Tag Archives: luxury car

Lincoln client membership program launches luxury chauffeur service in San Diego

Following a successful pilot scheme in Miami, Ford’s premium marque Lincoln is this week launching its chauffeur service in San Diego. The idea is simple. If you own a Lincoln and have signed up to the brand’s client membership program, you can reserve the services of a fully qualified chauffeur who can not only drive you, in your own car to appointments but who can also run errands on your behalf.

“This service is generating a lot of interest among Lincoln owners,” said Eric Cin, Lincoln client services manager. “They’re using it for dinner dates, for doctor appointments; they’re recognising just how convenient it is to have this option available

After several years of struggling to stand out against other luxury car marques, Lincoln’s fortunes have been reversed as it’s hit upon the realisation that in the modern world, time is just as precious a commodity as a walnut-veneered dashboard.

For example, it already offers a pickup and delivery service that automates the issue of car maintenance. Rather than take your car into the dealership, a representative comes to you, collecting and returning the car at a time that’s convenient to you and leaving you with a loaner vehicle while your car’s being serviced.

And Lincoln is not alone in looking to turn owning a car into a full-service, luxury experience. For example, in the US, Bentley owners can now order fuel via an app. A truck comes to the car and refills the tank at a time and place that’s most convenient, while Cadillac is now offering owners the chance to switch between models—i.e., a sporty convertible during the summer and a chunky SUV in the dead of winter—for a flat monthly fee via its app-managed Book by Cadillac service.

Vending machine for luxury cars in Singapore: Car dealer Autobahn Motors has a unique way of displaying posh automobiles

Reminiscent of a hot wheels pack, this unique building in Singapore is turning heads all around the world. The vending machine-like tower that dispenses luxury cars to well-heeled buyers is the latest space-saving innovation in land-starved Singapore—just don’t try to shake it if it gets stuck. This brainchild of Autobahn Motors (ABM) houses more than 70 of the company’s million dollar wares.

Used luxury car dealer and owner of ABM Gary Hong has taken to displaying his wares in a glass-fronted, 15-storey building. Costing SGD$3 million to build, Hong, 45, said he got the inspiration for the new showroom during a trip with his four-year-son to buy toy cars. Like choosing a chocolate bar, the buyer can see everything on display, before pressing some buttons and having their choice delivered.

“From there I realised that the Matchbox arrangement is a mini version of our inventories that can be displayed and arranged nicely,” he told AFP.

From the comfort of a plush sofa on the ground floor, potential buyers can order a Ferrari, Maserati or Lamborghini among other brands, all with the touch of a hand-held device. Once a selection is made, a promotional video of that car is played on a flat-screen television while the vehicle is automatically transported down by a lift.

“When the customers see a car that is presented in a best way like a beauty pageant, they just decide that this is a winner, and we got a deal,” said Hong, who added that sales have risen by 30 percent since the move to the new premises in December.

The extremely smart design not only creates an interesting pull towards customers looking for a new ride, but also tackles the problem of land scarcity in the little red dot. With a population density ranked by the World Bank to be third highest in the world, behind Macau and Monaco, land comes at a premium in the tiny city-state.

The company stores between 70-80 cars at its facility—an amount that would otherwise require five times the space if the vehicles are parked traditionally. A similar car vending concept currently exists in the United States, through online auto retailer Carvana, which was last reported by US media to have five such facilities around the country as of April.

Luxury sportscar maker celebrates millionth Porsche 911 production

After 54 years of continued production, the vehicle that redefined what a sportscar should be is marking yet another milestone on its iconic journey. Even in the world of the automobile, terms like legend and icon may be used far too frequently, but in the case of the Porsche 911, all superlatives are completely justified. Just recently, Porsche unveiled its millionth 911, commemorating the brand’s legacy and dedication to its work.

For over a half-century the 911 has constantly pushed the envelope in terms of performance, handling and reliability. It is the most successful car in autosport history, having won more races in more events than any other model (the 911 accounts for over half of Porsche’s entire 30,000 race wins to date) and, thanks to choosing a path of evolution over revolution in terms of outward appearance at least, despite its comparative rarity on the road, it is one of the world’s few universally recognizable cars.

“We have continued to enhance the technology of the 911, refining and perfecting the sports car,” said Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, “that’s why it remains a state-of-the-art and technically innovative vehicle.”

However, it offers that technology in a way that the brand’s dedicated legion of fans will accept and that, more than any other reason, is why it has managed to stay relevant even as competition increases from the likes of Mercedes and McLaren. “54 years ago, I was able to take my first trips [in a 911] over the Grossglockner High Alpine Road with my father,” said Dr Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board. “The feeling of being in a 911 is just as enjoyable now as it was then. That’s because the 911 has ensured that the core values of our brand are as visionary today as they were in the first Porsche 356/1 from 1948.”

The loyalty that the 911 stirs up in owners, along with the fact that unlike Italian automotive exotica, Porsches are built to last, is also why over 70% of all 911s ever built are still on the road today. In other words, the number of 911s currently in use is equal to the total amount of cars ever built by Aston Martin in its 103-year history.

The millionth 911 will not be offered for sale. Instead it will be going to the company’s museum, but not before it is goes on a global road trip over the course of the year where it will hit the Scottish Highlands, lap the Nurburgring and take in the US and China.

New BMW ‘M’ 5-Series Model: Revitalising diesel with its new M550d xDrive

Diesel has been seeing downturn on its luck in recent years. But thanks to a diesel powertrain, BMW‘s latest ‘M’ badged 5-Series model—the M550d xDrive—is as big on power as it is on responsibility, so much so that it could help rehabilitate the fuel’s reputation. Although the company’s ‘M’ division is now spreading its wings and adding flourishes of motorsport technology or styling to a host of BMW models, rather than simply concentrating on making pure, undiluted ‘M’ variants of each production car, a BMW with the M badge on its rear, is never a marketing gimmick.

