Tag Archives: luxury car

2014 Mercedes S63 AMG

2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Revealed: Video

A work of mechanical art, the latest AMG-infused Mercedes S Class sets new performance figures for the luxury car sector.

The S 63 AMG car, which starts off life as a Mercedes Benz S Class, before being handed over to the crack team of engineers that make up AMG, will make its official debut at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show where it will no doubt draw a huge crowd.

From a purely technical point of view, it’s easy to admire the work that AMG carries out and its approach to reinvigorating stock Mercedes Benz cars. And, as always, the handcrafted V8 engine, bedecked with twin turbochargers, that sits snugly under the hood of the S 63 AMG is a work of art.

In fact, the engine’s use of lightweight aluminum alloys, its eight cylinders and 32 valves, plus its 585hp make it more suitable for inclusion in an exhibition than in a luxury Merc.

Which raises the question of who exactly a luxury sedan capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds and one with a stiffened sports suspension set-up is aimed at.

Perhaps a chauffeur who moonlights as a racecar driver at weekends but who is in a financial position where he can only afford to run one vehicle?

Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG

Nevertheless, the car is a technical masterpiece, the engineers somehow managing to make the vehicle 100kg lighter than a stock Mercedes S Class without cutting back on luxury.

It is also faster than the last AMG iteration of an S Class and features a number of high-tech features including Magic Body Control — a stereo camera which scans the road ahead to identify road-surface undulations and adjust the car’s suspension settings in advance to retain ride quality.

The S 63 AMG will be available in short and long-wheelbase versions and pricing will be confirmed in September, following its Frankfurt unveiling.

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

Aston Martin reveals new Vanquish Volante

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

Aston Martin unveiled, this week, their upcoming 2014 Vanquish Volante convertible model, which it touts as the “pinnacle” of their sports car line-up.

The $300,000 convertible version of the flagship Vanquish can go from 0-62mph (100km/h) in 4.1 seconds and on a top speed of 183mph (295km/h) and, thanks to its 6.0-litre V12 engine, power is always on tap at any speed and acceleration is prompt at any point from idle to redline.

2014 aston martin vanquish volante

A super GT car rather than an out-and-out supercar, the Volante is designed for long, entertaining and exciting continental roadtrips rather than for setting new lap records at the local circuit.

Hence a six-speed automatic, rather than manual transmission – but that doesn’t mean that the car can’t hold its own against its competition!

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante blue

As with many flagship Astons, however, the emphasis of the Vanquish Volante is as much on comfort as it is on out-and-out performance, and cabin space is such that rear-seat passengers will be able to avoid discomfort on longer journeys.

Luggage space is also rather generous for a car of this nature making it great for long weekends away or even for everyday use. This has been achieved by separating the roof’s storage compartment from the trunk space.

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante interior

A number of convertibles, particularly those with metal rather than cloth retracting roofs, tend to lie flat in the trunk when retracted, taking up space that could have otherwise been used for suitcases and other loads.

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante start button

Inside it’s business as usual: cut-glass buttons with haptic feedback that vibrate to touch, a swooping center console and large-screen touch-sensitive infotainment display.

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante photo

Aston Martin has also introduced new trim designs for the Volante but with its Q branch bespoke arm up and running, the sky’s the limit as to what clients can specify in terms of wood veneers, leather and other internal and external features.

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante back

Q branch and the options book notwithstanding, the standard car will cost £199,995 in the UK, €264,995 in continental Europe, $297,995 in the US and $323,974 in Dubai.

The order book is open now and the first deliveries are expected towards the end of 2013.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S pic

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

The new range-topping Aston Martin V12 Vantage S draws on the company’s race car technology to create an extreme, track-focused supercar.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

The car, which Aston Martin claims plays second fiddle only to its One-77 hypercar in terms of performance, is capable of hitting 205mph (330kph) and is the first vehicle from the British company to feature its new seven-speed Sportshift transaxle and gearbox, derived from its racing car technology.

