Top 10 Performance Cars: Olympics Edition

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Automotive Editor

Armaan Almeida is the Editor-in-Chief of the New Car Pricing Insider blog and publishes daily incentives on new cars in addition to newsworthy articles pertaining to the auto industry.

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, Automotive Editor - March 18, 2013

Every four years, the world comes together to put aside its differences and compete on the biggest stage imaginable. Athletes from 204 countries come as equals, separated at the end of the day only by how well they perform. It's a little like that in the sports car world. Whether your favorite ride hails from Stuttgart, Sant'Agata Bolognese or Detroit, it's all about raw, visceral driving excitement. In honor of the 2012 London Summer Olympics, we've compiled a list of our Top 10 Performing Cars the world has to offer, along with enough verified performance specs to keep any statistician happy.

2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S

Fresh off its biggest evolution in decades, the newest 911 Carrera S is our top choice for a sports car that begs to be driven every day. Its unique rear-engined design and the ease with which it tackles any road make the iconic 911 much more than the sum of its parts, and does so with the quiet demeanor of a professional assassin−calm, cool and collected.

- MSRP Price: $96,400
- Country of Origin: Germany
- Engine: 3.8-liter flat-6, 400 hp and 325 lb-ft. torque
- Drivetrain: Rear engine, RWD
- 0-60 Time: 4.3 seconds
- 1/4-Mile Time (@ mph): 12.7 seconds @ 113.2 mph
- Braking 60-0 mph: 102 feet
- Lateral G: 1.04 G
- Top speed: 188 mph

2
2013 Nissan GT-R

Like a 100-meter sprint runner leaving the starting block, the GT-R's ATESSA-S AWD system and sophisticated launch control help it rocket to 60 mph from a standstill in just 2.7 seconds. The numbers don't lie: this is quite simply one of the quickest, fastest and best-handling machines at any price. We truly hope that Nissan continues to produce this vehicle, as rumors are swirling in regards to its demise in 2014.

- MSRP Price: $96,820
- Country of Origin: Japan
- Engine: 3.8-liter Twin-Turbo V6, 545 hp and 463 lb-ft. torque
- Drivetrain: Front engine, AWD
- 0-60 Time: 2.7 seconds
- 1/4-Mile Time (@ mph): 10.8 seconds @ 125 mph
- Braking 60-0 mph: 106 feet
- Lateral G: 1.01 G
- Top speed: 196 mph

3
MCLAREN MP4-12C

Years in the making, the MP4-12C comes from the house that built the McLaren F1, which was once the world's fastest and most sought-after production car. Its neutral balance and ease of operation the stuff of legends, the MP4-12C has the potential to outrun any of the cars here around the race circuit on home or foreign soil, from Silvertstone to Laguna Seca Raceway.

- MSRP Price: $231,400
- Country of Origin: England
- Engine: 3.8-liter Twin-Turbo V8, 592 hp and 443 lb-ft. torque
- Drivetrain: Mid-Engine, RWD
- 0-60 Time: 3.2 seconds
- 1/4-Mile Time (@ mph): 11.1 seconds @ 129.4 mph
- Braking 60-0 mph: 106 feet
- Lateral G: 1.06 G
- Top speed: 207 mph

2012 Ferrari 458 Italia

Want to break 200 mph? You have a plethora of options today, but none of them are nearly as sexy as the svelte 458 Italia, Ferrari's latest V8 gift to the sports car world. It truly is. The spiritual successor to the revered F430, the 458 is even more desirable, with a lighter more compact chassis that not only makes the car accelerate much quicker, but also sharpens steering response and its legendary road-holding capability.

- MSRP Price: $227,325
- Country of Origin: Italy
- Engine: 4.5-liter V8, 562 hp and 398 lb-ft. torque
- Drivetrain: Mid-engine, RWD
- 0-60 Time: 3.0 seconds
- 1/4-Mile Time (@ mph): 11.0 seconds @ 131 mph
- Braking 60-0 mph: 99 feet
- Lateral G: 1.01 G
- Top speed: 202 mph

LAMBORGHINI Aventador

If the 458 Italia is a bikini-clad supermodel (or member of the Dutch women's field hockey team), the Aventador is a stealth bomber, all sharp edges and hard corners and looks downright intimidating as it approaches and then inevitably passes you. With 700 horses and a 217-mph top speed, it's the highest-performing Lambo ever.

