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First Place Finishers

Men’s Book Chicago presents the hottest new rides for 2014 and beyond.

2014 Aston Martin Vanquish

2014 Aston Martin Vanquish
Aston Martin’s newest flagship supercar, the Vanquish, is a blisteringly fast V12 coupe that makes no apologies for its ostentatious demeanor. A car so exclusive an ordinary metal key wouldn’t do, the Vanquish instead implements what Aston Martin calls an Emotion Control Unit—a glass key fob made of crystal and polished stainless steel. Over-the-top in all the right ways, the 565-horsepower Vanquish races from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 4.0 seconds, shooting off shifts from its six-speed automatic transmission in rapid-fire style. Its design is just as remarkable as its performance: Dihedral doors open up and out to add a hint of drama when drivers pull up to the valet stand; bejeweled headlamps with LED accents flank Aston’s signature grille up front; and a carbon fiber air diffuser with integrated exhaust outlets draws eyes from the rear. Inside, the design center console flows downward from the upper dash in one sweep, and features glass buttons with capacitive touch controls similar to what one finds on the best smartphones. A supercar that would make James Bond crack a smile, the $282,100 Aston Martin Vanquish is a future collectible that is, by far, best enjoyed today. Napleton’s Aston Martin of Chicago, 217 Ogden Ave., Downers Grove, 630.960.2000

Four-Door Luxury Sedan
2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Often the vehicle of choice for executives, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is an iconic symbol of success. For 2014, Mercedes-Benz has completely redesigned its flagship luxury sedan, reasserting its dominance in this most competitive segment. Among the groundbreaking innovations in the new $92,900 S-Class is Mercedes’ Magic Body Control, a high-tech suspension system that uses cameras to scan the road up to 50 feet ahead for bumps, and subsequently adjusts the suspension to compensate for the road imperfections it detects. The result is an unbelievably smooth ride. The S550, with dual-pane windows all around, is also supremely quiet. Hot-stone massaging seats with 14 moving air pockets relieve pressure on long trips, while the new Distronic Plus with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot is the ultimate traffic congestion stress-reliever: The car handles braking, steering and even keeping itself in the correct lane automatically. Simply put, Mercedes has built the finest, most state-of-the-art luxury sedan on Earth. Mercedes-Benz of Chicago, 1520 W. North Ave., 312.267.0870

2014 Jaguar F-Type
Penned by legendary British designer Ian Callum, the 2013 Jaguar F-Type is a two-passenger roadster built for speed and style. This all-aluminum standout starts things on the right note with retractable door handles—which literally reach out to greet drivers as they unlock the car. The F-Type’s interior, meanwhile, is built around the operator, with the low-slung driver’s seat positioned close to the road for a memorably thrilling top-down experience. A sweeping leather-trimmed grab handle becomes a reassuring fixture to passengers, thanks to the F-Type’s remarkable agility—a result of its lightweight 3,500-pound body. Choose from three models, the most powerful of which, the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 S, rockets from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. A fast yet fuel efficient eight-speed automatic transmission handles the shifting, blipping the throttle on downshifts to keep the car balanced through tight turns or heavy braking. A rolling sculpture, Jaguar’s $92,000 F-Type is especially appealing as the open-top driving season begins. Imperial Motors Jaguar of Wilmette, 721 Green Bay Road, Wilmette, 847.256.0606

Entry-Level Sports Sedan
2014 Infiniti Q50

Being stuck in traffic is far from the best way to start a morning, and Infiniti’s new entry-level luxury sedan, the $37,050 Q50, softens the commuting blow with its host of high-tech features. Active Lane Control implements a camera placed behind the rearview mirror, which interacts with drive-by-wire steering, to automatically keep the car in the lane. And with Intelligent Cruise Control, the Q50 also maintains a preset distance between itself and the car in front of it. This is a watershed feature, and drivers will be left wondering how they managed without it. When the stop-and-go drudgery is over, and it’s time to hit the open road, the Q50’s 328 horsepower V6 provides an abundance of power, chirping the rear tires in a 5.3 second sprint from 0 to 60 mph. Despite its impressive performance stats, the Q50 still manages 30 mpg on the highway, making it one of the most efficient sport sedans on the market. Inside, it hosts not one but two touch screens, while Active Noise Control works to keep the cabin quiet à la noise-canceling headphones. And with a footprint wider than its predecessor, the Q50 offers an especially roomy cabin. Fields Infiniti Glencoe, 2100 Frontage Road, Glencoe, 847.998.5200

