Tag Archives: luxury car

Lexus RC Coupe

Lexus debuts new sports coupe

Lexus RC Coupe

The luxury Japanese car company hopes that the RC coupe will broaden the brand’s appeal when it makes its first official public appearance at the upcoming Tokyo motor show.

Described as a “concept-to-reality” coupe — meaning that with a few tweaks and changes a production version will be hitting the road in the not too distant future — the RC is a concerted attempt by Toyota’s luxury division to boost its desirability among existing customers and those new to Lexus.

The company is yet to publish any performance statistics, but has confirmed that it will be officially unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show on November 20 with two engine choices, a 3.5-liter V6 and a 2.5-liter hybrid powerplant, both of which will highlight the car’s “fun-to-drive” character.

For now, Lexus wants us to focus on its appearance and it is certainly striking, thanks to prodigious use of sharp, angular intersecting lines, however, the huge front grille is bound to polarize opinion.

What is certain though is that it will have a level of build quality and reliability to match anything currently being manufactured in Germany.

This reputation for quality has helped Lexus to become a serious competitor to BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Cadillac in the luxury car market. However, until now, its sportier offerings — with the notable exception of its LFA supercar — have left a lot to be desired.

Despite an eventual price tag of $445,000 the LFA was so technologically advanced it required 10 years of research and development time, meaning that the company actually made a loss on each of the 500 examples it offered for sale.

If The RC Coupe offers just a smidgen of the performance, handling and thrills of the LFA, then most drivers will be able to look past that huge grille.

Porsche Panamera Turbo S Executive

New Porsche Panamera Turbo S unveiled

Porsche Panamera Turbo S Executive

The German manufacturer is expanding its Panamera line with a new version of the Turbo S grand touring sedan, which now has an additional 20hp under the hood for a total power of 570hp.

Powered by a 4.8L V8 biturbo engine, the new Porsche Panamera Turbo S accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds and can reach top speeds of around 310km/h. Porsche announces the car’s fuel consumption at 10.2L/100km, which is equivalent to CO2 emissions of 239g/km.

Among the standard features on the new Turbo S, Porsche provides a number of its latest driving aids and technologies, such as Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) and Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB). On the inside, drivers and passengers can stay cool thanks to ventilated seats and ride in style on two-tone leather upholstery.

In addition to the standard version of the new Porsche Panamera Turbo S, an Executive edition will also be available, with a wheelbase expanded by 15cm for enhanced comfort. The two new models will be available from early 2014 at $180,300 and $200,500 respectively in the US.

The Panamera line also includes Porsche’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle, the Panamera S E-Hybrid, which arrived at dealers over the summer of 2013.

This more eco-friendly Panamera consumes just 3.1L/100km over the European driving cycle, resulting in CO2 emissions of 71g/km. The model is available from $99,000 in the US, or €112,309 in Europe.

BMW unveils the 2-Series Coupe

BMW 2 Series coupe

BMW has released pictures, specifications and pricing of its latest compact sportscar ahead of its official global debut at the Detroit Motor Show in January.

Continuing its new nomenclature whereby coupes take even numbers and four- or five-door cars odd numbers, the BMW 2 Series is essentially a curvy, angular, two-door version of the 1 Series, but one with impeccable road-holding and a massive amount of performance despite its diminutive proportions

The M235i, which will make its global debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January, is a massive attempt by the German manufacturer to crack the US ‘sub-compact’ market in the way that it already has the premium executive sedan sector.

So should potential US customers get excited? The simple answer is that if they love driving and want something that’s as exhilarating on a track as it is easy to drive along a chronically congested highway and that offers bulletproof reliability and build quality, yes.

There are currently a number of great-driving, inexpensive two-door coupes on the market, not least the incredibly entertaining Toyota GT 86. But with its 50:50 perfect weight distribution and twin-turbo in-line six cylinder engine (322 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque), good for a 0-60mph (100km/h) time of 4.8 seconds, the BMW raises the bar.

At $44,000 it is on the expensive side, but as well as the ferocious engine, prospective owners will get a specially tweaked suspension set-up, serious brakes and a host of electronic gadgetry — including dynamic traction control, cornering and dynamic brake control — to keep the car pointing straight and true even as grip levels reach their limits.

Serious drivers can also go crazy with the options catalogue and choose adaptive suspension, electronically controlled shock absorbers and even specify a 10-20mm lower ride height.

BMW also offers a slightly more diluted and civilized 228i coupe with a four-cylinder twin-turbocharged 240hp engine which is still good for a 0-100km/h time of 5.4 seconds. It will be priced at $33,000.

BMW 2 Series coupe interior

Maserati Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna

Maserati Quattroporte by Ermenegildo Zegna

Maserati Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna

The result of a close collaboration between Ermenegildo Zegna and the Italian performance car maker, Maserati’s Quattroporte concept is expected to go into strictly limited edition production in 2014.

Playing with contemporary and classical design as inspiration, the interior has all the hallmarks of an executive sedan but the details are achieved using softer hues, such as mocha and greige, and with softer, more textured leathers and other natural fabrics to create a more welcoming cabin.