So, for the M550d xDrive to earn the right to wear the M badge, it has to offer something a bit special, regardless of what type of fuel it runs on. And here, the car doesn’t disappoint as owners will be able to claim their car has the most powerful six-cylinder diesel ever fitted to a production automobile.

It has three liters of displacement, four turbochargers and 400hp. As for torque, a diesel engine’s trump card, there’s 760Nm on offer and it is accessible from 2,000rpm. It may come with an electronically restricted 250km/h (155mph) top speed, but on the way to that figure it will hit 100km/h in just 4.4 seconds. Plump for the bulkier, heavier Touring (station wagon) version and it will still manage that dash in 4.6 seconds.

But M cars have to be fun in the bends as well as on the straight so the M550d xDrive comes with intelligent all-wheel drive, sharper suspension, an eight-speed sports transmission and a ride height dropped by 10 milimetres for improved centre of gravity.

Diesel may have a dirty name at the moment, but in the short term at least, the fuel’s efficiency is going to be crucial in helping truly global car companies meet tighter emissions and economy standards.

It’s why Mercedes invested over €3 billion developing its latest generation ultra-efficient, lightweight OM 654 diesel powertrain that debuted in its E-Class in mid-2016. It’s also why Bentley, a company founded on very torque-y gasoline V8 engines and laterally W12 twin turbo blocks has finally started offering its most fuel-thirsty car—the Bentayga SUV— with a diesel option.

The M550d xDrive has a gasoline sibling, the M550i. It has a 4.4 liter V8 calling the shots and it’s 0.4 seconds faster off the line, has 62 more horsepower but just 650NM torque. It offers a combined fuel economy of 8.9l/100km and 204g/km in terms of CO2 emissions. The M550d returns 5.9l/100km on the combined cycle and 154g/km of CO2.

For more information, do visit BMW.

Lotus Exige Cup 380: A limited edition track car for the streets

Lotus is going through a phase of taking its standard Elise and Exige models and making them even lighter and into vicious track cars for well-heeled gentleman racers. Right after the unveiling of their Lotus Elise Sprint last month, the brand brings an even speedier edition to its Exige collection — the Lotus Exige Cup 380. The limited edition sports car — of which only 60 are up for grabs — is road legal, unlike its counterparts. Fit for both the track and the streets, the Lotus Exige Cup 380 is a level up from the previous Lotus Exige Sport 380.

Well, how fast is it? The Cup 380 can cover the 0-100km/h dashes in 3.6 seconds and will comfortably hit 175mph (280 km/h) before all of the 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine’s 375hp and 410Nm of torque are spent. Additional weight saving components make the Cup 380 extremely light, increasing the total aerodynamic downforce on this car to 200kg. The Cup 380 weighs a feather-light 117 pounds, compared to the 2,477-pound Exige Sport 380. This is thanks to the obsessive attention to wind tunnel detailing, meaning that the car could potentially take a bend at 175mph and not lose traction.

Because it is a genuine track car as well as a road car, it comes with adjustable damping and cup tires as standard. As usual, this Lotus is driver friendly, equipped with two-way adjustable shocks and anti-roll bars that can be adjusted to its driver’s needs. Rounding it up is a T45 steel roll-over bar and towing hooks, meaning it can be legally entered into a race. The interior sees handmade visible weave sections, including detailed carbon race seats and door sills as standard. Retaining its aesthetic, the Cup 380 comes in five finishes: Essex Blue, Metallic White, Metallic Silver, Metallic Grey and Metallic Black. For an extra touch, its front panel comes with two unique bold red highlights to define its shape.

For those who want an even more exclusive vehicle, the Lotus Exige Cup 380 can be personalised through the Lotus Exclusive programme. The service offers a variety of customizations up for your choosing. Priced at around $106,000, this Lotus will only be made available in Europe— exclusive in its own right.

“This is something that really can drive to a track, set the fastest lap and take the win, before heading home. It’s supremely usable, yet outrageously fast,” said company CEO Jean-Marc Gales. “Developing the Cup 380 has allowed us to indulge our motorsport ambitions on a car that can be used and enjoyed every single day. This is an Exige that’s not just unbeatable point-to-point but also capable of winning highly competitive races.”

For more information, visit Lotus.

New hypercar launches in 2017: Koenigsegg RS1 makes global debut at the New York Auto Show

The latest addition to Koenigsegg made its debut at the New York Auto Show. The Koenigsegg Agera RS1 is the latest bespoke hypercar creation from Swedish engineering genius Christian Von Koenigsegg, and it dazzled its audience at the show.

Built specifically for an American client to his and his son’s exact specifications, the Koenigsegg RS1 is finished in a combination of Arctic White with a unique shade of blue applied to the side skirts and rear wing to provide exterior contrasts. The cabin is swathed in blue Alcantara while the instrument cluster and door panels are finished in polished carbon fibre and black anodized aluminium.

Once it leaves the Auto Show and goes home with its owner, however, most people who see it will never notice any of these details, due to the fact that this is one of the fastest cars any amount of money can buy.

Behind the front seats is a 5-litre V8 engine built entirely in-house by Koenigsegg which, thanks to some very generous use of turbocharging, outputs a remarkable 1360hp and 1370Nm of torque.

Channelled through the car’s seven-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels via the company’s own raft of electronic traction and stability control systems, the RS1 will rocket to 100km/h in 2.8 seconds, to 300km/h in 12.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 355km/h (220mph). Much of this incredible performance comes down to how light the car is. It tips the scales at just 1395kg — just 53kg short of offering the ultimate performance Holy Grail of 1hp per kg in weight.

