Hottest new cars and trucks for 2015

Porsche 918 Spyder

Debuting for 2015, the 918 Spyder is a limited production mid-engined plug-in hybrid supercar with stratospheric performance and a sticker price to match, starting at around $850,000. Porsche says car that can reach 62 mph from a standing start in a mere 2.8 seconds, which places it up with some of the fastest production cars on the planet. Its V8 engine and electric motors work in tandem to deliver a maximum 887 horsepower. Fortunately the 918 includes all-wheel-drive and state-of-the-art chassis engineering to help keep it adhered to the pavement, even at frightening speeds. Of interest to affluent environmentalists, the 918 Spyder can operate for nearly 18 miles solely on electricity in a selectable “ePower” mode. The ground-hugging 918 Spyder assumes a striking pose with its over accentuated muscular curves, though only the few and fortunate will ever get to see one in person other than perhaps at an auto show. Photo: Porsche

Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Not exactly a new model, the reintroduced Z06 version of the Chevy Corvette Stingray takes that model’s performance to new heights courtesy of a new 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that sends a passionate 625 horsepower to the rear wheels. That’s 120 horses more potent that the V8 that powered the previous ‘Vette’s Z06 model and it’s only 13 horsepower shy of the former ZR1 version that was priced well into $100,000. A seven-speed manual comes standard with a new quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters optional. A Z07 Performance Package boosts the car’s aerodynamics, and includes Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tires for enhanced traction as well as beefy Brembo carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors for greater stopping abilities. GM’s Magnetic Ride Control allows a driver to fine tune the car’s ride and handling characteristics from metropolitan mannerly to race track-ready. Photo: Chevrolet

Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo returns to the U.S. after a prolonged absence for the 2015 model year, debuting with the curvaceous and low-slung mid-engine 4C sports coupe. In an era where 500- and 600-horsepower sports cars rule the road, its 1.7-liter 237 horsepower turbocharged engine might seem lacking, but extensive use of carbon fiber, aluminum and composite materials keep the 4C’s curb weight to a minimum, which Alfa Romeo says enables the 4C to hit the 60 mph mark in the mid-four-second range. The car includes a “DNA Selector” that allows a driver to fine-tune the vehicle’s driving dynamics according to four selectable modes, including an assertive “race” setting. Photo: Alfa Romeo

General Motors’ Full-Size SUVs

GM’s fleet of full-size truck-based SUVs – the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, GMC Yukon/XL and the posher Cadillac Escalade/ESV (pictured) – undergo a major makeover for the first time in eight years with crisp new exterior styling and elegantly cast cabins. As before, the Suburban, Yukon XL and Escalade ESV versions are “stretched” to afford added third-row space and cargo room. The Chevy and GMC renditions come standard with a 5.3-liter 355-horsepower V8 engine, while the luxury equipped Yukon/Yukon XL Denali versions and the chrome bedecked Escalades include a stronger 6.2-liter 420-horsepower V8 with a mighty 450 pound/feet of torque. Four-wheel-drive is optional across all three lines. The Escalade includes Cadillac’s sophisticated Magnetic Ride Control suspension that should nicely balance this behemoth’s ride and handling qualities over changing road conditions Available features include an intuitive touchscreen- and voice-command operated infotainment system with available 4G Internet connectivity. Photo: Cadillac

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe

The former CL coupe is redesigned and renamed for 2015, officially becoming a member of Mercedes’ S-Class family. It features a distinctively flowing exterior design that sets the two-door version apart from the stately sedan upon which it’s based. The S550 Coupe packs a punch with a 4.7-liter Biturbo V8 engine that delivers 449 horsepower and a generous 516 pound-feet of torque, The automaker’s 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system comes standard for added traction on wet roads, along with a “curve tilting” function that enables the coupe to “lean” into bends like a motorcycle to reduce lateral acceleration. Meanwhile, the higher-performance S63 AMG model is propelled by an outrageous 5.5-liter Biturbo V8 that generates a rocket-like 577 horses with 664 pound-feet of torque. As with the S-Class sedan, the coupe offers a fanciful array of features that include advanced accident avoidance systems that all but take the wheel out of a driver’s hand, an in-cabin fragrance dispensing system, heated armrests and Swarovski crystal headlamps. Photo: AP Photo/Tony Ding

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