Developed for performance in any driving conditions, the V12 Vantage S offers drivers over 500bhp (573PS) of power and plenty of torque across the rev band from idling to red line, so that power and acceleration are always there, no matter at what speed the car is traveling or in which gear.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S photo

Also helping the Vantage S to deliver when needed is the new gearbox — essentially a hydraulically assisted automated manual transmission — which ensures the smallest possible gap between gear changes and therefore loss of torque.

And while this will no doubt make the car incredible on the track or in straight-line drag races, a paddle-shift gearbox will never replicate the delicacy and control that a manual gearbox and a clutch give the driver.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S pic

It doesn’t matter how fast a car can go if it can’t be parked at the end of a hard day’s racing. Reverse parking without a clutch pedal is not for the faint-hearted, especially when the car being parked costs over $200,000.

But this is clearly a car focused on speed. Much of the aluminum bright work usually associated with Aston Martins — such as on the air intake grilles — has been replaced withcarbon fiber, while inside, the now familiar dashboard layout has a new addition — selector switches for engaging the car’s active damping system to tailor performance for Normal, Sport, and Track conditions

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S interior

For example, switching to Sport mode opens the exhaust, increases the speed and timing of gear changes, firms the suspension and backs off the sensitivity of the power steering. All of which makes the V12 Vantage S one of the most hardcore road cars the company has ever developed.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S top

Aston is yet to confirm pricing, but expect the V12 Vantage S to retail for €175,000 before optional extras when Aston Martin starts taking orders.

BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe concept

BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe concept

The BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé combines all of the engineering know-how and driver-focused technology that has made BMW the company it is today with the design excellence that has made Pininfarina Ferrari’s designer of choice for over 50 years.

BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe concept

A long wheelbase two-door, four-seat coupe with a low roofline and a huge V12 engine, the Gran Lusso manages to retain all of the physical design cues and indicators of the current BMW range while at the same time offering something entirely new — a vehicle that could conceivably compete head to head with a Bentley Continental GT or Porsche Panamera in terms of comfort, performance and looks.

BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe concept

No performance figures have been released regarding the engine’s output or top speed, but the way that the controls ‘wrap’ around the driver’s seat suggests that if the car did go into production, it would be more than a little sprightly.

bmw gran lusso concept

As well as a driver-focused console, the cabin benefits from the best wood, leather and wool that money can buy — for example, the use of 48,000-year-old Kauri wood, which is sourced from fossilized swamps in New Zealand and which can be cut and polished like fresh timber.

BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe concept

Its natural grain has an iridescent quality, meaning that the wood appears to change color as light hits it at different angles. The entire cabin is finished from a single piece of Kauri wood to ensure the grain, grade and color are a prefect match.

BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe concept

Added to the fossilized wood is Foglizzo leather in tobacco and black adorning the four seats and an embroidered roof liner of the finest virgin Italian wool.

Luxury cars going increasingly customized

Bespoke Home of Rolls Royce motor collection

New statistics reveal that the demand for personalization in the ultra luxury car segment is not only a growing trend but is one being driven by Middle Eastern clients.

According to Rolls-Royce, in q1 2013, nearly every one of its flagship Phantoms were commissioned with bespoke personalization, while 75% of its smaller Ghost luxury saloons also left the production line with some form of client personalisation.

The company’ figures, which stretch back to 2005, show that even seven years ago, 50% of all clients were in search of something more than ‘stock’ luxury — 75% of cars destined for the Middle East were personalized, as were 55% of European and 50% of vehicles destined for Asia.

However, in North America, a region that has made customization — of every type of car from family run-around to limousine — mainstream, a mere 30% of orders were for customized Phantoms.

Fast forward to today and the US is only behind the Middle East in terms of personalization — 95% of Phantoms headed for the US are customized, compared with 100% of those destined for the Middle East and 93% of those sold in Europe.

