The most silent unveiling ever! Bentley launched the Grand Convertible in the U.A.E. last month

bgc-19If you are to launch a rare, expensive, luxury vehicle, the United Arab Emirates would be an ideal place to debut it. That is exactly what Bentley did, when they unveiled the Grand Convertible last month. However, oddly, no real automotive press was invited to the launch, which was held at the Bentley showroom in Abu Dhabi. So, what are the details for this latest model carrying the “Flying B” hood emblem?
Built by Bentley’s in-house coachbuilding shop, Mulliner, the Grand Convertible will set you back $4.5-million (plus tax) to park one at your mansion.
So, what do you get for your money, apart from exclusivity? Well, you get a beautifully trimmed interior, made from the finest leather and wood. The rear deck features the largest, single piece of wood ever used on a production car. Oh, and you also get a stonking great powertrain – a 6.75L V8 that produces 530 hp and 811 lb-ft of torque.
All that power is routed to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Put your foot down, and this Grand Convertible will see off the 0 to 100 km/h run in just 4.9 seconds – that is proper sports car territory.
But, the performance, and luxury features are not the important bits here – after all, the Grand Convertible is based on the platform and running gear of the Bentley Mulsanne Speed sedan – what makes the Grand Convertible… umm, grand… is its exclusivity. Only 19 people on this planet will get to say, that they own this vehicle, and that is very special indeed.
Would one of these end up in Canada? I really hope so, but chances are no, sadly!bentley-grand-convertible
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A place worth visiting, when in San Diego…

IMG_5596There are plenty of reasons for visiting San Diego, California – great scenery, good food, plenty of fun driving roads, etc. So, if you are in the area at the moment -or headed there in the future- be sure to check out the San Diego Automotive Museum.

It has a very eclectic mix of motorbikes and automobiles.

Here is a >>>quick glance<<< at what caught my attention.

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Did Aston Martin just copy Henrik Fisker?

Aston-Martin-Vantage-2018-871506

The car you see draped under the covers is the upcoming, new Aston Martin Vantage.

Now look at the car below, which has a very similar derriere – at least as far as the tail lights are concerned. Here’s the thing, the car below was unveiled a year ago, by none other than Aston Martin’s former design director, Henrik Fisker. It’s called the EMotion, and it is slated to be the first product by Fisker Inc.

FullSizeRenderAston Martin and Fisker have not had the greatest of relationships, since the two parted ways back at the end of 2004. As you may remember, about two years ago, Aston Martin tried to sue Fisker – twice in the same year, first for creating a coachbuild version of the DB9 called Thunderbolt, and then claiming that the aerial sketch of the VLF Force 1 V10 looked too much like an Aston Martin!

Now it seems, that Aston Martin has pulled a reversal, as their new car – under the sheet, at least – looks very much like the Fisker EMotion. I’ve yet to see the new Vantage from other angles, and I’m sure it’ll have a different profile to the EMotion, but just the way those tail lights look, it sure seems to be inspired by Fisker’s next electric offering.

Let me know what you – the readers – think about this. Leave a comment below, thank you!IMG_9731

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Is the new, 2018 Lexus LC500 any good?

When you think of high-performance cars, the name Lexus is probably not the first brand to come to mind. Continue reading —

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The 2017 Honda Civic Type-R is awesome, but is it flawless?

