ROBB Report's Best Vehicles for 2012
ROBB Report is a U.S.-based media corporation that specializes in reviews and guides for wealthy, global patrons. Each year for the past 24 years, it publishes a list of its best vehicles.
Best Convertible: The 458 convertible is Ferrari's newest model, unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. The 458, also known as the "Italia," replaced the outgoing 430 in 2010, but the convertible version was not produced until 2011. Despite the added weight of the convertible, Ferrari claims 0-60 time is unaffected (3.0 seconds). Ferrari plans to produce between 1,500 and 2,000 convertible models per year. One could be yours if you've got $257,000 to spend - about the same price as the average property listing in Medford, according to Trulia.
Best Sports Car: The Aventador is Lamborghini's new flagship model - it replaces the decade-old Murcielago, but clearly takes much of its design cues from the 10-year-old Superbull. It has Lambo;s new 6.5L V12, the first all-new V12 from the Bolognese bull since the original superbull, the Miura. The Aventador bests the last Murcielago, the LP 640, by half a second in the spring to 60 (2.8 from 3.3) and top speed by 6 MPH (217 from 211). An Aventador will set you back about $380,000.
Best Coupe/Grand Tourer: Despite the presence of two other rockstar supercar makers in Italy, Maserati is still on the map in Modena. The GranTurismo MC is one of the latest versions in the line of GranTurismos, sporting various carbon fiber trimmings and Maserati's tweaked stability control system program. It isn't the fastest car on this list, but it'll still get you north of 180MPH for around $130,000.
Best Sedan: Despite Mercedes' best efforts, the best four-door car for the upper echelons remains the BMW M5, the grandaddy of "super saloons." The newest M5 rides on the F10/11 platform, and has undergone a complete overhaul since its older brother, the E60 was extinguished. Gone is the naturally aspirated, screaming V10, ditched in favor of BMW's new twin-turbo V8. Though the car buffs at British magazine, Top Gear, criticized the new M5 for its newfound placidity, they also praised it as the best fast sedan available. The M5 is the least expensive "supercar" on this list at $91,000.
Best SUV: The Evoque is the "urban friendly" little brother of the legendary Range Rover, the standard for offroading excellence. The selling point of the Evoque is its mixture of economy, luxury, and offroading capability; while it is no Golf TDI, it can hit nearly 30MPG. While it is no Rolls-Royce Phantom, it can take four adults in quiet comfort. And while it is not a full-fledged Range Rover, it can tackle more than anything the average motorist can throw at it. Or it can carry the kids to school in the morning, starting around $44,000.
Best Touring Motorcycle: The Switchback is a touring motorcycle like most Harleys, more fit for Sunday cruises than Saturday track days. It's one of Harley-Davidson's new dsigns for 2012 At a base price of $15,999, the Switchback is more expensive than many new Harleys - it's nearly twice the price of the Iron 883. But on the upside, you could cruise down the Southern State Parkway for less than half the price of the priciest Harley cruiser, the CVO Ultra Classic ($37,249).
The 1199 Panigale is the second of two motorcycles on this list, built with an emphasis on speed. However, thanks to the 1199's new suspension (one of the first of its kind on production sportbikes) it's also comfortable for long trips: Ducati says that "Rebound and compression damping are adjusted electronically while pre-load is still adjusted manually." In layman's terms, the motorcycle's suspensino can react better on the fly, adjusting for the road condition. Your back and rear can be comfortable without sacrificing straight line speed for the paltry price of $18,000. That's about the same as a nicely-equipped Fiesta, which may be a better choice if you can only afford one. The Fiesta can't do 0-60 in two seconds like the Panigale though.