Tag Archives: luxury car

Rolls-Royce-Dawn until dusk-Dawn

Rolls-Royce Unveils Bespoke ‘Dusk Until Dawn’ Cars

It is easy to see Porto Cervo’s charm, especially to a top-shelf automaker such as Rolls-Royce. The swanky seaside resort destination in Northern Sardinia boasts a spectacular coastline, lots of beautiful people and a laidback glamour like no other. Rolls-Royce even has a special initiative related to Porto Cervo, which we have covered previously. No surprise, then, that Rolls-Royce is returning to the Italian marina as palette inspiration for ‘Dusk Until Dawn’ – a bespoke series of two of its well-loved cars, a Dawn drophead and a Wraith coupe.

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Revealed at the brand new Rolls-Royce Summer Studio in Sardinia, both cars are infused with the ambient hues of Porto Cervo at its most spectacular: dawn and dusk. As its name suggests, the bespoke Dawn (pictured above) is a vision of the marina’s aquamarine waters as light breaks upon the waves. An ethereal emerald green exterior envelops a seashell and green leather cabin, complemented by teak trimmings (yacht decks, anyone?) that extends to the tourneau cover that shields the roof and trunk compartment. With an insignia of Porto Cervo on the dashboard fascia that’s embedded with real emeralds and mother-of-pearl in white gold, this Dawn is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious vehicles in the world.

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For the one-off Wraith, an iridescent two-toned silver finish on its exterior reflects the changing light as the sun sets, setting the mood for its ethereal twilight-infused interiors. Step inside to a cocoon of glamour with seats swathed in decadent plum-colored ostrich leather and wooden veneers and marquetry in shades of slate greys, browns and black.

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“Patrons of our marque delight in inhabiting some of the world’s most beautiful enclaves,” said Isobel Dando, General Manager, Future Retail, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “The stunning Bespoke Wraith and emerald embellished Dawn, inspired by the sights and colors of Porto Cervo, have been commissioned in the spirit that so many of our customers delight in.”Rolls-Royce-Dawn until dusk-porto cervoIt’s also somewhat fitting that the British car marque extends its bespoke reveals to one of its clients, tattoo artist Mo Coppoletta, who used Sardinia’s stunning environment as inspiration for two tattooed Rolls-Royce headrests. “The designs I have created for Rolls-Royce evoke the emotion experienced by observing this magical place from the harbor of Promenade du Port,” Coppoletta said.

This story is also available in Bahasa Indonesia. Read it here: Rolls-Royce Menampilkan Unit Pesanan ‘Dusk Until Dawn’

Lincoln Debuts Client-Focused Luxe Service

No, “The Lincoln Way” is not a new law referencing the former US President or a new plank for the Republican party, but rather, Ford’s standalone luxury car label Lincoln’s new philosophy. Regardless of its slightly confusing name, “The Lincoln Way” aligns itself with the values of simplicity, time-saving and personalization.

Taking a leaf out of rivals Mercedes’ and Bentley’s books, Lincoln recognizes the need for absolute excellence when handling clients in the premium car market. This means customers’ expectations extend beyond aesthetically pleasing facades and interiors, and desire every aspect of ownership to resonate with the same quality. Cue valets who will pick your cars up for servicing, even going as far to thoughtfully leave a courtesy vehicle for the owner’s use, to quote an example. It is an all-in-one package.

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In a similar vein, a dedicated Experience Center at Fashion Island in Newport Beach California is also in the works, where clients will be able to explore every aspect of the Lincoln marque. Customers basically get a business lounge where they can sample individual models and build a Lincoln (not literally of course) to their exact specifications. It is a step up from the Black Label service, which Lincoln already provides for US clients to access personal shopping and some of the country’s best restaurants.

“We’re continuing to expand on The Lincoln Way, and as we do, you’ll see a common theme — effortless and personal service for the client,” said Kumar Galhotra, president of The Lincoln Motor Company. “Lincoln is matching compelling vehicles with world-class service.”

For more information, visit Lincoln’s website here.

Luxuo David Beckham for Jaguar 2016

How British Car Brands Sell to China

Many British automotive marques are already forging reciprocal links with Chinese firms. Aston Martin is working with LeEco to develop an electric version of its Rapide super sedan and everyone from Jaguar to Bentley is also developing models with longer wheelbases and greater space for rear passengers, uniquely for the Chinese market.

But how do these storied British brands get the biggest and youngest car-buying market to fall in love with them within the next few years, when they’ve had over 60 years to become pin-up fixtures on children’s walls in Europe and the US?

Jaguar has already hired David Beckham as its sportscar ambassador to China, but, as football fans will tell you “There’s only one David Beckham” so it appears the long-term answer is to celebrate all that’s good about British motoring heritage by crafting a festival on a par with the Goodwood Festival of Speed and bringing it to the Chinese mainland.

