It might be on its way out, but if so, it's doing so in style. The Aston Martin DBS Ultimate ($TBA) represents the, ahem, ultimate version of Aston Martin's speedy two-door, featuring the same 510hp V12 as the standard model, but adding a ton of classy upgrades like special badging, carbon fiber wing mirrors, a darkened front grille, black tail pipes, diamond-quilted stitching in the cabin, alcantara headlining, yellow, red, or black brake calipers, leather-trimmed gear paddles, a manual or automatic transmission, a coupe or Volante (convertible) body, and your choice of three colors: Carbon Black II, Quantum Silver, or Silver Fox.
If you had any doubt from the recent onslaught of pro-Detroit commercials from both Dodge and Chrysler that the once-beleaguered automaker was back, the 2013 Dodge SRT Viper ($TBA) should be all the further proof you need. Available in SRT and SRT GTS variants, this fifth-generation racer will sport a massive mid-engine 8.4L V10 pumping out an estimated 640hp, a six-speed manual transmission, a new driver-selectable two-mode suspension system powered by Bilstein DampTronic Select shock absorbers, Brembo brakes, all-new carbon-fiber hood, roof, decklid and aluminum door panels, bi-xenon headlamps, and a host of high tech features that drag the venerable Viper name squarely into the 21st century.
Meet the new king of killer convertibles. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG ($TBA) is the tri-star's latest flagship drop top, powered by a 6.0L V12 biturbo engine pumping out a ridiculous 621 hp, mated to an AMG Speedshift 7-speed transmission, and good for a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph. Other highlights include an all-aluminum body, a new "twin-blade" grille, electromechanical AMG speed-sensitive steering, available carbon ceramic brakes, and a host of high-end technology including a roof that can go from light to dark with the push of a button, a Bang & Olufsen surround sound system, and a neck-level heating system for those chilly summer nights.
If you were one of the few folks holding off on an Aston Martin purchase due to the aging bodywork of its primary speeder, the time for writing that check has arrived. The 2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage (£85,000 and up; roughly $135,000+) sports a revised front end with a larger air intake, a new rear diffuser, sculpted side sills, a new seven-speed Sportshift II gearbox option, quicker steering, wider tires, bigger brakes, and Hill Start Assist technology to help keep you from roasting the rubber when taking off on an incline. No word yet on a US release.
It's not a complete redesign, but it's not like the Maserati GranTurismo Sport ($TBA) needed a whole lot more than a simple freshening up. Included in this updated model is a 4.7-liter V8 cranking out 460 hp — up 26 over the GranTurismo S that it replaces — the Sport also boasts a more aggressive front fascia, LED daytime running lamps, new, darker tail lamps, new seats, and a new steering wheel.
Few things can compare to a gorgeous convertible sports car, and few of those can compare to the Audi R8 GT Spyder ($210,000). Built by hand, each one features a 560 hp 5.2-liter V10 at its heart, accelerating it to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 197 mph. Other features include an ultra lightweight body that makes heavy use of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer, quattro all-wheel drive — we can hear the "Hey, I needed it to get around in the snow!" excuses now — 19-inch wheels, xyz ventilated and cross-drilled rotors, a fixed rear spoiler, an optional Bang & Olufsen-badged 12-speaker sound system, LED headlights, and GPS navigation. Oh, and a special badge on the gear shift letting you know which of the 333 being made is parked in your palatial garage.
Sad because your holiday gifts were decidedly sub-par? Cheer yourself up by grabbing up a piece of television history. The General Lee ($TBA; auction) is the exact same car used to jump a police cruiser in the first episode. Unfortunately, it sat in a junkyard for years after its maiden — and only — voyage, until it was found, rescued, and painstakingly restored to its former hell raisin' glory. [Insert audio of "Dixie" here].
We like it when a car is the "fastest" something, so it stands to reason that we're excited by the 2012 Jaguar XKR-S Convertible ($TBA). Not just the fastest rag-top in Jaguar's lineup, the XKR-S is the fastest Jaguar convertible ever, featuring a supercharged 5.0L V8 good for 550hp, a 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds, and a top speed of 186 mph, as well as an aggressive front end treatment, suspension upgrades galore, a high performance braking system, and 20-inch wheels. Let's say it again: "fast". Feels good, right?
Sometimes luxury is superfluous when all you want is speed — and for times like those, the Caterham Superlight R500 (£42,000, roughly $67,000) is the car to have. Packing a ridiculous 263 hp — courtesy of a 2L Caterham Ford Duratec — into a svelte 1,100 lb. package, the R500 screams "race car," with an open cockpit, six-speed gearbox, carbon dash, nose, front, and rear cycle wings, carbon kevlar seats, four-point harnesses, 13-inch black cast aluminum wheels, a Momo steering wheel, and ventilated disc brakes, all of which combine to trim weight, resulting in a 0-60 time of just 2.88 seconds and a top speed of 150 mph. [Scouted by Jaskaran]
Mixing a powerful engine and race-ready components with timeless design, the Wiesmann GT MF5 Roadster ($TBA) is a unique drop-top that's sure to turn heads no matter where you drive it. Built atop an Aluminum monocoque chassis, the MF5 features a fiberglass body shell, front- and rear-double wishbone suspension, a mid-mounted TwinScroll Twin Turbo V8 cranking out 555 hp, a 0-62 mph time of just 3.9 seconds and a 19-inch rear wheels that power it to a top speed of 193 mph.
We're all aware of the spectacular failures of the car which bore his name, but as it turns out, he actually had great taste in cars himself. For example, take Edsel Ford's 1934 Model 40 Special Speedster ($TBA). Inspired by European rides of the late '20s and early '30s and drawn by Ford's chief designer E.T. Gregorie, the Speedster was based on a 1934 Ford frame but underwent major surgery to appear longer and lower, and has recently been restored to its original specifications, making it as authentic as any 1940 model could reasonably be.
Ever since the SLK first debuted, it's been a tempting — yet polarizing option, thanks to a combination of affordable (for a Benz, at least) price tag, small size, and arguable feminine styling. The new 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG ($TBA) removes any worries about the latter, thanks to an aggressive body kit befitting the 415 hp, 5.5L AMG V8 under the hood. Other features include AMG light-alloy wheels, a sport exhaust system, an AMG Speedshift Plus 7G-Tronic automatic transmission, and a well-appointed interior.