10 Rear Ends You Won't Regret Seeing: NAIAS Previews
There’s just something about a perfectly molded rear end that can make anyone stop dead in his or her tracks. You know the feeling... the overwhelming urge to run your fingers over the flowing curves, but then forcing yourself to refrain as to not cause trouble. There’s no need to leave greasy fingerprints on such perfection, anyway.
Everyone has a preference: round and voluptuous, sculpted and muscular, or thin and edgy, and each one deserves admiration. Let’s begin with the top 10 moneymakers that graced our presence during the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
1. Ford GT
Never mind that it’s a mid-engine twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 hypercar with 600+ hp — the new Ford GT has the looks that make knees shake. Its majestic carbon fiber construction sensually embraces the combination of sharp angles and rolling curves, from the alluring front end to its equally stunning rear. It’s a shame that only 500 people were approved to purchase one this year. But maybe it’s for the best; its strikingly exotic physique is far too distracting for all the rubberneckers on the road, me included.
2. Acura NSX GT3 Race Car
The Acura NSX GT3 made its presence known at the NAIAS. I felt its nonpareil essence before spotting it through a crowd, slowly spinning on the turntable. At first glance, the angular front end widely swoops down the sides to the expertly aerodynamic rear, paying compliment to its assets, meaning the 500-hp twin-turbo V6, of course. It’s an NSX with advanced aerodynamics. The rigid underbody diffuser and sizable rear deck wing splits the air at high speeds. A functional design that upholds its intoxicating looks is chemistry all its own: I think it’s called “love.” OK, quit staring. It’s time to move on.
3. Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
A feeling of exhilaration transpires when the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider’s callipygian (look that word up and use it in conversation today!) physique comes into view. Its curvilinear design forms a figure of agility, command and grace, with a side of frisky. For example, powered by its 237-hp turbocharged inline-four, the 4C Spider speeds from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds. But don’t expect to fit much junk in this trunk; this mid-engine car is built for real driving.
4. VLF Force 1 V10
At first glance, the VLF Force 1’s chiseled hood, swooping roofline, and wide, upturned rear seemingly shared Dodge Viper’s characteristics, but then the smatterings of bold, distinctive Fisker traits became more evident, followed by a touch of aerodynamic artistry.
Let’s start from the beginning: The VL Automotive brand was launched by former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz and former Boeing Aircraft company Executive Gilbert Villarreal in 2012. Then in 2016, Henrik Fisker joined, soon followed by Dodge Viper pro-racer Ben Keating. The VLF Force 1 was the result of the masterful combination. Simply put, it’s a bold, beautiful, 745-hp paragon.
5. Lexus RC F GT3 Race Car
The thrill of rounding a corner into a hidden nook where the Lexus RC F GT3 sat resulted in a visual blast of splendor. The low, wide body, domed hood and deep, hourglass-shaped grille coaxed me in for a full eyegasmic walk-around, revealing the functional beauty from every angle. The fastidiously designed air scoops, active rear wing and carbon fiber components give the illusion of insane speed even while it slumbers.
The 3GT Racing team, formerly F Performance Racing, is entering a pair of these Lexus RC F GT3s into the 2017 IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship series, which will put Lexus’ most recent technologies, such as the RC F’s modified 540-hp 5-liter V8 engine and performance-tuned suspension, to the optimum test.
6. Audi R8 V10 Plus
The R8 V10 Plus is the fastest roadworthy car produced by Audi. The 5.2-liter 610-hp engine catapults the low, chiseled coupe to 124 mph in 9.9 seconds. With the engine and chassis of an R8 LMS race car, this all-wheel-drive supercar combines performance with formidable looks. Aggressive, angular features and wide, rolling fenders are met with sharp creases in all the right places, and the carbon fiber spoiler and diffuser round out the rear end.
7. BMW M6 Gran Coupe
While the overall design is understated, often times less is more. The M6 Gran Coupe’s clean, gorgeous sheet metal exemplifies a feeling of grandeur. It’s sophisticated yet sensual. The competition pack offers a sport-tuned chassis and a 560-hp twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8, which is powerful enough to beat out track competition in stock form. Oddly enough, the drivers that fall behind the Gran Coupe likely don’t mind; at least the view is nice.
8. Chevrolet Corvette GS
The Grand Sport has recently been Chevrolet’s best-selling Corvette model, and it carries on the racing spirit of the 1963 model. It looks exotic, yet sounds like raw muscle. The 2018 GS simulates a C7 Stingray with the Z51 option for the thundering 460-hp 6.2-liter V8, and it features a dry oil sump, so drivers can take those corners as hard as they please. It shares body panels and suspension with the Z06, including the front splitter, side sills and adjustable Wickerbill rear spoiler. Its herculean stance resembles that of a body builder’s brawny upper body, with small legs in comparison. Its low hood line and mighty sharp edges surely slice the air like a hot knife through butter.
9. Mercedes-AMG GT C Edition 50
Mercedes combined art with engineering to celebrate a 50-year partnership with AMG, and the exquisite Mercedes-AMG GT C coupe was the result. The car’s lurid bodywork matches its prodigious performance with a 500-hp 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine. The AMG Track Pack allows the driver to master his or her skills, and for advantageous handling, active rear-wheel steering allows for tighter turns.
Fifty coupes and 50 convertibles will be built in this trim, which features a stunning matte finish, black chrome trim and the AMG Panamericana grille. The GT C’s rear fenders are over 2 inches wider than the GT and GTS, which makes it 10 times more sultry.
10. Toyota Prius G
Allow me to spice things up a bit. The Toyota Prius has been scorned by petrolheads since its release, but the G has been making even the most deep-seated cynics curious. It even made me look twice.
Inspired by Toyota’s GT300 race car of Japan, the Prius G is named after the single g-force it pulled on the skidpad. Overall, that may not be the most impressive number, but you have to remember: This is a Prius we are talking about here.
It was built purely for optimal handling and still has its stock drivetrain, but a race-tuned Tein suspension and electronically controlled dampening was added. Although the familiar Prius details were prominent, the race car treatment made all predispositions perish. The intensely lowered, aggressive stance resembles that of the Japanese VIP tuner culture. The new front and rear bumpers (with aprons) feature a more angular, aggressive look, while the side skirts and diffuser scream “race car.” The stripped-down, race-prepped interior helps a bit, too. Even though the car still harbors its hybrid 1.8-liter inline-four with a mere 121 hp, at least it will look good going slow.