Supercharged Santa: Retooling the sled for the 21st century

The time for Santa to begin delivering presents is almost upon us, and let's face it -- a sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer (nine if you count Rudolph) isn't exactly the most efficient means of travel in the 21st century. So several major automakers took up the challenge -- create a new sled to meet the challenges of modern-day toy-slinging! We're proud to present a gallery of the finest creations.

Above, Mazda thoughtfully provides room for a few select elves to help Santa with his present deliveries. Not much room for presents, though; guess a lot of kids are going to be getting gift cards this year.

Below, some more redesigns of the famous sleigh. Check them out for a hint of what Santa might be wheeling this Christmas Eve.

Next, there's Land Rover's high-tech design above, which features a particle accelerator for an engine and a sleek, fog-cutting look "designed to meet ever-increasing delivery timetables." Special features include a laser-guided present delivery system and CRS -- Chimney Recognition Software, of course.

It's rare that you'd suggest Porsche comes up short, but hey, compared to the other efforts above and below, the Porsche cats needed to bring some more game. Still, why mess with perfection? Kick off those skids and Santa can have his midlife crisis all year long!

Nissan gives us a sleigh that's more bullet than sleigh, with the kind of propulsion system that'll blow chimneys off roofs if deployed inappropriately.

Above, Jaguar brings us "Santa's Little Helper," a design that's part '50s sci-fi rocketship, part World War II bomber. Santa appears to be sitting backwards in this one, and orange is a curious color choice, but it's smooth retro-cool nonetheless.

Aston Martin, appropriately enough, goes with an understated, classic design above, one which evokes classic automobiles while still being fast enough to deliver a billion toys in a night.

Mercedes has basically bolted a couple running skids onto an auto body, but it's still a sweet (and, apparently, spaceworthy) design. Letting reindeer sit in the car, though? Whew. Santa's going to need to fumigate that one on the 26th.

Here's a classic design from 2008. Bentley brings us the illuminating beauty above; good of Santa to bring Rudolph along for the ride, since the quad-headlights render the reindeer with the glowing nose irrelevant. Nice touch, adding the sleigh skids beneath.

The Opel/Vauxhall sleigh above looks more like something out of a Predator movie, what with those sharp edges and that energy crackle in the front. All the naughty kids are going to want one.

While not an automaker, GE nonetheless offers up something above that looks like a refrigerator, appropriately enough. And it's got an array of real-world extras: "ice-shedding nano coatings, self-powered OLED lighting, carbon-fiber composites, RFID sensors, intelligence-tracking technology," and oh so much more.

And finally, Audi brings us this (snow)drifting, tricked-up version of the forthcoming 2010 A1. Looks good, Santa, but you're going to have to get more lift if you're going to clear the Atlantic!

What to Read Next