From an early age, we're taught to never judge a book by its cover. But let's be honest here: looks matter. This is especially true when it comes to cars. Sure, driving dynamics, interior quality and reliability are important attributes. But I guarantee that somewhere inside of you there's a desire to be behind the wheel of something so gorgeous that it makes people go "Wow!" when you drive past.
Cars today can be absolutely beautiful objects, many of them the product of years of artistry, design and engineering. We recently asked the AOL Autos and Autoblog editors, people who look at and dream about cars every day, to pick the vehicle that they see as the most beautiful on the road. It wasn't an easy task, and the subjective nature of the topic resulted in much internal and external debate, but we were able to eventually each settle on one choice.
Head through to see the rides that we think are among the most attractive on the road today. While many exist solely for the pleasure of the one percent, there are still a few out there that the average American can afford to drive.
Adam Morath (Multimedia Director, AOL Autos) - Audi A7There's something about photographing a car that helps you to appreciate the details. I recall filming the Audi A7 for the first time, when one particular shot made me step back and say, "wow."
It was 2011 and the A7 had just launched. From the front, it appeared Audi had delivered another handsome sports sedan, complete with the automaker's signature LED daytime running lights. I panned across the vehicle's oversized grille, flanked by aggressive brake ducts with cleverly integrated safety sensors in place of traditional fog lamps. From the side, the A7's frameless doors and invisible B-pillar lent a coupe-like profile, with a strong shoulder line running the length of the vehicle.
I began meticulously gathering B-roll from badge to bumper, making my way toward the back of the vehicle.
The rear three-quarter perspective was where the A7 really shined. Its unique "sportback" -- Audi's term for the A7's sleek hatchback -- not only offers an abundance of cargo space, but serves to set the A7 apart from the crowd. The long roofline slopes downward until it is abruptly cut off by the lip of the deck lid. The effect is one that Audi designers say is "reminiscent of Italian cars of the 1960s," according to the New York Times. The result is a thoroughly modern silhouette that manages to reference some of the best of automotive design's past.
The camera was set as I held the A7's key fob in my hand. I released the motorized trunk latch and watched as the sleek sheet of glass ascended ceremoniously toward the sky.
If popping the trunk can illicit a moment of awe and wonder, you know the designers have done something right.
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Brandon Turkus (Contributor, Autoblog) - Lamborghini HuracanIn 1966, Lamborghini debuted the Miura at the Geneva Motor Show. The Miura was, quite simply, the best-looking car on the road, and it remains one of the most lust-worthy autos on the planet, more than 40 years after production ended. In 1974, Lamborghini unveiled the Countach, and with a snap of the fingers, the Raging Bulls stopped being pretty.
Sure, there was nothing inherently wrong with the Countach and its successor, the Diablo, but compared to the Miura, the two were nothing more than the vulgar, garish products of the times they were produced in. In 2007, though, Lamborghini revealed the Reventón, and while that car seemed to face the same problems as the Countach and Diablo, the design sense it instilled in Lamborghini has led the automaker into a world of striking designs.
?Nowhere is that better exemplified than in the new Huracán LP610-4. Set to arrive at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show and arrive in dealers shortly after, the Huracán is one of the very few cars that made me gasp and whisper, “Oh, wow…” the first time I saw it. It’s not as pretty as a Miura (although the same thing could be said of Kate Upton, Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” or the Grand Canyon), but it takes the aggression of past Lambos and smoothes them out into a wedge-shaped work of art.
?From the rear three-quarters, its high haunches, squat taillights and meaty, staggered, quad exhausts make it look like its from the future. In front, it tempers the Aventador’s aggression and fussy design into something that's still very menacing. The suede, leather and carbon-fiber interior, meanwhile is wildly improved from Lambos of old. In short, while it may not technically be on sale yet, I’m quite certain that when it arrives, it will be the most beautiful car on the road.
Michael Harley (West Coast Editor, Autoblog) - Aston Martin Vanquish VolanteAston Martin has been hitting the ball out of the park in the styling department for decades. Today, the British automaker offers its affluent clientele stunning designs that are modern and fresh, yet still appear ageless decades down the road. The epitome of the automaker's craft is found with the all-new Aston Martin Vanquish Volante, the drop-top version of the Vanquish coupe.
The two-seater is visually jaw-dropping, both in pictures and in person, with a long slender chassis covered in artfully sculpted carbon-fiber skin that reeks of sexiness, power and exclusivity - exactly as the automaker wishes. A deep front splitter sets the tone, oversized multi-spoke alloy wheels perfectly fill their wells, and the tail is capped with twin exhaust ports embedded into the rear fascia. Not to be overlooked is the brilliantly executed opening below the integrated rear spoiler, which is molded as one piece.
In terms of appearance, the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante may have competitors -- but it has no peers.
Chris McGraw (Associate Multimedia Editor, AOL Autos) - McLaren P1Beauty is subjective. That being said, I don't know how anyone could look at the McLaren P1 and not see beauty. Everything about the car is streamlined, from the front fascia to the doors, to the rear wing.
Personally, I prefer the P1 in orange (matching the hair color of yours truly), which contrasts brilliantly with the black underneath the headlights, along the roof and on the doors. The string of LEDs on the rear scream modern, and the curves give it the look of a crashing wave. Even the brakes are polished.
