Tag Archives: Luxury Cars

My take on the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

The Geneva Motor Show happened this week, and every year it’s like Christmas has come for the car industry.

Here are the highlights for me, and my thoughts on each…

Ferrari 812 Superfast

The front-engine V12 Ferraris are by far my favorite Ferraris. They have always been the ultimate expression of what a grand touring car can be, and their lineage goes all the way back to the beginning of Ferrari road cars in the early 1950s.

The 812 Superfast takes the insanity of the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, and takes it up yet another notch. With damn near 800hp on tap from its still-naturally-aspirated-V12 engine, the 812 Superfast is now the ultimate GT car (really more of a supercar) that money can buy. I also think it looks absolutely manic, yet somehow still in an elegant sort of way.

Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid

Do you think anyone ever imagined this when the Toyota Prius first came out? Hybrids were once pathetic little econo-boxes, but here is a 680hp Porsche Panamera with a hybrid system developed from the 918 hypercar. This is exactly how hybrid technology should be used. I want a 680hp bullet that can still get decent MPG when I’m not thrashing it. If nothing else, isn’t technology all about having your cake and eating it too?

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That Time BMW Put a Le Mans-Winning V12 Into an X5 SUV

BMW X5 LM V12 Amelia 1

This is the BMW X5 LM. It’s a prototype from the era before the super-SUVs of today, powered by the same V12 that propelled the BMW V12 LMR to victory at Le Mans. That’s 700hp and 531ft/lbs under the hood that made this the first sub-8-minute SUV around the Nurburgring. And this was all in 2000, years before Porsche made the Cayenne Turbo and set the SUV world ablaze with performance. However, as it turned out, the V12 from a Le Mans racecar didn’t make a very good production engine, so BMW never produced the X5 LM. Woe is us, but at least the prototype still exists.

-Nick

The Range Rover Velar Looks Incredible!

land_rover-range_rover_velar-2018-1280-03

I think this is the best-looking SUV on sale, and by a decent margin. BMW and Mercedes need to take notes, this is how you make an SUV look properly sleek. You don’t need some awkward “Coupe SUV” thing like the X6 or GLE Coupe. Instead of chopping off the rearward roof section, Land Rover’s designers chose to give the teardrop treatment to the entire SUV shape. It’s absolutely beautiful.

Even better, underneath, the Range Rover Velar shares its platform with the lovely-to-drive Jaguar F-Pace. The Jag handles great, and is a ton of fun on back roads, and I hope this Range Rover will retain that trait. Engine-wise buyers can choose between a turbo gas 4 cylinder, a diesel 4 cylinder, or the fun model with the 380hp supercharged V6.

The Range Rover Velar slots between the Range Rover Evoque and Ranger Rover Sport, competing with the Mercedes GLC, Audi Q5, and BMW X3/X4. It’s up against some decent competition, but with looks to kill, the Velar may have a leg up on the Germans. I was blown away by the style of the Evoque when it came out, but this takes the design past the next level.

I can’t wait to see the Velar in person because it will probably look even better than in photos.

-Nick Walker

Quick Spin: BMW G11 750i xDrive

BMW G11 750i 3This is not so much a car as it is a rolling spa. Sure, I had some time behind the wheel of this new BMW G11 750i, but what really stuck in my mind was the massage I got while riding around in the back seat. It was pouring rain, we were stuck in a traffic jam, and I wouldn’t have been anywhere else in the world if I could have. It’s an optional extra, but what’s an extra $7 grand for the pleasure of being able to have a heated, or cooled, massage everywhere you go? I could really go for one right now, as a matter of fact.

The new 750i may be a rolling spa, but it’s one that moves pretty good, too. BMW claims 445 hp and 480 ft/lbs of torque from its “Hot Vee” twin turbo V8, and that’s enough to propel your pampered ass from a snooze to a heart attack in just 4.3 seconds.

Really though, the G11 is the expected next step for the BMW 7 Series, nothing less, but nothing more either. It’s really nice, but they’ve all been nice over the years. It’s really fast, and handles well for a big limo, but again, same with every other 7 Series. The G11 is also full of lots of fancy, cutting edge technology, which is awesome today, but it will suck in ten years for the poor sap who buys this once-$120,000 luxo-barge for $13,988. Go try to use the nav on a late 90’s E38 7 Series, and you’ll see what I mean.

