Jaguar F-Type R
The Jaguar F-Type put a new face on this classic British car line, with sleek lines and sumptuous interiors. But add “R” to the name for 2015, and you have the most powerful production Jag ever. The “R” may well stand for Roar, because this shares the 5-liter V-8 with the Range Rover Sport SVR, and it’s enough to push this cat to over 186 mph. At somewhere around 70 mph, an air deflector rises to help stabilize the car at higher speeds. Deeply bolstered seats and a choice of driving “modes” from around-town to performance make the R a driver’s car, yet the price of just under $100K is a third less than the Porsche Turbo.
I saved the cutest for last and, unlike the others, this is no ground-pounder. The BMW i3 is an all-electric car designed to run around town, park anywhere and consume zero fuel. The basic i3 with a 170 hp electric motor gives up to 81 miles before a recharge, so you definitely want to opt for the Range Extender model (to 150 miles), which ups the ante from $41,350 to $45,200 and is worth every penny. Each model recharges in about 3½ hours and BMW will install a charger in your home garage. Either way, the i3 tops 93 mph and you’ll never have to look at gas prices again.
Ferrari F60 America
Named in honor of the company’s 60th anniversary in America, the F60 is a very limited edition of just 10 examples at a price somewhere around $2.5 million. Each. The price doesn’t really matter because all ten have been snapped up by Ferraristas, making this perhaps the most desirable South Beach cruiser around. With the unmistakable Ferrari ripping canvas sound, the V-12 puts 730 hp to the rear tires. It’s a roadster with leather-covered roll bars and a fabric top that Ferrari advises not to use past 75 mph. Top speed? Who cares?
Range Rover Sport SVR
The Range Rover is best known as a preferred vehicle for soccer moms, but add Sport SVR to the name and it’s something else altogether. Tuned at the famed Nürburgring race track, the SVR ups the ponies to 550 from a supercharged 5-liter V-8 with an 8-speed automatic. Amazingly enough, fuel economy remains unblemished at 19 mpg highway, and the traditional four-wheel drive with low range for climbing rocks remains in place. Drivers of other European sport utes will learn to watch for the SVR plaque before challenging this Rover at a stoplight. MSRP about $80K.
Mercedes E63 AMG S
The Mercedes S-Class has built a reputation as a stylish and luxurious car to take to the country club. With options including a diesel, it could never be confused with a performance sedan. Unless, of course, it has a discreet “AMG” plaque on the rear – that means it’s been massaged by the performance racing division of Mercedes-Benz and you can bet the valets will fight each other to park this S-coupe. The cabin is upgraded to reflect performance with bolstered 14-way seats to keep you in place when you put the whip to the handcrafted 577 hp V-8 with twin turbochargers that lurk under the hood. Four-wheel drive, 7-speed transmission and yet docile enough to take Aunt Edna out for dinner. MSRP $100,600.
Aptly named for Floridians, the Lamborghini Huracán can reach a top speed well in excess of a Category 5 (202 mph, or three times the legal speed limit). As a replacement for the immensely popular Gallardo, the Huracán has a price of $237,000 and a front-end treatment that, if you look at it long enough, has an evil grin. The mid-mounted 5.2-liter V-10 of 601 hp drives all four wheels through a 7-speed automatic transmission, and a host of electronics allow the driver to dial in settings from street to sport to race.