Wheels is one year old today. We invite six mindblowing cars to celebrate with us - some of the best machines in the world today
BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT
Probably one of the best Grand Tourer coupes in the business today, the Bentley Continental GT, in one package, has the rare magic to make pure luxury cars weep with shame and supercars battle to stay abreast. Equipped with a twin-turbo, W12 motor displacing 5998cc, the Conti GT reaches 100 kph in less than 5 seconds and tops out at 318 kph. The car is rear wheel-driven in the classic sporting tradition of Bentley and the six-speed, tiptronic ZF transmission makes short work of transferring that fat 650nm of torque to the road. The Conti GT can seat four comfortably, swallow a good amount of luggage, and as its name suggests, munch continents between lunch and dinner - and all at a pace that is a blur from outside and simply effortless from the driver's seat!
This is the most insane series-production car. Ever. And it's also the fastest in the world. With a top speed of over 400kph, the Bugatti Veyron is the rather impromptu brainchild of Volkswagen's Ferdinand Piech. Kitted with a W16 engine that produces a mind-numbing 1001bhp at 6000 rpm and 922 lb ft of torque at 2200 rpm, it's all sent to the specially-developed Michelin PAX tyres by an equally special, one-of-a-kind seven-speed Ricardo transmission. And it hits 100kph in 2.5 seconds, and accelerates at close to 370 feet per second at its maddest. Which means Chennai to Bangalore, if it were possible, in a shade over half an hour! And if you are wondering, the Veyron might have started as someone's crazy dream, but today, it's for real!
No single carmaker understands `exotic and outrageous' better than Lamborghini. Even when going through financial distress, the manufacturer couldn't come up with anything mediocre - the Diablo should be ample proof. But now, with cash-rich Audi backing it up, The Bull is probably enjoying its best run ever. And the Murcielago is living testimony. Designed by Luc Donckerwolke, this supercar gets to speeds over 330 kph via a permanent 4-wheel drive system. Its 6192cc V12 puts out 580 horses at 7500rpm and 480 nm of torque at 5400 rpm. And yes, the car accelerates to 100 kph in 3.8 seconds! The Miura might have been the schoolkid's dream two decades ago, the Countach might have had its bit of glory, but today, a Murcielago in lime green or lemon yellow is definitely the subject of the poster that hangs above the study table.
The Range Rover probably will have a bit of a tussle with the Toyota Land Cruiser for the title of world's most capable SUV. But if you factor in handsome, butch looks and the luxury on offer in addition to capability, this British vehicle wins. Hands down. Kitted with a V8, 272bhp turbo-diesel engine with a massive dollop of torque - 640 Nm! Of course, you also get two petrol engine options - a 396 bhp supercharged V8 and a normally aspirated 306 bhp V8 if you prefer more expensive fuel. A centre e-differential takes care of power transmission between the four wheels, while the trademark Terrain Response system allows a driver to select from 5 options on a rotary knob to set the vehicle up for the kind of road it is traversing. Amazing? You bet!
ROLLS ROYCE PHANTOM
This is quite simply the best luxury car in the world today. The Phantom is as British as it gets, even if the marque is today owned by BMW. Sitting under its hood is a 6749cc direct injection V12 petrol that produces all of 453 bhp at 5,350 rpm and 720 nm of torque at 3500 rpm. It gets to 100 kph in 6.1 seconds, gets to a respectably restricted top speed of 240 kph and handles as well. No, it's not a sports car, but a mansion on a very fast set of wheels. Weighing in at 2,670 kg, and occupying a whole lot of street-space, the Phantom is real estate on the move. And oh... the weight's with the car completely unladen... without you inside!
The only car in this list that's not a supercar or a luxury machine, the Prius earns this distinction for doing something that no other car can do - keep the environment clean... which makes it a one-of-a-kind success story and a supercar in its own right. Kitted with Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive (The International Engine of the Year 2006), the Prius uses a combination of electric motor and conventional petrol engine to achieve phenomenal fuel economy and low emissions. And the Prius isn't a concept car - totally capable of carrying a complement of four passengers, this full-sized family notchback also comes with an innovative Intelligent Park Assist system that will automatically navigate the car into a parking slot... in reverse! Wouldn't we love to see it in India?