When you hand make only one car a day you can afford to put as much effort and beauty as McLaren did to the P1. I can't wait to see one on the road.
Jeremy Korzeniewski (Managing Editor, Autoblog) - Aston Martin V12 ZagatoI happen to think that pretty much every car ever to wear an Aston Martin badge is attractive. Sure, there are the occasional oddities like the Lagonda and Cygnet that don't quite stir the heartstrings with the fervor of its DB-branded coupes, but even those have some interesting styling bits molded in that make them interesting.
With that almost assuredly unnecessary preamble out of the way, let's cut to the chase – the Aston Martin V12 Zagato is the most beautiful car currently on sale. Some people have suggested that Aston Martin is in a styling rut, relying too heavily on its unique grille (which is being copied in interesting places across the industry ...) and flowing design language that debuted with the DB7 in 1994, but I completely disagree. There's a clear styling progression that has moved successfully from the mid-90s on through to today, but it's the occasional Zagato production model that shakes up the British firm's design and takes it to the next level.
First unveiled in Lake Como, Italy at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in 2011 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, the V12 Zagato is based on the also beautiful V12 Vantage, and is equipped with the firm's 6.0-liter V12 engine that produces 510 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. The car very well received, and Aston Martin found enough demand for a production version. Just 150 of these seductive coupes will be sold for the street, each bringing with it a sticker price of $546,000 at current exchange rates.
Not only is the Aston Martin V12 Zagato beautiful to look at, it's also been rather successful on the race track, finishing well at the Nürburgring 24-Hours race in 2011 and 2012. Kind of like a supermodel with a doctorate, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato manages to be both successful and beautiful at the same time. I'm in lust.
Michael Zak (Consumer Editor, AOL Autos) - Jaguar F-Type
I had the opportunity to take a spin in a bright orange Jaguar F-Type a few months ago. Between the striking design, searing paint job and intoxicating exhaust note, this car turned heads like nothing I've ever seen. I think I could have walked around town with Kate Upton clinging to my arm and fewer people would have taken notice.
The F-Type is Jaguar's return to the full-size sports car segment. It's been quite some time since the British luxury brand has given us something like this, and I can strongly attest that it was well worth the wait. With an aggressive stance, luscious, sculpted lines and a clean, handsome fascia, this is, to me, the most attractive car on the road. Factoring in the deep, heavenly sound it makes, you have something akin to a supermodel that can sing an aria.
I have to admit that, in complete contrast to the prevailing opinion around the industry, I think the convertible F-Type is more attractive than the coupe. Maybe it's because the convertible was so fresh and so mind-blowing when it debuted that the coupe felt almost trite. That's not to say the coupe isn't a hell of a looker in its own right. I just think this car looks perfect with the top down.
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Steve Ewing (Senior Editor, Autoblog) - Mazda6The thing about "beautiful" cars, as you've no doubt seen from the other picks on this list, is that style typically goes hand-in-hand with cost. But that isn't always true. Case in point: the gorgeous Mazda6, which starts at a scant $21,190.
Of course, the Mazda6 isn't as purely sexy as vehicles like the Jaguar F-Type, Aston Martin anything and so on. But considering the vehicle's functional purpose to serve as a midsize family sedan rather than a personal luxury coupe or sports car, the fact that design played such an important role in its inception is a really big deal. It's easily the most attractive car in what is an extremely competitive class (sorry, Ford Fusion), and for folks who need the everyday usability of an affordable, four-door sedan, not having to sacrifice style is a huge win.
Personally, I've fallen in love with the Mazda6 with its deep, rich Soul Red paint – a color choice that has garnered compliments from nearly everyone on staff, not to mention folks on the street and engineers from other automakers. Combine that with elegant, yet sporty styling, and surfaces that are at once both fluid and taut, and the end result is a truly all-around beautiful package.
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Erin Marquis (Programming Manager, AOL Autos) - BMW M3 ConvertibleThis time of year, beautiful means anything that drives me to think of spring, which is, hopefully, just around the corner. The best way to exit a dark, cold, long winter is very fast and with the top down.
The BMW M3 provides all the power and style required to shake off winter weather blues. And it lives up to its fierce, fast look.The sporty front facia and low, wide body with an ultra-short wheelbase hints at its excellent power and handling. Pop the top and punch the gas pedal and you're taken from 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds with its 4.0L V8 engine, which maxes out at 414 horsepower. Handling, power and style all come together perfectly in this truly beautiful machine.
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Pete Bigelow (Associate Editor, AOL Autos) - Volvo V60For almost all of us, many of the cars on this list are pure fantasy. You want to sit around daydreaming about the Aston Martin Zagato and McLaren P1? Be my guest. I’ll stipulate those are nice cars and all, but you’re also wasting your automotive time.
Here in reality, fawning over them is a little like developing an unhealthy crush on a supermodel while ignoring the new girl who just moved next door.
And what underappreciated car is perfectly capable of catching eyes in the driveway next door? The all-new 2015 Volvo V60 Sportwagon. Yes, Volvo might be back from irrelevance with this awesome-looking wagon, with all sorts of sleek lines and boundary-pushing safety equipment. Nothing says sexy like safety.
So you can sit in front of your computer and ogle pictures of a car you can never drive. Me? I’ll actually be out there on the road, driving a beauty that is clearly in the eye of the beholder.
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