The RS1 is also a convertible. The hard top roof unclips and slides into a slot in the luggage compartment, but when removed, there are no ill effects on the car’s handling or to its torsional rigidity. And unlike, say, a Lotus which removes absolutely every item that could add weight in order to attain lightness, this car still offers a host of creature comforts including a full infotainment system including navigation, climate control, electrically adjustable seats, and even a hydraulic lift system so that the car can be raised higher off the ground when encountering speed bumps or raised kerbs.

Luxury car restoration: Jaguar launches E-type restoration service

After the phenomenal success of its Land Rover and Range Rover reborn initiatives, it was only a matter of time before Jaguar Land Rover turned its attention from SUVs to restoring and reviving its classic sportscars. Introduced in 1961, the Jaguar E-Type stunned the motor world with its sleek design and performance. Jaguar revealed its first Reborn E-Type at the Techno-Classica Essen show on 5 April.

Finished in period-correct opalescent gunmetal grey, the 1965 4.2-liter fixed head coupé has undergone a complete nut and bolt restoration to ensure what Jaguar claims is concours-winning standard. This level of detail should go some way to justifying its £285,000+ price tag.

However, that price is potentially a steal. The Series 1 E-Type, built between 1961 and 1968, is the most desirable and collectable of all series production Jaguars and if a well restored example comes up for auction, expect a hammer price of between $350,000 and $450,000.

The only thing that stops the E-Type from fetching 10 times more in private and public sales is that when compared to the likes of the Aston Martin DB5 or Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, it was produced in mass-market numbers. Between 1961 and 1968 Jaguar sold over 31,000 E-Types, whereas Ferrari only ever built 351 Lussos and Aston built 1059 DB5s.

Therefore, the reborn program could stimulate prices across the board while setting a new gold standard for what is considered a full restoration. What will set a reborn Jaguar apart is the guarantee of exact matching numbers, exactly reverse engineered panels and access to all of the documentation generated when the car rolled off the production line for the first time — critical elements for serious car collectors.

Jaguar plans to cap the program at 10 models a year and its experts are already out in the field looking for tired but good Series 1 models to rejuvenate. The goal is to create brand-new old cars, but the company is also prepared to go very slightly restomod if a client so wishes. For example, clients could specify larger front brake callipers from a Series 2 model, or a full-synchromesh gearbox.

For more information, visit Jaguar.

New British car models: Rolls Royce reveals musically-inspired bespoke Wraith motor cars

Rolls-Royce Wraith Inspired by British Music

In order to underline its historical rock n’ roll credentials, carmaker Rolls-Royce has collaborated with a host of British music icons to create a set of totally bespoke Wraith coupés that reflect each star’s personality, tastes and achievements. Recently unveiling their ‘Wraith Inspired by Music’ motor cars, each of these cars were crafted with unique design touches that celebrate the success of British music.

The stars approached for the ‘Wraith Inspired by Music’ collection include The Who frontman Roger Daltrey, Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, and the recently knighted Sir Ray Davies from The Kinks. Bespoke Designer, Matthew Danton, under the leadership of Design Director Giles Taylor worked with each artist to capture the most iconic and personal elements from of their body of work. What is delivered are classic one-of-a-kind collectors’ pieces.

Amongst these musicians is Giles Martin, son of music producer extraordinaire, Sir George Martin. He was approached to create a car as a fitting tribute to his late father’s memory and the role he played in making The Beatles the biggest pop band in history. “My father had a huge impact on British music during his career, and I wanted the Wraith to celebrate a lifetime of achievements,” said Giles Martin.

Martin hit upon the idea of embroidering each number one single his father worked on into the car’s leather upholstery and on filling the cabin with hand-written lyrics plus his father’s quotations including the legend “The recording is not what one hears, but what one must make others hear” engraved in the copper door flights. “I hope this is a fitting tribute to a figure who did so much to influence and enhance the world’s perception of a golden era in British popular music,” said Martin.

Rolls-Royce Wraith Inspired by Music, March 2017

Another renowned musician is Sir Ray Davies, who was also inspired to use lines from his own back catalogue. Lyrics from “Shangri-la” and “Drivin'” are engraved on the door lights, and “When it’s raining on a sunny afternoon, in the summer time” is engraved on the handles of the car’s pull-out umbrellas.

“Working with Rolls-Royce’s designers on this car has given me the chance to express some of the themes of the music The Kinks enjoyed performing for many years,” said Sir Ray Davies. “It was fun to create this unique collectors’ item and it’s gratifying to know that important charities will benefit.”

Rolls-Royce Wraith Inspired by British Music

A percentage of the proceeds from each car’s sale is being donated to charity. For example, funds raised from the George Martin car will go to The Fly Navy Heritage Trust, a charity that Martin supported during his life. Meanwhile, money raised from the sale of the two cars Roger Daltrey has helped design — one in honour of the group’s most important album “Tommy” and one that reflects Daltrey’s own legacy — will go to The Teenage Cancer Trust.

Songs may change, but Rolls-Royce ownership as an ingrained rite of passage for even anti-establishment rock stars has stayed the same. Even erstwhile Oasis guitarist and songwriter Noel Gallagher felt he couldn’t say he’d ‘made it’ until he had a chocolate brown Rolls-Royce (even though to this day he still hasn’t passed his driving test).

“This collaboration — with some of Britain’s most celebrated musicians — promises to add to this legacy, creating truly unique collectors’ items which also support worthy charities,” said company CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös.

For more information, visit Rolls Royce.

