Driver's Seat: How to spend that cool million on wheels

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The Bentley Continental GTC convertible.

Driver's Seat began as a column reviewing how everyday cars handle everyday life.

But sometimes even Serious Working Dads have to dream.

I've watched a pair of Philadelphians who have toiled in the public arena - in different pursuits - and have the scars to show for it.

They have had significant developments in their stories in recent days. One could be cruising around the city for years. The other appears to be headed out of town.

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick gets a $100 million contract for six years; Arlene Ackerman, former Philadelphia School District superintendent, gets close to $1 million as part of an agreement that she end her tenure here early.

Both will be in positions to spend their windfalls on something sweet. Vick needs a ride worthy of someone who will steer the fortunes of the hometown Birds. Ackerman can stylishly speed out of town, the Philadelphia skyline in her rearview mirror.

Here are some options:

Bentley Continental GTC convertible: Here's a chance to turn heads with something brand spanking new for 2012. This cutting-edge beauty is being unveiled in September at the International Automobile Exhibition in Frankfurt, Germany.

Bentley says the redesign offers an "assertive stance" with a "more contemporary and muscular presence."

Seating is available for you and three friends.

Even though fall is just around the corner, buyers still get to enjoy plenty of time with the top down, thanks to a Bentley-designed neck warmer.

The 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W12 engine coupled with a new QuickShift transmission will get you out of town fast. Horsepower is rated at 567, and torque 516 foot-pounds.

All this for a bargain price of $212,000. Plenty left over for the Tax Man.

Lamborghini Gallardo: This is a putt-putt compared with the old V12 Murcielago, which ended production in 2010.

But though the 5.2-liter V10 produces a mere 561 horses and 398 foot-pounds of torque, you'll still get to 100 km/hour in 3.9 seconds.

And yet, this is not a bad consolation prize. And like the Bentley, it leaves you with some mad money, according to Philadelphia's auto-show guidebook. Price: $237,600.

Ferrari 599 GTO: This is probably the prettiest of the vehicles in contention. With lines borrowed by Nissan for the Z coupe, somehow it says "nice car" rather than shouting "I have more money than you!"

With a 6.0-liter V12 producing 670 horsepower and 457 foot-pounds of torque, you'll get to cruising speed on the Schuylkill faster than you should.

A six-speed automated manual means you'll get to "row throw" the gears but the old clutch foot won't get tired in stop-and-go driving. But rear-wheel-drive won't keep you as sure-footed as the Lambo.

And the GTO means you're blowing almost the whole roll: Estimated base price is $750,000.

Aston Martin DBS: This beauty gives you a touch of British class along with neck-snapping power.

The 5.9-liter V12 produces 510 horsepower and 420 foot-pounds of torque. A six-speed manual means driving enjoyment. Rear-wheel drive means more driving skill is required.

This can break into a good bit of that exit package, ranging from $267,000 to $300,000.

Mercedes CL Class 65 AMG: If you're feeling as if you want to splurge but want something more understated, Mercedes has this coupe to make you feel elegant but not gauche.

You'll still move quickly with 620 horsepower and 738 foot-pounds of torque produced by the 6.0-liter bi-turbo V12. You'll get to 60 m.p.h. in 4.2 seconds.

And Mercedes is known for some of the most innovative engineering in the industry.

The starting price listed on the Mercedes website: $210,000.


Contact staff writer Scott Sturgis at 215-854-2558 or ssturgis@phillynews.com.