Have you ever been driving along on the highway when, suddenly, the car of your dreams blows by you with no warning at all? Don’t worry, it has happened to the best of us, and a thousand questions raced through our minds as well.
“What kind of car was that? How fast was it going? How much does something like that cost? How has the driver not gotten a ticket yet?”
Unless one of your encyclopedic, car-nut friends is riding shotgun, you may never know the answer to any of these. No matter what, you’ll be left reeling from a brief awe-inspiring spectacle, a glimmer of bling, a peek at a lifestyle as fascinating as it is foreign. Like us, you won’t soon forget your supercar encounter.
To celebrate the brief flashes of highway brilliance we’ve all been privy to at one time or another, we’ve compiled a list of the most awesome whips around. All are included for their own special reason and all are jaw-droppingly cool. Enjoy and start saving!
For Speed: McLaren 12C Spider
McLaren’s yet-to-be-released 12C Spider convertible is the epitome of sports car. It’s sleek, impeccably detailed and it’s oh-so-very speedy. With a 3.8 liter V8 engine and a seven-speed dual clutch transmission, this baby pops from 0 to 62 in a mind-boggling 3.1 seconds, and tops out at 207 mph. We suppose we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that one more tiny feature that makes it the quintessential sportscar: the price tag. At $268,250, plus a $2,500 destination charge, the 12C certainly has the capacity to break the bank. There is good news though; the coup model starts at a paltry $241,800, so, you know, that’s pretty reasonable.
For Fun: BamGoo
It doesn’t get much more unique than the BamGoo. Made almost entirely from bamboo, the single-seat “BamGoo” electrical car was developed by the city of Kyoto Japan and Kyoto University. The car utilizes locally engineered “bamboo ware” technology and can run for 30 miles on a single electrical charge. The scary thing is the BamGoo weighs only 60 kg (about 133 pounds), which means it’s probably not something you’d want to take on any highway road trips. Until SUVs are weaved from grass and trucks sculpted from compost piles, this is certainly more show piece than all-purpose vehicle. If you do manage to get ahold of this one-of-a-kind automobile and decide to take it out for an expressway spin, try riding in the breakdown lane, by the woods and brush. Camouflage baby!
For Originality: BMW GINA
Every automaker says they think outside the box, but we’ve never seen proof quite like BMW’s GINA.”GINA” stands for “Geometry and Functions in ‘N’ Adaptations.” Created in 2008 and put on display at the BMW Museum in Munich, Germany, this installment was, much like the BamGoo, created more as a motivator to get engineers to think big than a promise of a design available for mass-market consumption. Four years after its release, the GINA still won’t be found on any car lots. Regardless, the specs are incredible. With an outer shell made of textile fabric and a skeleton controlled by electro-hydraulic devices, the car can literally change shape. The headlights can be completely hidden and the hood can be made to open from the center, amongst other shifts. Inside, access to driving instruments changes depending on whether the car is turned on or off. When something’s not in use, it’s “blinked” out of view just like the headlights. Talk about artificial intelligence.
For the Environment: BMW i8
Good news, this one will be mass produced and fully available for sale by 2014. A gas/electric hybrid sports car intended for use in busy cities, the BMW i8 will reach 62 mph in 4.6 seconds and top out at a very respectable 155. All this road magic will be accomplished while staying within an eco-friendly mpg range of up to 70 plus, as an electric motor/generator will be used to power the car’s front wheels. Though there’s no official word yet on i8 pricing, BMW’s i3, a similarly-strucutred electro-mobile, is due out for limited release in 2013 and is starting at the same sticker as the company’s current 335i sedan (around $45,000). The juiced-up i8 will be more, likely in the neighborhood of $100,000. Still quite a bit but nowhere near what a McLaren or a Lambo will set you back. Save the environment while pulling the attention of every set of eyeballs on the road.
For All of the Above
Batman fans rejoice. While the new, hydrogen-fuel-celled Batmobile debuting this summer will not be available for sale anytime soon, car creator Gordon Murray muses it “could be a real car of the future.” Until then, we marvel at the LED-ringed wheels, the carbon-fiber trim and the totally awesome, over-the-top (considering the fact that it’s hyrdgoden-powered), carbon-ceramic afterburner that shoots bat-flames out the back just the way die-hard fans have come to expect. Want more? Get up close and personal at the Batman Live World Arena Tour, kicking off on July 19th in Manchester, England. This especially super supercar will reportedly be on display. Just don’t let old Bruce Wayne see you putting your paws all over it.