Classic British cars: Jaguar brings back reproduction of new tyres for the Jaguar XJ220 in 2017

Jaguar XJ220. Image courtesy of Jaguar Cars Middle East and North Africa Official Flickr Account

With new tyres in development, the Jaguar XJ220 is set to continue to increase in value. Image courtesy of Jaguar Cars Middle East and North Africa Official Flickr Account

When the Jaguar XJ220 launched in 1992, it was one of the fastest cars any amount of money could buy. It was capable of hitting a Guinness Book of Records certified 217.1 miles per hour or 349.3 kilometres per hour and of lapping the Nurburgring in seven minutes, 46.36 seconds (a time that stood unchallenged until the turn of this century).

However, for the past 12 years, anyone lucky enough to have this car in their collection has been unable to do little more than simply look at its lines or to listen to the turbocharged V6 engine ticking over. And that’s simply because there has been no way of getting tyres for the car. Production of new rubber for the unique-sized wheels stopped when production of the car itself ceased in 1994.

Owners have been reluctant to use their cars because of the tyre shortage. There have been no new tyres since approximately 1995,” said Tony O’Keefe, Jaguar Heritage’s head of communications. “Quite simply if anyone got a puncture, your car was off the road for good.”

This lack of new rubber is also one of the reasons why, as well as being a rare sight at concours car gatherings, the XJ220, despite ticking every conceivable classic supercar checklist box, hasn’t been shooting up in value in the same way that its 1990s contemporaries have.

But all of that is about to change. To coincide with the car’s 25th anniversary, Bridgestone and Pirelli have been working ‘tirelessly’ to develop new tyres for the car and get it back on the track where it belongs and those new tyres will be coming to market in a matter of weeks.

Both companies revealed their plans to re-shoe the car in September, and the excitement was felt well beyond the XJ220 owners’ club. “I believe [the announcement] is one reason why the prices of the XJ220 have risen by at least 20 percent in the last nine months,” said O’Keefe.

To get its tyres right, Bridgestone used a pre-production XJ220 for track tests and picked the brains of many of the engineers that helped develop the original car.

“We brought the engineers and test drivers from 25 years ago back together, so we were pretty much guaranteed to do the job right,” said Bridgestone test driver Justin Law of the development process.

And while the Bridgestone tyres will no doubt do the job, Jaguar has been working directly with Pirelli on a set of P Zero tyres (the de facto standard for every seriously exotic sportscar since debuting on the original Ferrari F40) for the XJ220 with a view to creating P Zeros for a number of its other classics in the future. As such, they will be the only “J-Rated” i.e., Jaguar approved rubber available for the XJ200.

Tim Hannig, Director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic, said: “This new tyre permits the full performance of the glorious XJ220 to be exploited where appropriate.”

Classic car collectors in 2017 favour modern Porsches and McLarens at Amelia Island

A 1964 Porsche 901 Cabriolet Prototype surrounded by other Porsches | © Christopher Head

A 1964 Porsche 901 Cabriolet Prototype surrounded by other Porsches at the RM Sotheby’s Paris 2017 sale at Place Vauban in February this year. | © Christopher Head

At Amelia Island, concours-condition collectible cars were paraded and auction prices for modern classic cars were further adjusted. Collectors showed that they could well be falling out of love with 1960s Ferraris in favour of modern Porsches and even McLarens.

RM Sotheby’s auction of 150 lots ranging from vintage Bugattis to modern Bentleys generated $70.9 million in sales.

“Not only was it our best ever Amelia Island performance, but the highest tally in Amelia Island auction history,” said Gord Duff, Auction Manager, RM Sotheby’s. “The calibre of entries our team secured for this year’s event was second-to-none.” The star of its show was a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet that went under the hammer for $7.7 million.

And, even though some 19 cars in total managed to attract winning bids in excess of $1 million, a host of vehicles that were expected to send the room into a frenzy failed to meet their estimate, including two Ferraris a 1961 250GT SWB ($9-$10million) and a 1950 166 MM Barchetta by Touring (pre-sale estimate of $8-$10 million).

All of which suggests that interest in the bluest of blue-chip Ferraris is on the wane, or at least that everyone with the interest and money to invest in such a machine already has one in his or her collection. As a result premium collectors are looking to other Italian marques mid-1960s Alfa Romeos, Lancias and Maseratis all performed well at all Amelia Island auctions this year — or they’re looking to ‘modern classics’ or essentially new cars with extremely limited production runs.

For example, a 1995 Ferrari F50 once owned by boxer Mike Tyson secured a $2.64 million winning bid making it the second most expensive car sold by RM Sotheby’s; and a 2012 Bugatti Veyron fetched $1.65 million and a 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.0 went for $1.375 million.

At the Gooding & Co Ameila island auction, a 2012 McLaren P1 fetched a never-before achieved $2.392 million but the cars in the biggest demand were of the Porsche variety.

A row of Porsches at the RM Sotheby's Paris 2017 sale at Place Vauban in February this year. | © Christopher Head

A row of Porsches at the RM Sotheby’s Paris 2017 sale at Place Vauban in February this year. | © Christopher Head

The star of its sale of more than $30 million was a 1998 Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion which went for a phenomenal $5.665 million.

“We achieved strong results for a number of exceptional cars, especially from the Porsche marque, exemplified by the world record price achieved for the GT1 Strassenversion,” said Gooding & Company president David Gooding. “In spite of the 13 world record prices set, we are definitely seeing a market shift, which is healthy for the marketplace as a whole.”

The sale also set new records for the 964-generation Porsche 911 with a Turbo S Leichtbau ($1.54 million),  the 2011 997 GT3 RS 4.0 ($748,000), and the 2011 Porsche 997 GT2 RS ($561,000).

And while the trend for Porsches seems to be getting into full swing, attention is also shifting to other marques with a track connection. There is a surge of interest in late 1940s to mid-1960s Aston Martins, the Jaguar E-Type is continuing to get strong prices and the Amelia Island auctions also set a record for Mazda. A 1989 Mazda 767B that raced at Le Mans fetched $1.75 million.

