By Holly Reich
Additional reporting by SékouWrites
When the legendary actress, dancer, and singer Josephine Baker wanted to make jaws drop during her final performance at a Parisian theater in 1975, she roared onto the stage on the back of a vintage Harley. More than three decades later, celebs are still using their rides to make memorable entrances or showcase their personalities. Here are a few hot wheels that our favorite A-listers have been spotted driving around town.
The celeb: Ugly Betty star/singer Vanessa Williams
The ride: Maserati GranTurismo
It makes perfect sense that a wildly beautiful but refined star would drive a wildly beautiful but refined car. The epitome of Italian sexiness, the four-passenger Maserati GranTurismo comes with a high-quality leather interior and a buffed or lacquered wood dashboard. Williams ordered her model in Blue Oceano with beige interior, coordinated blue stitching, and tinted windows, of course. The 2009 touring coupe has a 4.2-liter V8 engine and a top speed of 177 mph. Mpg: 13 city/19 hwy.
The celeb: Singer/songwriter Seal
The ride: Audi R8
Our favorite Brit had been using the Audi Q7 as his everyday wheels, but now he’s moved on to the Audi R8, a mid-engine, ultra-stylish, 420-horsepower supercar that has the automotive world salivating. Thanks to its Tire Pressure Monitoring System technology, the sports coupe is rocket fast but sure-footed. Plus, it’s the only all-LED European car around—there are even LED lights in the engine bay. The booming sound system makes it extra fun to drive. Mpg: 13 city/20 hwy.
The celeb: Super-producer/rapper Swizz Beatz
The ride: Chevrolet Cobalt SS Turbo
When driving the Chevrolet Cobalt 5-speed manual, you’ll rarely need to ask for the nearest gas station. This sporty high-performance coupe—arguably one of the industry’s most underrated cars—boasts 30 mpg (highway fuel-efficiency), which means you can zip around town for almost two weeks without having to refuel. That might explain why on-the-go producer Swizz Beatz is a fan. Mpg: 22 city/30 hwy.
The celeb: Songstress/actress Alicia Keys
The ride: Lexus LS 600h L
Keys, who has supported green causes for years, pushes a whip that is both stylish and environmentally sound. Sure, her fully loaded Lexus LS 600h L is long (the L stands for long wheelbase), but it’s also a hybrid that runs on gas and batteries. The fuel-saving technology doesn’t slow her down at all—the Lexus LS 600h L goes from 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds. This model is equipped with a wireless rear-seat entertainment system and Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound: 19 speakers, 450 watts of power, and an HDD music server that stores up to 2,000 songs. Mpg: 20 city/22 hwy.
The celeb: Basketball superstar/entertainer (yes, we’re counting Scary Movie 4 and The House Bunny) Shaquille O’Neal
The ride: Smart ForTwo Passion Cabriolet
His fleet of cars is said to include a drool-worthy silver Bentley and a stretch Lamborghini Gallardo. (When we say stretch, we mean a full 12 extra inches of lean luxury.) But we were particularly impressed when the paparazzi snapped pictures of Shaq climbing behind the wheel of a 2008 Smart ForTwo Passion Cabriolet several months ago. This eco-friendly hybrid gets excellent gas mileage, is classified as an Ultra-Low Exhaust Emission Vehicle, and was even manufactured with water-soluble paints. Shaq scores bonus points for cramming his 7-foot, 1-inch, 325-pound frame into this two-seater. Guess we have a new reason to call him the Jolly “Green” Giant. Mpg: 33 city/41 hwy.
Photo Caption: Vanessa L. Williams shows off her Maserati (top of page).
Reprinted from UPTOWN Online.