Pickup Truck
2014 Ram 1500 Laramie

One of the fastest growing segments in the automotive industry, luxury pickup trucks are poised to make even bigger gains in 2014, thanks to a new field of all-star models. Leading the pack is Ram’s $43,255 1500 Laramie. New for this year is the addition of an optional 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 to the lineup, making it the only light-duty pickup to offer a diesel engine. It’s also the only truck in its segment with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which is partially responsible for its impressive 21 mpg highway fuel economy rating. Function is front and center, as the Laramie tows up to 9,700 pounds. And the air-suspension system is capable of giving the Ram up to 10.7 inches of ground clearance—or lowering, at the push of a button, to deliver a best-in-class 21-inch step-in height. Inside, from its leather-stitched dashtop to its 8.4-inch touch screen and open-pore wood trim, the Laramie takes its cues from a luxury sedan. Fields Chrysler Jeep Dodge, 670 Frontage Road, Northfield, 847.446.5100

Four-Door Sports Coupe
2014 Audi RS 7

A bona fide sports car, save for its rear doors, the 2014 Audi RS 7’s performance measures up to its considerably aggressive looks. Powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine, the RS 7 produces 560 horsepower, catapulting it from 0 to 60 mph in a jaw-dropping 3.7 seconds—that’s faster than some Lamborghinis. Safety isn’t on the back burner, though, as the RS 7’s Quattro all-wheel drive creates remarkable traction regardless of the road surface. A sophisticated deactivation system, meanwhile, lets the RS 7 run on just four cylinders—a virtue partly responsible for its 27 mpg highway rating. On the road, the RS 7’s power is so effortless that drivers might easily find themselves eclipsing the speed limit. To address that problem, Audi engineers equipped the car with a programmable speed warning. And this is one vehicle with a bark as big as its bite: With its menacing blacked-out trapezoidal grille and smoked LED headlight lenses, the $104,900 RS 7 is clearly not your father’s four-door. The interior is just as scintillating, with intricate quilted leather seats, distinctive wood with inlaid aluminum and a head-up display that projects speed and other pertinent information onto the windshield—so drivers can keep their eyes glued to the road. Now that’s smart engineering. Continental Audi of Naperville, 1527 Aurora Ave., Naperville, 630.388.1000

MidSize Luxury Sedan
2014 BMW 5 Series

For decades, BMW’s 5 Series sports sedan has been the benchmark by which all other mid-size luxury sedans are tested—and for good reason. Inside, the 5 Series borrows heavily from its pricier 7 Series sibling: The 5 is extremely spacious, offering plentiful room in back. And BMW has enhanced the iDrive control system by adding a new touchpad surface, making destination inputs easier by allowing drivers to draw letters with their finger. While the 5 comes in a variety of different models, including hybrid and diesel options, the 535i, with its 300 horsepower, should please most buyers—but those who prefer a 4.5-second run from 0 to 60 mph will want to upgrade to the $63,900, 550-horsepower 550i. No matter which version one chooses, rear-wheel drive and a 50/50 front/rear weight distribution guarantee a stellar ride. Make a 5 Series purchase even more memorable with BMW’s European Delivery Program, with which buyers can enjoy the 5 as it was intended—at unlimited speeds on the Autobahn. Just get to Munich; pick up the vehicle; and BMW provides European car insurance for up to 14 days. The real frosting on the 5 Series cake, though, is its no-cost maintenance program, which includes everything from oil changes to brake pads for four years or 50,000 miles. Perillo BMW, 1035 N. Clark St., 312.878.8075

High-Performance SUV
2014 Range Rover Sport Supercharged

Having shed some 813 pounds through the extensive use of aluminum, the 2014 Range Rover Sport feels like a whole new, and much more agile, beast. A new rounded shape lends the Sport an aggressive stance while still incorporating signature design cues like a clamshell hood and short overhangs. Under the hood, the Sport boasts a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 that pumps out 510 horsepower, good for 0 to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds. With its weight loss and new smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, the Sport is also more fuel efficient than ever, achieving up to 19 mpg on the highway. For those interested in towing, the Sport delivers, as it’s rated at up to 7,716 pounds. Inside, the bespoke cabin is as elegant as it is high-tech and, for audiophiles, a $6,300 Meridian Signature Audio Enhancement package brings 1,700 watts of power to 23 speakers. Additionally, for the first time ever, the Sport offers seating for seven with an optional fold-flat third row. With its vastly improved handling and striking redesigned exterior, the $79,995 Range Rover Sport Supercharged is tough to beat. Land Rover Lake Bluff, 375 Skokie Highway, Lake Bluff, 847.604.8100

