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Motorlust: the 12 Most Desirable Vehicles of 2012

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Did your dream car arrive in 2012?  It did for many.  From the fastest Ferrari ever to the plug-in hybrid of the future, these 12 vehicles were some of the most revolutionary in recent history.  To make this year even more interesting, we set our sights on the seas and two-wheelers as well.  In total, these are the 12 most desirable cars, boats and motorcycles of 2012.  Start your engines (or motors) and begin below!

BMW I8 Spyder

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One of the most exciting concept cars of this young decade became a true production vehicle in 2012, namely the BMW I8 Spyder.  First teased as the BMW Efficient Dynamics Concept, the I8 Spyder was shown off in the flesh at the North American International Auto Show last January.  This sexy two-seater is as economical as it is beautiful, achieving 96 MPG on a European test circuit thanks to a new hybrid drive system.  On the performance end, it’ll hit 60mph in 5 seconds on its way to a 155 MPH top speed, a pretty lofty figure for a plug-in hybrid.  We fell in love right away– and we’d be hard pressed to find a more desirable plug-in vehicle in 2012.

BMW I8 Spyder Gallery

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2013 Zero Electric Motorcycles

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If you want to ditch gasoline altogether, the new 2013 Zero Electric Motorcycles promise performance-class commuting on an electric-only diet.  Zero Motorcycles can achieve up to 100 miles per charge and can hit up to 95 mph on the open road.  Unlike the other items on this list, they’re surprisingly affordable.  An entry level Zero can be yours for under $8k, while a top of the line model (like the Zero S above) can be had for under $14k.  If that’s the cost for personal freedom from the gas pump, we’re in the market.  And if it comes in a architectural body design that looks like the work of Frank Gehry, all the better.

2013 Zero Electric Motorcycles Gallery

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Art of Kinetic – Antagonist Yacht

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Elegant, powerful and architecturally refined, the Art of Kinetic Antagonist Yacht was the sweetest thing to hit the water in 2012.  Its design is progressive in form but classical in nature, a combination of new material and old slatted wood like the powerboats of the last century.  This 37-foot yacht seats eight above with plenty of room below for cruising on the water and relaxing at the dock.  It’s the design that has us spellbound, a visual sensibility that can match the Lamborghinis and the Mercedes of the road without leaving the water.

Art of Kinetic – Antagonist Yacht | Gallery

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2013 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT

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A legendary automotive classic was reborn in 2012 with the return of the Mercedes gullwing.  The new 2013 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT may have been the most anticipated auto of the year, and with good reason.  The original gullwing model of the Mercedes SL-class ended production 50 years ago, leaving fans waiting a half a century for another flip-wing flyer.  While there is nothing as amazing as the original, the new SLS comes close enough to be one of the most exciting vehicles of 2012 and beyond.

2013 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT | Gallery

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McLaren 12C Spider Convertible

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The McLaren 12C Spider Convertible is the fastest topless car of 2012.  The 12C Spider will reach 60mph in under 3.1 seconds and will break the 200mph barrier if you give it the gas.  Like any other McLaren, this beauty is built for speed.  Sure, it’ll fit a few groceries in the passenger seat, but the goal of this car is to drive like nothing else matters.  There are few joy rides quite like a spin in this little red beast.

McLaren 12C Spider Convertible | Gallery

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2013 Porsche Carrera 4

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With a vehicle so iconic, you don’t need to change much to maintain a classic.  The new 2013 Porsche Carrera 4 holds true to Porsche’s design traditions while continuing to tweak the performance output.  It’s a steal compared to most cars on this list, available for under $100k but nearly approaching supercar territory with a 185 mph top-end.  For as long as Porsche continues to produce the heir to the original 356, we’ll continue to consider it one of the most desirable vehicles available.  It is our old faithful, the standard to which we compare everything else.

