The asphalt is heating up, and so are the cars, motorcycles — and even a scooter — that you’ll want to hit the road with this season. Here’s a look at eight ways to get your kicks on the highway or in the city.
Grand Sport Vitesse
MSRP: $2.5 million
There is only one car on the planet that can answer that question — because quite literally, nothing else is even remotely close. Whether the measure is horsepower (1,200 — not a typo), zero to 60 (2.6 seconds), 9.8 seconds through the quarter mile, or top speed (260-plus mph, an astounding 40 mph faster than a Ferrari 599 GTO), there may be nothing fashioned by human hands that’s quicker, faster, more powerful, or more exotic than the Bugatti Veyron.
And the new Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse is even more exotic than that.
Unveiled at this year’s Geneva Auto Show, the Vitesse (which is French for speed) features an upgraded and even more potent version of the Veyron’s famous 16-cylinder, quad-turbo “W” engine — with a three-mode adjustable suspension to aid in the delivery of all that power. The Standard setting is for slow-poking around at speeds up to about 112 mph — which the Vitesse can reach easily in second gear. You still have four more gears to go. Above 112 or so, there’s Handling mode. For the third and final mode — Top Speed — a special key is required. The car drops to just 3.5 inches off the ground; special airfoils deploy. Now the Veyron is ready for a banzai run to speeds over 200 mph. And in the case of the Vitesse, at 200, you’re only just beginning to roll. All out, the brutal Bugatti is capable of more than 260 mph — Indy car territory.
Like an Indy car, each Vitesse is a hand-built exotic down to its unique Michelin run-flat tires, built specifically (and only) for this car. A set of new tires (which you’ll need often) will cost you $25,000. And a tune up? If you have to ask …
Bentley Continental GTC
Estimated Msrp: $191,400 (V-8 GTC)
Available:Late Summer 2012
Equipped with a pair of rapid-response twin-scroll turbochargers, the new four-liter V-8 improves operating efficiency by 40 percent while still producing an apropos 500 horsepower. This engine also boasts cylinder deactivation technology, which shuts down four of the V-8’s eight cylinders during light-load, steady-state cruising conditions.
No point in wasting the good stuff, after all.
The V-8 GTC will also come fitted with a new eight-speed automatic transmission, sporty front air dam, its own unique wheel/tire package, and possibly every conceivable amenity — including hand-fitted leather dyed any of 17 colors, an 1,100-watt 10-speaker Naim premium audio system, seat massagers, and (if you select the optional Mulliner package) lamb’s wool carpeting, diamond quilted seats, and custom-ordered paint palettes.
And if a 500-hp V-8 isn’t, well, sufficient, the 567-hp 12-cylinder engine is still on the menu. It’s not 40 percent more fuel-efficient, of course. But it does produce a locomotive-like 516 foot-pounds of torque at just 1,700 rpm — barely a fast idle. Raise those rpms and the nearly three-ton GTC rouses itself to hurricane force fury — and dashes to 60 in 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of nearly 200 mph.
Top down, or up — your choice.