In fact, staggering depreciation is probably just as much of what makes a 7 Series a 7 Series as the car’s big comfort or big horsepower. Well-optioned, it’s not a bad value for what you get for $120,000 or so, but you can be damn sure you won’t be seeing much of that money back. Leasing may be a good idea here, people.

The G11 750i is among the nearly flawless lineup of current luxury cars. They’re all just really good, almost to a fault, if only for the fact that such uniform perfection lacks character. Objectively, this BMW 750i is good enough as a luxury cruiser to make me wonder why anyone would shell out triple the money for a Bentley or a Rolls. I mean, how much more comfortable could you possibly be?

But really it’s not about features, or the comfort, or any of that. It comes back to the car being good, really good, too good for its own good. The G11 is a lot like that guy at the party who just keeps talking, on and on, about his own accomplishments. He’s very impressive and all, but people just keep walking away, don’t they? That’s because endless perfection gets boring pretty quick, and it’s usually a lot more fun to hear people talk about their mistakes.

Nick Walker

MoM Score: BMW G11 750i xDrive
Primary Function: Luxury: 2
Secondary Functions: Performance(2) Practicality(2) MPG(2): 2
Visual Appeal: 1
Build Quality: 2
Value for Money: 1
Final Score: 8 /10

BMW G11 750i 2BMW G11 750i 5BMW G11 750i 1BMW G11 750i 6BMW G11 750i 7IMG_1190

Lexus’ Modern Luxury Flagship Is Finally Here

I’ve become more and more of a fan of Lexus over the years. It’s not because I’ve gotten older and more mature, either, it’s because they’ve improved their approach to building cars. High performance and driving dynamics used to mean nothing to Lexus, it was all about having a silky ride with unparalleled build quality and reliability. What I really love about Lexus’ coming of age in the last decade, or so, is how their gains in dynamic performance have not come at the expense of their foundational values. Sure, the F models may compromise a silky smooth ride in the name of handling prowess, but they’ll still run over 200,000 miles without breaking down. Lexus is still Lexus, just a better version of themselves.

You have to remember that Lexus was only founded in 1989, four years after Mercedes-Benz had celebrated it’s first century of building cars. In the luxury realm, they are still a very young marquee.

In the past, a Lexus was a simpler alternative to the many German luxury options. It was always a nice car, very well built, and could be counted on for many, many years. They always lacked most of the fancy new features found in the German cars, though, you know, the sort of cool stuff you want when you spend a lot of money. Well, here in 2017, I finally feel like Lexus isn’t lagging behind their German competition. This is the new Lexus LS 500, and the Germans should be pretty nervous.

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Tesla Take 2 with the Model S P90D

Tesla Model S P90D 16

I got my first taste of the Tesla magic in 2015 when I drove a Model S P85D. It made one hell of a first impression, and I was totally blown away. I felt like I had just experienced the true next step for the automobile, capable of blistering acceleration, superior practicality and sublime comfort, all in a single package. Oh, and did I mention it was green, too? I was enamored with it then, but I was curious to see how the Tesla would fair the second time around, now that my initial fascination had worn off.

I was recently able to take a spin in the new, facelifted, Model S P90D. This drive was much better than the first one. It lasted much longer, the roads were much better, and I got to try out some of Tesla’s amazing new features (including Autopilot). I also gained more perspective on the Model S, what it is, and what it is not.

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The Lincoln Mark VII LSC Chronicles, Part 2: June, July, and August -The Plot Thickens

Mark VII Front

This is Part 2 in a series.

Where we last left this story, I had taken a few interviews and the Lincoln had barfed coolant all over South Jersey. By the beginning of June, I’d parked the poor thing and taken back to driving the Legacy nearly full-time. I’d hit off on a few good interviews in the beginning of June, and while walking out to take the Lincoln to the center of town to pick up election results with my friend Damon, I got the offer as I started the engine. What started out as another day in the pack, had become a blessing. A blessing that turned into a curse, within due time. Continue reading The Lincoln Mark VII LSC Chronicles, Part 2: June, July, and August -The Plot Thickens