It’s only February and already some hearts are set on spring and getting out on the road in an exquisitely-made and breathtakingly powerful performance machine. With no aspersions to lesser-priced sports cars, it’s worth taking note of what some of the upper-echelon makes and models have to offer for 2016 and 2017. Exterior styling may be not much changed on some of these models, but others boast all-new designs.

2017 Porsche 911 Carrera

2017 Porsche 911 Carrera – Always near the top of any list of high-priced sports cars worth a serious look is the Porsche 911. For 2017, the news gets even better with the Porsche 911 Carrera and Carrera S. Most of these changes are under the hood, and the results are exquisitely satisfying, say automotive enthusiasts who’ve spent time behind the wheel. The rear-mounted engine now has a reduced displacement to 3.0 liters, but has two turbochargers for an increased 20 horsepower, 44 extra pound-feet of torque, and better fuel economy.

2017 Porsche 911 Carrera

The 3.0-liter turbocharged flat-6 engine (365 horsepower in Carrera, 414 horsepower in Carrera S) with PDK automatic transmission does 0-60 mph in 4 .2 seconds Carrera coupe and 3.9 seconds in Carrera S coupe. Active suspension management is standard and active rear-wheel steering is available on Carrera S (previously only available on 911 Turbo and GT3 models). Pricing starts at $90,395 for Carrera coupe and $104,395 for Carrera S coupe. Convertible versions cost an additional $12,300 for each model.

2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus quattro

2017 Audi R8 V10, V10 Plus – Starting prices for the 2017 Audi R8 V10 and V10 Plus, at $162,900 and $189,900, respectively, are just the first indicator of something new and exciting with the flagship Audi R8. Audi says the engine and chassis are derived directly from the R8 LMS racecar. The top-of-the-line R8 V10 Plus boasts 610 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. With a top speed of 205 mph, the V10 Plus goes from 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds. Nappa leather seats, 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen® sound system, Audi virtual cockpit and Audi Connect with Google Earth are just a few of the interior delights. Pricing begins at $162,900 for the R8 V10 and $189,900 for the R8 V10 Plus.

2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider – The 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is a relative bargain when it comes to high-priced sports cars, beginning at $65,495. This mid-engine car is considered a throwback to the great racing days of the Italian company, thanks to its lightweight, turbocharged, 237-hp four-cylinder engine in a vehicle that’s stripped to the essentials. For instance, the 4C Spider has no infotainment system, no glove compartment, no center console and only limited interior storage space. The seats are hard and narrow and the engine is loud. Yet for all its simplicity, the car is stunning. It’s also rather fast, doing 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds and boasting a top speed of 160 mph. Fuel economy is estimated at 24 mpg city/34 mpg highway. Add the track package, special wheels and custom paint and the 4C Spider can approach $77,000.

2016 Jaguar F-TYPE R Coupe AWD

2016 Jaguar F-TYPE R – In addition to gorgeous styling, Jaguar has made some changes to the trim levels and option packages of the 2016 F-Type, including the F-Type R, now exclusively available all-wheel drive and automatic transmission. The F-Type R is powered by a 550-hp supercharged V8 engine, but gone is the rear-wheel drive option that so lent itself to tire-smoking driving thrills. Still, the 2016 F-Type R is more than satisfying taking winding mountain roads and the charisma of the sports car is undeniable. Inside the car, there’s updated trim and a standard 12-speaker Meridian sound system, heated sport seats, full leather upholstery and interior trim, heated steering wheel and metal pedals. The F-Type also gets 20-inch wheels, red brake calipers with larger rear brakes, quad exhausts, auto-dimming mirrors, rear parking sensors and more. Starting price is $103,600.

2016 Jaguar XF – Sporting a fresh new design, the second-generation 2016 Jaguar XF sports sedan has mass appeal due to its sensuous looks, potent 380-hp 3.0-liter supercharged direct-injection V6 with variable cam phasing, eight-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode, and rear- or all-wheel-drive. Zero to 60 mph is accomplished in 5.0 seconds and fuel economy is estimated at 20 mpg city/30 mpg highway. The base price for the 2016 Jaguar XF S is $51,900, while a nicely-loaded XF S AWD is in the vicinity of $65,700. Interestingly, Jaguar’s price recalibration puts the 2016 XF base price $5,185 less expensive than last year’s model.

2016 Bentley Continental GT SpeedIt’s been called a hot rod that enjoys haute couture appointments. And that’s not hyperbole. The 2016 Bentley Continental GT Speed, at a starting price of $266,125, is all-Bentley – from the flying B’s on the hood and trunk to the instantly recognizable Bentley logo on the wheels (as well as the valve stem caps and gas cap). Powering the luxury sports car is a twin turbocharged, 12-cylinder engine that delivers 626 horsepower and 607 pound-feet of torque. The GT Speed can reach 203 mph and does 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds. Fuel economy in this car that weighs almost 6,000 pounds is understandably not its strong point: an estimated 12 mpg city/20 mpg highway. Every Bentley vehicle is handcrafted in Crewe, England. In fact, Bentley says it takes workers 104 hours to build one GT – and that includes 25 hours for upholstery stitching. Put in a few extra bells and whistles and this ultra-quiet GT Speed can cost in the vicinity of $303,368.

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