By James Hamel
With new technology and updated designs, the latest automobiles represent much more than just a set of wheels to get from point A to point B. Refined style, power and handling all come into play when choosing a vehicle that makes the drive as enjoyable as the destination. And, with several high-end car dealerships in Newport Beach, the possibilities are seemingly endless. To help narrow down the best options, here are four of the latest, rarest and most technologically advanced car models that make a statement.
2017 McLaren 570GT
Having just debuted at the recent 2016 Geneva International Motor Show, the 2017 McLaren 570GT combines exotic uniqueness with the kind of driver friendliness absent from so many of McLaren’s competitors and even some of this British brand’s own track-focused offerings. With deliveries starting in August, the luxuriously appointed two-door coupe is not only gorgeous to look at and stunningly fast (thanks to a twin turbo V-8 engine rated at 562 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque), but it includes a special hatch for optional, specially designed McLaren luggage as well as an extra trunk up front. An optional back-up camera can be added for easy parking.
Notably, the McLaren 570 GT coupe also has a full glass roof for stargazing as you blast across the desert at midnight headed for Palm Springs. Cost is expected to be in the $223,000 range and that’s before you start adding options from McLaren’s extensive bespoke division, which gives buyers the option to customize their vehicle.
Besides the scissor side doors, the minimalist yet stylish interior, the speed and the sleek exterior, the GT has a unique glass side-hinged rear hatch through which you access the aforementioned cargo hold, allowing this usually impractical coupe to take on a far more useful role. As production will be limited and each car has to be special ordered, this ride will be extremely exclusive. (mclarennb.com)
2017 Audi R8
Combining the latest electronic gadgets and gorgeously appointed interior of a standard car with the speed of a sports car, the Audi R8—starting at $162,900—is not only refined and dignified, but features the choice of a 540-horsepower V-10 engine (the same as in the R8 LMS racecar) or 610-horsepower V-10 “plus” version. The R8 is fast, but it’s easy to maintain traction and control thanks to the standard quattro all-wheel drive.
For 2017, the redesigned R8 offers a far more user-friendly seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission that can help this lightweight, aluminum and carbon composite two-door accelerate from 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds, with the ability to top out at 199 mph on the track. (audinewportbeach.com)
2016 BMW i8
Already on the market for several months, this is the one vehicle on our list with a pre-owned option available to buy or lease from Sterling BMW in Newport Beach. What makes this sexy two-door plug-in hybrid coupe stand out is the jaw-dropping design and crowd-pleasing scissor style doors that make an impression upon arrival. Power for the i8 comes from a twin turbocharged gas engine and an electric motor, which give this two-door coupe a combined 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque with 0 to 60 acceleration in just over four seconds. And, this hybrid offers fuel efficiency of up to 76 mpg (gasoline equivalent) and a range of up to 330 miles, with a starting price of $140,700. (sterlingbmw.com)
2017 Porsche 718 Boxster
When Porsche did a near floor-to-canvas-rooftop refresh of this car, the German automaker went further than usual with the number of changes. There are two versions of the new 2017 Porsche 718—the base model starts at $56,000, featuring a 2-liter, 300-horsepower, turbocharged flat four-cylinder engine with 280 pound-feet of torque. Although the interior update is a big improvement in style and tactile quality, do plan on spending a few grand on essential options.
That’s why bumping up to the $68,400-plus 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster S may make sense given its higher standard specifications, as well as the addition of a larger 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 350 horsepower and 309 pound-feet of torque. For both models, Porsche still offers a tight and easy to use six-speed manual gearbox as opposed to the 911, which has a seven-speed manual self shifter that redefines the term “tricky.”
As always, this Porsche is available with the brand’s responsive seven-speed Porsche Dobbelkupplung (PDK) double-clutch transmission with an automatic mode, which most buyers prefer anyway. One piece of advice: Invest in Porsche’s excellent infotainment center screen with Apple CarPlay––it’s worth the outlay, especially in one of the finest two-seat roadster sports cars ever built. (porschenewportbeachca.com) NBM