Tag: Luxury

New Bentley Continental GT revealed!

New Bentley Continental GT

New Bentley Continental GT

Following the success of the past two models, Bentley, master craftsmen of bespoke road lounges to the well-off, has reinvented the Continental GT to create what they call the “Definition of Grand Touring”.  The new Bentley Continental GT is based on an all new Volkswagen-Audi Group MSB platform, much like the one used to underpin the latest Porsche Panamera.

The largest differences in terms of the design elements of the GT are the elements drawn from the EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept car. The front end takes heavily from this, making use of the same sleek clean cut lines and overall shape while making use of the latest in lighting technology in the form of LED Matrix Headlights with integrated Crystals to ensure light is transferred in the most efficient way, providing intense frontal illumination. At the rear, the most important change would be the move to the rounder style of the tail lights that feature the same Crystal integration. The vehicle’s lines are less muscular and are sharper and acute, more in line with the coupe nature of the GT and in fact the essence of EXP 10 which has been transferred in this model, a clear contrast when compared to the older model.

Whats New?

The New GT is very much a new project and has received a ground up re-envisioning, and as such has received Audi Group’s 48V electrical system, dubbed Bentley Dynamic Ride, which powers the anti-roll bars and a new three-chamber air spring suspension system that has a greater volume with the aim of increasing both vehicle comfort and dynamics when pressing on, thus ensuring that this is still a properly capable sports car. In line with the move to more modern and lightweight vehicle design, Bentley has made use of lightweight aluminium on the exterior panelling, resulting in an 85kg weight saving.  

Drivetrain

Powering the GT is the hand crafted 6.0 Litre Twin-turbo W12 engine lifted from the Bentayga, offering 467 kW @ 6 000 rpm and 900 N.m from 1 350 rpm to 4 500 rpm. These figures are good for properly fast figures of 0-100 km/h in 3.7 secs and a top speed of 333 km/h.  In the interest of efficiency, new additions include cylinder deactivation and the use of Stop/Start technology.

Technology

In the pursuit of the creation of the most bespoke product possible, Bentley have thrown an extensive list of technology and innovation at the new GT with the interior receiving a key new feature in form of  the new 12.3” Bentley Rotating Display, which serves as the main control means of the dashboard navigation, media and telephone and infotainment. While it’s the same unit to be found in the new Panamera and Upcoming Cayenne, it benefits from a unique-to-Bentley software with gamefication etc. This is complemented with a digital and configurable dashboard, a concept similar to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. Other additions are the option of Three sound systems; the standard 10-speaker 650 Watt Bentley unit and a Bang & Olufsen system featuring 16 speakers with a 16-channel 1 500 Watt amplifier and the first automotive application of the BeoSonic control interface, which doesn’t mean much to most but I’d imagine is great. The top spec Naim system features an ear drum piercing 2 200 Watt and includes 18 speakers and two Active Bass Transducers.

The list of driver aids is very long and encompasses a lot of passive and active features such as High Beam Assist, Blind Spot Warning up-to 250 km/h, Exit Warning which warns vehicle occupants of objects approaching from the rear when opening the doors, optional City Specification including Traffic Sign Recognition, Rear Crossing, Traffic Warning, Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist Night Vision and a Heads Up Display.

2018 Bentley Continental GT pricing in South Africa.

While international orders have begun, there is no word yet on pricing but expect the first examples to land in early 2018.

Is the Rolls Royce Dawn Worth Its R10 Million Price Tag in South Africa?

The creme de la creme of motor vehicles, you don’t get better than a Rolls-Royce. It falls into the same category as the private jet in air travel or the luxury yacht that parks off at Clifton beach. So when TheMotorist was offered the chance to sample the best that money can buy in the ultra luxury segment, we looked forward to experiencing what it feels like to be part of the one percent.

The Rolls-Royce Dawn was the variant we had the keys to and that said vehicle has an approximate price tag of R10m. Yes, for that kind of money expectations are high. A buyer of such a car demands the best in comfort and quality on the road. That buyer expects unrivaled luxury and prestige, but even then, does all that which comes with owning such a car justify the cost?

For starters, there certainly isn’t anything like this on the road. It’s distinctively long bonnet and large square face, (all centered by the Spirit of Ecstasy) give the Dawn a look that’s hard to miss. When driving this vehicle or even being a passenger, you feel like you own every square cm of tarmac that you grace with your presence. You will have no problem then committing minor road offenses, such as cutting in front of people in traffic. When you do, no one even questions your actions. The rich really do have it good. It’s quite a pleasant experience really, because instead of the usual middle finger protruding from the driver’s side window, many attempt a wave similar to that of the Queen herself. Charming.

The exquisite exterior styling and design of the Dawn is rather elegant yet simple. It doesn’t shout with crazy lines, noises or colors like a supercar, because it doesn’t need to. It’s like a work of art – the epitome of class.