The next major classic car auction will be on the banks of Lake Como during the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on May 27 before the season reaches its zenith with Monterey motoring week and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this August.

2017 Lotus Elise Sprint: Supercar maker Lotus goes even lighter for its latest roadster

Supercar manufacturer Lotus is back this spring to harvest their new Lotus Elise — the Lotus Elise Sprint. The new Sprint model is an upgrade from Lotus’s Elise-line-up, with a host of weight-saving upgrades that serve as a testament to Lotus’s efficient engineering. The Lotus brand is renowned for its feather-light vehicles and with this newest addition, the trademark is cemented in history.

The Sprint

The Sprint edition of Lotus Elise has seen an astonishing weight cut of 41kilograms from its previous model — no easy feat — to reach a dry weight of just 798kg. This is done through the employment of sleek engineering principles, as well as a distinctive new styling.

Featuring a Lithium-Ion battery that shaves off nine kilograms from its previous weight, the Sprint is made even sleeker with carbon race seats, forged alloy wheels, and carbon elements that save another 17 kilograms. This cuts up to 26 kilograms, a feat in today’s industry where the mantra seems to be ‘the more the better’. The lighter vehicle translates into a faster acceleration speed of 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds, harder cornering and a power to weight ratio of up to 168hp/ton for the Elise Sprint. The Sprint is available in both the 1.6-litre naturally aspirated and 1.8-litre supercharged versions and being so lightweight, emissions are extremely low with 149 and 173 grams per kilogram CO2 for the 1.6 engine and 1.8 engines respectively.

The Exterior

Design for the Sprint has also evolved, with a sexy matte black transom panels and black wheels alongside custom contrasting metal spun rims. The vehicle is detailed with distinct side stripes, as well as side and rear badging. They haven’t skimped on the interior either as the Sprint’s detailing continues inside with an array of optional Alcantara® trim panels on the doors, sills, seats and vents surrounds, all with contrasting stitching.

Speaking of the new car Jean-Marc Gales, CEO, Group Lotus plc. said, “Once again, the Elise continues to redefine what is possible in terms of adding lightness to a sports car. Whilst other manufacturers try to keep pace with Lotus’ weight reduction achievements, we’ve raised the bar beyond their reach. An agile, lightweight sports car does not weigh just over a tonne. It should weigh substantially less and, it is a fantastic achievement from Lotus in ensuring that the fully type approved new Elise now dips below the 800 kg barrier.”

Jean-Marc Gales continued, “Enhanced by less weight, the Elise now provides even more driving purity, greater agility and higher all-round performance. As we say at Hethel: less weight equals more Lotus.”

What’s more, every new Lotus Elise customer can personalise their vehicle through the bespoke Lotus Exclusive programme. Developed by the Lotus Design team, it marries traditional British craftsmanship with the best of modern design. Customers will be allowed to tailor vehicles to their personal taste, the process offering a twist to the usual off-the-shelf sports car. The new Lotus Elise Sprint is available for orders today with deliveries starting from April 2017.

To find out more about Lotus Elise range visit Lotus Cars.

Luxury car auction in 2017: Ferrari F430 once owned by Donald Trump to be sold

A 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO. The car that Donald Trump will be auctioning is a Ferrari F430. | © Christopher Head

A 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO. The car that Donald Trump will be auctioning is a Ferrari F430. | © Christopher Head

A 196mph 2007 Ferrari F430 supercar would be a dream car for most enthusiasts but what if the first owner was the current president of the United States? Over the four-year period he owned the car, Donald Trump clocked up just 2,400 miles. Now it is to be sold by the current owner at auction in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the end of March.

The supercar is expected to achieve a price higher than for an average F430 because President Trump’s name is on the title document. Had Trump not sold the car in 2011, he would not be allowed to drive it now anyway. The American secret service do not approve of their Commander-in-Chief taking the wheel for obvious security and safety reasons.

The same rule applies to the Vice-President. Former VP Joe Biden was also forbidden the car keys although he was permitted to drive his beloved 1967 Chevrolet Corvette on closed roads for a television show.

Over time, former businessman Donald Trump was able to amass a personal fleet of vehicles and included in the list of cars he can no longer pilot are his 2003 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, a jointly developed Grand Tourer; a 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud (one of the first cars Trump ever owned); a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car; and a 24-Karat Gold Orange County Chopper.

It will be interesting to see if the POTUS connection will enhance the vehicle’s value. The auction of this vehicle, estimated to fetch between $250,000 and $300,000, does present both car fans and presidential history enthusiasts with a unique opportunity to own a Ferrari F430 once driven by a president.

This is not the first time a car connected to President Trump has turned up for sale. An opportunity to purchase both a piece of history and a potential investment occurs on March 19 by Bonham’s at Goodwood in England.

The Cadillac limousine was built in 1988 by Cadillac in conjunction with Donald Trump and purchased by him for a family member. It arrived in the UK in 1991. There were plans to produce 50 of the ‘Cadillac Trump’, but only two were ever actually built.

Car collectors like some added value and celebrity vehicles are possibly the most sought after. To see a personal vehicle owned by one of the most powerful men in the world on sale is extremely rare. It is a larger-than-life opportunity to buy a car previously owned by a larger-than-life politician. The vehicle will be sold without reserve and the auction house estimate is between £10,000 – £12,000 (€11,000-15,000 / $12,250 – $14600). However, because of the presidential connection it is thought the final price could reach £50,000!

Meanwhile the Ferrari is being sold by Auctions America in Fort Lauderdale, Florida during its March 31 to April 2 sale.