- MSRP Price: $378,995
- Country of Origin: Italy
- Engine: 6.5-liter V12, 700 hp and 507 lb-ft. torque
- Drivetrain: Mid-engine, AWD
- 0-60 Time: 3.0 seconds
- 1/4-Mile Time (@ mph): 10.9 seconds @ 133 mph
- Braking 60-0 mph: 100 feet
- Lateral G: 1.05 G
- Top speed: 217 mph

6
2012 Audi R8 - Germany
2012 Audi R8

The Audi R8 shares some components with the Lamborghini Gallardo, but give us the Audi for a winning blend of outright performance and understated luxury. Audi's quattro AWD system will do wonders to bail you out if your driving becomes a little overzealous. Which probably happens more often than not with this group of vehicles.

- MSRP Price: $115,450
- Country of Origin: Germany
- Engine: 4.2-liter V8, 430 hp and 316 lb-ft. torque
- Drivetrain: Mid-engine, AWD
- 0-60 Time: 4.5 seconds
- 1/4-Mile Time (@ mph): 12.9 seconds @ 109.2 mph
- Braking 60-0 mph: 104 feet
- Lateral G: 0.97 G
- Top speed: 187 mph

7
2012 BMW M3 - Germany
2012 BMW M3

You can't pick the kids up from school in a ZR1 or MP4-12C. At just a fraction of the price of the other cars on this list, the M3 scores so high because its outstanding capabilities come in a relatively affordable package that's easy to live with on a daily basis. Give us one, and only one, car to drive everywhere for a year and we'll pick the M3 every single time, rewarding you with the poise and civility of the best-selling 3-series with the performance of a full-blown sports car.

- MSRP Price: $60,100
- Country of Origin: Germany
- Engine: 4.0-liter V8, 414 hp and 295 lb-ft. torque
- Drivetrain: Front engine, RWD
- 0-60 Time: 4.3 seconds
- 1/4-Mile Time (@ mph): 12.7 seconds @ 114 mph
- Braking 60-0 mph: 100 feet
- Lateral G: 0.95 G
- Top speed: 161 mph

8
2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

The Corvette ZR1 proves that America can build supercars with the best of 'em, its 7:19.63 lap of Germany's Nürburgring faster than any other car on this list. It may lose some points for looking and feeling (inside and out) too much like the standard $50k Corvette, but who really cares at 205 mph?



- MSRP Price: $112,600
- Country of Origin: USA
- Engine: 6.2-liter Supercharged V8, 638 hp and 604 lb-ft. torque
- Drivetrain: Front engine, RWD
- 0-60 Time: 3.4 seconds
- 1/4-Mile Time (@ mph): 11.5 seconds @ 129 mph
- Braking 60-0 mph: 97 feet
- Lateral G: 1.05 G
- Top speed: 205 mph

 2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Competing squarely with the 911 Carrera S in price and “on paper” specs, the V8 Vantage couldn't be more different in its character. This is a grand tourer—the best that money can buy—more than a purist sports car, surrounding its driver and passenger in old-world British luxury as miles tick off by the hundreds.

- MSRP Price: $118,370
- Country of Origin: England
- Engine: 4.7-liter V8, 420 hp and 357 lb-ft. torque
- Drivetrain: Front engine, RWD
- 0-60 Time: 4.7 seconds
- 1/4-Mile Time (@ mph): 12.9 sec @ 111.5 mph (Roadster)
- Braking 60-0 mph: 126 feet (Roadster)
- Lateral G: 0.94 G (Roadster)
- Top speed: 180 mph

10
2013 Jaguar XK - England
2013 Jaguar XK

Jaguar cars today are no longer the butt of reliability jokes, rising up the ranks in build quality while maintaining the distinctly British charm that has made the brand so successful. The XK, even the “base” 5.0 V8 model, makes a top choice for a supremely luxurious and comfortable ride that can still get your blood boiling.


- MSRP Price: $84,500
- Country of Origin: England
- Engine: 5.0-liter V8, 385 hp and 380 lb-ft. torque
- Drivetrain: Front engine, RWD
- 0-60 Time: 5.2 seconds
- 1/4-Mile Time (@ mph): 13.5 seconds @ 107 mph
- Braking 60-0 mph: 117 feet
- Lateral G: 0.91 G
- Top speed: 155 mph (electronically limited)

, Automotive Editor

Armaan Almeida is the Editor-in-Chief of the New Car Pricing Insider blog and publishes daily incentives on new cars in addition to newsworthy articles pertaining to the auto industry.

Follow On: Google+ | Website

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