While EVs may grab headlines with their acceleration performance, the latest gas/electric hybrid supercars throw down the gauntlet with some track-burning speed and excitement. The early tests of the Ferrari 296 GTB and Lamborghini Revuelto show that, with a little help from electrons, cars with roaring engines can still melt the asphalt … and blow their drivers’ minds. Though far apart from each other in price, the Ferrari and Lambo make the same emphatic point about the still-thrilling potential available from cars with pistons and pipes.
Will the new Mercedes-Benz CLE be the last of this German luxury car maker’s gas-fueled coupes and convertibles? Based on the new C-Class chassis, the new CLE essentially replaces the somewhat larger E-Class coupe and Cabriolet and offers the promise of more athleticism than those cars. The CLE will cover a wide gamut in price and performance, starting at $65,000 for the base CLE300 coupe 4MATIC and going well beyond that with optioned-up versions of the six-cylinder CLE450 Cabriolet. Future AMG versions are sure to offer more power and excitement, for more money, of course.
With the added perk of super-rarity, the Bentley Continentals of the Sixties remain among the most sought-after of the marque’s classic cars. Gooding & Company’s 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance® auction is offering a rare left-hand-drive 1961 Bentley S2 two-door saloon with coachwork by H.J. Mulliner that exemplified this model’s divergence from the parent company. It has a pre-sale estimate of $400K-$500K.
What better prelude to the 72nd Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance® than to buy a car (or few cars) from the auctions held in conjunction with this pinnacle event? If you’re bidding or selling, the action is at the auctions, of course. We’ve assembled the auction itinerary here and selected some highlights from the Bonhams, Broad Arrow, Gooding & Company, Mecum, and RM Sotheby’s sales.
The spark that launched Porsche’s road racing dynasty began with the “Fuhrman engine” in the landmark 550 Spyder racecar. Bringing that engine to the 356’s option list in 1956 and calling it “Carrera” boosted Porsche’s racing pedigree while also setting the foundation for special high-performance Porsche models to come. The expensive and complex Carrera engine was rarely ordered when new, and cars so-equipped demand a huge premium in the collector car market today. A 1956 Porsche 356A Speedster Carrera offered by Mecum Auctions in Monterey is expected to sell for up to $1.2M, or nearly 400% more than a Speedster without it.
Lamborghini has entered the electrification era with its first plug-in hybrid, a 1,001-hp hypercar called the Revuelto. Named for a fighting bull that decided to bolt from the ring 143 years ago, the new Lambo shows a rowdy spirit with three electric motors unapologetically teamed with a 6.5-liter, gas-fueled V12 that parties like it’s 1970. Sharpened stealth-jet design could only come from Lamborghini, while new “monofuselage” carbon-fiber construction keeps strength high and weight reasonable. Reports say it’s already sold out for the first two years.
Aston Martin bills its new DB12 grand tourer as a “super tourer” because, the British automaker says, “grand is not enough” to describe the DB11’s successor. Marketing fluff aside, the new DB12 appears to be a super new entry into a segment where its closest rival is the Ferrari Roma. The overall look will be familiar to Aston fans, and the interior steps up to a “super” level of grand touring luxury and tech. The Mercedes-AMG twin-turbo V8 gets a boost to a very super 671 horsepower, easily exceeding the DB11’s V8 and V12. Customer deliveries start in fall.
The letters on your modern car’s trunk lid might have no real meaning, but the “S” on the back of a classic Porsche 911 signified a major performance upgrade over the standard car. Porsche’s marketing for the original 911S cautioned, “This is no car for a novice.” The 911S rewarded skilled drivers while being known to put a scare into those unfamiliar with its handling traits. RM Sotheby’s is offering a rare concours-restored 1968 911S at no reserve at its Amelia Island auction in March. Expect hot bidding.
On the heels of Porsche’s introduction of the 911 Dakar, Lamborghini has announced its plan to launch its own supercar that’s modified to play in the dirt, the Huracán Sterrato. Using the same 5.2-liter V-10 engine as the Huracán Evo, Lamborghini’s new off road-ready SUV can do 0-60 in around 3.2 seconds, has rally lights mounted on the Sterrato’s nose, and includes a built-in camera to record your adventures. Production of 1,499 Sterratos will begin in February of 2023, and U.S. pricing has not been announced.