Tag Archives: luxury car

The ‘X’ Factor, not for the faint of heart: Lotus Exige Cup 430 Unlimited Edition

The carbon based light form is designed to look aggressive that perfectly matches the character of the new Exige Cup 430

Unlimited in every sense, the new series production Exige Cup 430 offers extreme levels of acceleration, grip and handling, with influences drawn from its rich culture, traditions and applied the ‘know-how’ skills and knowledge to construct specifically for the unique demands of this vehicle. Except that this time round, Cup 430 for Exige exists to be a full production model rather than a limited or special edition.

The Exige Cup 430 is currently the latest road-legal racing car model that has rolled out of Lotus’s tiny production facility. After the breaking news that Lotus has been sold to Chinese automotive giant Geely, the auto giant is all ready to inject renewed confidence and daring excellence into the newly acquired boutique for the British sportscar brand. And the Exige Cup 430 offering could be that example that proved a point.

Beneath the carbon fiber panels of the Exige reveals a newly installed engine completed with the specially-developed charge cooler and the new supercharger by Edelbrock, capable of nudging the car at full speed, according to Lotus’ press release the new design of Cup 430 generates 220 kg of downforce, “with 55 hp, or 15 per cent, more power than the limited production Exige Cup 380 model it succeeds” and the “407 hp per tonne provides unrivalled performance with 0-60 mph in 3.2 secs, dry weight from 1,056 kg, it’s a monster of a car.”

“Compared to the Exige Sport 350, it has 24 per cent more power and generates the same downforce at 100 mph as the Exige Sport 350 does at its maximum speed of 170 mph.” Which means the unlimited edition Exige Cup 430 with the 3.5 litres, V6 engine with 430 hp contained in its bodywork allows “a strikingly different beast of pure performance” along with its newly built exterior to enhance aerodynamic performance, to reach its truest potential on-the-track.

In addition, Cup 430 is made to deliver 440 Nm of torque, with a 0-100 km/h time of just 3.3 secs and a top speed of 180 mph. Said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO, Group Lotus: “This is the car that we have always wanted to build, and I am sure that all Lotus enthusiasts will be delighted with the end product.”

The new Exige Cup 430 features a smaller vehicle architecture to provide a level of performance along with the car’s standard features: a roll cage, harness-style seatbelts and fixed towing hooks front and rear, carpeting, floor mats, air conditioning, cruise control, sound insulation and a stereo.

“This car has no rivals — inside or outside of its price bracket — and it’s no exaggeration when we say that nothing can keep up with this Exige on the road or track.” – Jean-Marc Gales, CEO, Group Lotus

Lotus’ is experienced in lightweight design and has played its part in ditching everything it possibly can to boost the car’s power-to-weight ratio while ensuring that the Exige Cup 430 still qualifies as a road-legal vehicle.

This phenomenal supercar has been tested on the racing track to measure its fastest record timing and it has been reported that “its Hethal lap time is a remarkable one minute, 28.4 seconds.” Thus making it the fastest road-legal Lotus ever to lap its test track.

Prices will start at £99,800 in the UK and €127,500 in Europe. For more information about Lotus, please visit www.lotuscars.com.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio 2018

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV

Renowned Italian sporstcar manufacturer, Alfa Romeo, has decided to move into the SUV market after 106 years in the making. Think Alfa Romeo, drivers of the brand will always remember the innovative engine Alfa Romeo is capable of producing that contributes to class-leading performance with great efficiency.

When model car Stelvio was introduced in 2016, it was definitely worth the wait. This time round, Alfa Romeo takes the prototype further based on the four-door Giulia Quadrifoglio model – that is to transform the already intelligent sports car into a larger, higher riding car. Following the announcement a year ago that Alfa Romeo would be revealing a ferocious Quadrifoglio guise and this week it finally confirmed, and Alfa Romeo owners can expect speed and performance.

Thanks to the lightweight construction using carbon fiber and aluminum, enabling a balanced weight distribution of 50:50 ratio, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio will use the same 2.9 litre twin-turbo V6 engine that delivers 510hp, and the intelligent all-wheel-drive system will nudge Stelvio to perform at a 0-100km/h time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 176mph.

Alfa Romeo took Stelvio Quadrifoglio for a test drive on the demanding Nürburgring track and recorded a lap time of 7 mins and 51.7 seconds.

