2014 cars: A very early preview
It's never too early to see what's under the hood for the world's car makers. Because of the peculiarities of the industry, some 2014 models have already been shown at auto shows like Paris and Frankfurt, or pictures have been released in advance of other shows like Los Angeles (in November) and Detroit (January).
Manufacturers like to keep new models under wraps until the very last minute, lest they steal sales from outgoing models, but sometimes complex logistics or simply corporate flag-waving take precedence over sales tactics.
For those who can't wait for the official start of the 2014 model year on October 1, 2013, here is a peek at some of the all-new cars and crossovers that will be emerging from design studios and engineering centers.
2014 Aston Martin Vanquish
James Bond drives a '60s-vintage DB5 in Skyfall, but actor Daniel Craig should trade it for the 2014 Vanquish faster than you can say "double-oh-seven." It has a skin of carbon fiber, the V-12 engine puts out 565 horsepower, and the car screams to 62 miles per hour in 4.2 seconds. With a top speed of 190 mph (and a base price of $280,000), even George Lazenby would have had no trouble outrunning Blofeld.
2014 BMW i3
Unlike any BMW you have ever seen, the compact hatchback i3 is made of lightweight yet super-strong carbon fiber -- the same stuff used in the fuselage of the 787 Dreamliner. More importantly, the i3 is BMW's first all-electric car. Its range is said to be around 100 miles, and anxious drivers can add a small motorcycle-like gasoline engine that extends the EV to 190 miles. The i3 is expected to go on sale late in 2013 for about $45,000. Production versions will have doors that are solid, rather than transparent below the beltline.