There are 70 years between this Ferrari 125 S and the LaFerrari Aperta. | © Ferrari

Italian supercar brands: Ferrari celebrates 70 years with ‘first real’ model 125 S

There are 70 years between this Ferrari 125 S and the LaFerrari Aperta. | © Ferrari

There are 70 years between this Ferrari 125 S and the LaFerrari Aperta. | © Ferrari

On March 12, 1947, Italian motor racing team Scuderia Ferrari which previously raced Alfa Romeo cars presented its first in-house creation. The 125 S, was presented in the courtyard of its factory in Maranello, Italy. The 125 S was the first in a long line of sports cars, both for the road and for competition, which shaped the carmaker‘s legendary status.

The 125 S was directly inspired by the AAC 815, a car that Enzo Ferrari designed and built in 1940 under his brand of the time, Auto Avio Costruzioni. In fact, certain purists consider this to be the first real Ferrari. The mythical Maranello factory saw the light of day 1942 and five years later the first Ferrari-branded cars rolled off the production line. The Ferrari 125 S, with a 118Hp V12 engine, made its competition debut in 1947. Its first wins started a long list of prizes and achievements for the car maker. In 1947, Ferrari presented its first grand touring (GT) model, the 166, a sporty car with sleek lines. Around a hundred cars were built across the various 116 models (Sport, Inter and MM).

Like all Ferraris, the hoods of these early cars were adorned with a small black horse rearing up on its hind legs against a yellow background. The Italian brand‘s famous badge has been used on all the firm’s models, whether road cars or competition cars. It pays homage to the aviator Francesco Baracca, a First World War Italian Air Force ace, killed in 1918, to whom Enzo Ferrari was particularly close, and who used to paint a horse on the side of his planes. Scuderia Ferrari first started using the “prancing horse” logo in 1931 on Alfa Romeo cars that the team was racing at the time.

A Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta, pictured here in Daytona in 2016. | © Ferrari

A Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta, pictured here in Daytona in 2016. | © Ferrari

Ferrari’s glory was evidently built on the race course and is intrinsically linked with the history of Formula 1. Scuderia Ferrari is the only team to have participated in all editions of the Formula One World Championship since its creation in 1950, while also holding the most constructors’ championships and the highest number of winning drivers. Ferrari also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, from 1949 with the Ferrari 166 MM, and all other endurance classics until the 1970s.

Its racing success and the high-quality finish of its GT models soon gained international renown for Ferrari. In 70 years, the Italian carmaker has released some of the most stunning grand touring cars in history, from the Ferrari 250 series and the F40 to the Dino 246 in its various versions, the Testarossa and the more recent LaFerrari hybrid. These models today sell for eye-watering prices at auction. In 2016, a 1957 Ferrari 335 S fetched €32.1 million at a Paris auction a new world record.

Pininfarina debuts supercar Fittipaldi EF7 Vision Gran Turismo at Geneva Motor Show 2017

Bespoke luxury cars in 2017: Ferrari celebrates 7 decades with 70 customised models

Following the announcement that the striking 812 Superfast will debut at the Geneva Motor Show, Ferrari in its 70th year have revealed 70 exclusive one-off liveries for the current range. The inspiration comes from extraordinary models such as the 375 MM Pinin Farina Berlinetta that Roberto Rossellini ordered for Ingrid Bergman. It really doesn’t get more glamorous than that.

Project Ferrari Tailor-Made allows clients to make their personalization choices on site in Maranello, Italy where they are flanked by a personal designer who will assist them in creating their bespoke Ferrari right down to the tiniest detail. This will encompass everything from livery colors to cabin trims, finishes and accessories of which there is an unprecedented selection of materials, treatments and hues.

Putting a modern twist on the stylistic features and elements that distinguished 70 of the most beautiful cars in history, clients can choose from 70 exclusive liveries that can be created just once for any car ordered from the current range. Blend the past with the future to create the Ferrari icons of tomorrow as the following 7 examples show.

The 212 Inter Vignale coupé was one of only 34 to have been built by designer Alfredo Vignale (1952). With its ivory exterior and taupe livery, it is a truly striking car. The 375 MM Pinin Farina Berlinetta from 1954 was the one-off model originally commissioned by film director Roberto Rossellini for the illustrious actress Ingrid Bergman. This is the car that gave Ferrari’s iconic color Grigio Ingrid its name.

Legendary British racer Sir Stirling Moss drove his 250 GT Berlinetta SWB to victory three times, including in the 1961 Tourist Trophy. In striking blue with a horizontal racing stripe and classic white roundels on the doors, this model really stands out. Moving forward through the years, with iconic racing lines the 1964 250 LM is finished in classic red with a white central stripe. This Ferrari claimed overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1965.

On through 1970, a 365 GTB4 ‘Daytona’ is seen in stunning blue with a red interior. This superb example represented an important milestone in the evolution of the Ferrari coupé, with its high-performance front-mounted engine.

Featured in the television show of the time, buyers can pretend to be Magnum P.I. with a 1980 308 GTS, or they can be inspired by the legendary 2002 Enzo. In silver with red interior, this was one of Ferrari’s great supercars and was the embodiment at the time of the latest Formula 1 technology and expertise.

All cars ordered with these striking livery options will be distinguished by an exclusive commemorative logo of the 70th Ferrari anniversary along with an ID plate with the name of the model that inspired it. Truly unique, there can only be one of each of these paeans of the past.

Luxury sportscar launch: Porsche presents its latest Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid at the Geneva Motor Show 2017

The new Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is set to make a mark! Proving that the trickledown effect does indeed work when applied to automotive technology, the latest model in the German sportscar company’s expanding executive fastback range is literally dripping in technology developed and perfected in the company’s hybrid hypercar — the 918 Spyder. Debuting this week at the Geneva Motor Show, the Panamera Turbo brings a shot of power to the stage.

