People who don’t acquire billions of dollars tend to ahead abundantly about what they would do with that affectionate of money. Car writers abnormally get this question: “Why doesn’t Bill Gates aloof absorb $1 billion to acquire his actual own car fabricated for him?”
Well, we usually acknowledgment such questions actual politely–or barrel off to the added end of the cocktail affair as rapidly as possible–but the accuracy is, we ahead billionaires get to be that way by not abandonment their dough.
Which is not to say that the super-rich can’t draft $1 actor on a attenuate collectible car or acquire their best of the world’s fastest, best abundant assembly automobiles. Abounding of them do. All such cartage are calmly aural their means–the aforementioned way a 3 Series BMW is calmly aural ability of conceivably a actor Americans. But aloof as you wouldn’t go spending new-vacation-home money on a car–lest you appetite to acquisition yourself afar faster than your new speedster can hit 100 mph–Bill Gates has better, smarter things to do with his billions than developing his actual own car.
We accompany this up, and put it in this context, because we capital to let you apperceive about ten of the best big-ticket cars in the world. But afore we do, we ahead it’s important for you to acquire a little angle on what it is buyers in this bazaar can and will spend, and what, alike to these advantageous few, becomes alien or aloof a big annoyance. (Yes, an acrimony alike if you acquire minions to do your car buying, aback it can still be a big decay of time to acquire said minions, say, accompany a car into the U.S. that hasn’t been crash-tested by the feds.)
As a result, there are several cars that alien area metal fanatics may apprehension “missing” from our list, and we explain this by adage that aloof because a actual affluent actuality could go through acute acknowledged hassles to get such monsters, they apparently won’t. Three examples are the $370,000 Pagani Zonda C12S (a 200-mph Italian racer congenital in Italy and powered by a Mercedes-Benz AMG V-12), the 2002 Spyker C8 Double 12 (a Dutch-built GT car with a 4.0 V-8 and a claimed 620 application that has yet to be priced) and the Cerbera 4.5 fabricated by English carmaker TVR, which is abundant faster than the accepted Corvette although it costs a bit added at about $70,000.
The botheration is that none of those cars are advancing to the U.S. anytime soon, at atomic according to official chat from their makers. So putting them on our account is like blind bonbon in the window but not alms it for sale.
This, then, is a account of ten of the best big-ticket cars you can buy in the U.S. appropriate now. True, some are new models that are aloof acceptable available, such as the Saleen S7, the Ferrari 575 M Maranello and the Lamborghini Murciélago, but alike these abandoned crave that you acquaintance the aggregation or appointment a banker to accomplish a drop (and wait, at most, six months, for delivery).
One final qualification: We fudged a little. This isn’t absolutely a top ten account of the best big-ticket cars. That would basically be a agglomeration of Bentleys and Rolls-Royces and abandoned a few added makes. So instead we best the highest-dollar cars of anniversary of ten carmakers, so no architect got two slots. Afterwards all, alike if you could acquiesce a barn abounding of Rolls, you’d apparently like to acquire a Ferrari or Lamborghini, too.
Clink on the images beneath for a description of anniversary car.
Exotic supercars are acute in every sense. But what to accomplish of this claim: According to the Saleen S7 columnist release, its aerodynamic arena furnishings are so effective, and actualize so abundant bottomward force (what holds a car to the alley at aerial speeds), that alike if you collection the S7 upside bottomward at 160 mph on some array of Hot Auto roller-coaster clue that exploded into real-life scale, the car wouldn’t lose its acquaintance with the road. Of advance they didn’t explain how they apperceive this, and, sorry, we’re not volunteering to analysis out the theory.
Meanwhile, the S7 ability bulb is absolutely beneath alien than its arena effects. The motor is acquired from a Ford Mustang, afresh acutely modified. It’s fabricated absolutely of aluminum, has stainless-steel valves with titanium retainers, and a aerial exhaustion dry sump and stainless-steel exhaust. It breathes through roof-mounted intakes and is akin to a six-speed chiral transmission. Ability achievement is a claimed 550 horsepower, with achievement of beneath than four abnormal to 60 mph and a top dispatch in antithesis of 200 mph.
And the S7 has some adequately able components: a video adviser instead of a rearview mirror (since how could you see annihilation aft via a accepted mirror, anyway?), and a disposable council caster to affluence access and avenue into the tight-fitting cabin.
But we still acquire to ask: With a new Lamborghini on the market, as able-bodied as a new Ferrari 575M Maranello coming, who wants a Ford-powered supercar?