This growing demand is such that Rolls-Royce has had to expand The Home of Rolls-Royce, its bespoke personalization arm, doubling the number of designers, craftsmen and engineers it employs.

But this trend is not confined to Rolls-Royce. Aston Martin and McLaren have also witnessed growing demand for bespoke features.

Aston Martin officially opened its Q by Aston Martin bespoke personalisation service in April, allowing discerning clients to specify both interior and exterior features, but its dedicated designers are happy to help a customer design any luxury item, be it a yacht or even a house — Aston Martin claims that its designers have already worked in collaboration with a client’s architect for that very purpose.

McLaren showcased what it calls its Special Operations division, which is charged with the delivery of bespoke projects, at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August 2011.

Twenty-one months later, 25% of McLaren cars leaving the production do so following bespoke customisation and roughly 50% are for North American clients.

“The levels of McLaren Special Operations content on the 12C and 12C Spider has been steadily increasing throughout the year, with a diverse range of upgrades requested from owners looking to put a unique twist on their McLaren,” says Paul Mackenzie, Programme Director at McLaren Automotive.

To celebrate the growing demand for personalization, Rolls-Royce has handed design duties over to its bespoke department for a special range of Phantom and Ghost models that will launch later this year.

Each model produced will feature a special celebration motif in hand-crafted marquetry, plus a special embroidered pattern adorning armrests and console lids that require 112,533 individual stitches and that, even with a precision embroidery machine, take over an hour to complete.

Meanwhile McLaren is expanding the reach of its Special Operations unit too, so that clients who specified their supercars before the company started offering the service, can re-specify their cars.

Rolls Royce motor cars bespoke design

Chinese guy destroys his own Maserati – Why?

Maserati Destroyed China

A wealthy Chinese Maserati owner has hired four sledgehammer-wielding men to smash up his $420,000 supercar in protest at poor customer service, the Qingdao Morning Post reports.

The car owner, identified only by his surname Wang, had the group attack the Maserati Quattroporte at the opening of an auto show in the eastern city of Qingdao in Shandong province.

Video images showed the men going about their task with gusto, leaving the vehicle with a shattered windscreen and mirrors, the grille broken and dents to the bodywork. It was draped in a banner accusing the Italian manufacturer of poor decision-making.

Wang bought the luxury car in 2011 for 2.6 million yuan, the report said — around 100 times the average income of Chinese urban residents last year.

But problems first arose when he took it back to the dealer for an unspecified repair, with staff charging him for new spare parts despite using used ones. It later failed to fix a problem with a door and scratched the vehicle, he added.

“I hope foreign luxury car producers acknowledge clearly that Chinese consumers are entitled to get the service that is commensurate with the brand,” Wang said.

Maserati’s China arm said the company and its dealer in Qingdao had responded to the customer’s complaint and it regretted his decision.

“We deeply regret that the customer decided to terminate bilateral talks in such a sudden manner,” it said in a statement read to AFP by an employee.

In 2011 a businessman also in Qingdao destroyed a three million yuan Lamborghini after failing to get problems with the engine and other car parts repaired properly.

veyron 2004

Dubai police adds Bugatti Veyron to its fleet

Bugatti Veyron Dubai police

The Dubai police force has added yet another incredible supercar to its fleet and this time it’s a Bugatti Veyron.

Dubai Police Chief Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, an outspoken lieutenant general, tweeted a picture of the $1.4 million car, which boasts a beastly 1,001-horsepower engine.

The Veyron is the most expensive in a fleet that already includes two Ferrari FFs, a Bentley Continental GT, a Lamborghini Aventador, a Mercedes SLS and an Aston Martin One.

The Bugatti Veyron carries a top speed of 431.072 km/h (267.856 mph) and was named “Car of the Decade” (2000–2009) by the BBC television show “Top Gear.”

Dubai’s maximum speed limit is capped at 75 miles per hour, with strict penalties for excesses. The city’s police have warned motorists not to be distracted by the vehicles on the road and not to take pictures while driving.

