Audi R8 V12 TDI
Burning Oil And Burning Rubber
*Just when it seems the R8 couldn't be any cooler, Audi introduced a diesel V12-powered version at the Detroit show this past January. Reportedly, the 6.0-liter power unit throws down 500 hp and an even 1000 Newton meters' worth of torque-738 lb-ft. The R8 TDI concept also features slick new body detailing, like a continuous aluminum spoiler lip connecting the front and rear diffusers, and a functional NACA duct in the middle of the roof to accelerate airflow into the engine bay. The car is equipped with all-LED headlights which offer light quality even closer to sunlight than xenon or halogen lamps. It has also seen a wider use of aluminum and carbon fiber components than the standard R8, and wears massive carbon ceramic brakes at each corner. No word yet on a production version, but shrouded R8s have been reported lapping the Nrburgring.
The best way to chill
*The iconic Mercedes-Benz SL gets a facelift for its 2009 model year, and breaks out this spring. The new look bears a close resemblance to AMG versions, but several things remain familiar. The folding metal roof, obviously. And the SL550 will still have a sevenspeed auto transmission while the SL600 sticks with a five-speeder. But this iteration should have a somewhat sportier demeanor and will offer the AIRSCARF necklevel heating system first seen on the smaller SLK. No prices were announced before going to press, although, for a ballpark, it costs from $95,300 for a 2008 SL550.
Volkswagen Passat CC
*A sexier Passat is on its way. The CC flaunts a coupe profile while still affording its driver the convenience of a fourdoor sedan. Motivation comes from the 200-hp 2.0T available with either a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed Tiptronic automatic. The car also sports an electric panoramic sunroof 29.5 inches long and 44 inches wide, spanning the entire roof up to the B pillar. The interior is furnished with four ergonomically sculpted sport seats with available climate control, new instruments, new door trim, and new radio and nav system controls on the steering wheel. The VW CC is slated to hit the U.S. market toward the end of 2008.
Porsche Boxster RS 60 Spyder
Homage paid to a racing legend
*Here's a more powerful Boxster, inspired by the Type 718 RS 60 Spyder which drove to victory in the 1960 12 Hours of Sebring. This model, limited to 1,960 examples worldwide (800 for North America), has a front end enhanced with Porsche's SportDesign Package to distinguish it from the regular Boxster S, spacer plates that move its 19-inch wheels into a more prominent position within the wells, GT Silver metallic paint and a richly contrasted Carrera Red interior with matching convertible top. PASM comes as standard and peak power output has been bumped up to 303 hp, thanks to a re-designed exhaust system. The car should appear in dealer showrooms this spring.
BMW M3 Convertible
Sun, wind, and zero to 62 in 5.3 seconds
*A third variation of the new M3 has now been announced: the Convertible. It packs all the goodness of the sedan and coupe versions-the 420-hp V8, the fender flares, the sky-high 8400-rpm redline-and adds an electro-hydraulic retractable hard top which affords the novelties of wind in your hair and sun on your face. The Convertible features a sensor system that monitors the car's vertical and horizontal movement continuously. At the same time, a central computer evaluates data based on current driving conditions, so that when the top is down roll bars positioned behind the headrests can be deployed instantly whenever the system registers a risk of rollover. The car also features climate control with a special convertible mode and, naturally, the full range of M3 options.