2013 Porsche Carrera 4 | Gallery

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Faraday Porteur Electric Bicycle

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Is it still a motor vehicle if you have to provide some power yourself?  The Faraday Porteur Electric Bicycle fits the bill, as a new pedal-assist bicycle envisioned in Portland and funded by Kickstarter.  This classy two-wheeler has batteries within its frame that provide pedal-assist pep for long hauls and short commutes.  For 15-20 miles per charge, that pedal assist will make steep hills feel like a flat surface, and make breezy rides all that much faster.  Pre-orders are available for $3,500 flat, and production is currently underway.  We included the Faraday Porteur in our feature on The Bicycle Revolution: the Once and Future King of Transport earlier in 2012.

Faraday Porteur Electric Bicycle | Gallery

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Lamborghini Aventador J Roadster

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Content to so quickly steal the thunder from any other offering, the Lamborghini Aventador J Roadster is the most agile bull on the road in 2012.  60 mph?  Shattered in 2.8 seconds.  While it may be limited to 186 mph, a mark slower than the McLaren convertible, there’s no splitting hairs here.  This glorified go-kart (and we mean that in a truly admirable way) owns its speed range from 0 to 186 like no other production vehicle we’ve covered.  Think of it this way, by the time you’re done reading this sentence, the Lamborghini Aventador J Roadster just hit 150 miles per hour.

Lamborghini Aventador J Roadster | Gallery

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2013 Janus Motorcycles

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Setting the need for speed aside for a bit, the 2013 Janus Motorcycles offering is a clear favorite of ours here at TheCoolist.  It’s a small-engine, vintage-inspired motorcycle produced to order in a small town in Indiana.  They look like they rolled right out of the 1940s, but they are built to last in the cities of today.  The brilliance here is that a beautiful bike like this can carry a commuter up to 55 miles per hour on a small 50cc engine.  By carefully tweaking the air intake, carburetion and exhaust, the people at Janus can offer comfortable cruising speeds from a bike that sips gasoline.  It’s fuel efficient, its visually stunning, and it’s affordable.  You can order one of your own for less than $4,000 to start.  We’re sold!

2013 Janus Motorcycles | Gallery

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2013 Ford Fusion

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You don’t often see a big brand domestic product on a top list like this.  While the Corvettes and Vipers and Ford GTs of the world have their place, this mid-sized sedan snuck its way onto our list for good reason.  We visited the Ford design studios in Dearborn, Michigan for lunch with Chief Creative Officer J Mays last January for the reveal of the 2013 Ford Fusion.  We were roundly impressed by this offering for its combined design sensibility and sustainably-minded powertrain.  It was a pleasant surprise for those who were bored with the Chevy Volt, but lamented the fact that the American brands weren’t rushing to innovate.  We love the new Fusion for two reasons:  first, it is as visually desirable as its European counterparts like the BMW 3’s and 5’s.  Second, it’s available as a plug-in hybrid, pushing 100 eMPG on its electric-only range.  More of this, please, Detroit– and soon.

2013 Ford Fusion | Gallery

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The Marine Kart

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Another water-bound favorite of 2012 was The Marine Kart, a lightweight compact boat intended for speedy cruises on lakes, bays and inter-coastals.  It makes our desirability list for its fun factor alone, as it is easy to transport and a blast to ride.  This Swiss-made product may not be easily accessible in the US, but expect it to inspire new interest in fun, lightweight cruising that should make its way to this side of the pond.

The Marine Kart | Gallery

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2013 Ferrari Berlinetta

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Nothing punctuates a list of desirable vehicles better than the mark of the prancing horse.  The 2013 Ferrari Berlinetta was revealed before the Geneva Motor Show last year as the king of the Ferrari offering.  This new flagship supercar will crack 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and top out at 211 mph.  What stands out, however, is its performance on the road.  Thanks to equivalent advancements in handling to go along with engine performance, the Berlinetta broke an all-time Ferrari record on the Fiorano test track.  Having recorded a lap in just 1:23, it became the fastest Ferrari ever built.  Wow.

2013 Ferrari Berlinetta | Gallery

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Is there a vehicle revealed in 2012 that you would have preferred to see here?  Feel free to share with us on twitter or facebook, we never want to leave any stone unturned.  Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out our coverage of the supercars of years past: