First Look:Bentley Continental GT Speed
The mental Continental

*Inspired by the legendary 'Speed' models that first appeared in 1923, the new Bentley Continental GT Speed is the most powerful production Bentley ever. And the first to top 200 mph. Its W12 engine develops nine percent more power (600 hp) and 15 percent more torque (553 lb-ft) than the standard Continental GT, while engine efficiency is optimized by the use of lower friction, lighter components and a new management system. The result is a top speed of 202 mph and a zero-to-60 mph time of just 4.3 seconds. Although the regular Continental GT remains pretty quick: top speed is 198 mph, and zero-to-60 mph happens in 4.6 seconds.

This model heralds a subtle new look for the Continental in general, with wider, lower air intakes and a more upright grille. Sporty design touches for the GT Speed include a dark-tinted grille and larger sport tailpipes. Complementing the car's high performance is a chassis tune with a lower ride height, sharper handling and greater agility. Springs and anti-roll bars are uprated, and the rear bushings are stiffer. Fade-resistant carbon ceramic brakes are available as an option. Both cars benefit from internal efficiencies to deliver reduced fuel consumption and emissions, both by around 3.5 percent. The GT Speed is available from December 2007 with an MSRP that's 10 bucks short of $200,000.

First Look
AMG C63
Power crazy

*This is the kind of arms race we like. In answer to the new BMW M3 having 414 hp, AMG has gone and put a 6.2-liter V8 engine into a Mercedes-Benz C-Class and given this small sedan 457 hp at 6800 rpm, with a mountainous 442 lb-ft of torque from 2000 rpm, just for good measure. With a power-to-weight ratio of 7.9 pounds per hp, the C63 AMG zips from zero to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds and is electronically limited to a top speed of 155 mph. AMG fans will be no strangers to the company's V8 masterpiece, as it powers much of its product, each one made by hand and signed by the engineer. Here it drives the C63's rear wheels via AMG's Speedshift seven-speed automatic transmission. This car is the first AMG to feature automatic throttle blipping on downshifts. It also sports a specially tuned suspension, lightweight and aerodynamic body panels, and 18-inch light-alloy wheels (19-inchers are an option). Like the new C-Class it's based on, the C63 had a previous life as a digital prototype, but has also received a grueling real-life test regime that took it from Death Valley to South Africa. If it's half as good as the CLK63 Black Series, it will still be brilliant. Expect it in the US in early spring 2008.

First Look
Ferrari 430 Scuderia
Speed of light

*The new Ferrari 430 Scuderia is a special high-performance two-seater berlinetta based on the F430 and aimed specifically at Ferrari's most sports-oriented clients. Much of the company's F1 know-how has found its way into the car, with a focus on light weight, minimum trimmings and innovative technology. It has a low, low weight-to-power ratio of just 5.4 pounds per hp. That's thanks to a low dry weight of just 2750 pounds (220 pounds less than the standard F430) and to the naturally aspirated 4308 cc V8's 510 hp at 8500 rpm. The latest F1 software-F1 Superfast-reduces gearchange times to just 60 milliseconds and a new traction control system combines the E-Diff electronic differential and the F1-Trac traction and stability control in a single integrated system for the first time. Money? Yes, it'll cost some, but we only need one kidney, right?

By Mike Febbo
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