The Corniche Convertible may be the world’s aftermost absolutely anachronistic automobile. That is, it’s a Rolls-Royce, a car in which anyone with any faculty would appetite to be driven. And yet the Corniche has beneath backseat allowance than a C-Class Mercedes-Benz–and you could buy a dozen C-Classes for one Corniche Convertible. Also, there’s abandoned seven cubic anxiety of block space, which isn’t abundant bigger than the block amplitude of a Mazda Miata. OK, you don’t buy a Rolls to be practical, but the car at atomic should be big, right?
Also, Rolls-Royce is a aggregation beneath new management, namely, BMW’s. And that muddies the account alike further, aback the Corniche shares an agent with Bentley, the 6.75-liter V-8. But alike if Corniche cars are still fabricated afterwards 2002 (BMW is animate on a backup for the $229,990 Silver Seraph, set to admission in summer 2003), it isn’t bright if BMW will abide to acquirement them from Bentley.
Meanwhile, there’s the 2002 Corniche, which is in assembly abandoned until the end of this summer. True, it is array of a white elephant, but at atomic it’s a accepted abundance in that it will acquire the admirable torque (544 bottom pounds) of an old Rolls, as able-bodied as the plushest ride on the planet. That’s not abandoned acknowledgment to a huge wheelbase for what is absolutely a array of adequate GT, but additionally due to computer-actuated dampers, auto ride-height ascendancy and amount advantage controls that akin the ride no amount the alterity in commuter weight (should you acquire your grand, fat, old aunt Gertrude Godiva benumbed shotgun at some point).
We’d accord you added specs, but every Corniche is fabricated to order, from the acrylic to the wood, hide, trim, alike the position of the intercrossed Rs in the cockpit. The abandoned affair we’d activity will be the aforementioned on every Corniche (unless you somehow capital it omitted) is the aerial adult on the hood.
If this car looks a lot like the Rolls Corniche Convertible, you’re on to something. Both cars ride on the aforementioned wheelbase and acquire the aforementioned motor, although in the Bentley you get abundant added torque and horsepower.
That still doesn’t put the Azure Convertible on par with the all-new Arnage T (which we’ll analysis abutting week), but with 590 foot-pounds of torque, the Azure does at atomic accomplish this big car feel awfully sporty. There’s alike beneath backseat allowance in the Azure Convertible than in the Rolls, however, which gives front-seaters (Bentleys are driver’s cars, remember) affluence of legroom and makes the backseat a abundant abode to esplanade your briefcase.
The convertible is automatic, of course, as is the transmission. Still, like the Rolls, this is a somewhat old design, one acceptable to get decidedly active in the advancing years, abnormally with the brand of the Arnage T assuming how abundant added achievement is possible.
The newest Lamborghini has gotten some criticism of backward because it’s not as abashed as the aboriginal Countach was aback it debuted. Funny affair is, a lot of those critics haven’t alike apparent a Murciélago in person. Aback you do, your jaw drops and afresh closes again, and your aperture forms a grin. And you do not criticize. This may not be as groundbreaking a architecture as the aboriginal shark-like Lambo, but it’s still one awesome-looking machine. And you apperceive what, there’s no mistaking it for annihilation else. That’s why the architecture wins for us.
As for the chassis, it’s additionally a assignment of antithesis amid extremes, with a carbon-fiber anatomy over a mid-engine blueprint (behind the cockpit but in advanced of the rear axle) and the manual in advanced of the berth for optimal weight antithesis (42% advanced and 58% rear). The Murciélago–named, like all Lamborghinis, afterwards a acclaimed bull–also has all-wheel drive, which is somewhat abnormal in the supercar branch but keeps best abstract abounding to the road. In this case, that ability is transferred through huge, Pirelli P Aught Rosso tires on 18-inch rims (245/35 in front, 335/30, rear).
Flip the gull-wing aperture up, lower yourself into the driver’s brazier bench (the newest Lambo is said to be easier to ascend in and out of, but it still helps to be baby and adjustable if you appetite to attending at all affable during admission and egress), and you’ll acquisition yourself at the captain of a long, low car with absolutely the speed-racer basement geometry you’d anticipate. You sit in, not on, leather-wrapped seats that blot you low and tight, and extend your accoutrements beeline to the wheel, your legs to the pedals. The shifter is altogether aural ability of your appropriate arm, and it’s a tall-stalked steel-balled six-speed that campaign through a animate about-face gate.
Front angle aren’t bad through the steeply angled windshield, but rear angle arise best through the ancillary mirrors, which ability advanced of the huge, retractable motor cooling vents (they acclimate to agent temperature and car dispatch to canyon best air through the agent compartment).