The supercar team is tasked with patrolling tourist spots around the area of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Police hope that the fleet will help in Dubai’s bid to secure the right to host Expo 2020.

Lamborghini unveils “Egoista” concept

Lamborghini Egoista

To help celebrate the Italian supercar builder’s 50th anniversary, Lamborghini has introduced the new Egoista (translated, it means “selfish”) one-seater hypercar.

Lamborghini Egoista concept

Unveiled in Sant’Agata Bolognese by its creator, Volkswagen’s head of design, Walter De Silva, the Egoista doesn’t so much whisper “look at me” as it does scream it at decibel levels dangerous to the human ear.

Lamborghini Egoista interior

“This is a car made for one person only, to allow them to have fun and express their personality to the maximum. It is designed purely for hyper-sophisticated people who want only the most extreme and special things in the world.”

Lamborghini Egoista photo

“It represents hedonism taken to the extreme, it is a car without compromises, in a word: egoista (selfish),” De Silva explained of the 5.2-litre V10, 600 horsepower single-seat concept car that aesthetically has more in common with a fighter jet than with a vehicle designed for traveling along the ground.

Lamborghini Egoista concept car

Built almost entirely from carbon fibre and aluminium, the Egoista has a sliding overhead canopy, rather than something as old-fashioned as doors, while instrumentation is replaced by a head-up display, projected onto the curved windshield to ensure the driver never takes his or her eyes off the road.

Lamborghini Egoista pic

The car’s exterior profile was developed to mimic that of a charging bull, shoulders arched, head down and horns pointing outwards, while aerodynamic systems have been integrated into the car’s construction and are deployed when needed — flaps and vents raise and lower based on engine temperature, downforce required or velocity so that the car is always the optimum shape to cut through the air, whatever the speed or prevailing conditions.

Lamborghini Egoista back

The unveiling of the Egoista is the latest high-profile event organized to mark the first 50 years of the Italian supercar brand.

Maserati Ghibli

Maserati resurrects the Ghibli

Maserati Ghibli 2013

In the run-up to the Shanghai Motor Show, due to open its doors to the public on April 21, Maserati has released the first official images of its new Ghibli.

Not to be confused with the original Maserati Ghibli — the curvaceous 1960s sports coupe with movie-star good looks, the 2013 reimagining of the car appears to be as a four-door, four-seat executive sedan, though one with a very sporty character.

Maserati is understandably being coy on exact details but has confirmed that the car will come with two different turbocharged V6 engines, an eight-speed automatic gearbox, a choice of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive and, for the first time in the company’s history, a diesel derivative, albeit a V6 turbodiesel.

Conceived as a smaller, more agile brother to its Quattroporte, the Ghibli looks like it has been devised to compete head-to-head with the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes E-Class and the Audi A6.

And while there’s no doubt that Maserati can challenge each of those German cars in terms of speed, performance and attention to detail, there’s no indication yet if it can compete in terms of price too.

Maserati Ghibli interior

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Porsche adds plug-in Panamera hybrid

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Just before it presents its new generation saloon at the Shanghai Auto Show 2013, Porsche has unveiled its first rechargeable hybrid car, the Panamera S E-Hybrid.

The electric motor alone provides 95hp and it is powered by a new lithium-ion battery. If it is plugged into an industrial power source via the on-board charger, the car can reach full charge within two and a half hours. In a domestic mains socket, this charging time will not exceed 4 hours.

The Panamera S E-Hybrid goes from 0 to 100km/h, from a standing start, in 5.5 seconds and has a top speed of 270km/h. On average, it only consumes 3.1L/100k.

The Panamera S E-Hybrid and the Panamera Diesel are the only two new models within the range that have an eight-speed automatic Tiptronic S.

This new-generation Panamera will be launched in July 2013, and the Panamera S E-Hybrid is priced at 110,409 euros. The new Porsche Panamera Turbo S and Panamera Turbo S Executive will be on the market in 2014.

