By Mark G. McLaughlin

Most people who shop for cars look for something practical, sensible and affordable. There are those fortunate few, however, who can set all that aside and buy a car just because, well, it is a cool car to drive. The Chicago Auto Show has both. So whether you are in the market for a cool car or just want to look at and maybe even test drive the cool car of your dreams, then the Chicago Auto Show is the place for you this February.    

2018 Chicago Auto Show
McCormick Place
2301 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60616
(630) 495-2282

Date: February 10 – 19
Time: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. every day except the last (8 p.m. on Feb. 19)
www.chicagoautoshow.com 

Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1

The first Corvette hit the road in 1953, and it gave new meaning to the word “cool.” These cars have always been sleek – but the new Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 on display at the Chicago Auto Show may be the coolest Corvette to date. That supercharged V8 under the hood has the power of 750 horses and delivers 715 ft-lbs of torque, making it the most powerful Corvette ever made. This rear-wheel drive, high-performance muscle car is also the fastest Corvette ever, capable of hitting 212 mph. The sharp, angular design of the jet-black version has the look of the Batmobile about it, while the prettier orange Sebring design package has a softer, curvier look. It also comes in a convertible, as a Corvette should.

Aston Martin DB-11

James Bond is the coolest spy, and he was at his coolest when he drove an Aston Martin. The legendary car maker has outdone itself this year with the magnificent Aston Martin DB-11, a sporty luxury car with an elegant and comfortable interior and a 600 horsepower twin-turbocharged V-12 under the hood. Aston-Martin says the DB-11 is “the most powerful and efficient DB production model” yet made. Its signature clamshell hood, distinctive aeroblade, and instantly recognizable grille give the DB-11 the look of the iconic Bondmobile, yet with all its new features, it is truly—as Aston-Martin puts it—“an icon reimagined.”

Lotus Exige Cup 430

Road and Track magazine calls the new Lotus Exige Cup 430 “a manic hornet’s nest posing as a car.” They mean that in the best way, of course, adding that the Exige is a “brilliant, insane beast of a tiny car.” The 430 in the title refers to the horsepower it puts out, and both Road and Track and Lotus say with pride that it is the quickest vehicle the legendary race car company has ever made for the road. It can go from zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds, and the driver’s seat has the feel of the cockpit of a jet fighter.

Ford GT

If anyone ever says Ford can’t make a cool car – take them to the Chicago Auto Show in February and show them the new Ford GT. This jazzy two-seater with a 647-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 will blow them away with its look and its power. It set a new Lightning Lap record at Virginia International Raceway, grabbing the title from the Porsche 918, which costs twice what the $400,000 Ford is asking for this limited production beauty. It has clocked in at 216 mph, making it the fastest car in Ford history.

Porsche 911

Porsche has a reputation for making cool cars, and the new Porsche 911 on display at the Chicago Auto Show is proof that they still do just that. Both the rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive models of this four-seater sports car handle beautifully, and at an MSRP of just over $90,000 (or $103,000 for the convertible), it is one of the few cool cars that is at least somewhat attainable to the masses.