The British Motorsport Festival (BMF), will open its doors to the public at the Goldenport track, Beijing, on October 1 and promises past, present and future cars from Jaguar, Land Rover, Lotus, McLaren, Morgan and Noble.

But more than simply trying to get car fans excited, the two-day event will be a proper family-inclusive lifestyle experience.

“The British Motorsport Festival is a unique blend of cars, fans and fun for the entire family. Our hope is that the British Motorsport Festival can help brands connect with fans to build lasting relationships,” said Jim James, BMF’s founder.

So the event promises racing, a ladies competition, go-karting and electric car racing for kids plus a vintage car show.

Alongside the festival the UK government is also assisting in setting up an annual motorsports conference, in partnership with Motorsport China, the first of which will be held in Shanghai on November 2. Because as with every country that starts to fall in love with cars, the urge to race tends to follow very quickly. But there are pitfalls that need to be avoided if it’s going to be done in a sustainable, profitable way.

“Motorsport in China is developing rapidly, and the goal of the Conference is to bring experts from the UK and China together to discuss best practices, build deeper relationships and ultimately to develop the industry to a world class level,” said Managing Director of Motorsport China, Steven Lu.

So the conference will bring together experts from every facet of racing from track development to team owners and specialist services companies under one roof.

Lamborghini Hits Sales Records in 2016

We are only half way through 2016 but Lamborghini has already hit a milestone in its books. In the first six months of this year, the luxury car-maker sold 2,013 cars. The month of June saw them deliver 416 cars, which is a feat for a single month.

In 2015, the company sold 1,882 cars within the same period. The jump in sales, has been attributed in part to the expansion of the Huracán family, the introduction of the Spyder as well as the rear-wheel drive version to the international market. “With a solid order bank, not only for the Huracán, but also for our V12 model the Aventador, we aim to outperform the last year’s sales record yet again” said Stefano Domenicali, Chief Executive Officer of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

The country with the highest call for Lamborghini’s came from the United States. Following closely behind the Amercian market, is Japan and the United Kingdom coming in third. Unsurprisingly, China stands as the fourth biggest market. The record sales performance tallies with the overall bullish tone in the higher end of the car market and follows Lamborghini’s own previous record achievement.

Sports Sedan Reborn: New Porsche Panamera

Having contributed to record sales for the German automaker since 2009, it was only high time the trusty Porsche Panamera got the facelift it deserved. This year, the liftback-style sedan replaces the previous model with a sportier façade and amped-up specs.

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While maintaining the Panamera’s recognizable silhouette – long bonnet, distinct shoulder line and large alloy wheels – the new iteration is also now 35mm longer, 5mm wider, 5mm taller, and with a lower, more curved roofline, creating a flyline that harks back to the iconic 911. Its wider wheelbase, now 30mm longer, also serves to accentuate the car’s sporty disposition.

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The new Porsche Panamera will launch with three engine options; the most powerful 4.0-liter V8 Turbo’s 550 hp will power the car to 60mph in 3.8 seconds, or 3.6 seconds with the optional Sports Chrono pack. Porsche’s brand new 2.9-liter twin turbo V6 in the 4S model will get you 434hp (20hp more than before) of driving pleasure, and is capable of hitting 60mph from rest in 4.2 seconds with the Sport Chrono pack, and the Panamera 4S Diesel’s V8 (fastest diesel car in the world, Porsche claims) will equip your ride with 416hp and hit a top speed of 177mph, going from nought to 60 in 4.3 seconds.

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Otherwise, the four-wheel drive model is also equipped with Porsche’s eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission shift gearbox, automatic rear wing and next-generation air suspension for an even smoother ride. But what is a fantastic ride without all the nifty gadgets we’ve come to expect from the luxury-grade vehicles of today. Drivers of the new Panamera will work with the new Porsche Advanced Cockpit, equipped with thermal imaging cameras and InnoDrive, an adaptive cruise control. The improved UX features two new 7-inch displays in place of dials, with a 12-inch touchscreen that has all the works – online sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and an updated voice control system.

“Its strengths have been reinforced, its weaknesses eradicated and above all its character preserved,” said Michael Mauer, Head of Style Porsche AG. If you’re still not convinced, Porsche has created a video that will surely seal the deal:

 

Future Drive: Rolls-Royce Vision 100

Last week we drove headlong into an exhibition at the Turin Motor Show that investigated the possible futures of cars. This week, Rolls-Royce made like Neil Armstrong and took a giant leap into that future with the Vision 100. The luxury car firm debuted the Vision 100 at a special event in London, echoing something its parent company BMW did back in March. We’re talking about the BMW Vision Next 100 of course and indeed we’ll be seeing this from all BMW brands but perhaps Rolls-Royce is even bolder in its vision than BMW itself.

