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The LED taillamps on the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4
According to Lambo, the taillamps of its V-10-powered Gallardo are supposed to conjure up images of propellers. Fair enough, but to us the three-pronged LED strips look more like directional arrows (sort of makes sense, no?). Consider it a thoughtful way to tell the cops which horizon you're about to disappear over.
The front fascia on the Dodge Challenger R/T
With the new Challenger, Dodge has managed to do what Ford and Chevy haven't: produce a retro design that's not insufferably cute. That's thanks in no small part to the broad inset front grille, which is as appealingly aggressive as anything on the road. Unfortunately, it also wreaks havoc with the car's aerodynamic performance. But then, when you've got 376 horsepower to play around with, what's a little wind resistance?
The teardrop side window on the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
Designed to evoke the company's great sports/race cars of the sixties, the 8C is voluptuous where other modern sports cars are be-winged and raw-boned—which is never more evident than in its sweeping, curvaceous side windows. All the better for enjoying the blurry views created by the Ferrari-designed V-8 under the hood.
Approximately $150,000, alfaromeo.com
The rear hatch on the Pontiac Solstice Coupe
This tiny, badge-shaped piece of glass evokes the style of sixties sports racers—and helps the passenger cabin taper into the best-looking rear end in Detroit. (Sorry, Meg White.)
From the low- to mid-$20,000 range, pontiac.com
The lighted headliner on the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe
Leave it to Rolls to take a concept traditionally associated with senior-prom limos and make it almost tasteful. Instead of mirrors and pink neon, the Phantom employs hundreds of tiny white LEDs to achieve its starry effect. The result is nicely understated, though perhaps no more likely to get you laid than a nice corsage and the right Journey track.
About $349,750, rolls-roycemotorcars.com
The paint-free exterior on the Bugatti Veyron Pur Sang
Leave the Hermès-branded version of the world's fastest and priciest production car to the label whores. The Pur Sang (literally "pure blood" or "thoroughbred") version is some 300 grand cheaper—presumably thanks to forgoing niceties like paint—and its elegant, polished-aluminum-and-carbon-fiber-body is offered up au naturel.
About $2,050,000, bugatti.com
The LED daytime running lamps on the Audi A4
Here, Audi proves that regulatory necessity can be the mother of good design. Instead of just leaving the low-beams burning in broad daylight, the carmaker opted to drape a string of pearly-white LEDs under the main headlight elements, granting a demure shape a much needed dash of menace.
Approximately $29,000, audiusa.com
The auxiliary gauges on the Chevrolet Camaro
This retro-modern mash-up comes with four rectangular auxiliary gauges mounted in front of the shifter, and if you think you've seen 'em before, you're right. They were purloined directly from the first (and best) generation of the Camaro—the one from the late sixties, long before anyone ever uttered the word "IROC." (And yes, we know that the new Camaro is technically a 2010 model, but we're including it here because it goes on sale next March.)
Approximately $30,000, chevrolet.com/camaro/
The C-pillar on the Nissan GT-R
Nicknamed Godzilla, the 480-hp GT-R shares both the killer lizard's brute vigor and its general aesthetic brutishness. In other words: Dainty it ain't. But the sharp horizontal crease halfway up the C-pillar is one of the more original design cues on any current car, and the way the roofline extends forward from the top of that pillar is almost—dare we say—elegant.
The grooves on the Ford Flex
Inspired by sources as diverse as hearses, the Scion xB, and vintage canister vacuum cleaners (seriously), the Flex may be Ford's boldest design since the original Taurus. Its most underrated detail: the four grooves stamped on each door panel, which visually lower and lengthen the six-passenger vehicle by reinforcing its perfectly horizontal stance—a design motif repeated on the car's grille. Hands down, the best-looking dead sled ever.
From $28,295, fordvehicles.com
The wheel flares on the Mercedes-Benz SL65 Black Series
For the SL65 Black Series, Mercedes decided to throw out the last bits of visual grace that have long marked the SL series as a gentlemen's convertible. Question that decision if you must, but don't deny the appeal of those voluptuous carbon-fiber fenders. Their justification? Containing the Black Series' huge tires, which take frequent and merciless beatings from the absurdly strong 670-horsepower engine. Sometimes gentlemanliness is overrated.
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