Best Serious Sedan: BMW 750i xDrive
The 750i comes with a massive V8 engine that pulls 445 horsepower and will hit 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. It has multiple drive modes that adapt automatically to your driving style and an 8-speed automatic transmission built on all-wheel-drive. That’s all great. But it’s the up-front tech (self-parking system, gesture-driven technology) and in-back features that matter most, such as the enormous panoramic sunroof spanning from the front to the two rear executive seats, both of which massage and one of which can fully recline (there’s even a custom scent selector). BMW’s biggest sedan feels as posh and businesslike as a Lear jet in the back and drives as light and nimble. There is nothing on the town car market today with the same supreme engineering and understated dignity.
Best Sport Coupe: BMW M2
BMW introduced the 2-Series last year as a way to upgrade everyone from the 1-Series and compete more directly with the Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz C350 coupes. The efficient and affordable M235i costs less than $50,000, even with such upgrades as Harman-Kardon sound, park assist cameras, and heated seats. What’s more, its eight-speed turbocharged inline six engine packs 320 hp and gets to 60 mph in four and a half seconds. Moral of the story? It’s small, tight, and powerful, like a punch from a welterweight. Once you hit the gas, you’re not going to want to get out.
Best ‘Impractical’ Coupe: Mercedes AMG GT
This is the purest sports car Mercedes has ever made, even more than the iconic 1960s-era SLs it evokes—and no, there’s no back seat. It has a 7-speed AMG-built transmission and paddle shifters that push its aluminum body to nearly 200 mph. (Zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.) There are three drive modes and adaptive carbon-fiber brakes, a carbon-fiber drive shaft, standard crash avoidance, and a performance exhaust system loud enough to let everyone know you’re coming. The suspension and chassis are tuned to racing precision. It feels born to be on the track, even more edgy than a 911. Buy the AMG GT S because it’s faster and, more importantly, more fun to drive than any other production car Mercedes makes.
Best ‘Practical’ Coupe: Aston Martin DB9 GT
For the latest version of its Bond-worthy DB9, Aston made the DB9 GT, a coupe as precise to drive as a laser and just as effective. It shares the same V12 engine as its standard sibling paired with an automatic 6-speed transmission and rear-wheel drive. The car gets to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds; top speed exceeds 180 mph. Driving it feels like jumping into the middle of a big-budget film chase scene—the DB9 is alluringly raw. It’s also “practical” because it does have a “back seat,” but I’d keep passengers to a minimum.
Best SUV: Tie
Bentley’s 6.0-litre W12 behemoth gets 600 horsepower on an all-wheel-drive, eight-speed automatic transmission. It’ll go to 60 mph in four seconds and hit a top speed of 187 miles per hour. It is the world’s fastest SUV and easily the most luxurious: hand-stitched trim, accoutrements galore (picnic basket and champagne, anyone?), more of them than any other SUV in its class. In this car, Bentley combines the ultimate interior with the ultimate in performance. After all, it would never stoop to distribute anything less than the superb, made-for-royalty coaches it routinely turns out in coupe and sedan form. The massive, surprisingly handsome new Bentayga only ups the ante.
Tesla Model X
When it finally comes out in 2016, the Model X will have 250 miles of range and massive horsepower. Company founder Elon Musk has said it’ll hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds (even faster with Ludicrous mode) and will have a top speed of 155 mph. If true, that sprint time will beat the plush Bentayga. And if it is as good as the exceptional Model S sedan(and if you’ve got a place to charge it), this will be the SUV to buy when you want something big—and earth-friendly. There’s currently nothing on the market like it. Consider it money well spent.
Best Exotic: Ferrari 488 GTB
This 660-horsepower V8 coupe will hit 60 mph in 3 seconds. Wonderful. More importantly, as the first Ferrari in years to use turbocharged power rather than natural aspiration, it gets 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway—progress for this elite exotic and better than most of its compatriots. It’s Ferrari’s statement that you can combine massive power with Italian good looks and raw performance without creating a total gas-guzzler. Baby steps, right? For a new Ferrari that is furiously drivable yet enjoyable on a daily basis, this is the one.
Best Convertible: Bentley GT Speed
The GT Speed is the fastest four-seat convertible on the market today, even though it weighs a whopping 6,300 pounds. (It hits 60 mph in 4 seconds.) Pretty inside and out, it has red carbon ceramic brake calipers on 21-inch alloy wheels, a diamond lattice grill, and polished LED headlights that accent the trim bodyline and big British muscular haunches. You’ll be hard-pressed to find something in this price range that can match both the caliber of craftsmanship, the roguish good looks, and the potency of its 626-horsepower V12 engine.