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The Best In Luxury Cars 2013

With smaller, lighter, faster, greener and more techy entries, car makers continue to widen the road for what is considered high-line driving
Paul A. Eisenstein
From the Print Edition:
Jeremy Irons, March/April 2013

(continued from page 3)

Best Supercar
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

There are plenty of reasons why anyone wanting a new Ferrari is likely going to have to stand in line and wait—sometimes for several years. The latest is the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, which delivers the unassailable advantages of lower weight and more power. The front-mounted 6.3-liter V-12 punches out a scorching 730 horsepower through the rear wheels. A Formula One–derived, dual-clutch gearbox gives the driver the option of track-fast manual or automatic shifts. If you’re wondering, the Italian maker is boasting of 0 to 60 runs in a mere 3.1 seconds.

To our eyes, the new Ferrari F12 is also more visually appealing than the old 599. For your money—about $315,000 to start—you’ll get just two seats. If you want more, put your money down on the Ferrari FF.

Honorable mention: It’s becoming a bit more difficult to distinguish between mainstream and true exotics, but the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series undoubtedly pushes into the supercar stratosphere. This stripped-to-the-essentials version of the gullwing coupe turns out 631 horsepower, an extra 48 hp more than the “base” SLS.

Best Compact Luxury Crossover or SUV
Mercedes-Benz GLK

The letters actually do mean something in German: Geländewagen Luxus Kompakt-klasse. We prefer to simply call it Mercedes’ compact crossover. The littlest version of the G-Class was completely updated for 2013 and given a distinctive—if polarizing—new look.

Mercedes likes to describe the GLK as the sort of ute you can take to the cottage during the day and the opera at night. It’s reasonably competent on gravel and washboard roads, but won’t tolerate truly rough off-roading. Then again, who cares? The majority of motorists never push the limits of traditional, truck-based SUVs, so the switch to car-like crossovers improves what really matters: on-road manners and fuel-economy.

Honorable mention: Audi continues to beef up its Q series of crossover-utility vehicles with the latest iteration of the Q5. Buick, meanwhile, has added an impressive compact CUV in the form of the new Encore.

Best Large Luxury Crossover or SUV
Range Rover

It’s been a big year for Britain’s Land Rover, what with its downsized Evoque winning just about every possible award—and now, the newly redesigned Range Rover aims to repeat that success in a larger package. The fourth-generation Range Rover may not deliver the visual shock that the much smaller Evoque did, but it’s a nonetheless appealing update of the big SUV’s familiar shape—and the attention to wind-cheating aerodynamic detail really pays off in a number of ways.

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