After the successful début of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, which uses a V6 engine together with an electric motor, Porsche is showing once again that hybrid technology has great performance potential. The new Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid combines an electric motor (100 kW/136 hp) with a V8 engine (404 kW/550 hp). Like the multi-million-dollar Spyder, this car can run purely on electricity for distances of up to 50 km and when the electric motor and turbocharged V8 are working in concert, it offers a remarkable fuel economy of 2.9 l/100 km.

So far, so sensible. But Porsche thankfully has decided to carry over the hypercar elements as well as the hybrid elements of the Spyder to this particular Panamera. And this results in a 0-100km/h time of 3.4 seconds, a top speed of 310km/h and a remarkable maximum output of 680hp. Porsche promises that throttle response will be instantaneous and that there will be no turbo-lag as the electric engine plugs gaps in the torque band while the turbines are spooling up.

Throw all-around air suspension into the mix for ultimate comfort and agility plus the option of a longer wheelbase model for those that want even more rear leg room and relaxation, and the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is potentially in a class of its own.

Even its price tag, €185,736 for the standard wheelbase model and €199,183 for the Executive (long wheelbase) version is reasonable, considering that it’s still less than owning both a luxury sedan and an out-and-out sportscar.

Geneva Motor Show 2017: Peugeot to unveil the concept car called ‘Instinct’

At the Geneva Motor Show from March 9, Peugeot will be offering a glimpse into the future of mobility with its ‘Instinct’ concept car. The new addition has a unique Shooting Brake which offers the option of fully autonomous driving or driver control. Given a sneak peek Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona before the official showing at the Swiss show, this handsome, sleek concept is powered by a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) power train offering a mighty 300hp. The car features both ‘Drive’ and ‘Autonomous’ modes, affording the driver the choice between an engaging drive and the convenience of a fully autonomous vehicle.

The Instinct is programmed with four distinct driving settings. In ‘Drive’ mode, drivers can opt for ‘Drive Boost’ or ‘Drive Relax’. With the Relax mode, the car will implement a full set of semi-autonomous assists available such as adaptive cruise control. On the flipped, Boost mode is thought to sharpen steering and suspension. In ‘Autonomous’ mode they have the option of ‘Autonomous Soft’ or ‘Autonomous Sharp,’ balancing comfort and optimized journey times.

Technophiles will be delighted to learn that on-board technology includes an ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) platform and the Samsung Artik Cloud, which syncs with the user’s devices. This enables the car to learn its user’s lifestyle and pre-configure its settings — for example, driving mode, seat and interface settings, ambient lighting and audio.

This futuristic, intelligent technology offers scope for organizing our busy lifestyles. For example, it can read data from a smartwatch and configure its settings to ‘Autonomous Soft’ mode to give the driver a relaxing ride home after a trip to the gym.

Through the synchronization of the driver’s diary and the vehicle navigation system, the driver can be reminded to set off for an appointment 15 minutes earlier, to allow for the traffic and weather conditions at that time of day. Cameras in each LED headlamp will enable the car to scan the road ahead and communicate with the driving assistance systems. However, the driver remains fully in control at all times and is able to determine whether they have a hands-on or autonomous drive.

The Responsive i-Cockpit reacts, we are told, when switching between ‘Drive’ and ‘Autonomous’ modes. This helps to create the most suitable environment according to how the car is being used. When in ‘Autonomous’ mode, steering wheel and toggle switch panel fold into the dashboard and the accelerator pedal folds back into the pedal unit to maximize space, which will take a little getting used to.

The Peugeot Instinct concept vehicle is on display at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

New supercar launch in Singapore: Lamborghini Aventador S boasts more power and improved technology by the Italian luxury car maker

© Lamborghini Singapore

Long known as one of Lamborghini’s speediest steeds, the Aventador series is now six years old. With increased power and a rehashed tech interface, the Aventador makes a comeback with the Lamborghini Aventador S. This new model of the Aventador sure does make a statement with its debut. As the next generation of the V12 Lamborghini flagship, the new design features a sleeker, more aerodynamic performance. The supercar manufacturers, promising an exquisite ride, dub the new additions to this the “Four Masterpieces”.

The first of these masterpieces is the Four Wheel steering, that is seen for the first time on a series production by the luxury car maker. The result is an enhanced lateral control. For those who may not be familiar with this, it means that the supercar is agile at low and medium speeds and is also more stable at high speeds. With the Lamborghini Dynamic Steering (LDS) combined with the front axle and the Lamborghini Rear-wheel Steering (LRS) on the rear axle, the supercar is able to boast a five millisecond reaction time to the steering movements, ensuring it to be easy to manoeuvre at both low and high speeds.

The next features include a four-wheel drive and a function that allows the driver to choose between four driving modes: the STRADA (comfort and daily use), SPORT (rear-wheel drive), CORSA (maximum track performance) and EGO to be exact. The last option provides additional and individual set-up profiles, customizable by the driver. Here, you can experiment with all four different modes, finding the one that is most suitable to your tastes. With all driving modes recalibrated in the Aventador S, ESC integration is improved.

Active suspension on all four wheels wraps up the list of ‘masterpieces’ brought by Lamborghini. A real-time variable damping system reduces caster and load on the car, maximizing balance and ground stiffness, coupled by new rear springs that contribute to the car’s balance.

© Lamborghini Singapore

Though it has inherited the V12’s engine, the Aventador S has a 40hp hold over its predecessor at a stunning 740hp. With maximum engine revs of up to a whopping 8,500rpm and a top speed of 350km/h, the Aventador S embodies unprecedented driving dynamics. The Aventador S rests on a specially developed set of Pirelli P Zero tires, specifically designed to respond to the dynamic behaviour induced by the LRS. Not to mention, the interior specifications of the Aventador S are completely customisable thanks to Lamborghini’s Personam customisation program.