Maserati Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna interior

Outside, the car’s contrasting, reflective color has been achieved by using ultra-fine aluminum pigments that catch and bend the light, set into a gloss black primer coat and then finished with a platinum-effect top coat.

Maserati Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition

The car will make its official debut at this month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, which opens its doors to the public on September 10 and where Maserati is expected to give more details in terms of potential cost and how many examples constitutes ‘strictly limited’.

Maserati Quattroporte by Ermenegildo Zegna

BMW i8 Teaser

BMW i8 to Officially Debut at Frankfurt

2014 BMW i8

At the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW will reveal the production model of its Spyder i8 hybrid car, previously presented as a prototype.

First introduced in 2011 to mark the launch of the premium BMW i line, the i8 stands out as a particularly sporty hybrid coupe. Its combination of turbodiesel and plug-in motors allows a total power of 354hp, for an announced top speed of 250km/h and 0 to 100km/h acceleration in 4.6 seconds.

The i8’s average fuel consumption is announced at 2.7L/100km. The other model in BMW’s i range, the i3, will also be on display on the manufacturer’s stand in Frankfurt. This all-electric car can travel up to 160km between charges, naturally without emitting a single gram of CO2.

2014 BMW i8 interior

Although final pricing details for the two models have yet to be announced, both are currently available for pre-order in certain European countries before their commercial launch on the continent, in late 2013 for the BMW i3 and early 2014 for the BMW i8.

Meanwhile, BMW fans in North America can register for a test drive of the i3, which will be marketed in certain US cities from the second quarter of 2014.

2014 Audi A8 Facelift Rear

Audi A8 2014 officially revealed

Audi A8 2014

A redesigned and revamped version of the Audi A8 is on its way to the Frankfurt Motor Show, the German manufacturer has announced. The luxury sedan has been equipped with a more efficient powertrain, as well as smart technology features for its driving aids and high-beam headlight controls. The new edition of Audi’s flagship car will hit the market in November 2013.

As part of its new look, the A8 has a redesigned rear bumper with two rectangular vents, chrome stripes and black tinted windows. The car’s dimensions remain unchanged, and its body is now made almost entirely of aluminum. The A8 will be available in eight colors, with wheels of all sizes up to 21″.

The LED headlights, now a standard feature, include high-beams with 25 diodes, each of which can be turned on, dimmed or turned off according to driving conditions. Audi’s advanced Matrix LED headlight control system, available as an option, even includes sensors that detect the presence of oncoming cars and dim the high-beams as they approach.

The Matrix technology can even communicate with the navigation system to retrieve predictive route data and adjust the angle and brightness of the headlights just in time.

The Audi A8 will be available with four motors: two fuel injection (ranging from 310 hp to 435 hp) and two diesel (from 258 hp to 385 hp). The manufacturer is touting enhanced performance all around, and the Audi A8 V8 4.0 TFSI now accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds.

Alongside the boost in power, Audi has taken care to enhance efficiency as well. The Audi Cylinder On Demand (COD) system disengages half of the engine’s eight cylinders when they are not needed.

The most efficient motor in the new series is the V6 3.0 TDI Clean Diesel, which consumes 5.9 liters of fuel per 100 km, for CO2 emissions of 155 g/km.

Among the optional driving assistance features available on the A8 is a system that projects important information from the dashboard directly into the driver’s field of vision on the windshield. There is also adaptive cruise control and Audi’s “pre sense plus” system for detecting and avoiding hazards.

The new Audi A8, which will be presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show, will arrive in European dealerships this fall, with prices likely to start around €80,000.

personally built by 5 million Porsche fans

Facebook fans design their own Porsche 911

Facebook Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

Porsche recently reached 5 million fans on Facebook, and to celebrate the milestone, the German automaker launched a campaign that allowed its fans to customize a 911 Carrera 4S.

The finished result is an aqua or ‘Facebook’ blue 911 with black and white racing stripes and a fixed rear spoiler. It sits on white 20-inch white alloys and its doors are embellished with the words “5m Porsche Fans”. Inside the illuminated door sills and the aluminum dashboard trim both feature the phrase “personally built by 5 million Porsche fans.”

Porsche claims that 54,000 Facebook fans took part in the design process and, now, the company is launching another competition which will give 1 fan the chance to drive it at UK race circuit Silverstone.

The winner will be the Facebook-using registered Porsche fan who has the largest number of official Porsche-loving friends and will be named on August 18.

Facebook Porsche 911

Bugatti Veyron Jean Pierre Wimille

Bugatti Veyron Vitesse Jean Pierre Wimille

Bugatti Veyron Jean Pierre Wimille

Bugatti will reveal a special “Jean-Pierre Wimille” edition of its Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance taking place August 16-18 in Monterey, California.

The extremely limited edition, consisting of just three models, is intended as an homage to the French champion driver, who won the Le Mans 24 Hour Race twice in the 1930s behind the wheel of a Bugatti.

This exceptional vehicle sports a unique blue exterior, with colors similar to those of the Bugattis driven by Wimille at Le Mans. This limited edition is the first of six new series dedicated to “Bugatti Legends,” celebrating the storied drivers who shaped the brand’s history.

