The Most Beautiful Cars of 2012

2013 Maserati GranTurismo Sport

On its website, Forbes listed the cars it believes are the most beautiful of 2012. It got some right, but in my opinion, missed some real lookers and included some serious head-scratchers.

For some reason, the Jaguar F-Type, which hasn’t had its official reveal and won’t even be available until sometime in 2013, made the list. Odd, right? Also, the awkward Ferrari 458 Spider got the nod, which isn’t nearly as good looking as the coupe version or its arch-nemesis, the McLaren MP4-12C Spider (which also made the list). Most suspicious to my eye was the inclusion of the Bentley Mulsanne, which looks like a droopy old man.

There are no mass-produced cars on the list, either, which I find remarkable. So, here are some of the cars I’d place on a list of the most beautiful of 2012:

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New Porsche Engine for Entry-Level Roadster

Volkswagen BlueSport Roadster

The rumors about a new Porsche roadster, alternately based on the 550 or the VW BlueSport (above) or something else are still rumors. But now, Porsche has confirmed that it is building an engine to power it—whatever “it” is.

Our guess, after reading tons of tea leaves, is that it will be a variation of the BlueSport, which tgriffith and I have been writing about and hoping for for two years.

The engine is a 4-cylinder, horizontally opposed “boxer,” based on a cut-down version of the present 911 flat six-cylinder and using “a combination of light-pressure turbocharger induction and piezo-guided direct injection.” Look for 2-liter and 2.5-liter versions, the latter supposedly outputting 380 hp.

The new engine is also reported to be part of the third-generation Boxster offering—maybe Cayman as well—outputting 70 more hp than the Boxster S at a much lighter weight. One assumes the result would be lots better fuel economy, helping Porsche’s CAFE average in the U.S.

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2012 Audi TT RS: Nice Car, Too Much Money

2012 Audi TT RS, front

USA Today called the new TT RS “the poor man’s R8.” The latter car costs “$115,450 to $154,350 to start,” whereas the TT RS will come in at $57,725, including shipping.

Both are overpriced. For that kind of money, you can buy a Porsche Boxster or Cayman with real handling and sports-car performance. Audis like this have always struck me as just a little too frou-frou, a little too Teutonic slick. These are cars for the sports-car poseur, not the real enthusiast.

That said, the new TT RS, going on sale this summer, will please those who like 5-cylinder power, Quattro all-wheel-drive, a 6-speed manual, “magnetic ride control” and of course all the goodies—electro- and otherwise—like 10-way power seats.

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Best Performance Value on the Market?

2011 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

Corvette Grand Sport hits the sweet spot

According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, a corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship used by the French Navy since 1670.

When General Motors needed a name for its all-new, small, maneuverable two-seat sports car, a photographer reportedly suggested the Corvette name, thus transforming the term into an American icon nearly overnight.

When the first Corvette arrived back in 1953, though, there wasn’t much about it that could justify the “sports car” label. While current iterations of the ‘Vette might be described as “firebreathing,” the original inline 6-cylinder was hardly more powerful than the pilot light on my aging furnace.

Obviously that all changed when Chevrolet introduced a small-block V8 engine in 1955 and embarked on nearly six decades of continuous improvement to America’s sports car.

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The Best $7,500 You’ll Ever Spend

1997 Jaguar XK-Series

Jaguar XK-Series

Let’s say for a moment that you have a spare $7,500 sitting in your offshore savings account. Yeah, maybe you’ve been stashing the cash in case of Rapture, but since we all know that ship has sailed, maybe it’s time to use the cash to enjoy your limited time on Earth.

Yeah, you could probably do some good with that wad of hundreds (donating to a worthy cause is always an admirable endeavor). But for those of us slightly more…ego-centric, the best way to use a few grand is to buy a fun car.

Not just a used car, but a fun car that’ll leave people wondering how much it cost and what illegal activities you suddenly started dabbling in to afford it.

Yeah… take $7,500 or so and have some fun…

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