When it comes to bends, it promises to be equally quick and steady. But it’s not all words and no action, according to Alfa, it recently took the Stelvio Quadrifoglio for a test-drive in demanding tracks of Nurburgring in Germany, and recorded a lap time of 7 minutes and 51.7 seconds. Which means, the car can claim to be the fastest SUV around the ring.

“This car will be coming with a Race Mode and drivers to change through each of the eight gears in the automatic transmission in 150 milliseconds” – Alfa Romeo

The new SUV will see a few changes to its exterior – there are added vents in the hood, air vents for the intercooler on the sides of the car and side skirts to improve the car’s aerodynamics. While the inside surfaces of Alfa features comfortable seats dressed in the finest leather and covered in carbon fibre and Alcantara. The infotainment system gets an 8.8-inch screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay systems.

The new Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV also boasts a higher ride height and intelligent four-wheel-drive system to cope with off-roading and icy roads.

It’s worth the wait for SUV lovers and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is ready for order now and deliveries will begin in early 2018.

Visit  http://www.alfaromeo.com.sg/en/ for more details.

 

Incredibly Fun On-The-Road: The Ferrari Special and Limited Edition Race Car

The new limited edition Ferrari FXX-K EVO has an increased downforce of 23 per cent

The FXX-K that started out as a track-only version Ferrari LaFerrari, the Evo version is built upon its predecessor. With the overall weight reduced and the aerodynamics improved, the Ferrari FXX-K Evo race car is said to be lighter with even more aerodynamic elements.

To allow the supercar to traverse at a faster speed, FXX-K Evo has been launched with 23 per cent more downforce, which also means that the race car can improve its cornering speed “at the redline in its highest gear for magnet-on-steel levels of grip.”

The improved aerodynamics on race cars result from the “newly designed rear wing and the external fins that create a vortex of air, passing clean air over the spoiler and pushing away the hot air coming from the car’s front and powertrain components.”

The interior cabin of the new FXX-K Evo saw a vast improvement to its steering wheel featuring the KERS hybrid boost system controls. The information screen has been redesigned to be more user-friendly and the camera that previously served as a rear view mirror has also been improved.

Designed to be a truly epic race cars with amazing exhaust systems, the Ferrari car series are only made for on-the-track driving, despite producing other series of cars for racing. Taking a glance on the brand’s significant milestone back in 2005, when Ferrari introduced its XX development programme, it was part of the brand’s R&D effort to create the future generation of Prancing Horse supercars and hypercars based on the various best road-going models and built upon the “racing series with bespoke track-only cars.”

For Ferrari owners looking towards upgrading from the FXX-K version, the new Evo model is also available as a turn-key car. But the new limited “Evo” version is only available to clients who are part of the company’s XX development programme.

Montgomery Rolls-Royce 'Butler' Phantom 3

Rare Sighting of Field Marshall Montgomery’s Rolls Royce Phantom III

Field Marshal Montgomery's Rolls-Royce Phantom 3

Field Marshal Montgomery’s Rolls-Royce Phantom 3
Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.com

Although he was nicknamed “the Spartan General” due to his strict military bearing and ascetic lifestyle, Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery greatly appreciated mechanically efficient and powerful vehicles for his own personal transportation, for that, he demanded the best car. Inevitably, the selection criteria for engine power, stately countenance and endurance fell to the makers of the best car of known to man – Rolls Royce.

A veteran of both World Wars, the British Field Marshal had the use of three Rolls-Royce Phantom IIIs. As a consequence of a deeply historic car combined with a fabled owner, Bernard Montgomery’s three Rolls-Royce Phantom IIIs will be appearing in a gathering of the greatest Phantoms from the last 92 years in Mayfair, London.

The Rolls-Royce 'Butler' Phantom 3, one of Monty's Triple joins the lead up to the opening of the fair as Rolls-Royce Phantoms from all over the world journey to London to share their legendary histories

The Rolls-Royce ‘Butler’ Phantom 3, one of Monty’s Triple joins the lead up to the opening of the fair as Rolls-Royce Phantoms from all over the world journey to London to share their legendary histories
Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.com

Dubbed “The Great Eight Phantoms”, a Rolls-Royce Exhibition slated for the end of July, Monty’s Triple joins the lead up to the opening of the fair as Rolls-Royce Phantoms from all over the world journey to London to share their legendary histories and stand witness to the arrival of the next generation of the world’s most recognisable and celebrated luxury car, the eighth generation of the Phantom.

