In 1886, a German engineer called Karl Benz conjured up the first car powered by an internal combustion engine. It had three wheels, a tiller rather than a steering wheel, and could reach a heady speed of about 8mph.
A century and change on, the car’s progressed a bit. And this year, we welcome some seriously sophisticated – and seriously fast – additions to the pantheon.
Thought the Veyron was fast, and a little on the pricey side? Well, its replacement’s stats will make you wince. It’s expected that the Chiron will hit 288mph, about 20mph more than the Veyron, and about 280mph more than Karl Benz’s motorised tricycle.
Car Magazine estimates that the Chiron will cost about £1.6m, which is about £650,000 more than the Veyron does. But what’s money when it looks Darth Vader’s weekend wheels, and can outpace a comet? Better hope your numbers come in on the lotto.
Mercedes C-Class Coupé
We like the S-Class coupé, and we’re very much looking forward to the convertible making its debut this year. Though both cost well into six-figures, the C-Class is much more attainable if you’re not a hedge-fund manager.
The C looks like an S in miniature – meaning it has both style and stature. Like all Mercedes, it’ll be packed to the rafters with tech and absolutely bombproof. And, if you really need to break the sound barrier, there’ll be an AMG model to help you do just that.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
You might think you want a Mercedes AMG, or perhaps something from BMW’s M range. You don’t. You want this. Unashamedly sporty and packed with Italian swagger, it looks like the Devil wearing Prada.
It promises to go, too, offering a 0-62mph time of 3.9 seconds, and it’ll charge on to nearly 190mph. It also has ‘Ferrari technology’ (Alfa and Ferrari are both owned by the same company), meaning that, if the prancing horse is out of your budget, this may be the perfect substitute.
The baby of BMW’s M range also promises to be one of the purest (and most fun). Rather than the current M4, this is the probably the true heir to M3s of old.
It’s available as manual (something hard to find these days) meaning you can connect to the car, and the road, in a way you can’t in any sort of automatic. It looks like a pocket rocket, and it goes like one too – hitting 62mph in 4.3 seconds and charging onto a restricted speed of 155mph. (We suspect that, unrestrained, it could go quite a bit faster.)
Range Rover Evoque Convertible
Range Rover’s baby promises to be the most popular soft top 4×4 since the Suzuki Vitara. Thankfully, it’s not naff like the ‘zuki’, and far more capable off-road.
But, let’s be honest, most of us aren’t interested in going any further off-road than a gravelled driveway. Which is good, as the Evoque is the perfect on-road accessory – best teamed with a hot, sunny day and a pair of sunglasses. And a very smug grin.
The Maserati Quattroporte is the sexiest saloon money can buy. Bar none. And the Ghibli is a far, far lustier alternative to a 5 Series or A4. Now Maserati gives us the Alfieri.
It’s four-wheeled Viagra, and should probably come with an X rating. It’s guaranteed to come with a similarly saucy soundtrack. And, it’ll also be available as a convertible. We’ll take both, please.