IMG_6954When Honda first introduced the Civic back in 1972, it was the entry-level offering from this Japanese manufacturer. Over the years, the Civic has grown in size, and performance, and it is now at a point where it has never been at before – at least in North America – because it is truly a road-legal track car that can monster the type of cars most people typically think of as sports cars. Ladies and gentleman, I am talking about, the 2017 Honda Civic Type-R.
Let’s start with the numbers, shall we. Under its hood, lies a 2.0L, four-cylinder motor, that features double over head cams, and 16 valves – with variable valve timing. That on its own would have made for a pretty tasty engine, but the clever engineers at Honda decided to bolt a giant turbocharger to it. End result is a motor that produces 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
All that energy gets transmitted to just the front wheels, via what is possibly the best six-speed manual transmission currently on sale, in any car. Build up some heat in its 245/30 ZR18 performance tires, launch it properly, and it’ll sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.0 seconds flat! Keep that accelerator pedal buried (on the autobahn, or on a proper race track) and its speedometer will go all the way up to 277 km/h! This is a properly fast car.
However, surprisingly, what makes this car special are not the numbers it can achieve, but how it achieves them. The Civic Type-R sits on a chassis that is stiff in all the right places, and has excellent suspension geometry. As a result, the very moment you turn it into a corner, you get the feeling that everything from camber angles to tires, to chassis and suspension, plus the steering ratio, are all dialed in to work with each other. As a result, this car can take corners at ridiculous speeds, and not lose its cool – most drivers on the other hand, will not have the skills, or the nerves, to extract all that the Civic Type-R can offer.
Aiding in its pursuit of speed, are its aerodynamics. Look all around this car, and you’ll find splitters, ground effects, and spoilers, which are not just for show. They all work together to keep this car nailed to the tarmac. It looks the way it does, not because some designer wanted it that way – it looks this way, because it has to! The fact that it looks wonderful – like a mad, anime racing car – is just a bonus.
However, don’t think that Honda went all track-focused, and forgot all about creature comforts. Not at all, as the Civic Type-R comes really well equipped with features such as power windows, locks, and mirrors. It also has a good infotainment system – which features navigation – and conveniences like a blind spot camera (a Honda exclusive technology), cruise control, and a whole lot more. However, the best button in here, is the red “Engine Start” button.
Like all current generation Civic models, the Type-R is spacious, and its sports seats are, in a word, perfect.
So, is this car flawless? It comes close, but no. First issue you have to keep in mind, is that it is a bit noisy on the highway, because it doesn’t have lots of sound deadening material in it to keep the weight down  – at 1,415 kg, it is quite a bit lighter than its main rivals. Secondly, it has a stiff ride – which gets even stiffer when you select ‘Sport’ or ‘+R’ mode – so it is not ideal for daily driving. Because it is a Type-R, it is pretty much impossible to drive it sensibly, which means, it’ll drink a lot of gas – I averaged 9.7 L/100km, and it’ll drink the finest premium fuel you can find, 94 octane please.
My biggest complaint with it, is its exhaust note – despite having three exiting pipes, it is far too quiet to be a performance car. Honda, I hope that you have a sportier exhaust coming for the Type-R in the future, because it surely deserves that.IMG_6950
However, after spending a week with the 2017 Honda Civic Type-R, I am fully convinced that it deserves its asking price – even if it baffles some people, who view it as just another Civic! That price is: $40,890 + freight, PDI, dealer fees, and taxes.
Should you buy one? Well, considering that they are all sold out for the first model year, I say, if you can find one that is not being offered at a huge premium, don’t hesitate even for a second, the Type-R is not only all the performance car you wish for it to be, it delivers much more than that.
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My visit to Kahn Design was a disaster…

DSCN6387Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to work on plenty of exciting stories, and have met many high profile people from the automotive industry. Meeting Afzal Khan, the man behind Kahn Design, was the biggest disappointment of my career!

I had put in a lot of effort to go visit Kahn Design, travelled at my own expense, and made arrangements with one of their PR reps – who had been just wonderful to deal with. All was well, until I met Mr. Khan. He showed no appreciation for the work I had put in to get there, was mostly sarcastic and rude, and just wanted to brush me aside.

As a result of my interaction with Mr. Khan, I didn’t even want to do this story, but after a discussion with my editor, it was decided to do it anyway – since I had invested money on this assignment.

So, here is the >>>link<<< to the story, and as you’ll read, it’s true, the company’s very expensive, flagship SUV – the Flying Huntsman 6×6 – broke down after just 15 minutes!

So, if you’re looking for a unique, or special vehicle, and want quality engineering, don’t bother looking at Kahn Design, or any of their other brands, such as Project Kahn, and Chelsea Truck Co.

 

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The David Brown Automotive Speedback GT is an expensive sensation…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIts style evokes nostalgia, its details delights, its price will make you gasp, while the driving experience simply satisfies; ladies and gentleman, I present to you, the Speedback GT – by David Brown Automotive: Continue reading through this link <>OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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