The Vision 100 ditches a good deal of the familiar ‘car-like’ trappings in favor of an exterior that feels more like an otherworldly rectangular pod. When we saw ‘car-like’ trappings, what we mean is that the Vision 100 is a fully autonomous zero-emissions vehicle. Seriously, there’s no steering wheel or instrument panel here (there is instead a cabin-wide OLED display)… Yet there’s still that iconic Spirit of Ecstasy gleaming at the front, marking it as, unmistakably, a Rolls-Royce. Also, at close to 6 meters in length and more than a meter tall, the two-door Vision 100 comes from a future where bigger is clearly better.

Speaking of the Spirit of Ecstasy, there will be one inside the vehicle too. This happens to be Eleanor – the virtual personal assistant that can be viewed on the visual display in the interior. She’ll track your personal tastes, make recommendations, and run your appointments. All this falls in with one of the basic tenets of luxury, which is to do nothing that you don’t want to do. Even the design for the interior is set up like a comfortable cocoon with fine wool, leather, woods and a sofa. Yes, this vision of the future comes with a couch because someone at Rolls-Royce was paying to all those jokes car writers make about the Goodwood firm’s penchant for creating luxury living rooms on wheels.

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“The grand arrival of the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 boldly points to a bright future for our marque where our patrons’ individual demands for complete and authentic personalization will be met through an exquisite fusion of technology, design and hallmark Rolls-Royce craftsmanship,” said CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös at the concept’s launch. In coming up with the Vision 100, the design team led by Giles Taylor tried to imagine what cars would look like a century into the future. They decided that four key ingredients were important – personal vision; an effortless journey; a grand sanctuary; and the grand arrival.

Well, this is only the beginning. As things develop we can easily expect more automation, more convenience, and more exclusivity. In keeping up with their vision of the future, Rolls-Royce even released a 3D video to showcase exactly what the model can accomplish. You can view it down below.

Porsche Teases New Panamera

For hardcore Porsche purists, there are a number of faults to levy at the existing Porsche Panamera, despite the overwhelming success of the model  – the main gripe being the optics. Even CEO Matthias Mueller admitted to that back in 2014, in an interview with Motoring. With this peek at the new-generation luxury sports GT, though, those worries seem to have been put to rest. It is both a car that’s great on paper and one that keeps its crisp personality on the exterior.

Beyond just a cleaner form overall, with sharper lines, the Porsche Panamera also has much more entertaining V8 and V6 powertrains. Judging from the sketches, the wheelbase is also bigger, leaving more cabin space for front and rear passengers. Though, being only a sneak peek, there are still many more questions to be answered before we know whether it is a definitive model to get your hands on.

At the very least, Porsche has also confirmed that the performance will definitely upgraded, when compared with its predecessor because of the lighter and stronger materials used. There is also the five years of engineering innovations that the brand has made, since the first Panamera went into production. It is also worth remembering that a four-door sedan Porsche has come a long way from its days as a concept in the 1980s. While there are no details yet on this upgrade, we think it is safe to say that the luxury trappings of the Panamera are here to stay, as is the engine position (although that one is a lot less certain).

Beyond the sketches, you can also look at the video below that Porsche released, teasing the new model. (Spoilers: unfortunately, the car isn’t revealed)

Porto Cervo Rolls-Royce Studio Opens

The name Rolls-Royce is synonymous with the peak of luxury. To maintain this standard, the company has decided to open up a Summer Studio in the heart of Porto Cervo on the island of Sardinia, Italy. The city boasts of being one of the most popular yet least known haunts of the world’s elite; it is exactly this chunk of the populace that the brand is aiming to sink its teeth into. With the studio, patrons of true luxury will have their very own hub to enjoy high society and fine living, ongoing until September.

A host of Rolls-Royce automobiles will occupy their highly contemporary space located at the Promenade Du Port but Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is not just aiming to sell the cars. The whole point of the studio is to let visitors get a glimpse of the lifestyle, not just beautiful machines. In the day, you can experience rides around the roads of the island in models such as the Rolls-Royce Dawn – the marque’s newest and most social Drophead Coupé ever created. By night, the place transforms into a harvest of social activities, with exclusive gatherings and an upbeat atmosphere allowing connoisseurs to mingle.

“Connoisseurs of true luxury are seeking an unforgettable experience in their pursuit of perfection… The worlds of fashion, art and design collide to create an ambient atmosphere which embodies the spirit of Rolls-Royce” commented Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce, on the whole concept behind the studio. True enough, the furniture and decoration are specially commissioned to ensure a totally exclusive and luxurious experience.

