To date, the Forza Motorsport series has focused on delivering the most realistic, best-looking racing simulation possible — a goal Turn 10 Studios has achieved again and again over the course of four games, each better than the last. Now, it’s time for the series to “let its hair down” and have a little fun. Enter Forza Horizon.

The game arrives October 23rd, but pre-orders have gone live just today. In a welcome turn of events, customers who pre-order Forza Horizon can start enjoying the benefits right now, so long as they’ve got a copy of Forza Motorsport 4 (and they should – check out Game Rant’s Forza Motorsport 4 review for the reasons why). Additionally, details on Horizon’s Limited Collector’s Edition have been made public. Check them out below.

While pre-order bonuses can often be esoteric tchotchkes that have absolutely no bearing on the games they accompany (seriously, has anyone ever thought to themselves, “I sure wish I had a super deformed bobblehead of this game’s main character to look at right now”?), that wont be an issue with Forza Horizon. Forza is a game about cars, right? So using cars as the game’s pre-order incentives makes a ton of sense.

Players who decide to throw down some cash on Forza Horizon today have a couple of bonus cars to look forward to. One is a retailer-specific ride that will be available the day Horizon releases, and the second is a 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 that can be used in Forza Motorsport 4 right now. Take a look at the cars in action in the Forza Horizon pre-order trailer below (and if you haven’t already, be sure to take a look at the game’s E3 2012 trailer).

  • 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392: Remember the days when American muscle was all about straight line speed and knock-you-back-in-your-seat acceleration? Those days have returned with the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392. With 470 horsepower and aggressive styling, the 2012 Dodge Challenger is beauty and brawn combined. 
  • 2012 Aston Martin Virage: Plush luxury meets awesome performance in the 2012 Aston Martin Virage. Comfortable enough for a long Sunday drive, yet sporting a blistering 490 horsepower V12, the Virage continues Aston Martin’s legacy of creating cars that deliver prestige and performance.
  • 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG: While Mercedes doesn’t refer to the new SLS AMG as the “Gullwing,” this car is absolutely the return of the famed automotive icon. With more than 560 horsepower, the SLS AMG is a track tamer nearly without equal, and its classic, sophisticated lines will attract car lovers of every stripe.
  • 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia: A new Ferrari is always cause for celebration, and you can still hear the cheers from fans of the 458. The famed Italian automaker went above and beyond the call with this gorgeous example of road-devouring art. The 458 produces 562 horsepower and has a top speed over 200 mph, giving it the kind of performance needed to master the world’s greatest race tracks.
  • 2010 Nissan 370Z: The long line of Z model cars has a prestigious history and loyal following, but anyone can appreciate the beauty and power of this Japanese masterpiece. The 370Z features grippy handling and drift-worthy rear wheel drive, motivated by a 3.7-liter, V6 with more than enough juice to excite even the most die-hard of sports car enthusiasts.
  • 2010 Volkswagen Golf R: Available only in Europe as a limited edition model, this could be the sportiest Golf to date. 267 horsepower from its 2.0-liter turbo make it a kick in the pants when pushed, and it can be pushed all the way up to a governor-mandated 155 mph. Twin central exhaust tips, L shaped LED taillights, and plenty of glossy black give the Golf R a look that matches its performance.

So, who gets what? According to the “buy” page on the Forza Horizon website, Amazon customers get the Aston Martin, GameStop shoppers score the Ferrari, Best Buy patrons come home with the Mercedes-Benz, and pretty much everyone else winds up with the Nissan. Curiously, no retailer is currently listed for the Volkswagen.

For the racing fan who just has to have everything, the Forza Horizon Limited Collector’s Edition may be the way to go. The set is packed in a custom Steelbook, and includes a Festival Ticket that grants owners access to a five-car launch day add-on pack (no announcement yet on what those cars will be), five exclusive liveries, and an “Accelerator Token Pack” that, according to the press release, “will allow you to speed up your career with instant access to exotic cars, in-game popularity spikes, fast passes and instant map unlocks.” Sounds cool enough. The Festival Ticket also includes a Forza Horizon VIP Membership, which may well be a euphemism for “Season Pass.” GameStop has the Limited Collector’s Edition listed for $79.99 — $20 more than the standard edition of the game.

Forza Horizon Limited Collector's Edition

With its novel new take on the Forza Motorsport formula, Horizon has a lot to prove when it arrives this Fall. Will fans of the sim-focused Forza games — which, to Turn 10’s credit, have always been very approachable  — give Horizon the time of day? For that matter, will arcade-racer fans simply hold out an extra week to pick up Criterion’s Need for Speed Most Wanted? What do you think?

Ranters, will you be pre-ordering a copy of Forza Horizon? Which bonus car do you think is the coolest? Is the Limited Collector’s Edition worth an extra $20? Let us know in the comments below.

Forza Horizon releases October 23, 2012, exclusively for the Xbox 360.

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