“This is the next generation Aventador as well as the expression of new technological and performance milestones in super sports car development,” says Automobili Lamborghini Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stefano Domenicali. “The Aventador S is visionary design, cutting-edge technology and driving dynamics in pure harmony, and elevates the concept of super sports cars to a new level.”

The Lamborghini Aventador S is priced at SGD$1,628,000 excluding COE and options. Reservations for the Aventador S can be placed with Eurosports Auto, the authorised dealer in Singapore.

Geneva Auto Show 2017: Red Bull and Aston Martin give you the limited edition Vantage Red Bull Racing

 

Red Bull gives you wings. Well in this context, it sure does. We all know about the upcoming collaboration between the two brands for the AM-RB 001 hyper car due for 2018. To keep motoring junkies sated, Supercar manufacturers Aston Martin have recently revealed their special edition Red Bull Racing editions of their Vantage series V8 and V12 — just in time for the 2017 Geneva Auto Show. The new cars have been built to celebrate Aston Martin’s on-going partnership with Red Bull racing, as well as the start of the 2017 Formula 1 season on March 26. Despite having no additional changes to the power of the car, both present aesthetic changes.

The cars are finished in Red Bull-inspired Mariana Blue exterior paint. Gloss Tungsten Silver and satin Mariana Blue are also available as an option. Complementing this signature paint finish is a carbon fiber spoiler, splitter and front grille. The grille gets a Red Bull red finish and the brake calipers are a contrasting yellow, staying through to the brand’s colour scheme. No changes have been made to the powertrains of both models. The V8 model gets a 436hp 4.7 litre unit and the V12 a 573hp 5.9 litre engine

Inside, the vehicle is dressed in carbon fiber trim, with Red Bull Racing embroidery on the headrests, diamond quilted leather and an Alcantara wrapped steering wheel complete with 12 o’clock marker. Created by the brand’s in house customisation firm Q by Aston Martin, this Aston Martin has also offered the opportunity of an autograph from one of Red Bull’s current F1 drivers — Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen — on the vehicle’s sill and inspection plaque.

Aston Martin CEO, Dr. Andy Palmer commented: “Motorsport is and will always be a key part of Aston Martin’s DNA and both the V8 and V12 Vantage S Red Bull Racing Editions bring that ethos straight to our customers. With the 2017 FIA Formula 1 World Championship® set to begin soon, I hope that the purchase of these models will bring the racing season that little bit closer for those lucky few customers who can’t wait for it to begin”.

 

Luxury car auctions: Classic car collectors favour modern day editions from Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin

The collectible classic car industry has long been one that gets your heart pumping. With the prospect of collecting an item so elusive you’re one of the few ‘lucky ones’ to obtain, classic car connoisseurs are known for their deep passion in the industry. Despite talk of bubbles, and of Ferrari fatigue, the classic car market is in extremely good health as 2016 becomes 2017. Yet, we ask ourselves what makes a car collectible? The very definition of what makes a car collectable or desirable is changing faster than a classic Ferrari’s 0-100km/h time.

On the whole the market has remained very strong,” begins RM Sotheby’s Peter Haynes. “Probably the thing that came out of 2016 most clearly is a shift towards what the industry is calling the modern classic.” By modern, Haynes says that interest in automotive exotica from the late 80s and 90s is now huge. “It’s really hard to account for this change unless what we’re seeing is the beginning of a sustained shift in the market — the passing of one generation and a new generation of buyers coming in,” he says.

As a rule, collectors that buy with their heart rather than as an alternative to a hedge fund, will be drawn to those cars that have a personal, emotional significance.

“People are buying the cars they want to buy,” explains Robert Johnson, director of Classic and Sports Finance, a company that helps collectors track down and pay for exotic cars, whether at auction or through dealers. “It’s a case of what do I really want? What do I aspire to and what was on my bedroom wall as a kid?”

And in the 80s and 90s, bedroom walls were covered in pictures of the Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari Testarossa, Porsche 959 and the Porsche 911 Turbo. Over the past 12 months, prices for all of these models, and their successors have started climbing. At the RM Sotheby’s Paris sale on February 7, a 1988 Porsche 959 Sport went for a world record €1.96 million, but a 1995 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet attracted a winning bid of €1.34 million.

And the auction houses are now changing the mix of lots on offer to cater for this changing taste. “A few years ago, it was very rare to find an auction house selling a new car,” points out Haynes.

Yet at this year’s Paris sale, some of the biggest lots were also the newest. A 2014 Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series went for €470,000, a 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO for €450,000, a 2012 Aston Martin V12 Zagato fetched €750,400 and a 2016 Porsche 911R went for €515,200. These prices point to a second growing trend in the collector car space. The investors that would normally be buying up mid-1960s Ferraris are now looking to rare modern cars instead.

“A lot of people are now sniffing these cars out rather than going to classic car auctions,” points out Haynes. And at the moment there is no shortage of choice. McLaren, Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini have all unveiled extremely rare, extremely expensive models over the past 12 months, from the Ferrari J50, to the aforementioned Porsche 911 R and the Lamborghini Centenario.

But in each case, the entire run has sold out before the first example has been built. “People are going to start clambering over each other to buy them,” says Haynes, who believes the cars will be stored for resale and never driven.

However, it could also be good news for everyone else. Some of the most desirable traditional classics, could soon be within more collectors’ reach. A 1973 Alfa Romeo Montreal sold for just €78,400 at the Paris sale, a Maserati Bora for just €179,200 and a 1970 Ferrari Dino 246 GT L Series for €448,000 — that’s less than a 2016 Porsche or a 2012 Aston Martin.