If you’re heading down to Porto Cervo during this period – this may well be worth checking out. Perhaps the whole experience will be convincing enough for you to invest enough to let you own one of their fine models for yourself.

The New Maserati Quattroporte: GranLusso & GranSport

Maserati has given its flagship model, the Quattroporte, an update (actually, make that two) for 2016, and the result is the GranLusso and GranSport — both polar opposites of each other.

The Maserati Quattroporte (literally translated to ‘four doors’) has had an illustrious history since its inception in 1963. Less clinical than its German counterparts: the Mercedes S class, Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series, the four-door grand tourer is now available in two models to better suit the diverse preferences of Maserati’s customer base.

The GranLusso is the luxury-oriented variant of the two, its exteriors now fitted with 20-inch Mercurio alloys and subtler spoilers. Other enhancements include chrome bumper inserts, black brake calipers and an elegant 20-inch Mercurio wheels. Inside, the car is decked in bespoke Ermenegildo Zegna silk and leather, and finished with top grade wooden trim.

On the other end of the spectrum, the GranSport – as its name suggests – is performance-driven, both in style and function. Front and rear new sports bumpers with body-coloured sideskirts reflect its driver’s more athletic lifestyles, as with its larger 21-inch Titano wheels and red brake calipers. The GranSport is essentially a big limo with sporting intent, so it’s only natural its interiors also play the part. Carbon fiber trimmings and piano-black wood veneers add to its aggressiveness, while its sport seats are built for optimum comfort and support, a feature you will appreciate after you learn what its engines can do.

At the heart of the cars, the same Ferrari-developed 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 produces 530 hp, propelling the car from 0 to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds and delivering a top speed of 310 km/h. A milder (read: less exciting) 410 hp twin-turbo V6 option is also available, hitting nought to 100 km/h at 5.1 seconds. Both versions are also fitted with a host of latest-generation active safety technology, including an adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, a new electric parking brake and a 360-degree camera.

Custom Job: Ferrari 458 MM Speciale

The Ferrari 458 Speciale was distinctive when it was first released in 2013, which is only fitting for what is a souped-up version of the 2009 Ferrari 458 Italia. All versions of the 458 were phased out in 2015 so if you get one brand new today, you can count yourself extremely fortunate. For one mysterious British customer though, a rare car just wouldn’t cut it. Thus, the 458 MM Speciale was born. The bespoke Ferrari made its debut on Tuesday during a shakedown testing on the Fiorano circuit. Ferrari-458_MM_Speciale_article

The one-of-a-kind creation has a few similarities other 458s, with a few unique features in the mix. Like the collectible 458 Speciale, the bespoke Ferrari boasts a 4.5 litre 600 hp V8 engine and can go from 0 to 100km/h in three seconds on its way to hitting a top speed that exceeds 200mph. The differences begin with the exterior that is re-sculpted in aluminum and carbon fibre composites while also featuring side air scoops as well as a re-worked nose and tail. Ferrari-458_MM_Speciale_article-1

The custom Ferrari that was designed in-house by the Ferrari Styling Centre showcases sporty lines —a request of the client— as well as a glasshouse that resembles the 1984 Ferrari GTO. This wraparound solution sees the windscreen and side windows become one seamless glass surface while also lowering the roofline. The roofline joins the side scoops in adding to the aerodynamic revision of the new car. Ferrari-458_MM_Speciale_article-2

Thanks to the unique additions, Ferrari could afford to modify the car further by having the cooling radiators mounted closer together. With the help of the side scoops, the car is able to provide direct additional cooling to the engine. The downforce is evenly balanced thanks to a spoiler on the tail — something that you would not find on current production Ferraris. The customization of the car doesn’t stop there: the owner also requested specific wheels that are exclusive to the car along with an upgraded audio system as well as Ciccolato leather upholstery with white stitching and satin white rings around the tunnel controls.

BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo Gets a Reboot

Like the rest of its 3 Series siblings, the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo also gets its own facelift for the summer, taking on more engine options and spiffier interiors.

Let’s start by looking at the inside. BMW justifies the premium price tag with luxurious updates – think more wood, chrome trimming and leather options – to cater to the increasing demands of its American and Chinese customer base. The car is also fitted with the “BMW Navigation System Professional”, a feature once reserved only for the company’s ‘full-sized’ cars. The 3 Series GT also has the usual fanfare: automatic climate control, LED headlamps and fog lamps, a smartphone hands-free kit, a full HD color display with iDrive Controller, USB ports and Bluetooth for audio streaming.

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The biggest difference, however, lies in the 3 Series GT’s engines. There are in total three gasoline and five diesel engines to choose from. Coupled with the drive configurations and gearboxes that Beemer is offering, there are essentially 18 different models to choose from. Petrol engines start with the base 320i and the new 330i, both boasting better fuel economy. The higher-end 340i replaces the 335i with higher horsepower and lower carbon emissions. Depending on engine selection, the car can be specified with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed Streptronic automatic transmission.

BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo

The car’s body sees the same athletic stature and raised roof lines as its predecessor, its chassis still an extra 200mm longer than the standard 3 Series. This translates into larger luggage capacity, one that’s even greater that the BMW 3 Series Touring station wagon.

Koenigsegg Regera: Most Powerful Hybrid Ever?

This is a car that would make Jeremy Clarkson yell “POWERRRR”, because with 1500+ Hp output and 2000+ Nm of torque, the new Koenigsegg Regera easily qualifies as the nuclear missile of automobiles.

Merely a concept when it was unveiled last year at the Geneva Auto Show, the hybrid hypercar’s name is Swedish for “to Reign”, and rightly so for a machine that offers an unprecedented combination of power, responsiveness and luxury. With only 80 handcrafted models in production, each car heralds a new era of Megacar performance.

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The Regera will do 0 to 100km/h in 2.8 seconds (about how long you’ll need to read this sentence), hit 200km/h in 6.6 seconds, and 300km/h in a blistering 10.9 seconds. If that’s not enough to impress you, it’ll gladly oblige nought to 400km/h in 20 seconds (very useful if you’re in a car chase and have a nice long straight to take advantage of). Like the Agera, this speed is generated by its drysumped twin turbo, DOHC, 5.0 liter V8 in tandem with the electric propulsion of the Koenigsegg Direct Drive Transmission (KDD).

Invented by Christian von Koenigsegg, the patent-pending system eliminates the need for a gearbox, which also means less weight and energy losses, just direct transmission from the engine to the wheels. Unlike the Agera, the Regera can afford to ease up on the internal combustion engine given its already immense power, so it is given smaller, faster spooling turbos that enhance the engine’s driveability and response.

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Only the brightest and best have worked on the Koenigsegg Regera’s 620V battery pack. Electric Supercar virtuoso Mate Rimac and his team created the most power-dense battery pack ever created for a road-going car, producing 9.27kWh of energy and taking up 67 liters of volume. Located in the most protected area of the car – the carbon-aramid chassis tunnel – a fully charged cycle provides 50km on pure electric drive. Including the battery, the KDD system only weighs a mere 88kg, an unprecedented weight to electrification ratio for any other hybrid Hypercar despite having a larger battery capacity and more electric power.

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Clearly, the car is a vehicle of many firsts. The engineers at Koenigsegg know full well that drag is every speed junkie’s worst nightmare, and so have made its rear wing – a lightweight work of carbon fiber art – fully foldable into the body work to reduce drag when cruising. If you can’t yet afford a butler to open the car door for you, the Regera has also got you covered. As the world’s first fully robotized car, you have the option of opening and closing the doors via the remote or smartphone via the ‘Autoskin’ function. Its wing mirrors are also auto-folding and the car seats remember how toasty you like your bottom to be with a heating memory function.

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The Regera’s lavish leather-furnishings are totally old school, its cozy interiors a stark contrast to the exterior’s state of the art silhouette. These are the last things you’ll notice when you’re going past 200km/h, but just so you know, the car is also fitted with a 9” infotainment system, 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, supreme sound system and Apple CarPlay.

Speedmaster: Donkervoort D8 GTO-RS

We like boutique automakers here so when we heard about the Donkervoort D8 GTO-RS we had to take a closer look. Where major names in the supercar world are routinely criticized for being too conservative in their designs, Dutch boutique automaker Donkervoort is gloriously idiosyncratic. The D8 GTO-RS was clearly designed to match the designer’s dreams, not to meet computer-generated performance standards. Nevertheless, Donkervoort reports that this is the fastest and lightest D8 GTO it has ever built.

Dedicated petrolheads will remember that the D8 RS set a Nürburgring record in 2004, sweeping aside the previous record held by the Porsche Carrera GT by close to 15 seconds. The current RS promises to be even more extreme, powered as it is by a reworked Audi turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine. In this version, which Bosch helped to tune, the focus is clearly on acceleration; the GTO also uses this engine and gets 380 bhp from it so expect a bit better than that once the full specs are released (the current teaser information does not reveal the specifications).

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Donkervoort promises a faster and more comfortable drive with the D8 RS, which also boasts new launch control, suspension and brakes. The cherry on top of this speed sundae is that it is compliant with Euro6 emissions regulations. This is also quite a pretty sundae too, with an aggressive stance and a face that looks ready to devour the road.