The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse is currently the world’s fastest roadster in serial production, with a record top speed of 408.84km/h. With its 8.0L W16 engine, capable of unleashing 1200hp, this Bugatti can go from 0 to 100km/h in 2.6 seconds.

bugatti veyron vitesse jean pierre wimille

With performance at this level, fuel consumption is inevitably high: the car burns through 23.1L in 100km over a combined cycle, emitting 539g of CO2 per kilometer.

Since his death at the wheel in a 1949 accident, Jean-Pierre Wimille has remained an icon of the 1930s and 1940s F1 racing scene. The driver was loyal to Bugatti for several years, and drove Bugatti cars to victory twice in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race (1937 with Robert Benoist and 1939 with Pierre Veyron). Later he won the Grand Prix in an Alfa Romeo after the end of World War II.

It is worth noting that Bugatti is presenting this exceptional model during the year marking the 90th anniversary of the classic Le Mans race.

Bugatti Veyron Jean Pierre Wimille back

Maserati Ghibli photo

New Maserati Ghibli now available with diesel engine

2014 Maserati Ghibli

Unveiled in April at the Shanghai Motorshow, the next-generation Maserati Ghibli is now available for order. Prices start at €66,500 and the first shipments are expected to arrive in September 2013.

The Ghibli maintains the same basic structure as the Quattroporte (chassis, suspension), only 29cm shorter and 50kg lighter. The interior includes an 8.4″ Maserati Touch Control screen, Poltrona Frau leather upholstery, a 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins stereo system, a wi-fi router and adjustable foot pedals.

The new sedan, designed to be both luxurious and sporty, is offered primarily with a 3.0L V6 TDI biturbo engine, with horsepower of up to 410. The S Q4 model is the top performer in the range, with maximum speeds of up to 284km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100km/h in just 4.8 seconds.

For the first time in Maserati’s history, the Ghibli is now available with a diesel engine. The Ghibli Diesel, featuring Start & Stop technology and fuel consumption of just 6L per 100km, was designed primarily for the European market.

The Ghibli, Ghibli S, Ghibli S Q4 and Ghibli Diesel all feature an 8-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift gate. The S Q4 stands out, however, for its all-wheel drive.

More than ever, the Italian luxury car manufacturer has now positioned the Ghibli as an alternative to more mainstream German sedans, such as the Mercedes E-Class, the BMW 5 Series or the Audi A6.

Bentley green-lights SUV for production

Bentley SUV Conceptual sketch

Bentley Motors today confirms that it will proceed with the development of the Bentley SUV, the company’s fourth model line. The SUV will be made in Crewe and will go on sale in 2016.

Bentley claims that response from existing Bentley customers has been overwhelmingly positive since the company revealed a 4×4 concept at the Geneva Motor Show some 16 months ago.

The company not only confirmed that a Bentley off-roader is heading for production but also that it will be built and hand-finished in the UK rather than under contract at a plant much further afield.

Bentley didn’t reveal any details about the car, which will no doubt compete head to head with the current off-road luxury king, the Range Rover, other than to say that it would be true to the company’s DNA and would therefore be the most luxurious and powerful SUV on the market.

Bentley aficionados will be hoping that the finished vehicle bears little resemblance to the Bentley EXP 9F concept that it unveiled at Geneva, which won a number of ugliest in show awards. Aware of this, Bentley has wisely only provided a pencil sketch of the upcoming car as a teaser of its final design.

XP 9F concept

550 Aston Martins

Aston Martin’s birthday celebrations in pictures

Aston Martin Kensington Gardens

The British luxury car manufacturer marks its centenary in inimitable style and with the biggest gathering of Aston Martins in history — some 550 vehicles past, present and future with a combined value of some £1 billion (US$1.5 billion).

Kensington Gardens Aston Martin

Kensington Gardens

As befits a car company associated with British (fictional) secret service agents, aristocracy and nobility, Aston Martin chose the sumptuous surroundings of London’s Kensington Gardens for the week-long UK leg of its global centenary celebrations.

550 Aston Martins

550 Aston Martins

In total a record-breaking 550 Aston Martins were on display with a total insurance value of over £1 billion.

The Bond factor

The Bond factor

The event attracted over 50,000 visitors and featured a number of individual themed exhibitions and features, including a heavy focus on the brand’s association with James Bond.

Aston Martin A3

The A3

Every significant Aston Martin road car ever produced was represented from ‘A3′, the oldest surviving car…

Vanquish Volante Kensington Gardens

Vanquish Volante

…to the Vanquish Volante, Vanquish Centenary Edition and V12 Vantage S.

CC100 Kensington Gardens

CC100

The CC100 Speedster Concept, which made its debut at this May’s 24 Hours of Nürburgring race was also on show alongside a number of Aston Martin’s most historic race cars.

DB9 Spyder Zagato Centennial

The DB9 Spyder Zagato Centennial and the DBS Coupe Zagato Centennial

One huge surprise was the inclusion of two special Zagato-designed cars – the DB9 Spyder Zagato Centennial and the DBS Coupe Zagato Centennial, which until this event had only appeared as artist’s renderings and rumors.

Kensington Gardens AstonMartin

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