The team discussed the fact that whatever car parks next to the Dawn at a traffic light, be it a Ferrari or even a Maybach, the Rolls-Royce trumps it, every time. It would have to be a very special car to take attention off the Dawn. In terms of luxury, not much comes close.

The interior really is a sight to behold, soft cream leather covers most surfaces and the Rolls we drove had an optional wood finish called “Canadel”. It was designed to give the effect that you were aboard a luxury yacht. The result is a very modern and chic appearance, created by merging metal, leather and wood. The subtle trimmings in the vehicle are sublime, from the glass numbered buttons used for selecting radio stations, to lambswool carpets so thick that you can run your hands through them like a L’oreal shampoo advert.

Our favourite feature on the Dawn however is the doors. They open in the opposite direction to a normal vehicle, meaning that the hinges are behind the passengers, rather than in front of them. Closing the doors happens at the touch of the button, with motors bringing the doors in and closing them for you as you maintain a blasé look as if it’s the norm.

This design of the doors is actually ingenious. We all know that when exiting a vehicle one sometimes knocks the lower door panels or sills with their feet. With this design though, that problem is totally eliminated, thus leaving your perfectly chromed door-sills unscuffed. Entering and exiting the car is a much easier experience.

Driving

From our personal experience, we have never felt road comfort like we did in the Rolls-Royce Dawn. It felt like the suspension had been replaced with large bubbles as we floated merrily on our way. When the throttle was applied, one doesn’t think that powering the vehicle is a 6.6L V12 engine because the throttle response isn’t sharp, it’s not supposed to be. The power is fed in smoothly, allowing the car to comfortably gain speed. If you think the V12 is a loud, gurgling, fuel eating monster, you would be wrong. It’s a silent fuel eating monster. When the taps are opened from standstill, the Dawn will hurry along from 0-100km/h in just 4.9 seconds, which is impressive for a 3 tonne car.  The same goes for the braking system, it feels different to other luxury vehicles. Whatever the speed, it comes to a completely smooth stop, almost as though it is tempering the brakes for you. Performance is not the reason why you buy a Rolls though, you buy a Rolls for luxury, heritage and status.

The transmission has a feature which is definitely worth noting, it uses satellite maps to read the road ahead. For example, If a sharp hill is upcoming, the Dawn recognises this and automatically selects the lower gear just in time. It will then save this information for the next time the car travels on that route. The benefit of this is a seamless ride at all times, with reduced lag in engine and gearbox response.

The transmission has a feature which is definitely worth nothing, it uses satellite maps to read ahead. For example, If a sharp hill is upcoming, the Dawn recognises this and automatically selects the lower gear just in time. The Rolls-Royce Dawn will then save this information for the next time the car travels on that route. The benefit of this is a comfortable and pleasant ride at all times, with no lag in engine or gearbox response.

So, is the Rolls-Royce Dawn worth its price tag?

In short, yes. Don’t get us wrong, the Rolls-Royce Dawn is not perfect. For example, the rear seats of the vehicle. The seating position and seats themselves are not as comfortable as the front seats and are noticeably firmer. Understandably, this is not a Ghost so rear seating is not a priority. The infotainment system is based on the BMW system and it feels a little dated compared to other luxury vehicles. But these minor things won’t deter someone looking for a car like this because from the driver’s perspective, it’s difficult to fault.

A Rolls-Royce client is not just paying for an ultra-luxury car, they are also paying for the brand and the exclusivity that comes with it. Only the wealthiest own Rolls-Royces, and they are priced accordingly.

In recent times with the Mercedes-Maybach revival, those cars may one day step on the toes of the fabled British brand. For now, though, very few cars are at the level of a new Rolls-Royce. The brand stands on its own, a level above everything else.

Volvo XC90 Excellence

Of late, the term ‘Swede Speed’ has been used more than Oral B in a nunnery but let’s not forget what the polar-neck brigade are best at…Swede tweed.

Ever since conception in 1915 as a ball bearing manufacturer, Volvo has become a by word for left of field design and superb quality. In 1927, the first Volvo rolled out of the factory in Gothenburg and straight into a wall of bricks. Not really, but if you were to ask anyone what Volvo is known for, they’d say safety, comfort and Swedish design. Safe and suave, then, are the reasons we like Volvos and while the general consensus is that Volvo’s are for yummy mummies, anyone who can look past that perception will know that it’s difficult to find a more rounded motor car. If you’re not getting my ball bearing puns by now then that’s your own fault.

