Alfa Romeo 8C Spider
The bodacious Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione coupe deserved to be included in our list of the Sexiest Cars of All Time, but its brutish looks did not fit our definition of beautiful. However, its more recent drop-top version certainly does. Only 500 were made, all powered by a 4.7-liter 450-horsepower V8 engine developed by Maserati, with a maximum speed of about 180 mph and zero-to-60-mph sprints in roughly four seconds. All were sold before their production even started in Milano, Italy.
Aston Martin DBS
Aston Martin's spectacular flagship coupe, the DBS, was styled under design chief Marek Reichman's watch but is another evolution of the landmark DB7 penned by Ian Callum. Remarkably long, low, wide and voluptuous, its body work combines aluminum and carbon-fiber surfaces over an aluminum chassis. The DBS is powered by a 6.0-liter 510-horsepower V12 engine and has a top speed of 191 mph. It was Agent 007 James Bond's chosen ride in the movies "Casino Royale" and "Quantum of Solace." The man has impeccable taste, indeed.
Audi R8 Spyder
Audi's marvelous midengine supercar deserved to be on this list in original coupe form, but even more so as the recently introduced drop-top R8 Spyder. In place of the coupe's roof and characteristic "side blades," the Spyder's monochromatic flanks give it a smoother profile, with a superbly fitting, louvered engine cover and a polished aluminum windshield frame that provides just the right contrast. The R8 Spyder is launched first with a 5.2-liter 525-horsepower V10 engine but will soon be offered with a 4.2-liter 430-horsepower V8 as well.
The Audi A5 and S5 were launched in 2008, inspired by the striking Nuvolari quattro concept from the 2003 Geneva Motor Show. A superb blend of muscle and grace, these classic-style coupes immediately vaulted Audi back into the limelight of the grand touring coupe segment. With its black grille, large air inlets, flared fenders, sculpted sills, spoiler and oval exhaust pipes, the recently introduced RS5 version adds a sporting flair, backed by a 4.2-liter 450-horsepower V8 engine, no less
Bentley Continental GT
The Continental GT was Bentley's first all-new model after its rebirth within the Volkswagen Group. The sleek and imposing coupe soon became its best-selling car. A redesigned GT, unveiled at the recent Paris Motor Show, looks perfectly familiar while becoming more modern, elegant and distinctive. It flaunts a more sculpted body and a more upright grille, and yet is more aerodynamic and 143 pounds lighter. Its W12 engine now produces 567 horsepower; a new, high-output 4.0-liter V8 is coming soon.
Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
The 599 GTB, named after Ferrari's famous Fiorano test track, was shaped in the legendary Pininfarina studios and fully honors the lineage of grand front-engine Ferrari classics such as the 250 GTO, 275 GTB/4 and 365 GTB Daytona. Like them, the 599 GTB is powered by a V12 engine that has a displacement of 5,999 cc (hence the moniker) and produces 611 horsepower. The more powerful 661-horsepower 599 GTO version is Ferrari's fastest road car ever, but the GTB's smoother shape is pure beauty.
Hyundai Elantra (2011)
If cars were living beings, the newest Hyundai Elantra might feel out of place amid rare and expensive European sports cars. But just look at it: There simply is not a line or a curve wrong with this new Korean compact sedan, introduced at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show. Say what you will, we think this bright, new design truly belongs here. The 2011 Elantra, powered by a new 1.8-liter 148-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, will go on sale next fall.
Jaguar's modern revival started in 1997 with the launch of the slender XK8 sports car, powered by a brand-new engine, the British marque's first-ever V8. Ten years later, an all-new XK appeared that was longer, wider, roomier and more than 100 pounds lighter, thanks to its entirely new aluminum body and structure. The new XK's profile is smoother than ever, riding on a wheelbase stretched more than 6 inches, while remaining perfectly true to Geoff Lawson's original design. It's no less than a modern classic.
There definitely is something sharklike about Maserati's newest grand touring convertible, the GranCabrio. And that's fine with us. From its wide, gaping grille, smooth flanks and gently flared fenders to gill-like "portholes" behind the front wheels, this Italian marvel oozes pure class and elegance. It evens looks marvelous with its canvas top in place — a feat in itself. A true 4-seater, the GranCabrio is powered by a 4.7-liter 433-horsepower V8 and has both active roll bars and a reinforced windshield frame.
Volkswagen's CC was inspired by the groundbreaking Mercedes-Benz CLS, but this chic and affordable midsize VW has bettered the master in many ways. For instance, in spite of the requisite curving roofline, there is nothing baroque in this four-door's coupelike profile. Standard alloy wheels fill the wells nicely under lightly flared fenders, and subtle character lines flow gracefully front to rear. The standard 2.0-liter 200-horsepower engine is a treat, but you can also get the CC with a 3.6-liter 280-horsepower VR6 and all-wheel drive.