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Hermes Equus

Hyundai Equus by Hermes

Equus by Hermes

Hyundai has teamed with French fashion house Hermes to create the Equus by Hermes, unveiled last week at the Seoul Auto Show. It follows a similar Hermes edition carried out on the Bugatti Veyron.

Based on the 2012 model year version, the “Equus by Hermes” is a more luxurious edition of the long-wheelbase model, with the exterior tweaks and the cabin styled and customized by Hermes designers.

Hyundai Equus Hermes

Hyundai says the project is the results of two years of work from designers and researchers in the company’s pursuit of a “modern premium” car. The interior focuses on the harmony of colors and features more than 20 items that were produced by Hermes artisans specifically for this car.

The entire interior is lined with different types of leather chosen by Hermes, with the door panels being lined with crocodile leather, of the same type used by Hermes for some of its famous handbags.

Hyundai Equus by Hermes Interior

Designers drew inspiration from aircraft interiors to design the rear center console of the car, which includes a folding table and four-cup holders, plus a water bottle compartment and a large storage space where a travel blanket can be kept.

Hyundai Equus Hermes Interior

Only three Equus by Hermes models have been built, none of which is for sale. Hyundai doesn’t plan to launch it on the market, and only aims to improve the brand’s image as a luxury auto maker.

Jaguar XKRSGT

2014 Jaguar XKRS-GT Revealed

2014 Jaguar XKR-S GT

Jaguar has just revealed a new hardcore version of its XKR coupe called the 2014 Jaguar XKR-S GT, which will see its world debut at this year’s New York International Auto Show.

“The XKR-S GT is the most extreme iteration of the Jaguar R Brand’s performance focus,” said Jaguar’s global brand director, Adrian Hallmark, in the press release.

“Utilizing race-car derived technology, all-aluminum construction and an uncompromised approach to aerodynamic efficiency, the result is a car as capable on the track as it is exhilarating on the road.”

2014 Jaguar XKR-S GT

Developed by the company’s Engineered to Order (ETO) division, the XKR-S GT has an aggressive exterior with a carbon fiber front splitter, carbon fiber canards and carbon fiber wheel arch spats.

There’s also a ventilated hood, a carbon fiber diffuser and a massive rear wing. Other changes include an aluminum valance and 20-inch lightweight alloy wheels with Pirelli Corsa tires that measure 255/35 front and 305/30 rear.

Jaguar XKR-S GT wheels

The sporty styling carries over to the interior as it is equipped with leather / Alcantara sport seats, red contrast stitching, aluminum paddle shifters and unique sill plates.

2014 Jaguar XKR-S GT interior

Power is provided by a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine that develops 550 HP (404 kW) and 680 Nm (501 lb-ft) of torque. It is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission which sends power to the rear wheels via an active electronic differential. This enables the XKR-S GT to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, before hitting an electronically limited top speed of 186 mph (299 km/h).

Jaguar XKR-S GT

According to worldcarfans, only 30 cars will be produced for North America—25 for the US, five for Canadians—and is set to fetch nearly $174,000 large.

XP 9F concept

Bentley confirms its first SUV will debut in 2015

XP 9F concept

Bentley‘s upcoming SUV will look nothing like the XP 9F concept it unveiled at last year’s Geneva Motorshow, according to the luxury car company’s director of sales and marketing.

Kevin Rose, Bentley’s director of sales and marketing, promised the brand’s clients that the SUV would look nothing like its current SUV concept vehicle, and in response to claims that the proposed car is to be called The Falcon replied that if he has “anything to do with it won’t be called the Falcon.”

The car, expected to go into production — possibly in Eastern Europe, rather than in Britain — in 2015-2016 will be priced to compete with the recently launched Range Rover.

A top-of-the-range Range Rover, with all available optional extras can cost up to £125,000, (about US$189,000) and the Bentley is expected to represent the same value but with more exclusivity.