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The Volvo XC90 when launched in 2002 was an instant success because it blended all the things people like about Volvos with seating for 7 and a shocking GM 4-speed gearbox. And despite the aforementioned gearbox being very woeful, the original XC90 is still in production today in China because it’s that good! It’s also very old, though, which is why the rest of the world grew bored of the XC90 with sales dwindling for a few years before the new XC90 rolled in. And boy did the XC90 roll all over its competitors, sweeping up countless awards internationally, one of which was South Africa’s prestigious Wesbank Car of The Year 2016. Well-priced, impressive looks and great standard spec are all things that we at TheMotorist love about the XC90 and following its local success, Volvo Car South Africa think it’s time for the Range Rover to roll over…

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The Volvo XC90 Excellence is now available in South Africa and you’ll be pleased to know that they have been inundated with an order. Yes, just one. Volvo promises one of the most luxurious models in the brand’s 89 year history and they’re probably right. It’s kitted out with everything bar a toaster and a swimming pool and is offered exclusively with the T8 Twin Engine powertrain. Snazzy kit includes ‘distinctive cup holders’ which feature heating and cooling, individual and fully adjustable, heated, cooled and massaging rear seats with footrests and little tables in the backs of the front seats. Special champagne flutes are also thrown in and are fashioned from the same Orrefors glass as the gear knob – something which I’ve always wanted in a car.

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Power comes from a 235 kW, 400 Nm supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder Drive-E petrol engine and is fed to the front wheels through an 8-speed transmission. The rear wheels are connected to a 65 kW, 240 Nm electric motor which allows for all-wheel drive should you feel the need to go off-roading in your lounge. Total output is an impressive 300 kW and 640 Nm which will be sure to propel you and your gear knob flutes with grace and pace to 100km/h in a brisk 5.9 seconds! All this while returning a claimed fuel consumption of 2.5l/100km.

As with any Volvo, a vast array of safety features comes as standard. ABS, EBD, BAS and HAS are some of the three-lettered delights thrown in for nothing and it’ll even drive itself up to 130km/h. The City Safety autonomous emergency braking system also caters for large animals and all isn’t lost should they be riding a bicycle in front of your moving Volvo. The XC90 is so safe, in fact, that it received a 97% score in its Euro NCAP crash test for adult occupants and 87% for child occupants – best in its class.

The features on this XC90 pretty much matches the spec of a Range Rover L Supercharged SVAutobiography, yours for a cool R3.6 Million.

So what does all of this Swedishness cost, you ask?

Oh, R1.5 Million.

 

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Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet : Only 300 available.

A Mercedes S-Class is a car limited to a minority of people. It’ one of the most comfortable and luxurious vehicles you can buy, with technology that’s streets ahead. If you have ever owned, driven or being a passenger in one of these cars, you will know what I’m talking about. As you go up in the range and into the AMG Class this luxury increases, along with horsepower and torque.

Ever since Maybach announced that they are back in the game, we have expected very special things, and this is one of them, limited to a minority of people who own an S-Class. Yes, the brand new Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet is available to just 300 humans, as that is the number of models being built.  It’s worth mentioning the Mercedes-Maybach S650 will retail at around 300,000 euros or R4.5 Million.

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What is so special about it?  Firstly the Mercedes-Maybach features its pinnacle engine, a V12 with a twin turbo setup and a displacement of 5980 cc – 6 litres. ( in case you didn’t know) This produces 463kw and a staggering 1000Nm of torque at 2300rpm! Mercedes-Maybach has probably limited the torque as well. As was the case with the SL65 Black. In fairness, though, you can get this engine in a Mercedes-AMG s65.

The exterior features some design changes to identify this as a Maybach, with the main changes coming in the form of a new front bumper, chrome highlights around the vehicle, including the Maybach badge and a set of unique forged Maybach wheels. The Interior is an even higher standard, as expected, with features like diamond quilting, nut brown magnolia and the fact that the trim elements are commissioned individually based on colour and grain. Further to this, every optional extra available on the standard S-Class Cab is a standard feature on this vehicle.

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The small things : Also included in your many Rands is an exclusive travel luggage set, this set is made out of the original leather and coordinated with the interior of the vehicle. A nice touch. Along with this, the owner will also receive a high-quality car cover, in the same colour as the soft top roof of his vehicle.

Mercedes – Maybach says that they”stand for the ultimate in exclusivity and individuality for status-orientated customers”. This is certainly the case with this vehicle, the attention to detail and quality is above and beyond.  For me, even though this vehicle is out of reach for almost everyone, it is nice to see beautiful cars like this being made, stretching the boundaries of luxury and tech. When you look at the images, this car screams class, there are many small changes which make the Mercedes-Maybach stand out, but not over the top. So, Who do I call to place my order?

