Since its inception in 1963, the engineers at Porsche have spent nearly every moment overcoming a design flaw that makes the 911 unique; a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive car is inherently unstable. In spite of this obstacle, the car stands as an example of what a sports car should be, and the 911 50th Anniversary Edition ($125,000) continues that heritage. With a 430 hp flat six that reaches speeds of 186 mph and does zero to 60 in 4.2 seconds, it's equally at home on the road or the track. Porsche Active Suspension Management, a sport exhaust system, and 20-inch wheels recall its 50-year history of performance. With only 1,963 models going into production, you'd better reserve yours now.
Say hello to the new king of Aston Martin's current roster. The Aston Martin V12 Vantage S ($TBA) aims to bring as much race car tech to the road as possible, starting with a new 6.0L V12 that offers CNC machined combustion chambers, hollow cam shafts, and 565 horsepower. Paired to a seven-speed automated manual transmission, the Vantage S zooms from 0-60 in under four seconds on its way to a top speed of 205 mph. Other features include a three-stage adaptive damping system, new 10-spoke, 19-inch black alloy wheels, a black roof, and a grille featuring carbon fiber or titanium silver mesh. Rolling into a dealership near you sometime soon(ish).
As if it needed any help, the good folks at ABT have taken the R8 and made it even faster. The result is the ABT Audi R8 V10 ($TBA). By tuning the 5.2L FSI engine, they've increased the horsepower from 525 to 600, good for a 0-62 time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed just short of 200 mph. The upgrades don't end there, though: the upgraded R8 also features a new aero kit, new 19-inch wheels, a new exhaust system, and new suspension springs that lower the car slightly, providing even better handling.
This isn't your normal mid-model refresh. The 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo ($148,000 and up) is an all-new model, and as such, it's packing some new goodies. Features like a new all-wheel-drive system, active rear axle steering, adaptive aerodynamics, an entirely new, longer chassis, 20-inch wheels, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control active anti-roll system, and full-LED headlights. It hasn't lost its edge, either, boasting a turbocharged 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine that pumps out 520hp in the standard model and 560hp in the S model, paired with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission that gets you from 0-60 in as little as 2.9 seconds and to a top speed of nearly 200 mph. They'll be rolling off the boats from Germany just in time for the holidays — so here's to hoping you have a very, very generous gift-giver on your list.
It's not that unusual for a classic car to get a modern update, but normally the car's prior version actually made it into production. The Syrena Sport ($TBA), on the other hand, is based off a 1950s prototype that never got the chance to grace a showroom floor. This modern take is based on the Nissan 370Z, and is powered by a 3.7L V6 — instead of the twin-cylinder boxer of the original — that's good for 330 hp naturally aspirated or 450 hp in a turbocharged version. Other features include updated styling and a curb weight under 2,900 lbs. The bad news? Only one example is currently scheduled to be built.
Sometimes raw power isn't the only upgrade that matters. Although the supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that powers the 2014 Jaguar XKR-S GT ($174,000) is the same as the standard XKR-S with an output of 550 hp, the GT is far better equipped to take on the track. Why? Well, it's the combination of a new aerodynamics package that includes a carbon fiber front splitter, dive planes, extended wheel arch spats, rear diffuser, an aluminum undertray, and a huge carbon rear wing, larger carbon ceramic brakes, wider 20-inch forged alloy wheels, a stiffer suspension, and a revised active exhaust system. The result? A street-legal racer that goes from zero to 60 in under four seconds, boasts a top speed of 186 mph, and will be limited to just 25 cars in the US when it goes on sale in August.
If you plan on driving your Viper as much on the track as you do on the road, consider the 2014 SRT Viper TA ($TBA). Designed for optimal performance on road courses, the TA features an upgraded suspension with firmer levels of damping, retuned shock dampers, springs, and stabilizer bars, a lighter carbon fiber X-brace that replaces the standard aluminum part, upgraded Brembo brakes, and an advanced aerodynamics packages with carbon fiber front splitters and rear spoiler. It's still powered by a handcrafted, 8.4L aluminum V10 producing 640 hp, but unlike the standard model, only 33 cars — all decked out in Crusher Orange — will be available later this year.
Drawing on a heritage that dates back to 1880, the Spyker B6 Venator Concept ($150,000) hopes to rekindle love for the brand with a meticulously built speedster. This two-door, mid-engine affair will be powered by 350hp V6 that mates with a six-speed automatic to drive the 19-inch rear wheels. The aluminum frame and carbon fiber help keep the weight down, while the oversized radiator grille, the 1903-era logo, a turned aluminium fascia on the dashboard, and red cover on the ignition switch recall Spyker's automotive and aeronautical past. Unlike most concepts, the B6 is slated for production; expect to see it stateside in Autumn 2014.
Say hello to the new king of the Porsche mountain. The 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 ($130,000) is the new top-of-the-line sports car from the German automaker, mixing track-ready technology with modern comforts. Features include a 3.8L six-cylinder boxer engine pumping out 475hp, paired to a dual-clutch PDK transmission — a duo that's good for a 0-60 time of just 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 195 mph. You'll also find it has unique front and rear fascias, a large fixed rear wing, and 20-inch wheels, which work with the company's first active rear-wheel steering system to make handling even better than before. Coming later this year.
We may never see it on this side of the pond, but that won't stop us from lusting after the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG ($TBA). Boasting the most powerful production 4-cylinder in the world — a turbocharged, 2.0L inline four cranking out 360hp — this compact four-door hatchback sprints from 0-62 in just 4.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 155mph. Other features include a seven-speed AMG dual-clutch transmission, a high-performance cooling system inspired by the SLS AMG, 4Matic all-wheel-drive, 3-stage ESP, an AMG sports suspension and aerodynamics package, 19-inch alloy wheels, and red accents spread throughout the interior.
Just in case the standard GT-R wasn't enough for you, dealers all across the country will soon be able to offer you the 2014 Nissan GT-R Track Edition ($TBA). Limited to just 150 examples in the US market, this speed machine is even more focused on performance than its stablemates, featuring a specially-tuned suspension that was developed at the Nürburgring, a new front spoiler with carbon fiber air ducts, special brake cooling air guides, blue-trimmed high-grip seating surfaces, and nothing but a quilted mat where the rear seats used to be. Start saving your pennies now — sales begin in May.
If owning an Aston Martin Vanquish isn't quite exclusive enough for you, perhaps you'll find the Aston Martin Centenary Edition Vanquish ($TBA) more to your liking. Created to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary, it's limited to just 100 examples worldwide, and features a special paint finish, sterling silver badges, an interior in Deep Soft black leather with contrasting silver stitching, and sterling silver sill plaques. Also included is a special presentation box with two glass keys, two key pouches, silver cufflinks featuring the Aston Martin script, a solid silver pen, Bang & Olufsen headphones, and a silver polishing cloth, presumably to take care of all the silver that comes with it.