We take some time out from reviewing the latest GPSes to have a look around this year's Australian International Motor Show and find some cars we'd love to be driving, if we had a sack full of hundred-dollar bills.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
Although that X indicates that it's the 10th iteration of the Lancer Evolution line, it might as well stand for eXtreme. Like all Evolutions before it, the template is simple: take a mild-mannered Corolla-sized four door sedan, add four wheel drive and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and -- voila! -- a pocket rocket that can take on Porsches and Ferraris.
To ensure that you don't become at one with the scenery during a spirited drive, the Evolution comes standard with a host of technologies to transform any Joe Bloggs into a Tommi Makkinen. There's -- deep breath now -- ASC (Active Stability Control), ACD (Active Centre Differential, which splits torque front and rear), AYC (Active Yaw Control) and TC-SST (a twin clutch automated manual transmission).
Subaru Impreza WRX STi concept
Not to be outdone by Mitsubishi, Subaru Australia whipped the covers off its Impreza STi concept. Strip off the racing decals, fit some road going tyres and wheels, and this is what next year's turbocharged, four-wheel drive STi will look like.
Lotus Exige Sport 240
Lotus is only planning to build six of these unique-to-Australia Exiges. For a mere AU$149,990 you get two seats, four wheels, adjustable traction control, air-conditioning and not much else. And while the tuned 179kW engine (that's 240 horsepower, in old money) doesn't sound like much, its 950kg kerb weight means it can rocket from 0-100km/h in just 4.2 seconds.
Sure it's not yet on sale here, and when it will be it'll cost as much as your average house, but with a body by Pininfarina and an engine by Ferrari little details like that don't really matter; it's just drop dead gorgeous.
We really couldn't help ourselves, so here are some more facts: it's auto only, it seats four and it's almost five metres long (that's limousine-style long). Oh, and did we mention that it's purdy?
Umm, so, if you're keen and you've got wads of cash burning a hole through your wallet, place your order now. According to Maserati, the first shipments are due here next year and you'll be waiting behind 140 others who've already put their orders down.
Its 4.2-litre V8 can propel it to a maximum speed of 285km/h, with 100km/h reached in just 5.2 seconds. Just perfect for cruising across continental Europe, or the Australian Outback.
On sale soon, Audi's AU$259,900 Porsche fighter is low, sleek and sexy. You'll probably only see it parked or waiting at traffic lights because its 4.2-litre V8 propels it to 100km/h in under five seconds.
Honda Civic Type R
Although its clothes and badge scream rice-racer, this Honda actually hails from Old Blighty. Fitted with a 2.0-litre VTEC four-cylinder engine, this hot hatch wails like a banshee and loves nothing more than a nice set of twisties. Yours for under AU$40,000.
It might be based on the rather too common BMW 3-Series coupe, but beneath that hulking bonnet lies a 4-litre V8 pumping out 303kW and willing to spin out to at least 8400rpm. Which, if you're going to be brutal, can slingshot you and the M3 to 100km/h from standstill in just 4.8 seconds.
It sounds like an environmental nightmare but, while it's not a Bob Brown-friendly Toyota Prius, the new model's V8 is actually 15kg lighter than the old six-cylinder engine and, in official testing, is eight percent more fuel efficient.
If we had a spare AU$160,000 lying around, we'd almost be tempted to buy the M3 just for those gorgeous 18-inch wheels. Just out of shot is the car's unpainted (black) carbon fibre roof, which is just the thing you need during a hot Australian summer.
Lexus plans to crash the German high-performance sedan party (think Audi RS4, AMG C63 and BMW M3) with this big wheeled, bulging bonnet version of its IS sedan. No prizes for guessing that it carries a V8 under that hood. Hardcore performance freaks will be disappointed that this fast Lexus is automatic only.
With a screaming 4.3-litre V8 behind your head and blue skies up ahead, what's there not to like about Ferrari's chop-top F430? Oh yeah, that's right, most of us will never be able to own one.
It might be owned by Germany's Audi nowadays but Lamborghini still makes some wild looking machinery. Here's the company's entry-level (a real bargain at just under AU$400,000) V10 Gallardo. At the recent Frankfurt Motor Show, Lamborghini showed off a 1.3-million euro limited-edition model called the Reventon.
Although it's a few years old now, the Skoda Yeti is a concept car take on the likes of the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. It was brought here by owners VW to highlight the Czech brand's relaunch in Australia.
Holden Commodore Sportwagon concept
Last but not least, this concept car is a thinly disguised pre-cursor to the new Commodore wagon which will go on sale around March 2008. Gone is the near vertical tailgate of yore, in is a "premium" looking fastback-style hatch.