Cars you can only covet
Visit any auto show, and you'll find plenty of gleaming paint and glittering chrome to capture your attention.
At the recent 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, however, automakers pulled out all the stops, unveiling cars to suit every taste. While there were plenty of budget-minded compacts, family sedans and new pickups, many automakers also pulled the wraps off their drool-worthy supercars. This year, the supercars included elegant convertibles, powerful sport utility vehicles, race-inspired two-seaters and sedans that could wow the whole family.
Here are six cars to covet that will find their way to showrooms in the future.
While the Acura NSX unveiled at the Detroit auto show is a concept car (albeit a complete car that drives), it doesn't make it anything less to covet. And for those who yearn for the NSX supercar to return to Acura's product line, this concept car shows that Acura is one step closer to production.
The Acura NSX concept car is low and wide with sharp lines accenting its exterior. The inside is more like a race car than a passenger car, with a high center section between the seats that is remarkably devoid of buttons and other clutter.
The Acura NSX is a hybrid, using three electric motors. One motor will be paired with the V-6 engine in conventional hybrid fashion while the other two electric motors will drive the front wheels, creating an all-wheel-drive system that can instantly deliver torque to the front wheels when cornering to improve handling. Acura has not announced a production date for the NSX.
Audi RS 7
The Audi RS 7 is a high-performance five-door coupe designed to thrill not just those who drive it, but anyone in the general vicinity. As one of the supercars at the Detroit auto show, the all-wheel-drive coupe is powered by a 560-horsepower, twin-turbo V-8 paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission with "drive" and "sport" modes that can also be manually shifted, using the steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles or the selector lever.
Unique features such as an unthrottled intake system and switchable flaps in the exhaust increase the engine sound during acceleration enough to easily catch the attention of those nearby. Even with all this power, Audi estimates its gas mileage at 24 mpg, partially as a result of the engine's cylinder deactivation technology that closes the valves when power is not needed, instantly opening them when more power is required. On the inside, leather and carbon detailing is standard, while the instrument panel has race-car-like dials with black faces, white scales and red needles. Other standard features include adaptive cruise control, three-zone air conditioning, xenon headlights and Audi's sound system.
Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible
It may be sleek and elegant, but the Bentley Continental GT Speed was not meant for casual cruising. Certainly one of the show's supercars, it is the world's fastest four-seat convertible, according to the company. It is powered by a 616-horsepower, 6-liter, twin-turbocharged W-12 that is 15 percent more fuel-efficient than the previous model, partially due to the new, eight-speed transmission.
Even though it has a top speed of 202 mph, Bentley's new suspension and retuned steering ensure the utmost in ride comfort, while all-wheel drive ensures optimum traction in all weather conditions.
Like all Speed models, the Continental GT Speed Convertible features unique exterior styling characteristics that differentiate it from non-Speed models. These include 21-inch alloy wheels, dark-tint chrome on the radiator grille and bumper air intakes, and oversized, elliptical exhaust tailpipes.
On the inside, the dark-tint design continues and is accented by diamond-quilted hide upholstery. Convertible-specific touches include a four-layer top to keep out drafts and wind noise when up and, with the top down, a neck warmer to keep occupants comfortable even in cooler temperatures.
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
The Chevrolet Corvette is the American icon of high-performance supercars, and now for 2014, Chevrolet has introduced a fully redesigned model and brought back the Stingray name.
When Chevrolet calls the 2014 Corvette "all new," it really means it. Only two parts carry over from the 2013 model. The base model is also the most powerful and most fuel-efficient Corvette ever built.
It is powered by a 450-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 engine that Chevrolet says it expects will beat the 26 mpg rating of the current model. Numerous features were added to make the car comfortable for drivers, whether they are driving in traffic in their daily commute or hobby racing via the drive-mode selector, with which the driver chooses one of five modes -- tour, weather, eco, sport and track -- and the car automatically adjusts 12 different parameters.
The interior features hand-wrapped leather, carbon-fiber and aluminum accents; standard features such as a pair of 8-inch, driver-configurable screens for information and entertainment functions; a steel-reinforced grab bar on the center console for the passenger; and soft-touch materials at the console edge where drivers naturally brace during hard cornering.
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG 4MATIC
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has been redesigned for 2014 in all its body styles: coupe, convertible, sedan and wagon. It's the high-performance E63, which comes in sedan and wagon versions, that will really rock your world.
Built by Mercedes-AMG, the German performance car partnership, these are supercars cloaked in "regular" skin. They sport essentially the same exterior design as the non-AMG versions, which is an updated version of the iconic designs that now feature changes to the styling lines that make the E-Class look longer, lower and sleeker.
AMG versions have subtle changes in the front end that include a different grille, larger air intakes and aluminum detail. It's what's under the hood that is really special. The standard engine is a 5.5-liter biturbo V-8 that will produce 550 horsepower in this 2014 model. There's also a new S model that uses the same engine but has performance enhancements producing 577 horsepower. All-wheel drive is now standard on all models.
2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
If you love the flexibility of an SUV but yearn for a high-performance sports car, Porsche has the answer in the 2014 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, its newest flagship model.
The most powerful Cayenne built, the Turbo S is powered by a 4.8-liter, twin turbocharged engine that produces 550 horsepower -- a 50-horsepower increase over the Turbo model. It accelerates from zero to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds and has a wide range of features to give this SUV sports car-like handling, including a sport suspension, better torque and dynamic chassis control.
The exterior features subtle distinguishing changes such as front intakes, rearview mirrors and 21-inch wheels that have high-gloss black accents.