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 $300,000 and up) returns the name to its former glory, with a 6.0-litre V12 engine pumping out 565 hp, a Touchtronic 2 six-speed automatic that keeps the power pumping to the wheels for a 0-62 mph time of 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 183 mph. Other features include LED rear lighting, a more spacious cabin and boot, a refined, LED-laden interior, and an undeniably sexy, all-carbon fiber body.
Nope, this isn't a better version of the SLS AMG. Well, okay, technically it is, but it's really just the replacement for MB's gull-winged supercar. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT ($TBA) bests its predecessor by 20 hp thanks to additional tuning of the 6.2L V8, making it a tenth quicker in the sprint from 0-60 mph — it now takes just 3.6 seconds — and also features new AMG Adaptive Performance Suspension, new, optional designo style interior packages featuring the highest-end leather upholstery with contrast stitching and diamond quilt details, and the same, rock-solid AMG Speedshift seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It'll be available in both coupe and roadster editions, and while we're normally open-air enthusiasts, there's no way we could pass up those iconic doors.
Finding a 40-year-old ride that's as good as new? Extremely difficult. Finding one that's even better than when it rolled off the lot? Nearly impossible. Yet that's the case with this lovingly restored 1972 Datsun 240Z ($125,000). Coated in an attention-grabbing lime green, it features a 100% stock interior in perfect condition thanks to every piece having been replaced or restored, a body that's been completely restored by the experts at Miller Brothers Hot Rod Barn, a suspension that's full of upgrades from Arizona Z Car, and a lightweight SR20DET engine that's been tuned for two settings depending on your mood: 320 hp when you're cruising, and a raucous 437 when it's time to do some real motoring. [Scouted by AJ]
Why do they call it "Widow Maker"? We'll get to that in a minute. Powered by a 5.4L supercharged V8, the UBB Widow Maker 1100 Mustang ($135,000) pumps out a crazy 1,100 hp, good for a 0-60 dash of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 230 mph. Other custom features include a full carbon body kit, 19-inch black alloy wheels, Brembo brakes, Advan traction control, and available Recaro seats, de-cat pipes, and built-in laser jammers. So back to the original question — they call it "Widow Maker" because if you're not careful, it'll live up to its name.
It might be on its way out, but if so, it's doing so in style. The Aston Martin DBS Ultimate ($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.