High-end sports cars represent the pinnacle not just of speed and power, but also design. With sculpted sheet metal - or in most cases, carbon fiber - that shows off their prowess and presence, the top of the automotive food chain attracts at least as much attention from pedestrians and passersby as it does from local law enforcement and radar. Rare, whether due to price or low production numbers, and highly sought after as almost universally-recognized status symbols, high-end sports cars are the ones we all had posters of on the walls of our childhood bedrooms.
Let's take a quick look at 10 high-end sports cars and what makes them special.
1. 2015 Porsche 911 Turbo S
Although the GT3 sits above it as Porsche's pure track car, the 2015 Porsche 911 Turbo S is the most powerful, and for most buyers, most desirable version of the automaker's iconic sports car. The Porsche 911 Turbo S simply bludgeons the tarmac to death with its 560 horsepower, twin-turbo six-cylinder engine, a unit that also produces 516 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard with the Turbo S, as is a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission, and the car launches itself to 60-mph from a standing start in a mere three seconds.
2. 2015 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4
The 2015 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 might be the most affordable model in the Italian brand's portfolio, but don't let that fool you: this coupe is a stunning example of what a high-end sports car can accomplish. A 5.2-liter V-10 sits directly behind the passenger compartment of the Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4, where it produces 602 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque - numbers good enough to catapult the all-wheel drive coupe to 60-mph in a brisk 2.9 seconds with launch control engaged. A seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission is included with every version of the Huracán, and the car's top speed is listed at over 200-mph.
3. 2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
The 2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage combines killer British styling with a 4.7-liter V-8 engine that's good for 420 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque. Available with a six-speed manual transmission (along with the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual unit), the Aston Martin V8 Vantage's old school approach to performance will appeal to purists (as will its 4.7-second sprint to 60-mph and its impressive agility through the corners). You can also step up to the S model if you're looking for a little more torque, as it boosts the eight-cylinder motor to 361 lb-ft (while also adding 10 additional ponies).
4. 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
The 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is without question the most potent model of America's long-running high-end sports car ever built. Consider, for a moment, the specs: a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine that pounds out 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque, incredible numbers that are fed through your choice of either a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission to the coupe's rear wheels. The automatic edition of the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is actually quicker in a straight line, reaching 60-mph in three seconds on its way to a top speed past the 200-mph mark.
5. 2016 Dodge Viper ACR
The 2016 Dodge Viper ACR is a unique high-end sports car in that it's intended for those drivers who spend most of their time on a race track. This explains the enormous rear spoiler as well as the aggressive aero package outfitted to the front of the car, all of which serve to add enormous amounts of downforce while the coupe is at speed. Speed is something that the Dodge Viper ACR has in enormous supply, thanks to its 8.4-liter V-10 engine that produces 645 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque, output that you have to manage using your right hand and own two feet because the ACR comes exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission.
6. 2015 Ferrari 458 Italia
The 2015 Ferrari 458 Italia continues the automaker's tradition of building low-flying land missiles wrapped in exotic-looking packages. A 4.5-liter V-8 engine (mid-mounted of course) grinds out 570 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission is on-hand to help guide the Ferrari 458 Italia to 60-mph in the mind-blowing three second range that seems to be almost common amongst high-end sports cars. Of course, the Ferrari's eight-cylinder motor can also rev to 9,000 rpm, offering a Formula 1-inspired soundtrack to the proceedings that few other automobiles can match.
7. 2016 Jaguar F-Type R
The 2016 Jaguar F-TYPE R comes in both coupe and convertible forms, which means you have a choice as to how you want to experience the guttural wail of its active exhaust system at full throttle. The Jaguar F-Type R's 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 is an animal with its 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque, and for 2016 it's been decided that all models featuring this motor must also be equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. 60-mph arrives in a rapid 3.9 seconds with your foot to the floor in the F-Type R.
8. 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S
The 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S is the latest high-end sports car to wear the Silver Star, and while it wears familiar styling that is strongly reminiscent of previous gull-wing models, the GT S features standard doors and a whole lot more power. A top speed of 193-mph is made possible by the Mercedes-AMG GT S' 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8, a unit that's good for 503 horsepower and 497 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission and a rear-wheel drive layout are also on-hand with the coupe, which can reach 60-mph in 3.7 seconds.
9. 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus
The 2016 Audi R8 V10 Plus freshens up an already exciting high-end sports car with more power and a stiffer chassis. The Audi R8 V10 Plus is notable for its 610 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque - numbers it shares with the Lamborghini Huracán, which is the R8's platform-mate. 60-mph arrives in 3.2 seconds with the hammer down in the Audi, which features a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission (sounding a death knell for the traditional manual edition of the car), and all-wheel drive is included as standard equipment.
10. 2016 Acura NSX
The 2016 Acura NSX has yet to go on sale, but here's what we know so far about this high-end sports car: it offers a unique hybrid drive system that pairs a 3.5-liter V-6 with a pair of electric motors in order to produce more than 550 horsepower. All-wheel drive is part of the Acura NSX package, too, thanks to the fact that the electric motors are exclusively attached to the front axle. A nine-speed automated manual gearbox holds everything together for the supercar, and top speed is predicted to approach 200-mph.