As promised, BMW unveiled the result of their collaboration at the 2013 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este this weekend. The BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé is a one-off concept which represents what Pininfarina think a luxurious BMW coupe should be.
In developing the car, BMW and Pininfarina’s design teams worked together, making sure that the character of BMW wasn’t overridden by Pininfarina’s design touches, whilst also ensuring that the car had plenty of Italian style. “The appeal of this collaboration with Pininfarina is that you get another, very different and special angle on facets like luxury and exclusivity,” notes Karim Habib, Head of BMW Design. “The Italian company, after all, has always been a byword for these criteria in particular, demonstrating time and again its keen sensitivity and exceptional finesse in these areas. In Pininfarina we have found the ideal partner to lend shape to this vehicle concept.”
The BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe has a rather understated and grown-up appearance. It’s not shouty or brash. Even if it is sitting on 21-inch wheels. The bodywork is neat and uncluttered. It seems that Pininfarina’s input has made for a car that is sharper, cleaner and less fussy than some of BMW’s recent models. The styling is in fact so restrained, that other than the discreet little air outlets just behind the front wheels, there’s very little to suggest there’s a stonking great V12 under the hood.
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This year, as you’ve probably noticed from all the teasers, rumors, spy shots and leaks, the most important release for Mercedes-Benz was the new S-Class. It was so important that Mercedes chose to reveal it with a big bang at the Airbus A380 delivery center.
But this article isn’t really about the new model, instead it explores the German luxury triumvirate, revealing its impact on the automotive industry as a whole, and briefly touching on a particularly interesting and innovative segment. Continue reading ‘Teutonic Wars: Luxury Arms Race’ »
Mercedes today unveiled the latest version of their flagship luxury sedan, the S-Class. This is a big one for Mercedes. Get it wrong and BMW and Audi will more than happily mop up any disaffected buyers. Get it right and they’ll retain their crown as the finest purveyor of German luxury automobiles. For Mercedes-Benz’s designers and engineers it’s a delicate balancing act to ensure the new S-Class is filled with enough high-tech gadgetry and cutting edge technology to get potential buyers oohing and ahhing. But that it’s not too radical of an overhaul that the rich old men who normally buy these things get put off by revolutionary styling or overly complicated infotainment systems.
From the outside it looks like MB’s designers have earned their pay. The 2014 S-Class is hansome, well proportioned, and should please both newcomers to the brand as well as loyal customers. To my eye it’s a far better looking than its predecessor, which from some angles looked a little clunky. The styling of the 2014 S-Class is also far more in-keeping with that of the new CLA, and Mercedes-Benz’s new design language as a whole.
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For their latest concept car, BMW have teamed up with perhaps Italy’s most celebrated design studio, Pininfarina. The BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe is a one-off creation which will make its world debut at the 2013 Concours d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy.
The car is a follow-up to the BMW Zagato Coupe concept which was shown at the same venue last year. Same German brand, different Italian designers. And whereas the Zagato Coupe was based on the Z4 Coupe, the Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe looks to be built around the 6 Series Coupe.
However the fact the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe is powered by a V12 engine means that many people will make the obvious connection with the gone-but-not-forgotten mighty 8 Series. A car which in my opinion is long overdue for revival.
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A few months after Maserati unveiled the all-new fifth generation Quattroporte, the Italian manufacturer has revived one of its most famous nameplates for the brand-new 2014 Ghibli. The original Ghibli was produced from 1967 until 1973. It was followed up by the Ghibli II, which was built between 1992 and 1997. However whereas both these cars were only available as either a two door coupe or convertible, the 2014 Ghibli is a four-door executive saloon.
The new Maserati Ghibli will make its world debut later this month at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show. The car is positioned to offer a sportier character than its larger, more luxurious and more expensive bigger brother. The Ghibli will be offered with a choice of three different engines, two based around the same turbocharged 3.0 litre V6, the most powerful of the two is said to boast around 410 horsepower. The third engine on offer is the company’s first diesel engine – which comes in the form of a 3.0 litre V6 turbo.
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Jaguar decided to make a big splash at this year’s New York Auto Show by revealing not one, but two high-performance models. We’ve already seen the hardcore XKR-S GT, but for those who like a little luxury to go with their performance, the XJR should be just the ticket.
With a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine delivering 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft (680Nm) of torque, the XJR is the most focused, agile and responsive Jaguar XJ ever made. It’s capable of sprinting from zero to 60mph in 4.4 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 174mph (280km/h). An eight-speed automatic transmission, with a bespoke setup for the car, offers optimal acceleration throughout the speed and rev ranges while still retaining a civilised character for city driving.
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The Cadillac CTS is scheduled to be officially unveiled at the 2013 New York Auto Show (March 29 – April 7). However just ahead of its public debut it’s made an appearance on the web. The 2014 Cadillac CTS continues the new design language which was introduced on the XTS and ATS. That means it’s a little sleeker and less rigid than before. The headlights get the most significant revision and implement some stylish vertical LED running lights. There’s something very Benz like about the new CTS – from certain angles anyway – but overall it wears the typical Caddy razor-like design very well indeed.
The inside is equally updated, with an all-new interior which revolves around a wide center console and large display screen. There’s lots of plush leather and wood grain veneer giving the cabin an understated classy look. The dash cluster is a customizable LCD unit allowing the driver to select what data they see.
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Have you ever felt that some vehicles try just too hard to be awesome. The Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG 6×6 might just fall into that category. But don’t let it find out you think that, or it’ll grind you into the desert sands like a tyrannical dung beetle.
Everything about the G 63 AMG 6×6 screams excess. But that should go down well with its intended clients, and judging by the official AMG photos – which show the vehicle tearing up the sand dunes of Dubai while camels look on with indifference – it’s pretty obvious who those clients are.
Powering the Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG 6×6 is a 5.5 litre twin-turbocharged engine which puts out 544 horsepower and 560 lb-ft (760 Nm) of torque. The power is channeled through an AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission to all six wheels. The drive system is derived from a 6×6 version which was developed by Mercedes-Benz for the Australian army.
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Land Rover are taking to the streets of New York on the 26th March to unveil the all-new Range Rover Sport. Instead of waiting until the 2013 New York Auto Show – which starts the day after – Range Rover are going to debut the car during a public drive through Manhattan. New York was chosen as the hosts for the car’s debut debut in recognition of the fact more Range Rover Sports are sold in New York than any other metropolitan area in the world, and the model is North America’s best-selling Land Rover product.
The all-new Range Rover Sport is the latest addition to the new Range Rover family of vehicles and the third Range Rover model to be launched in two years.
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The Rolls-Royce Wraith is the coupe version of the Rolls Royce Ghost. It’s been previewed a couple of times ahead of its Geneva Motor Show Unveiling, but nothing of substance. And now here it is in all its leather-lined glory.
The Rolls-Royce Wraith is the most powerful car the company has ever built. And that power comes courtesy of a V12 engine which produces 624 horsepower, and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm). The transmission is an incredibly fancy piece of technology which uses GPS mapping to ensure the correct gear is always selected for the road ahead! Basically it knows if there’s a hill or a sharp corner coming up and if it should drop it down a cog to compensate. Now that’s clever. Eerie. But clever. Performance-wise the Rolls-Royce Wraith offers a 4.4 second 0-60 mph time. But I think most typical Rolls buyers will be more interested in the built-in ‘on-board valet’.
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