standard seven-inch touchscreen with Pandora, video playback, video game connectivity, and Bluetooth, LED position lights, a McPherson strut front suspension for excellent handling, and either 17- or 18-inch wheels.
Have you been lusting after Chevy's reborn Mustang-killer but have your heart set on a drop-top? Meet the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible ($30,000 and up). Significantly reinforced to retain torsional stiffness -- more than the BMW 3-Series convertible, we might add -- this Cammy features a power-folding top made from thick, durable canvas with an acoustical headliner to keep things quiet when it's up, with a 312 hp V6 engine in the standard model or a 426 hp, 6.2L v8 in the SS model, either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, and a wind-beating sound system with a dedicated sub located in the trunk. Expect to see a lot of these on the road next summer.
Sure, they aren't great movies, but one thing that is great about the Fast & Furious series is the cars. Now you can own Dominic Toretto's dream ride by picking up the tab on this Fast & Furious 1970 Dodge Charger RT ($130,000). Unfortunately, this one doesn't hold the mythical, blown 528-cubic-inch Hemi V8, but its black satin body, automatic transmission, gray interior, and 350 Chevy V8 did make it to the silver screen, so at least that's something. [Thanks, Eric]
Well, we sure didn't see this coming. The Aston Martin Cygnet ($TBA) is a new production two-door hatchback — yes, you read that correctly — that forgoes the company's normal combination of lengthy, powerful machines for eco-friendliness and efficiency of both space and design, with a body that measures just under ten feet long while affording all the creature comforts one expects from Aston Martin.
Wowza. As if regular, four-door Maybachs weren't rare, rich, or regal enough, someone's gone and turned one into a coupe. Limited to just 100 units, the Maybach 57 S Coupe (€675,000; roughly $940,000) is a custom creation of coachbuilder Xenatec, featuring a lower roof line, steeper rakes on the front and rear windshields, longer — way longer — doors, the same pavement-eating 612 hp twin-turbo V12, and pretty much any creature comfort you could ask for.
There's no way around it: the 2011 Bentley Continental GT ($TBA) has one tough act to follow. The first redesign of Bentley's most accessible ride since its 2003 introduction, the 2011 GT is powered by a twin-turbocharged, FlexFuel-capable W12 good for 567hp, a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds, and a top speed of 198 mph, both also partially due to the new Quickshift transmission that also offers double downshifts. Other features include a new body with more upright grille and a "double horseshoe" rear profile, LED daytime-running lights, "cobra" seats designed for increased rear cabin space, a new Google Maps-capable touchscreen infotainment system, 20-inch wheels, and an all-wheel drive system with a 40:60 rear-torque bias. No word on whether they'll be offering a special "Stallworth" edition with a pedestrian pre-attached to the hood.
Eight years ago the first CLS signaled the birth of the "four-door coupe" market, and after countless lookalikes, the original is back. The all-new 2012 Mercedes Benz CLS ($TBA) sports a more muscular but still identifiable body, with striking headlamps sporting 71 LEDs that make up the side light, high, low, and main beams, and the indicators, more LEDs in the wrap-around tail lights, wood, black piano lacquer, or carbon fiber trim, semi-aniline premium leather, matte galvanized air vents, a wrap-around dashboard, and a central display integrated into the upper portion of the instrument panel. No word on suspension or powertrain specifications, but if the past is anything to go by, you won't be disappointed.
Matte is back in the 2011 BMW Frozen Gray M3 Coupe (Starts at $77,600). Sporting a subdued matte gray metallic paint job that's created by applying a silk matte clear coat over a base coat of space gray metallic, this limited-edition beast is powered by a 4.0L, 414hp V8 linked to Bimmer's Double Clutch Transmission that rockets the coupe from 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds. Other features include a red and black Novillo leather interior, an available Competition Package that includes a 10mm reduction in ride height and special 19-inch wheels, and a one-day enrollment at the BMW Performance Driving School in Spartanburg, South Carolina. [via]