We walked the floor to find the best-looking models at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show. From Bentley to Inizio, these are the cars that stood out from the pack.

Porsche 918 RSR

This is the future of Porsche racing, says CEO Matthias Mueller. It is a single-seat racecar with 767 total horsepower based on a V8 engine and flywheel technology at each wheel. The hybrid component is based on the same configuration found in the Porsche 911 GT3 RS hybrid and the 918 Spyder that will be produced in limited numbers in the next few years.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell

This is the electric version of the popular SLS AMG Gullwing that went on sale last year. Its four motors (a pair at each axle, integrated with reduction gears to drive all four wheels at the same time) combine to provide 526 horsepower and 649 pound-feet of torque and a zero-to-60 time of 4 seconds. The production model will be on sale in 2013. The one here in Detroit is painted a shade of yellow called “AMG Lumilectric Mango.”

Bentley Continental GT

This is a significant update to Bentley’s main-selling Continental. It has the same 6.0-liter W12 engine but is 140 pounds lighter (read: faster) and has an updated driver interface with real-time traffic updates and iPod integration. Nine hundred will be made for the American market this year.

BMW 1-Series M Coupe

Detroit is the stage for the official debut of the long-awaited 1-Series M Coupe, with sales starting later in the spring. BMW used a new twin-turbocharged, all-aluminum, 3.0-liter inline-6 engine that gets 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. It comes with a 6-speed manual transmission. Zero-to-60 mph time is 4.7 seconds, with a top speed limited to 155 mph. The production run is limited to 2,700 units. Pricing will start near $45,000.

Ferrari 458 Italia

An oldie but a goodie, the 458 Italia is always hot. It has a V8 rear-mounted engine that gets 562 horsepower and goes zero to 60 in 3.4 seconds, with a top speed of 202 mph. Transmission is 7-speed F-1 format with a dual-clutch gearbox. The car has an all-aluminum frame and body, complete with carbon ceramic brakes and 20” rims.

Audi R8 GT

This car debuted last spring, but the novelty hasn’t worn off yet. It is even lighter than the standard R8, which helps it get to 62 miles per hour in just 3.6 seconds and on to 124 mph in 10.6 seconds. Top speed is a sizzling 198.8 mph

Jaguar XKR Coupe

This car has a great combination of style and speed. It’s a V8, 510-horsepower supercharged coupe that comes with adaptive lights, chrome accents, rear parking aid, LED tail lamps, rear fog lights and xenon headlights. Pricing starts at $96,125 (convertible $102,125).


The $139,000 electric supercar prototype will cruise 250 miles before needing a charge and can hit top speeds of 170 miles per hour, according to the manufacturer. Zero-to-60 speed is set to 3.4 seconds–which is even more impressive considering the leather seats, 12-inch woofer, DVD/navigation system and rise-away doors weighing it down.

Tesla Roadster

The Lotus-based roaster has been with us for awhile (1,500 of them have been sold since 2008), but it’s notable for what it looks like–an electric vehicle much more compelling than a Chevrolet Volt or a Nissan LEAF–and for its technology (Tesla and Toyota have entered into an agreement to use Tesla battery technology in the RAV-4). The tech in the Model S, Tesla’s five-person sedan due out in 2012, will continue the precedent started by the roadster, says Tesla’s VP of engineering, Peter Rawlinson.

Maybach 62S

Granted, this huge sedan is hot in a staid way. But we’re pretty sure any man climbing out won’t have too much trouble finding a date. The engine is an enormous V12 that has a five-speed automatic transmission and 620 horsepower. It goes zero to 60 in 5.2 seconds, which is resoundingly good considering the car’s size and weight. Options include electric sliding side window curtains, front/rear intercom, solar-powered ventilation, a retractable glass partition wall and a perfume dispenser.