7 Reasons Why FOX’s Empire Does Cars Right

We come to the hit show for the singing, but we stay for the rides.

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Much ado is made over the glorious vocal pipes from the stars on FOX’s Empire, and rightfully so. Those actors can belt out a hit. But our favorite sounds from the show come from the tailpipes of the lesser-recognized supporting cast: a crop of choice rides gracing the screen. Here, our top picks:

7. 1996 Dodge Viper GTS

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This striped snake, piloted by our favorite beleaguered drug dealer-cum-rap mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), makes its screen debut, slip-sliding around a corner before running smack into a police barricade. Lyon feathers the throttle, and the 8-liter V-10 snarls a salute to the cops. Impressed, the fuzz waves him through. Lyon then unleashes all 415 rabid ponies, eliciting a smile from the floozing riding shotgun. And from us.

6. 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur

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The Flying Spur has phenomenal stopping power for a saloon that tips the scales at 5,500 lbs. It brakes from 70 to 0 in less distance than a Lamborghini Murcielago. We get a small taste of this as the $240,000 gargantuan screeches up to a recording studio for Lyon’s sons to have a tense chat in the buttery-smooth leather backseat. There’s plenty of airtime for the interior, though sadly we never see the 600-hp V-12 depart. And that’s a shame, because we hate to see her leave, but we love to watch her go.

5. 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo

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A Lambo is the perfect choice to make a grand entrance to a slammed bash—like the brightly-colored Gallardo does in Empire. Don’t call it yellow, though. That color is actually “Giallo Halys.” Sure, it’s nice to turn heads and set off flashbulbs at a soiree, but we’d skip the shindig and have a party of one with that 5.2-liter V-10. Well, a party of 553, if you count all the horses braying behind you.

4. 2012 Bentley Continental GT

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Empire is a show about being cool, debonair, unflappable. The overbearing style of the Gallardo can be a touch audacious, particularly when the subtlety of a Bentley can more than suffice. Two doors and a quarter-ton lighter than its big brother, the Flying Spur, the GT doesn’t skimp on the goods. For instance, the W-12 powerplant generates more than 516 lb-ft of torque (that’s 118 more than the Gallardo, incidentally). When the GT pulls up behind the Lambo at the same party, we cheered a bit louder for the Winged B.

3. 2010 Mercedes-Benz S550

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The staple executive Merc makes an appearance  late in the first season as a liveried ride for Lucious’ ex-fiancee, Anika Calhoun. We love the S550 because, while it doesn’t have the same gilded chariot vibe of a Bentley or a Rolls, the backseat is, shall we say, adequately appointed: there is ample legroom, a reclining executive seat, and enough creature comforts to mollify even the most jilted of ex-lovers.

2. 2010 Audi R8

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Blink and you’ll miss the low slung German supercar. It’s idling outside of a club during one brief exterior shot, though as the camera pans past the red coupe, we’re treated to a stab of the gas, prompting a sharp howl from the V-10. It’s as though the Audi’s been denied entrance to the venue and is protesting loudly to the doorman. Don’t fret, little fella. You’re always on our list.

1. 1994 Chevrolet Impala

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Perhaps the least flashy in the entire series, this beached whale is our favorite. It appears during a flashback of a drug deal gone awry for Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson), and she has to take cover behind the more-than-ample trunk during a shoot-out. The bloated boat is an SS variant, with an LT1 5.7 small block V-8 lurking beneath the hood. Before Chevy plopped a Corvette engine in there, they tweaked the camshaft to favor torque over horsepower. Regardless, the 260 horses are more than enough for us.