Speaking of the engine, the 580 application V-12 (you hit that application at a baking 7,500 rpm) is said to bear the Murciélago pilot to speeds in antithesis of 205 mph and from 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 kilometers per hour) in 3.8 seconds. But alike at saner speeds (and dispatch rates), the Murciélago delivers best of its torque evenly, so you don’t acquire to bake the agent at aerial rpms to acquire affluence of pleasure.
Then again, if you appetite to apparatus about town, don’t get a Murciélago. Afterimage aloof won’t be acceptable abundant to adore this car in traffic, whereas, on some abandoned amplitude of New Mexico artery we can brainstorm there are actual few cars absolutely that would anytime get abutting abundant to be advised tailgaters.
No amount how abounding times we say it, it still sounds sweet: aught to 100 in 10 abnormal flat. Yes, the 0-60 time of 4.5 abnormal doesn’t complete absolutely as impressive–there are Corvettes that appear abutting to that mark. But 10 abnormal to 100 afar per hour is absolutely remarkable, with actual few assembly cars anytime advancing abutting to accouterment that affectionate of acceleration.
But what addled us aback we collection the Vanquish, and what still impresses us accepting apprenticed added supercars since, is aloof how accessible this monster is to tame, alike at berserk aerial speeds or beneath that bang of crushing acceleration. It corners with ease, and award the alien banned of any about-face can abandoned be accomplished on a racetrack, aback contrarily the Vanquish is aloof rock-solid.
Drive the Vanquish like an old man, though, and you’ll be afraid how accommodating a supercar can be. It’s no Honda Civic, but council activity is bland and alike ablaze at apathetic speeds. For around-town active there’s the auto-shift mode, so you don’t alike acquire to ahead about animate aback you’re commuting in your Vanquish.
Also, there’s a absolutely adequate interior, with affluence of legroom, covering everywhere (you can, of course, acquire whatever actual you want, and what color) and large, calmly accessible controls. So your eyes are never off the alley for actual long.
Still, you may admiration how this car endless up against the Ferrari 575 M, and although it’s a accurate question, we hardly ahead it matters. See, the adherent Ferrari client is addition who we don’t ahead would alike accede this car. Also, if you can absolutely acquiesce a Vanquish, you ability able-bodied be able to get both cars and analyze for yourself. One affair we can say–the Aston Martin doesn’t complete like a Ferrari at all, with a added bankrupt agenda and an about glottal growl. For that acumen alone, the Aston is account every penny.
The “M” in the new 575 M Maranello stands for “modified,” with an added displacement of 5.75 liters, against the 550 Maranello, which was, of course, 5.5 liters. The agent is still up front, still one of the prettiest aural V-12s you will anytime get to hear, but animate can now be fabricated via a Formula 1-style paddle assemblage that resides abaft the council wheel. Ability is up to 515 horsepower, 0-60 times acquire alone to four abnormal and top dispatch is up to 202 afar per hour, if you’re in a actual big hurry.
But whenever and wherever you drive the new 575 M, it will be a bit added “intelligent” than the 550, acknowledgment to an adaptive abeyance that not abandoned reacts to potholes but, based on the all-embracing alley conditions, will additionally accession or lower the ride acme of the car so that abeyance biking is optimized for either a action or abundance setting. And by the way, accepting been in the 550, we can acquaint you that this was already a appreciably affable car, accustomed the amazing achievement capabilities.
The newest Ferrari 575 M additionally gets bigger brakes and tire-pressure monitors, so you can stop added calmly should you be active alike faster. And in case you’re active too fast for the burden in the tires, the car will acquaint you to aback off and go get some air.
Until Porsche builds the Carrera GT (a late-2003 archetypal with an accessible cockpit and a six-liter V-10 agent that will aftermath 558 horsepower), you’ll acquire to accomplish due with the GT2, for now the fastest street-legal Porsche on earth.
The GT2 is about a Porsche 911 Turbo with every gram of fat bare out of it (220 pounds were deleted by acid out items like the rear jump seats and the sunroof, and by application lighter abstracts like bowl anchor discs rather than brownish ones). The GT2 additionally gets 456 application (the 911 Turbo produces 415 hp), acknowledgment to added turbo addition and beyond intercoolers for the turbos.
Lighter and added powerful, the GT2 is now absolutely faster, clocking about the aforementioned dispatch amount to 60 mph as the far added big-ticket Murciélago (0-62 mph–0-100 kilometers per hour–in about four seconds), and can accomplish a top dispatch of 195 mph.
One affair that you can’t do is acquire that the GT2 will be absolutely as acquiescent as four-wheel drive 911s, because this Porsche abandoned has rear-wheel drive, admitting with a awful optimized suspension. That agency that some of that alarming aback circling is apprenticed to apparent aback you advance this 911 to the nth amount on a racetrack, and you’d bigger apprentice area the banned are actual gradually.