The Donkervoort D8 GTO-RS is set to make its full debut in just a few months but collectors should take note that only 40 models will be made and the company has reportedly sold 21 of those already. Prospective owners will also want to take note of the pre-tax asking price, currently set at $172,000 (that is a little more than the new Porsche Cayman and Audi TT put together, for those who care to know).

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Good Wood: Bentley Mulsanne First Edition

Always aiming to push the limit in terms of luxurious exclusivity, Bentley came to the Beijing Auto Show with a handcrafted car that exemplified all of the high-end bespoke craftsmanship that the brand is well-known for. Limited to only 50 examples, the Bentley Mulsanne First Edition is full of functions and adornments that aim to pique the interest and desire of any car enthusiast willing to chase the peak of refinement.

The car will be offered in three forms – standard, speed, and Extended Wheelbase. While Bentley already happens to be the company car connoisseurs look to for high standards, the First Edition aims to be the car that demanding Bentley connoisseurs will turn to, and Bentley has pulled out all the bespoke stops to make that happen. Instead of the picnic tables integrated into the rear of the front seats that usually drop down to take the weight of a table or a computer feature, an integrated sterling silver vanity kit will pop out instead. This was created for the car by Asprey of London, and includes a mirror, hairbrush and a comb – each carefully weighted like a professional chef’s knife. Even the ‘Flying B’ emblem that adorns all Bentleys is uniquely engraved here, while throughout each car there are First Edition motifs, either embroidered on the leather or inlaid in the extensive wood finishing.

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Speaking of wood, the Extended Wheelbase model goes a step further, proving that such a thing is very much possible, with a cabin boasting a Fulbeck veneer sourced from a 350-year-old walnut tree. This is obviously one of the most expensive, rare and sought-after wood. The tree happened to fetch a record fee (undisclosed) at auction and Bentley only managed to secure enough of it to adorn its flagship; other first editions have to make do with mere antique Ash veneer.

To prove that Bentley is on the cutting edge of technology, the Extended Wheelbase will come with Bentley 10.2-inch tablets for the rear-seat passengers – running on Android with a Bentley interface overlaid. Content can be streamed to the car’s audio system and the devices can be taken from the car and used at home or in the office.

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“The Mulsanne is the epitome of Bentley’s DNA — exquisite, individual and powerful. It defines luxury in the automotive world and offers the unique Bentley blend of luxury and performance” said Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors. We’re inclined to agree.

This story was written in-house, based on an AFP report.

BMW Individual 7 Series: Hand-finished Edition

Buckle up because BMW is about you take you on a very extravagant ride. To celebrate its centenary year, the German luxury automaker is building 100 individually numbered and hand-finished 7 series sedans.

The BMW Individual 7 Series THE NEXT 100 YEARS – to give the car its full and somewhat unwieldy name – will be available in two- or four-wheel drive and three engine choices: 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8, plug-in hybrid, or the wild 6.6-liter TwinPower Turbo V12 with its 610 horses. Actually, the car is offered on a choice of three platforms, which you will have already guessed if you know your Bimmers. These are, in order, the  BMW 740Le iPerformance, 750Li, (both with or without xDrive), and of course the M760Li xDrive. Ok, to be honest, we really don’t like The Next 100 Years name and will join the chorus of voices across the Internet in asking BMW to consider changing it. Aside from being SEO-unfriendly, it is more importantly clunky, confusing and uninspiring. Our house style for example means we have to drop the upper case spelling.

To put it another way, for this very special occasion, BMW went the extra mile and looked to Hamburg-based luxury goods brand Montblanc for a meaningful collaboration. If BMW wants to give the world a hand-finished automobile with such lavish details that require (brand name) outside partners then it should put a little more care into the name. After all, a centennial comes around but once every hundred years.

Anyway, Montblanc is bringing its renowned flair for creating writing instruments to the table with a centennial fountain pen for each prospective Next 100 Years owner, using the same design features, materials and paint finishes that will adorn the customized car.

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Now this car has all the bells and whistles you would expect from BMW – every equipment specification comes standard here – but the feeling behind the whole effort is decidedly old school. Old World even. The car’s interior is blanketed in contrasting black and “Smoke White” fine-grain Merino leather and it of course features remote-controlled parking and other clever innovations.

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The car’s exterior is where the Old World quirkiness comes into play because that lovely blue finish you see here is the only one available. It is a special coat for the anniversary and as such is a standard feature. In short, if you are looking for this in salmon pink well, good luck… The forged lightweight 20-inch alloy wheels with a V-spoke design and handcrafted badges are also standard.

The cherry on this very decadent-yet-restrained sundae comes in the form of a plaque denoting the model’s number, between one and 100, on the center console’s cup holder cover so everyone, inside and out, is well aware your vehicle is a limited edition production.

