Tapping into our collective automotive past to find true works of four-wheeled art is a fairly easy task. The Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, the Ferrari 250 GTO, the Aston Martin DB4 Zagato, Lamborghini Miura, the Jaguar E-Type — all stunning cars that will live on as icons long beyond their production runs.
In the modern age, though, safety standards, the infusion of stratospheric levels of technology and the fickle nature of the automotive public often leave car design wanting.
Makes you wonder: Which contemporary cars will go down in history? Herein, we’ve selected five gorgeous models that we believe will shape the future of automotive design.
Mercedes-Benz S550 4MATIC Coupe
Mercedes went and upended what a German luxury coupe should look like with its latest, largest two-door grand tourer. Long, lean and not unlike a sport-luxury liner with wheels, the S550 Coupe is a sight to behold both coming and going. In non-AMG form, it’s more slender and more sophisticated in appearance, with tasty creases that run the car’s full length. ($121,550)
Jaguar F-Type Coupe
Critics questioned whether or not the legendary, stunning 1950s E-Type could ever be reincarnated into a modern Jaguar. And then Jaguar proved them wrong. The F-Type in hardtop form features near-perfect proportions and equal parts refinement and muscular menace. ($61,400)
Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4
The Huracan revives the notion that a Lamborghini can be gorgeous — that mindset near forgotten with overwrought iterations like the Countach and Diablo. Designer Filippo Perini measured just the right angles to make the Gallardo successor both slippery and intimidating all at once. The beveled top edge of the door that leads to the C-pillar is sheer automotive brilliance. The rest of the car eschews the busyness of other Lambos (like the exclusive Veneno), instead opting for stealthy elegance that still begets mad, mad speed. ($199,800)
Aston Martin Vulcan
Okay, we get that this track-only beast in Appletree Green paint looks more like a wheeled prehistoric monster than automotive art, but take a closer look at its overall shape and you’ll find gorgeousness within. The long, elegant hood of the 800HP supercar drops over thin-slit LED headlamps and meets a beautifully sloping greenhouse that’s flanked by sweeping rear haunches. It’s all punctuated by a functional spoiler that’s as big as the deck of an aircraft carrier. If you can get past that, this one’s a stunner. ($2.3 million)
The Huayra is the follow up to Horatio Pagani’s hugely successful and much lauded Zonda, but it takes that car’s artistry to new levels with its bean-sprout side mirrors, aileron air brakes and massive air intakes. The fact that it churns out 750HP and can hit 60 MPH in under three seconds just means that it’s one seriously fast thing of beauty. ($1.4 million)