2014 Cadillac ELR

From saving gas to saving time, the 2014 Cadillac ELR does it all. The ELR is powered by an advanced 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that propels it for approximately 35 miles, at which point its 1.4-liter gasoline-powered generator kicks in for a driving range of more than 300 miles. Most of the time, ELR owners will never hear the gasoline generator at all, as the 35-mile electric range will suffice for most daily errands. Recharging is a simple enough task, requiring only 4.5 hours using a 240V at-home charging station. While the real draw of this car is its electric capacity, the interior leaves nothing to be desired—incorporating, for instance, a multimedia interface system that recognizes multitouch inputs similar to those on a smartphone. The ELR, however, is still a showcase for Old World craftsmanship, from olive ash accents to a cut-and-sewn instrument panel. Keeping in line with its revolutionary spirit, the ELR’s exterior is like nothing else on the road, with its futuristic sharp angles and dramatic lighting fixtures. Furthermore, available federal tax credits up to $7,500 make the ELR’s $75,000 price tag even more enticing. Steve Foley Cadillac, 100 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, 877.721.7965

Seven-Passenger SUV
2014 Lexus LX 570

The SUV of choice for many foreign service types in rough terrain, the Lexus LX 570 is dependable, tough and can get through nearly anything in its path. It is, for certain, a beauty, but it also features four-wheel drive with a locking center differential, low-range mode for crawling down steep hills and an adjustable height suspension system capable of raising it 3 inches. What’s most surprising about the $82,630 LX, though, is its smooth ride, which soaks up bumps like no other SUV its size. The secret is Lexus’ Adaptive Variable Suspension system, which continually adjusts the shock absorber’s damping rates to suit the driver’s mood, from Sport to Comfort modes. Power is generated by a 5.7-liter V8 that accelerates the LX from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds—admirable considering it tips the scales at 6,000 pounds. Bredemann Lexus, 2000 Waukegan Road, Glenview, 847.510.5535

Grand Sport Tourer
2014 Bentley Continental GT 6.0 W12

From commuting to day trips, Bentley’s Continental GT 6.0 W12 is the ultimate everyday driver, delivering effortless power in the form of an uberluxurious, hand-built two-door coupe. Both bold and elegant, the Continental makes a lasting impression with its large, upright grille, flanked by bejeweled headlights. Onlookers will note the clean lines of its body, a result of aluminum superforming—a process that creates panels that require no seams or welds. But don’t be fooled by the elegant exterior: This $198,600 all-wheel drive two-door is shockingly fast. The 12-cylinder twin-turbocharged engine kicks up 567 horsepower for 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Slide into the driver’s seat and appreciate the handcrafted interior, which melds best-in-class materials with the most advanced technological features. From hand-selected leather hides to deep-pile carpets and UV-treated wood trim, Bentley’s attention to detail is second to none. A 30 GB onboard hard drive, meanwhile, is voice-activated for hassle-free inputs, and incorporates Google Maps for incredibly detailed directions. To put it plainly, this is the finest two-door luxury coupe on the market. Bentley Gold Coast, 834 N. Rush St., 312.280.4848

Sports Coupe
2014 Porsche 911 Carrera

Since 1963, Porsche’s 911 has thrilled enthusiasts with its crackling rear boxer engines, iconic sloping roofline and signature oval headlamps. Fast-forward to 2014 and the 911 Carrera is still wooing legions of fans, whether they’re driving a coupe or a Turbo S Cabriolet. In the popular $98,900 Carrera S guise, no fewer than 400 ponies are on standby ready to jump to attention. With its optional Sports Exhaust, the Carrera delivers a full-on engine concert more akin to a snarling supercar than a coupe. A must-have for the enthusiast is Porsche’s stellar seven-speed manual transmission, which, in Sport Plus mode, automatically blips the throttle on downshifts to match the vehicle’s engine speed. The ensuing ride is guaranteed to thrill. Inside, the 911 is more luxurious than ever, borrowing design cues from the Panamera sedan with its high-rising center console and advanced 7-inch touch-screen navigation system. Loeber Motors, 7101 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincolnwood, 888.882.3507