10 Coolest (and Craziest) Cars of the 2013 St. Louis Auto Show
3. The Cutest Car a Man Can Drive: 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth
But the Abarth is different with one-third more horsepower than the standard 500 and a proper manual transmission. I have driven an Abarth, and the car is just amazing. It handled like glue on paper. And the exhaust note is like Pavarotti to a car geek. Yes, it's cute. Yes it's bubbly and fun and alive in ways only the Italians can be. But it is also at the same time very serious, quick and poised. Plus, if Charlie Sheen wants one, that is man enough for me. Yes, you can drive the 500 Abarth, and keep your man card.
2. The Most Street-Legal Horsepower Under One Hood: 2013 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4
There were a lot of very powerful, very potent cars at the auto show. But of all the street-legal, non-racecar vehicles on display, this beast from the tractor maker in Sant'Agata owned the rights to the most powerful production car at the show. That is 700 horsepower, which propels the $387,000 Aventador from 0-60 in 2.9 seconds. I am not sure what else can be said about this animal. The styling is over the top. The performance is astonishing, not that I will ever get to see so for myself. And the fit and finish was far better than I had expected. Overall, not only was this the single most powerful street-legal vehicle of the show, it also had the biggest price tag, most flash, and highest platform. It was all about the flash.
Like the Audi, this introduced a certain flair to the show that gets kids interested in cars. So while I do not tend to drool over supercars - and especially Lamborghini - like I used to as a kid, the next six-year-old Carroll Shelby or Danica Patrick could be right there -- ready to fall in love. What better to fall in love with? This is the Diablo of a new generation. Those closet doors not sporting a poster of the R8 should be sporting a poster of this stunner.
1. The Motor Trend Car of the Year: 2013 Tesla Model S
Hear the words "electric car" and what do you think of? Prius? Volt? But what if I said a BMW M5 or Maserati Quattroporte or Dodge Viper or CTS-V or Corvette ZR-1? Because this plug-in, all-electric, four-door, six-seat family sedan can out accelerate the BMW, the Viper and the Maserati. The 0-60 time is 4.4 seconds per Tesla. Motor Trend actually clocked it a shade faster at 3.9 seconds. And it does not use a drop of fuel. Range is approximately 265 miles with the 85 kilowatt batteries, so you could charge the car when you get home, and drive all day with no issues. The price tag hovers around $72K. But that is well less than all of the above, save maybe for the CTS-V. The fit and finish and quality of engineering and craftsmanship is just stunning. I spent a good 40 minutes looking this car over, and I just never ran out of "wow" moments. From the touch-screen interior to the purchasing and pricing models to the warranty, I -- simply put -- want one.
This is the future of automobiles. And if we are going to be forced to give up the Lambos and 'Vettes and BOSS 302s for this -- if it is the future of cars for the kid I am raising now to be a car guy -- I can sleep well at night. Because this is not only a machine for people who love machines, but it is a breath of fresh air for all of us. Literally. It is a perfect melding of both worlds. No wonder it's Motor Trend's Car of the Year. And my No. 1.