Mansory Takes On Rolls-Royce Dawn

The Rolls-Royce Dawn’s alluring presence is undeniable. Never mind that it takes 1,500 of the industry’s most skilled technicians to build. This dynamic 4-seat convertible by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is to date, one of the most ambitious vehicles the British car manufacturer has attempted since BMW’s acquisition in 2003.

So just when you thought this sleek coupe couldn’t get any better, German premium car tuning and customization firm Mansory has gone ahead and given the $380,000 car’s exterior, interior and engine bay some serious fine tuning. The nose gets a new carbon fiber front spoiler with larger air intakes, the LED running lights have been changed and the hood section completely remodeled in carbon fiber to cut weight. The car also gets side skirts and a trunk-lid spoiler.

But the good people at Mansory didn’t just stop there. Under the hood, the Dawn’s original 563hp 6.6-liter V12 now produces 740hp and 1000Nm of torque (previously 780Nm), propelling the car to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 285km/h (a whopping 35km/h more than the standard car delivers).

Inside, the company offers customers whatever they want in terms of precious metals, rare leathers or carbon fiber detailing, much like Rolls-Royce itself.

mansory_rollsroyce_dawn_back

And while purists and many luxury carmakers may frown upon the exploits of companies like Mansory, its services are very much in demand. So much so that Rolls-Royce itself has recently introduced a new ‘Black Badge’ model line which Rolls-Royce CEO Müller-Ötvös describes as “motor cars for a group of young, driven, self-made people that will make a bold and edgy lifestyle statement about their lives.” They offer more powerful engine tuning, carbon fiber trim, larger wheels and matte exterior finishes.

The Dawn is unarguably the brainchild of some very keen minds, but it is customisable services like Mansory’s that add an extra sensory dimension for a ride like no other.

 

Go Hard: Aston Martin Vantage GT8

British luxury carmaker Aston Martin has unveiled the new Vantage GT8, a limited-edition £165,000 ($234,000) version of the vanilla Vantage that the company claims is as close to a road-going racing car as the law allows.

Just 150 examples are being built and the first deliveries won’t start until the end of the year. But those with the money and the patience will get a GT car infused with a host of features and systems developed through Aston Martin’s endurance racing program.

The Vantage GT8 is 100kg lighter than the existing Vantage and its 4.7-liter naturally aspirated V8 has been tuned to deliver 440bhp. Crucially for purists, that power can be delivered to the rear wheels via a proper manual gearbox, if the owner so desires. Otherwise, there’s a paddle-shift automatic transmission in the options list.

Director of Special Projects and Motorsport, David King said: “We long held the desire to create a road car that truly reflects our racing activity at Le Mans. With the Vantage GT8, we’ve finally been able to achieve that.”

Though based on the standard two-seat GT car, no one will be in any doubt that the GT8 is something special. Festooned with carbon fiber aerodynamic aids it has an extended front splitter, fixed rear wing and protruding sills finished in a choice of luminous contrasting colors.

But that’s just the start, depending on how often a potential owner intends to take the car to the track. Glass interior switches can be swapped for plastic, the roof can be specified in carbon fiber and the side and rear windows swapped for polycarbonate to save even more weight and therefore unleash even more performance.

“Road cars are our business, but racing is the beating heart of Aston Martin,” said company CEO Dr Andy Palmer. “Beautifully engineered and set-up to be equally at home on a fabulous road or a demanding race track, the Vantage GT8 is a driver’s car in the truest sense of the word.”

Aston Martin Vantage V12 S Goes Manual

The Aston Martin Vantage V12 S, still the fastest production Aston Martin, is a variation on the Vantage model meant to titillate the desires of the purists via the inclusion of a proper manual transmission for real driving fun. While it is going back to an older more mechanical age there, the Vantage is also going to have all the latest infotainment and navigation goodies that owners of other automotive exotica take for granted, complete with live traffic alerts and support for Apple’s Car Play.

Anyway, these changes imply that Aston Martin is actually listening to what collectors want, and they want to make a car that pulls the heartstrings of the consumer straight, away from other concerns about finance and whatnot. “The true purist will always hanker for the tactility and connection offered by a manual transmission, so it has been a real pleasure to offer just that in our fastest and most focused model,” said Director of Product Development, Ian Minards.

Even the transmission in the Vantage is a seven-speed box complete with a ‘dog leg’ first gear to allow for the fastest changes between the other gears. Best of all, the manual box is a ‘no cost’ option. It also doesn’t cost anything in terms of performance; regardless of transmission choice, the car boasts the same top speed — 205mph and a 3.9 seconds 0-100km/h time.

The Gaydon firm still injected a bit of tech in the transmission though with something called the AMSHIFT. While the popularity of paddle-shift systems in exotic cars means heel-toe gear changing is a dying art, the AMSHIFT will blip the throttle on the down change and allow the accelerator to stay flat to the floor on the upchange — in other words, the two cool things that paddle changing offers.

