The most beautiful cars of 2012
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Behind the List
In past years we have rounded up some beautiful vintage whips, so for the latest graduating class of stunners we considered only models that are new on sale this year.
But just being popular or expensive isn’t enough to make this list—the polarizing Porsche Panamera and Ferrari FF, for instance, didn’t make the cut. They’re both great cars, fast and fun to drive, but their looks aren’t conventionally beautiful.
“Beauty first and foremost is the No. 1 factor in evaluating a car,” says David Gooding, the founder of the Gooding & Co. auction house. “If it is beautiful, it always captivates people.”
He’s selling a regal 1936 Mercedes-Benz Von Krieger 540K Special Roadster at the Pebble Beach auction this year and says its unique good looks could push it to a record-breaking cull.
Is there any objective factor in determining what makes a car like the Jaguar E-Type so attractive? A lot of it has to do with proportion. Jae Min, a chief designer for Volkswagen Group, says the correct balance between height, length and width plays a significant role in just how beautiful–or unbeautiful–a car appears.
“There is a fundamental value in good proportion,” Min says. “That is something that we all share in terms of what is beautiful.”
Anyway, the real challenge to making a beautiful car, Min says, is to create a design that is relevant and functional without becoming trendy.
Need a primer? Study the Porsche 911 Turbo or the Mercedes-Benz SLS line. They’ve each got good looks classic enough to withstand the test of time, but they each look as fresh and dynamic as the day they debuted. Expect to see them on most-beautiful lists for years to come.
Ferrari 458 Spider
Ferrari 458 Spider Feast your eyes on the world's first hardtop convertible mid-engine supercar. This $257,000 stunner has a V8, rear-wheel drive engine and goes 0-60mph in 3.3 seconds. With the roof up, the car looks just like the stunning Italia. With the ultra-light hardtop down, it is the hottest convertible on the market today.