In terms of specific details or specifications, Bentley declined to provide any further information but Schreiber stressed that it “definitely will not be a [Chelsea] tractor.”

Bentley Concept SUV interior photo

The Bentley XP 9F concept features a modified version of the Continental‘s 6.0 liter twin-turbocharged W12 engine. However, hybrid and V8 designs are also being considered for future production.

The big SUV rides on massive 23-inch wheels and tires and features a panoramic glass roof, twin elliptical exhaust pipes and a split two-piece tailgate.

Bentley Concept SUV interior

The 4+1 cabin is trimmed in both soft-touch and saddle leather, wood veneers and polished aluminum, bronze and gunmetal.

Bentley also has combined traditional analog dials with reconfigurable “virtual” instrumentation and advanced features such as 3D navigation.

Bentley SUV trunk

The rear-seat occupants are treated to such amenities as a fold-down keyboard and full Internet connectivity via an iPad, a powered footrest, a drinks table and an infotainment screen for movies, as well as a rear armrest that lifts to reveal a cooled compartment for champagne and glasses.

Bentley EXP 9 F Concept SUV back

Rolls-Royce Wraith

Rolls-Royce Wraith unveiled

2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith

The wait is over, the teasing has stopped and Rolls-Royce has officially taken the wraps off its latest luxury offering, the Wraith.

This two-door coupe version of the Ghost is the most powerful Rolls-Royce ever. The 6.6-litre V12 engine produces 624bhp and drives the Wraith from 0-60mph in just 4.4 seconds.

However, thanks to an eight-speed automatic transmission, this power is delivered in a smooth, seamless curve so that rear-seat passengers don’t spill their cocktails.

Rolls-Royce Wraith interior

Rolls-Royce emphasizes that although the Wraith benefits drivers in terms of re-worked suspension and reduced body roll, the car is “no GT Bruiser” and everything its engineers have done to increase the car’s sporting credentials has in no way affected its ride, which is still akin to riding on a bed of air.

One ingenious technological feature that the Wraith sports to ensure passenger comfort is satellite-aided transmission (SAT).

Using GPS data to understand the road conditions ahead, beyond the driver’s vision, the system automatically selects the approapriate gear for the upcoming terrain.

Rolls-Royce Wraith inside

Inside, the Wraath’s mix of leather, wood and hand-milled metals whispers opulence, while the Starlight Headliner complete the package.

1,340 fiber optic lamps, hand-woven into the roof lining give occupants the impression they are gazing up at the constellations. Added to this is a voice command system that not only activates the navigation and communications system but also links to a dedicated concierge service.

European prices for the Wraith are expected to start at €245,000 with first deliveries in autumn 2013.

Rolls-Royce Wraith photo

aston martin bertone

Bertone Aston Martin Jet 2+2

bertone aston martin

Italian coachbuilder and car styling company Bertone has created a one-off Aston Martin Rapide shooting brake known as the Jet 2+2.

The Jet 2+2 is a followup to the Italian design house’s previous Jet 2 shooting-brake concept unveiled in 2004 and based on the first-generation Aston Martin Vanquish.

As the car’s name suggests, the interior features two rows of seats that come lined in plush, perforated leather and feature a two-tone design.

The car’s 2+2 designation refers to the four individual seats inside; the rear seats fold flat to create even more luggage room. The interior is also dressed in polished wood and aluminum trim.

Aston Martin Rapide shooting brake interior

Power comes from a 470bhp version of Aston’s 5.9-litre V12 taken from the current Rapide, rather than the more potent 550bhp version from the upcoming Rapide S.

Only one example will be built. The stunning concept was commissioned as “a strict one-off” by a collector and the project has the full approval of Aston Martin.

Look for both the new Bertone Jet 2+2 shooting brake concept and 2014 Aston Martin Rapide range at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, which kicks off March 5.

Aston Martin Rapide shooting brake