“Technology drives us forward, but we understand the importance of tradition,” said Minards. “At a time when manual transmissions have almost entirely disappeared in high performance cars, this makes the manual V12 Vantage S a very special car indeed”. You have to give props to Aston Martin, for being able to provide the immersive feedback that drivers enjoy despite the forward thrust towards automation.

Bentley GT Speed Now Faster, More Exclusive

The fastest production Bentley, the Continental GT Speed, just got faster and more powerful with the Continental GT Speed Black Edition. The model took on some power tweaks to raise its power output from 633hp (from 626hp) and a torque up to 840 Nm. This translates to a race to 100km/h time in 4.1 seconds (it was 4.2 seconds). According to Bentley, the best of the new power is available between 2,000 and 5,000 rpm, which is the magic range of daily driving. While the improvement doesn’t sound like much, at least compared with the last reported performance, all that is being reinforced with new and unique styling options to sate the personalization tastes of the luxury consumer.

Bentley Continental GT Speed Black Edition (4)

One of the possibilities of the Continental GT Speed Black Edition, which pulses with sporty character, is the exterior brightware, like the window opening and lamp bezels, glossed in an all-black style. Similarly black 21” five-spoke directional rims cover distinctive brake calipers, which can be specified in red or black finishes.

Want a bit of a stand-out contrast to all that? A choice of contrast-colors can be added to the front splitter, side skirts, and rear diffuser in four different shades: Hallmark, Beluga, St James’ Red, and, a new shade – the spicy Cyber Yellow.

Bentley Continental GT Speed Black Edition (5)

The interiors are the standard high quality handcraft you’ve come to expect from Bentley (every Continental GT takes 110 hours to handcraft) with sumptuous leather and diamond quilting. The seats and center console are bordered by contrasting leather, and are available in Porpoise (yes that is a real color), Beluga, Pillar Box Red or new Cyber Yellow to match the exterior styling accents.

Bentley Continental GT Speed Black Edition (1)

“We have developed the GT Speed Black Edition to meet demand from customers for a model in the Continental line that offers both increased sporting capabilities and instantly recognizable styling cues. The Black Edition has a subtle but purposeful look that is backed up by exceptional performance” commented Paul Jones, Product Line Director for Continental GT.

Bentley Continental GT Speed Black Edition (2)

The new GT Speed and GT Speed Black Edition models are available to order now, with customer deliveries this summer. For more information, you can visit Bentley’s site at www.bentleymotors.com.

This story was compiled in-house, with a news report from AFP as the primary source.

Land Rover Curates Luxury Road Trip

British automotive icon Land Rover has a knack for building exclusive high-end off-roaders. In recognition of this, the firm is curating an off-beat off-roading experience that mirrors its own rugged luxury values. That also explains why this story is in our travel section!

In partnership with Abercrombie & Kent, Land Rover has created a “once-in-a-lifetime” holiday that it is calling “the most luxurious road trip on Earth.” It takes in five continents, eight countries, nine world-class hotels over three weeks and, of course, involves a Range Rover, the SVAutobiography to be exact.

“We set out to design a trip worthy of the ultimate luxury SUV and thanks to our partners at Abercrombie & Kent we have achieved just that. From Europe to Australia, this trip is all about the epitome of luxury but done so in a Land Rover way – the unexpected, the off-the-beaten-track and the once-in-a-lifetime experiences. This itinerary represents the definitive drive adventure, achieved in the definitive vehicle,” said Mark Cameron, Land Rover Experiential Marketing Director, at Jaguar Land Rover.

For £100,000 (about US$142,000) per person, based on two sharing, the three-week global adventure starts in Monaco with a drive along mountain passes into Italy and a stay on Lake Como at the Four Seasons Cap Ferrat, the Villa d’Este. This leg of the tour also involves a helicopter tour of the Alps and lunch at Joel Robuchon at the Metropole before flying out to Morocco where guests can get to grips with desert driving.

The tour then moves to Arizona and the Amangiri resort in Utah before guests spend three days in Chile and pass the final leg of the journey in Australia before flying back to London once more.

Simon Lynch, Director of Business Development, Abercrombie & Kent, adds: “A&K are delighted to be partnering with Land Rover on offering this, the most ultimate of driving journeys. Our love of adventure, combined with exploration and luxury for over 50 years, gave us the inspiration for this expedition, which is packed full of unforgettable experiences. Our pioneering customers will explore landscapes, see wildlife and meet communities well and truly off the beaten track.”

Even though the itinerary is comprehensive, there is huge scope for further personalization when making enquiries at Abercrombie & Kent’s offices in London, Abu Dhabi or Monaco.