Among Monty’s Triple, Field Marshall Montgomery’s Rolls Royce ‘Butler’ Phantom III

Field-marshal Viscount Montgomery Of Alamein, one Of England's greatest soldiers Since Wellington was known as "The Spartan General". He loved his Rolls-Royce Phantoms, especially his 'Butler' Phantom III. He ended his military career as Deputy Supreme Commander of NATO with a uniform with ten rows Of ribbons. He is considered the longest service Officer in the British Army

Field-marshal Viscount Montgomery Of Alamein, one Of England’s greatest soldiers Since Wellington was known as “The Spartan General”. He loved his Rolls-Royce Phantoms, especially his ‘Butler’ Phantom III. He ended his military career as Deputy Supreme Commander of NATO with a uniform with ten rows Of ribbons. He is considered the longest service Officer in the British Army.
Photo: ANL/REX/Shutterstock (1357743a)

A gifted military tactician, Montgomery was notorious for his lack of tact and diplomacy. So much so that mentors and friends would make remarks on his “lack of tact and egotistical outlook which prevented him from appreciating other people’s feelings”. Thus, it is historical irony that this keen believer in the power of image would cultivate such a prickly demeanour and yet choose to use a symbol of elegance and stateliness like the Rolls-Royce Phantom to convey his preferred attributes of permanence, solidity and reliability. To Monty, the Rolls-Royce Phantom III was a bulwark of strength and visual representation of endurance.

“In defeat, unbeatable; in victory, unbearable.” – Winston Churchill on Montgomery

The first of Monty’s Triple Phantoms, a 1936 model coachbuilt by Freestone & Webb, was owned by the head of English Talbot Motor Company, Frederick Wilcock. Then, as declarations of war were being made against Nazi aggression, the Ministry of War Transport Section requisitioned the Rolls-Royce Phantom for use as Montgomery’s personal transport where he ferried Winston Churchill, General Eisenhower and King George VI to D-Day planning sessions at his base in Southwick House, Hampshire. Where luxury car meets legendary leaders and great historical events, the provenance which accrues is simply awe-inspiring. Yet, of the trio of Monty’s Triple, it is his ‘Butler’ Phantom III which is Montgomery’s most beloved.

the 'Butler' Phantom III featured a signature front-sloping windscreen that made the car 15 per cent more aerodynamically efficient than the standard configuration

the ‘Butler’ Phantom III featured a signature front-sloping windscreen that made the car 15 per cent more aerodynamically efficient than the standard configuration
Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.com

Present at the July “The Great Eight Phantoms” Rolls-Royce Exhibition, Montgomery’s Rolls Royce ‘Butler’ Phantom III was originally commissioned  for Alan Samuel Butler, Chairman of the De Havilland Aircraft Company, with bodywork by HJ Mulliner of Chiswick, the ‘Butler’ Phantom III featured a signature front-sloping windscreen that made the car 15 per cent more aerodynamically efficient than the standard configuration, further enhanced by the enclosed spare tyre and swept tail design in the rear.

 

The Rolls-Royce ‘Butler’ Phantom III served Montgomery, plying the streets of London to eminent addresses as 10 Downing Street, the War Office on Whitehall, the British Prime Minister’s country residence Chequers, and military operations centres such as Northwood in Hertfordshire and eventually, as World War II came to a close, the NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers-Europe in Rocquencourt, near Versailles, France.

Elmwood dashboard of the Montgomery Rolls-Royce Phantom 3, worth taking a wristshot with during "The Great Eight Phantoms", a Rolls-Royce Exhibition slated for the end of July

Elmwood dashboard of the Montgomery Rolls-Royce Phantom 3, worth taking a wristshot with during “The Great Eight Phantoms”, a Rolls-Royce Exhibition slated for the end of July Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.com

Heck, I'd take a ride in Montgomery's Rolls-Royce Phantom 3 during "The Great Eight Phantoms", a Rolls-Royce Exhibition just so I could say I shared a seat with history's legends.

Heck, I’d take a ride in Montgomery’s Rolls-Royce Phantom 3 during “The Great Eight Phantoms”, a Rolls-Royce Exhibition just so I could say I shared a seat with history’s legends. Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.com

It is not clear how the ‘Butler’ Phantom became personally owned by Monty but the Field Marshal retained use of it after the war, carrying other luminaries of the era like  the Prime Ministers of Canada, Australia and New Zealand till his retirement from the position of Deputy Supreme Commander of NATO in Europe in 1958, thereafter, he used the Rolls-Royce ‘Butler’ Phantom III till 1962 as a civilian.

In preparation for ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ Exhibition, the ‘Butler’ Phantom III underwent extensive refurbishment at Rolls-Royce specialist P&A Wood in Essex, England.

‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ Rolls-Royce Exhibition, will take place in Mayfair, London, at the end of July 2017 and it would the first and only opportunity for members of the public to see this legend before it attends the “invite only” Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in the United States in August, after which it will return to its current owner’s private collection.

If you want to own one of Monty’s Triple, a 1936 Rolls-Royce Phantom III owned by the Field Marshall and used to drive King George VI, General Eisenhower and Winston Churchill to secret D-Day meetings, is on sale with Cheshire Classic Cars for £199,995

 

Novitec introduces new customised V8 Ferrari called N-Largo

Novitec N-Largo

German tuning firm Novitec, renowned for its wide-body customizations has stretched the latest V8 Ferrari in terms of size and performance. The company plans to build just 22 examples of what it’s calling the N-Largo—11 in coupé form and a further 11 as droptop spiders. But both versions will come with the same customary widened stance, made-to-measure body kit and a major increase in horsepower.

The N-Largo outputs a massive 772hp, compared with the 670hp that the standard 488 delivers, plus 892Nm (132Nm more) of torque. Together they give the car a 0-100km/h time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 342km/h—that’s a 14km/h upgrade.

The global aftermarket tuning and automotive customization industry is one of the reasons Ferrari held out so long before finally calling time on naturally aspirated V8s in favor of turbocharging as a means of maintaining performance while increasing fuel economy.

With turbos already fitted to the engine, turning power up to 11 becomes a comparatively straightforward process. However, for every increase in horsepower, there needs to be an equal increase in air flow, engine cooling, braking or aerodynamic stability, something that a number of companies will overlook.

Thankfully, Novitec isn’t one of them. It has ensured that there is a greater, freer flow of air to the engine bay and the brakes to ensure this extra power delivers extra fun rather than reduced reliability. It’s also why it’s added a new exhaust system and dropped the car’s ride height.

But the best feature is that this boost in performance can be turned off or on via the steering wheel-mounted Manettino switch, further reducing any unnecessary strain on the engine when simply cruising or driving around town for example.

This nod to practicality and protection is also why the car comes with a hydraulic lift kit, to ensure those larger front and rear spoilers don’t clip curbs or get caught on things like speed bumps.

Unfortunately, there is no horizontal equivalent that can pull the car’s sides in on narrower roads; because with the larger front and rear track and carbon fiber body, the N-Largo is 2.09 meters from side to side, in other words, it’s wider than a Range Rover.

Bentley Bentayga Falconer by Mulliner released for falconry enthusiasts

There are lots of specialist activities vehicles designed to suit, and some people will immediately think of Nissan recently unveiling a prototype X-Trail especially designed for dog owners to accommodate their beloved pets. One thing vehicles like this do tell us is that motor manufacturers know their markets and their customers, and there can be no finer example than a new version of the Bentley Bentayga that’s been specially designed to cater for the needs of falconers.

Now, we’re not talking fans of a football team from Atlanta in the US or a rugby team from Newcastle in England. This is a Bentayga specially adapted by Mulliner, which is Bentley’s in-house coachbuilding division, to cater for the needs of those who participate in the ancient sport of flying falcons. Mulliner can also adapt your Bentley for more mundane pastimes like fly fishing of course, but as falconry is indisputably a sport of kings, it’s perhaps a wonder why the ultimate luxury auto brand hasn’t come up with it sooner.

Not only does this new Bentley Bentayga Falconry by Mulliner offer all the specifically tailored accessories and storage for well-heeled falconers, the dash features an exquisite 430-piece wood inlay of a saker falcon soaring high above the desert. The incredible inlay took a full nine days to create through cutting, sand shading, pressing, and double cutting. As you’d probably expect with such an exclusive Bentley, a wide range of common and exotic woods are used, including chestnut, eucalyptus pommele, holly, lacewood, maple, olive ash, and ripple sycamore.

More practical enhancements for the true falconry enthusiast include a cork perch on the center console that’s flanked by the two front seats. The hatch has been outfitted with a pair of cork chests, one a flight station and the other a refreshment case, both of which sit on a movable tray to allow for easier access. The flight station has a drawer with a piano black veneer for accessories such as a GPS bird-tracking unit, binoculars, and handcrafted leather bird hoods and gauntlets that can be ordered as additional options. A pair of perches are stored at the rear of the Bentley, and with the hatch open, the falcons can be readied for action in the shade.

No price has been quoted for the Bentley Bentayga Falconer Edition.

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