Forbes - The World's most expensive cars

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Forbes - The World's most expensive cars

Post by Luigi » Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:57 pm

The Callaway C16 is a bargain!...


The Bentley Mulsanne has a deceptively smooth 505-horsepower engine and enough hand-stitched leather to outfit a motorcycle gang. It costs $285,000 to buy even the base model. But like the $285,000 McLaren MP4-12C and the $214,990 Spyker C8 Aileron, Mulsanne doesn't even come close to qualifying for this year's list of the most expensive cars in the world.

That distinction belongs to an even more extreme range: Think along the lines of the $1.4 million Maybach Landaulet, the $1.5 million Koenigsegg Agera, and the $2.6 million Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport.

These cars have the über-engineered carbon fiber bodies, obscene amounts of horsepower and excessive creature comforts (silver champagne flutes and lambswool carpeting, anyone?) that draw big price tags. And for more than a million dollars apiece, they'd better get them all exactly right.

Extreme Speed or Extreme Luxury

To compile our list of the most expensive cars going on sale next year, we scoured price lists from well-known manufacturers like Bugatti, Rolls-Royce and Maybach, and from lesser-known companies like Saleen and SSC. Some expected entrants (Aston Martin, Spyker, McLaren) didn't quite have the stuff to make our list. Others, like Koenigsegg, had a few models that might have qualified, so we limited our list to the most expensive car from each manufacturer, otherwise noting a few entries from the ubiquitous Bugatti and a bonus future entry from Ferrari.

These cars seem to go one of two ways: super-luxurious touring sedans like the Landaulet and the $447,000 Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe, or screaming street fighters like the $455,400 Lamborghini LP 670-4 SuperVeloce and the $728,000 LeBlanc Mirabeau.

One standout: The $1.3 million Pagani C9. Due out late next year, it'll sport a new Mercedes-Benz AMG 6.0-litre V12 engine that produces 700 horsepower and 737 foot-pounds of torque. A specialized carbon-titanium chassis and Pirelli ( PIREY.PK - news - people ) tires will add to the overall appeal of this Pagani Zonda replacement.

Another stunner is the $750,000 SSC Ultimate Aero, a 1,287-bhp racer made by Shelby Super Cars in Tri-Cities, Wash. The Ultimate Aero will do 0-60 in 2.78 seconds and has a top speed of 273 mph. But it's not all skin and bones. It comes with air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, tilt-steering, 10-speaker premium audio, a CD/DVD system with a 7.5" DVD screen, automatic backup camera and navigation. The carbon fiber dashboard incorporates a digital temperature control unit and tire pressure monitor to ensure optimum driving conditions.

Also from SSC, look out for the as-yet unnamed "Next Generation" SSC due later next year. It's sure to make our list of Most Expensive Cars 2012.

Extreme Buyers

Who's buying these cars when the auto industry has suffered disastrous sales in the last few years? The same wealthy people who have always bought them. They might wait a few more months than usual before making a purchase, but they're still there in full force, automakers say. And things are certainly looking up.

"The crisis cannot keep a Bugatti buyer away from buying a car for financial reasons--he would have enough money to buy a car even in the middle of a crisis," says Franz-Josef Paefgen, the current CEO of Bugatti (Paefgen is retiring in February). "Obviously they were not in the mood to do that as long as the crisis was an uncertain situation. We are doing well now."

The Middle East and Asia represent a significant chunk of the market for many of these vehicles from the likes of Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Spyker. John Hill, a spokesman for Bugatti, says more than 30% of current sales are going to the Middle East, with strong growth expected. And several of the Super Sport cars have already sold there.

Ferrari just opened a theme park in Abu Dhabi. Lamborghini added two more dealerships to its seven existing ones in China last month, and the automaker has seen 100% growth in sales there over 2009, according to CEO Stephan Winkelmann.

"China continues as one of our most important markets where we continue to forecast growth," Winkelmann says, noting that the iconic Italian and extreme-design aspects of the car have strong appeal with luxury consumers in China. "The Chinese luxury market continues exponential growth in line with the country's economic development."

Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe
MSRP: $447,000
Specs: The engine is a V12 direct injection with 453 bhp and 720 Nm of torque. It goes 0-60 in 5.6 seconds with a top speed of 150 mph. Fuel consumption is 12.2 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The Drophead has two doors and four seats with a trunk even when the roof is down. Bespoke options include an integrated cooler/glass holder to fit in the base of the luggage compartment and initials inlaid in the veneer or a complete leather floor instead of carpet. An optional teak deck made with 30 different pieces of fine-grain wood to look just like a yacht. Each Phantom is hand-built.

LeBlanc Mirabeau
MSRP: $728,000
Specs: The mid-engine Mirabeau is designed to fulfill all FIA/Le Mans standards to drive the car in LeMans, but it is also street legal. It has a V8 supercharged engine with 700 bhp and 850 Nm of torque. The body and frame are made of carbon fiber, with a 6-speed transmission and a top speed of 370 km/hour. Automatic gear shifting costs an additional 52,000 euro; leather interior and other creature comforts cost extra.

SSC Ultimate Aero-V
MSRP: $750,000
Specs: The Ultimate Aero will do 0-60 in 2.78 seconds with a projected top speed of 273 mph. It has a 1,287-bhp V8 engine. It comes with air conditioning, power windows, power mirrors, tilt-steering, cab-controlled front air lift, 10-speaker premium audio, CD/DVD system w/ 7.5" DVD screen, automatic backup camera and navigation. Carbon fiber rear spoilers respond to the amount of pressure on the brake pedal. Inside, a carbon fiber dashboard and center console incorporate a digital temperature control unit and tire pressure monitor for optimum driving conditions. Look out for details about the as-yet unnamed "Next Generation" SSC later next year.

Koenigsegg Agera
MSRP: $1.5 million (estimated)
Specs: Agera means "to act" in Swedish, and is also short for the Greek word Ageratos, which in ancient Greek means "ageless." The body of the car is made from carbon fiber and aluminum, with the shape and concept of the Koenigsegg CC created 15 years ago. It has a 910-horsepower 4.7-liter V8 engine that goes 0-100 in under 3.1 seconds, and its wheels generate a vortex to suck hot air away from the brakes. Fewer than 20 will be made each year.

Maybach Landaulet
MSRP: $1.405 million
Specs: The Landaulet's top speed is 278 mph, with a 604-horsepower, 5.9-liter twin turbo V12 AMG engine. Fuel efficiency is 21.2 mpg on the highway and 12.9 mpg in the city, which is very good considering the car's size and weight. Intelligent bi-xenon headlamps, park assist, rear refrigerator, folding tables and two champagne flutes in hand-polished 925 sterling silver come with the car, and all of its doors close automatically. After all, as the Maybach website says, "The ultimate in luxury means physical exertion is not necessary."
1956 Ford Thunderbird tricked out!
2005 Dodge Ram 1500
2008 Callaway C16

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