Super Bowl ads are legendary for their way of making even the dullest game enjoyable. Whether you prefer Willem Dafoe starring as the devil or the city of Detroit starring for Chrysler (FIATY.PK), car commercials of the last few years have lived up the hype. The NFL’s Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2 has automakers’ creative teams presenting their work on TV’s biggest stage. Here are six automobiles already sporting teasers worthy of top billing.
1. Kia K900
Kia (KIMTF.PK) is making a strong play on the U.S. auto market with the K900 sedan, a rear-wheel-drive cruiser that brings spacious luxury to the table at a reasonable price. The only way to back such a bold move is with a Super Bowl commercial.
Among the noteworthy features of the K900, Kia says the car will sport a class-leading wheelbase to go along with the 5.0-liter V8 engine that will crank over 400 horsepower while delivering impressive LED lighting options and interior refinement. Since it’s supposed to be the value option in the luxury segment, expectations on price are around $60,000.
Yet it all begins with the Super Bowl spot for the K900. To add to the hype quotient, Kia enlisted veteran actor Lawrence Fishburne, who will reprise his role from The Matrix for the cause. In the teaser for the game day ad, Fishburne is seen playing with a rabbit-ears antenna to get his vintage TV set working. Will the ad be worthy of the thrilling film franchise? Here’s a peek at what Kia has to offer:
2. 2014 Toyota Highlander
If you’re going to go big at the Super Bowl, you might as well go all in. Toyota (NYSE:TM) is shelling out serious cash for a spot showcasing the Muppets and actor Terry Crews (of Everybody Hates Chris fame), who played in the NFL.
To present the 2014 Highlander, Toyota has commissioned a series of ads with The Muppets ahead of the March debut of Muppets Most Wanted. Not satisfied with a thirty-second spot, Toyota will deliver a full minute worth of entertainment to Super Bowl viewers, which comes at a reported price tag of $8 million.
That sum represents the commitment Toyota has made in the redesigned Highlander. From a totally revamped exterior to an overhauled suspension and slick interior, there’s plenty to show off on game day. Toyota is presenting a hybrid version as well as the standard model with three different engine options. A V6 with electric motor assistance will top the power quotes at 280 horsepower in the hybrid, while a 2.7-liter inline-four-cylinder model will hit 185 hp.
On Super Bowl Sunday, the performances of Terry Crews and The Muppets will likely make the biggest impression on viewers. As always, it’s difficult to fault the Jim Henson characters who have been so beloved by generations of TV viewers. Here’s a look at the teaser for the 2014 Highlander commercial titled “Joyride.”
3. Jaguar F-Type
With a car as flashy as the Jaguar F-Type from Tata Motors (NYSE:TTM), it’s hard to produce a commercial up to the challenge. The automaker appears to have spared no expense for the Super Bowl spot. Tata hired Ben Kingsley to star in an ad that appears to be a cross between a James Bond film and a picture from the Batman franchise. In essence, Jaguar is presenting one British legend to pitch for another.
The Jaguar F-Type, which comes in three models and ranges from a base price of $65,000 to $99,000, has the looks and reviews that legends are made of. The base model features 18-inch Vela wheels, sport exhaust, performance braking, and a 3.0-liter, supercharged V6 capable of generating 340 horsepower. The F-Type S sports 19-inch Propeller alloy wheels and a supercharged V6 capable of 380 hp and top speeds of 171 mph, while the F-Type R features a beastly 5.0-liter V8 with 550 horsepower in its reach, along with a top speed of 186 mph.
Kingsley hits all the right buttons in the F-Type Super Bowl ad teaser, which is already in the running for best commercial on game day. Here’s a preview of “Rendezvous: The Set Up”:
4. Volkswagen Passat
A few years back, Volkswagen (VLKAY.PK) stole the show at the Super Bowl with a Passat ad featuring a boy wearing a Darth Vader costume. For 2014, the automaker is spoofing both its German heritage and the institution of the Super Bowl ad itself. Featuring Carmen Electra, an Abe Lincoln impersonator, cute puppies, and two German scientists working on a formula on a blackboard with the words “groin hits” and “twerking” featured promiently. Their goal is to make the ultimate Super Bowl commercial.
The car itself is the Volkwagen Passat, which has received considerable accolades yet remains a tough sell in the United States. VW boasts that the Passat has won highest appeal among midsize cars by J.D. Power & Associates for two years straight. In its clean diesel model, it can get 43 mpg.
For the Big Game, there’s no telling what the Germans will come up with in their spot. If they can top Carmen Electra setting off a car alarm with her rear end, they’ve accomplished something admirable. Here’s a peek at the creative Volkswagen team at work:
5. Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai (HYMLF.PK) joins corporate cousin Kia in delivering ads for the big game. In fact, Hyundai has two spots planned for the Super Bowl, one of which is dedicated to the midsize Sonata. Though Hyundai hasn’t presented a teaser ad of its own, a tie-in with used-car service CarMax features a Hyundai driven off by a dog.
As the Volkswagen parody commercial suggested, dogs and babies always have a way of making their presence felt in the top advertising spots. Hyundai is showcasing its entry in the competitive midsize segment where Toyota reigns with the Camry and Ford (NYSE:F) is making headway with the Fusion. The Sonata is capable of getting 35 mpg on the highway and has a max 274 horsepower engine available.
No matter what, Hyundai and Kia are going to leave an impression on the Super Bowl audience. In fact, they’ve achieved that feat with teasers for the big game. Here’s a look at the CarMax spot.
6. 2015 Audi A3
Of every automaker that has released a teaser for a Super Bowl commercial, none is as outrageous as that of Audi. If Volkswagen veered toward bizarre with its Carmen Electra ad, the automaker got downright weird with the preview for its ad highlighting the “starter” luxury car that is the Audi A3 sedan.
The base model sports a 1.8-liter TFSI capable of 170 horsepower, while the 2.0-liter model is capable of producing 220 hp. Audi’s A3 comes in three different trim levels, the highest starting at $38,700. If the price of the base model ($29,900) sounds familiar, it should — it’s exactly where Mercedes (DDAIF.PK) priced the new CLA, the luxury automaker’s sole sub-$30K car.
Audi’s last teaser for the A3 Super Bowl ad hinges on a parody of Sarah MacLachlan’s commercials supporting the end of animal cruelty, spots which have been known for tugging on heart strings. In the spoof version, MacLachlan implores viewers to support a strange dog hybrid known as “Doberhuahua.” As its name suggests, it has the head of a Doberman and the body of a chihuahua. Here’s a peek:
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