Of course, Porsche engineers acquire fabricated abiding that you’ll aloof about be clumsy to alleviate the GT2’s appendage end during a day drive on your admired street, acknowledgment to a angry abeyance layout.
The GT2 sits on the 911 Turbo anatomy but has been bargain about a abounding inch–and all springs, bearings and shocks acquire been fabricated stiffer and stouter–to acquire antagonism modifications should the disciplinarian opt for them. Advanced struts are adjustable for racing, and the strut abutment mounts additionally acquiesce caster camber adjustments to acquiesce for use of antagonism tires. Similar modifications abide at the rear suspension, afresh for optimized antagonism potential.
If you get the activity that the GT2 would be happiest on the track, you’re right. Although you could absolutely drive this car daily, and you’d acquire bigger afterimage than in a lot of supercars, it would be asperous on the molars.
The BMW Z8 is a car that has polarized the automotive press. Some adulation the car for its smooth, easy-to-drive accessibility–the affair that makes autos like the avant-garde Jags such a pleasure. Others feel it’s too cautiously sprung and not “immediate” enough–it doesn’t feel as if it’s as affianced with the alley as a lot of added alien sports cars are.
We can accept both camps but tend to ancillary with the above crowd, because the Z8 makes you feel like a best disciplinarian afterwards banishment you to breach a diaphoresis every time you go for a spin.
In fact, that’s the BMW DNA at assignment in the Z8, for aloof about every BMW gets progressively added adventurous the harder you drive it, but never beats you up if you aloof appetite to cruise at a added august pace.
And alike admitting the Z8 gets the actual hot, 394-horsepower V-8 from the BMW M5 (about 60 added hp than you’ll acquisition in the BMW M3), there’s annihilation agitated about the on-rush of ability that comes from beneath the hood. Torque is there in a downshift whenever you appetite it, but the blow of the time ability is about seamless–think, and you’re casual addition at 95 on the expressway.
You could about allege the Z8 of actuality apathetic for that reason, but not aback you bandy it adamantine into a turn, area its accomplished aluminum abeyance and anatomy angle and acknowledge in affectionate to the clip you’ve set, and its close arbor and adhere council transmits aloof abundant advice aback to your easily for you to acknowledge in affectionate to the road. Actuality the Z8 becomes animate and thrilling.
Granted, if you can acquiesce this car, you ability as able-bodied acquire the GT2 Porsche, but that’s not area we’d say the antagonism is advancing from, aback the BMW is so abundant added airy and easier to drive daily. Rather, that Maserati Spyder we mentioned as an another to the Jaguar XKR 100 seems like a fair another to the Z8 as well, and for appreciably beneath money. Affair is, the BMW has the coolest autogenous of the bunch, the Maserati gets the best-sounding agent this ancillary of a Ferrari and the Jag is the sexiest. Can’t buy all three? Time to go for a few analysis drives, then.
Before we jump in on the CL600, you should be acquainted that the beneath big-ticket ($104,145) CL55 AMG is a bigger achievement car, alike admitting it has a V-8 rather than the V-12 of the CL 600.
Not that the CL600 is a dog. Hardly. It chases bottomward 60 mph in beneath than six seconds, has an Active Anatomy Ascendancy (ABC) abeyance bureaucracy that actively adapts to both abeyance movements and anatomy accordance and makes corrections to car attitude aural milliseconds. Active it–remember, this is a ample car, with bulk of legroom for four adults–is absolutely a pleasure, abnormally on ambagious roads. It’s not meant to handle braid turns, but it eats up canoeing country lanes and, causeless to say, is a absolute bang on a long, accessible amplitude of bare highway.
The V-12 is both cottony and awful acknowledging but additionally is able to shut off bisected the cylinders aback you’re aloof dabbling in cartage or canoeing on a akin brand at 65 mph. There’s a annual bombinate to this advance factory, one that growls at abounding burke through the bankrupt pipes but contrarily agilely stays in the background.
Of course, luxe is additionally the mission here, and there’s not abundant to appetite for in that department. Doors automatically snap-to (as does the trunk), Nappa covering hugs the seats and Alacantra constructed suede stretches beyond the ceiling. Advanced seats additionally affection centralized admirers to air-conditioned you bottomward aback the A/C is on, and the seats can additionally beating their lumbar supports, massaging your aback while you drive.
Rivals to this car accommodate the Jaguar XKR 100 on this list, admitting the backseat amplitude in the Benz is far superior, as is the block room. We additionally ahead the Benz berth is spiffier, with a added absolutely flush feel. The abate Jag may be a little bluff in apprenticed turns, however, so it’s added about what you appetite than which car is apace superior.