as exciting as going, and the SL 500 goes pretty darn well, thank you. The 302-horsepower V-8 pulls the car smoothly to its electronically limited top speed of 155 mph, with 60 mph coming in just a tick over six seconds. Even more impressive is the whomping 339 foot-pounds of torque available at only 2,700 rpm, making freeway passes a heady affair. Of course, as you'd expect from an $86,000 Mercedes, the interior is a near-perfect union of luxury, innovation, and function. (800) 367-6372 or

Exclusivity: 12
Euro flair: 11
Real world civility: 8
Makes you want to learn the language of its homeland: Mamma mia!
The answer to your question is this: The Pagani Zonda is the motorized brainchild of Horacio Pagani, an Argentine who moved to Modena, Italy, in the early '80s to learn the business of crafting supercars. In fact, before creating his namesake Zonda, he honed his trade at Lamborghini. But this is about a car, not a man, and when it comes to the Zonda, there's plenty of car to talk about. First mention must go to the 550-horsepower, V-12 AMG Mercedes motor, which lends welcome durability, reliability, and drivability to the most ex-otic of Italian road rockets. Next, we might note the 106 individual carbon fiber pieces that go into each car. Or the fact that every piece of the car is traceable via a bookkeeping system. Or the $350,000 you'll have to fork over if you want to make one of them yours (a slightly less powerful model, the C12, produces a mere 394 horsepower and costs only $280,000). Is this the most exotic car in the world? The definition of the word "exotic" is admittedly subjective, so we'll put it this way: There are fewer than two dozen Zondas in existence. And we're willing to bet none of them live on your block. (718) 706-7400 in the U.S. or 011-0039-059-952-811 or