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Driven: BMW’s new 7 Series

The art of luxury: BMW’s new 7 Series

In the world of art, artists often use their works to reveal what thoughts and feelings are going on in their creative minds. Their art becomes a means of communication between the viewer and themselves and how the artist wants to be perceived. For well acclaimed artists there is often that one work that most people remember them for. This work acts as a flagship for the artist, regarded as their best by the public. If cars were viewed the same way artworks are, the F-luxury segment would surely be regarded as the “pièce de résistance” for all car makers who participate in that segment. For BMW, the 7 Series has occupied that role as the flagship vehicle for the manufacturer.  After seven years, the outgoing 7 Series has been laid to rest and a new model has taken over the reign.

One word comes to mind when looking at the length of the car, the elongated nose and of course, the large chrome kidney grille. That word is presidential. Simplicity was of upmost importance when designing the car and it worked well to create an appealing shape that is both modern and classic.

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The most visually appealing exterior package is what BMW calls Design Pure Excellence. Chrome inserts around the whole vehicle and large shiny wheels make a statement that this is indeed a luxury car. The previous car had an understated look to it that was overshadowed by the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Now with the new 7 Series, you can park the vehicle next to the current S-Class and battle to choose one, because they both have that parliamentary look to them.

One automatically expects to see drivers in black suits standing outside the vehicle, waiting to open doors for you. Interestingly, that is exactly what happened on the last leg of our journey in the car when we were chauffeured to the airport. This allowed us to envision a life as a one of the “one percent” and it helped us draw the conclusion that the back seat of the new BMW 7 Series is one of its most prominent features.

The blend of technology, beauty and comfort come together to create such a good experience you wouldn’t mind being driven in your 7 series all the time. Optional electrically adjustable seats, rear entertainment screens and a detachable centre tablet would undoubtedly keep you very entertained until you reached your destination.

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Should you wish to drive the car yourself, you wouldn’t be sorry. Large vehicles have a tendency to make the driver very aware of the mass that is being controlled by their hands. This is not the case in  the new 7 Series. The loss of 130 kg’s due to BMW’s Carbon Core design has made the new car feel nimble, direct and malleable enough to easily navigate through corners at high speeds. From a dynamic point of view, BMW’s formula has not changed in the new 7 Series. The biggest difference between this car and the one it succeeds are the technological advancements that have been made.

Semi autonomous driving is something BMW have taken very seriously in the new car. The best part is that it actually works. Small steering inputs can be felt at each corner, breaking is applied and acceleration too when Steering and Lane Control assist is activated as well as Adaptive Cruise Control. Having these two assists on whilst on an open road allow you to enjoy your music ever more so through speakers supplied by Bowers and Wilkins or Harman Kardon, the choice is yours.

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Obviously you can’t enjoy your sound system if your ride quality is poor. Hence why BMW have equipped the new 7 Series with various suspension damping settings. The double air suspension in the car allows you to toggle between two Sport Modes, two Comfort Modes and a completely new Adaptive Mode that adjusts itself between a sporty and comfortable driving setting depending on how you’re driving.

Another very exciting feature in the new 7 Series is the Smart Key. The larger than normal key features a small colour screen that informs the driver of some useful information about the car. Don’t you hate it when you enter a car that has been sitting in the sun for a few hours? 7 Series owners won’t have to worry about that since the Smart key allows the driver to activate the fan before you enter into the car. Fuel range and other information can be seen by the driver long before they enter the car. The coolest feature available in the Smart key is Remote Parking. One can reverse their vehicle out of a parking lot without physically being in the car. Unfortunately South African specified vehicles do not have that feature available yet, but be prepared to see it in the near future.

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The next few months will also bring us the most exciting power plant in the range, the 750i/750Li. At the launch we had available the 730d and the 740i, both extremely capable engines that never left us longing for more power or torque. So why would the 750i be necessary you may wonder? For the level of client buying a car like this, it’s often a case of having the best. So even though the 240kW/450Nm in the 740i may be enough power, or the 650Nm/195kW in the 730d may do the job,  having 330kW/650Nm in the 750i make the world of a difference when it comes to driving the best.

BMW as the artist in our illustration want us to see that technology is at the forefront of their new cars. Using technologies from their i-Products and incorporating them in all their cars is something we can expect to see in the future. At the same time BMW wants us to see that they have not lost sight of the dynamic aspects of their cars, even with a large car like the 7 Series. This car or “work” is an opportunity to show-off the brand to customers. It’s to show us where the future of BMW is going whilst keeping elements of the car that made customers fall in love with the brand in the past.

Have they executed their vision through this “artwork” effectively? After spending some time in the front seat, driving the car fast and slow as well as using many of its technologies. And then to change roles and be driven in the rear of the car and imagine what life would be like as a back seat passenger. We can definitely say that the new 7 Series is BMW’s Mona Lisa.

Pricing:

730d:  R 1 356 500

740i:   R 1 339 000

750i:   R 1 755 000

750Li: R 1 893 500