The latest full-size incarnations of the mini-speedsters from your childhood are surprisingly more practical than ever (if still pricey). Gone are the unsafe gas guzzlers of yore, replaced by these somewhat more environmentally friendly, lighter, and safer rides (with carbon fiber and composite bodies), which come bearing all of the latest tricked-out amenities. The only thing they can’t do is change colors when you run them under cold water.
For this fantasy supercar (top), Lexus’ best engineers spent a decade obsessing over every detail, while veteran race car driver Scott Pruett spent countless hours viciously pushing the car to its limits. The result? A sublime look (rear wing, slippery styling, enormous air cowls); extreme power (a highly efficient 4.8L, V10 engine); and pitch-perfect sound (the LFA’s engine note was tuned by Yamaha’s music department to give it the right roar).
The TA stands for “Time Attack.” That is, the car (above) was designed with the track enthusiast in mind: With its electronic stability control and special “Traction Control” tuning, it can take corners like a jet fighter (and handle 1.05 G’s of force). The Viper’s “Launch Control” system ensures a perfect off-the-line jump by powering the engine’s output to the rear tires—giving them just enough spin to blast you forward.
The 50th-anniversary edition of Steve McQueen’s favorite ride is here (far left), and it’s the ideal mix of throwback power and modern performance: a flashy fastback design, improved handling, and its most powerful 5.0 engine yet. A switch activates “Selectable Drive Modes,” which lets you adjust the car’s dynamics to your liking, including steering stiffness, engine response, transmission, and electronic stability control.