Welcome back, Stingray. Reviving the classic moniker, the new 2014 Corvette Stingray ($TBA) represents a complete break from the prior Corvette, with just two parts shared between them. Highlights of the new Stingray include an all-new 6.2L V8 engine good for 450 horsepower and a 0-60 time of less than four seconds, a new aluminum frame, generous use of carbon fiber in the interior, hood, and removable roof panel, and, of course, breathtaking looks. Coming to dealers this fall.
Most high-end sports cars try to get as close as possible to full-on racecar capabilities while maintaining street-friendly looks and interiors. Created to celebrate the anniversary of the first SL model, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 45th Anniversary Edition (€446,250; roughly $580,000) says to hell with all of that. It's a true racer, with a ton of parts made from lightweight CFRP, an AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine hand-fitted with help from Bernd Schneider, a special magno graphite matte paint job, a steel roll-over cage, and six-point seat belts. The best part? You and the other four people lucky enough to own one get to pick their new rides up at Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach, and can even get some race track coaching while they're there.
Four seats, two doors, no roof — that's the formula for making a Maserati GranCabrio MC ($TBA). Okay, so maybe there's a bit more that goes into this high-powered convertible. Inspired by the GranTurismo MC Stradale, it features a sporty, aggressive body that's longer than the standard GranCabrio, a front end taken almost directly from the MC Stradale, and a rear that's dominated by the large spoiler, which gives greater negative lift at high speeds and houses the third brake light.
And you thought the Cadillac CTS-V was fast. The 2013 Hennessey VR1200 Twin Turbo ($TBA) is based on Caddy's sporty coupe, but bests it in the performance department thanks to a twin-turbo 7.0L V8 pumping out 1,066 rear wheel hp — allowing it to rocket from 0-60 mph in just 2.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 242 mph. Upgrades are also made to the camshaft, fuel system and injectors, brakes, wheels and tires, suspension, sway bars, and interior. Of course, no high-end sports car would be complete without some carbon fiber, which you'll now find on the front splitter, rear diffuser, front fenders, hood, and rear flares.
Think you can't drive a Porsche in bad weather? Think again. The 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 ($91,000-$118,000) sports the active all-wheel drive Porsche Traction Management system to ensure you can get where you need to go even when the conditions are less than perfect. Other features include a standard 7-speed manual gearbox, an optional 7-speed dual-clutch PDK automatic transmission, 350 hp for the standard model and 400 hp for the 4S, optional Adaptive Cruise Control, and either a Coupe or open-topped Cabriolet body.
The Porsche 550 is a beautiful car — but thanks to its age and exclusivity, it's also a very, very expensive car. The Vintech P550 Tribute ($TBA) aims to recall that classic racer while bringing the price down — somewhat, at least. Details are scant, but we do know it will sport a full carbon fiber body, a 3.0L boxer engine, a five-speed manual transmission, a curb weight around 1,200 pounds, and breathtaking lines.
The 2013 model might be just around the corner, but if you're down for one last hurrah with the current version, you'll be handsomely rewarded. The Audi R8 Exclusive Selection Edition ($138,000-$170,000) is likely the last 2012 model to roll onto U.S. shores. In addition to the normal — if you can call them that — 430 hp V8 and 525 hp V10 engines, these special editions offer Daytona Gray matte exterior with carbon fiber details for the V8 or Ibis White with Brilliant Black details for the V10, along with upgraded interiors offering more leather, contrast stitching, a Bang & Olufsen Sound System, Navigation with the Audi Music Interface, and added carbon fiber for the V10. Available with a six-speed manual or automatic R tronic transmission, if you want one you'd best hurry — only 30 V10 and 20 V8 examples are being produced.
Most car refreshes involve slight tweaks to the exterior and maybe a few new interior options. But then again, the Audi R8 V10 Plus (€173,000; roughly $210,000) isn't most cars. Powered by a 550hp V10 that pairs with the all-new 7-speed S tronic transmission to bolt the coupe from 0-62 in just 3.5 seconds on its way to 197 mph, the Plus offers a number of new and upgraded features, including new LED headlights and rear indicator lights, a new grille and bumper, carbon fiber reinforced plastic in the front splitter, rear diffuser, mirror housings, side blades, and engine compartment lining, LED illumination for the engine compartments, gloss black 19-inch wheels, and a Bang & Olufsen sound system. Arriving across the pond at the end of the year; no word yet on a stateside launch.
With distinctive looks, plenty of power, and limited-production cred, the Aspid GT-21 Invictus ($TBA) is one of the best cars to emerge from Spain in recent memory. Powered by a BMW-sourced, 450hp 4.4-liter V8 engine, it uses a seven-speed dual-clutch or six-speed manual gearbox to move you and its lightweight, 2,182 pound self from 0-62 mph in under three seconds, on your way to a top speed of 187. Other features include composite body panels, a spaceframe chassis, 2+2 seating, and a guaranteed limit on production of just 250 units a year — so if you're interested, best get moving.
Refined English motoring meets the open air in the Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster (£150,000; roughly $233,000). Like its hardtop counterpart, the Roaster is powered by a naturally-aspirated, 6.0L V12 engine pumping out 510 hp and mated to a six-speed gearbox that can send the two-seater from 0-62 mph in just 4.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 190 mph. Other features include copious amounts of carbon fiber — in the side strakes, front splitter, rear diffuser, mirror caps, and rear lamp infills — and sexy 19-inch forged alloy wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Corsa rubber. Blissfully available in select markets worldwide.
Enjoy the remaining months of warm weather by burning up the pavement in the new McLaren MP4-12C Spider ($265,750). Featuring a one-piece molded chassis, it weighs just 88 lbs more than its hardtop sibling, and features a retractable hard top, an electronically-controlled rear windscreen, a passive roll over protection system, and, of course, a 616 bhp, 3.8L V8 twin turbo engine paired with a 7 Speed SSG dual-clutch transmission that can launch you from 0-62 in just 3.1 seconds, with a top speed of 204 mph.
Say hello to Aston Martin's new flagship. Available as a two-plus-two or straight two-seater, the Aston Martin Vanquish (£190,000 and up; roughly $300,000 and up) returns the name to its former glory, with a 6.0-litre V12 engine pumping out 565 hp, a Touchtronic 2 six-speed automatic that keeps the power pumping to the wheels for a 0-62 mph time of 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 183 mph. Other features include LED rear lighting, a more spacious cabin and boot, a refined, LED-laden interior, and an undeniably sexy, all-carbon fiber body.