All posts in “luxury”

The Scorpion gaming cockpit from Cluvens comes with heating and massage functions

In 2018 Acer unveiled its $20,000 Predator Thronos gaming chair, which looked like a mix between a machine and an alien organic lifeform. The year after, the $14,000 Thronos Air was unveiled to the delight of gamers. As most of us opt to work from home due to the pandemic, the arrival of this next item couldn’t have been any better. This here is the Cluvens Scorpion, which evidently draws inspiration from the former two, but at a more budget-friendly price range.

Well, if you consider $3,299 as mere pocket change, then this gaming cockpit should be on your list. As you can probably guess from the name the overall presentation mimics that of the predatory arachnid. Actually, when it’s in motion, those who fear creepy crawlies might find it a form of nightmare fuel. On the other hand, we see it as a sleek dynamic platform upon where our gaming rig will soon reside.

Instead of a sting, the Cluvens Scorpion features a mounting point for up to three displays. Meanwhile, the keyboard and mouse sit on top of a surface that swivels out. When you’re ready for action the claws support the section when it swivels in. The manufacturer uses a high-carbon steel frame powder-coated in back with a stylish matte finish.

We love the motorized system that can quickly adjust the position of the seat and display mount. Moreover, the Cluvens Scorpion gaming cockpit even comes with a heating and massage function. The latter is already perhaps the best reason to justify your purchase. The only thing missing here is an option to motorize the legs so you can practically ride on a 264 lb gaming machine.

Order it here

Images courtesy of Cluvens

The Seamaster Diver 300M Nekton Edition shows Omega’s support for ocean conservation

Omega recently introduced James Bond fans a chance to own a limited-edition Seamaster Diver 300M. Only 7,007 examples will be in circulation globally, which should not take long for collectors to snap up everything. Now, the Swiss watchmaker is ready to collaborate once more, but this time to hopefully benefit nature. Hence it’s partnering with Nekton – a not-for-profit research foundation that focuses on the conservation of our oceans – to offer a special version of its iconic diver’s watch.

The Seamaster Diver 300M is a model that many associate with our planet’s biggest bodies of water. Hence, its partnership with the UK-registered charity which has ties with the University of Oxford. The goal is to explore, monitor, and protect the marine ecosystem from whatever that might upset the balance. Each sale Omega makes allows the company to continue its support for Nekton and others.

Hence, those shopping for a stylish and dependable timepiece might want to consider the Seamaster Diver 300M Nekton Edition. Notable features include a 42 mm steel case with a grade-5 titanium unidirectional rotating bezel. This gives it’s a stark contrast against the matte black ceramic dial with polished wave patterns. Meanwhile, Omega is using a cutting-edge laser-ablation process to engrave these sections of the watch.

Turning it over to look at the case back shows a submarine medallion engraving to remind users of its exclusivity. Powering the Seamaster Diver 300M Nekton Edition is Omega’s Master Chronometer Calibre 8806. Finally, its self-winding movement boasts a 55-hour power reserve, which is impressive. Availability starts in October with pricing details to follow.

Check out more details: here

Images courtesy of Omega

Q by Aston Martin delivers a stunning one-off bespoke beauty called the Victor

These days, almost every vehicle that rolls out of the factory comes with an automatic transmission. Also, with the auto industry is gradually transitioning to adopt all-electric powertrains. You can say that we might soon finally bid goodbye to some classic features. Thankfully, there are some carmakers that still care about some these traditional aspects. Take for example a recent project by Ford to mate a manual transmission to an emission-free mustang. Aston Martin – with its passion for automotive excellence – brings forth a bespoke tribute called the Victor.

The British marque is synonymous with high-performance supercars with a level of luxury that outclasses the rest. Reports claim the Victor wants to channel the powerful rides from Aston Martin’s old-school catalog form the 70s and 80s. Therefore, with Aston Martin’s renowned Q division at the helm, this one-of-a-kind coupé will certainly exceed even the loftiest of expectations.

The folks crafting the sleek machine are drawing elements from the Vulcan and One-77. Aston Martin is fitting a 7.3-liter V12 engine with some extra tuning specifically for the Victor. Even though it’s practically the same power plant on the latter, it has been exclusively tuned for the project. Hence, it’s capable of producing 847 horsepower and 605 lb-ft of torque.

The best part of its all is the fact that it uses a six-speed manual transmission. This is a combination that only a few manufacturers still consider nowadays. Unfortunately, this stunning one-off is already spoken for by a client who wishes to stay anonymous. With the specifications it brings to the table, the Aston Martin Victor likely commands a staggering price point. So far, many speculate the cost to be in somewhat prohibitive even for the more affluent among us.

Discover more here

Images courtesy of Aston Martin

2020 Acura NSX Road Test | The cerebral supercar

The 2020 Acura NSX is the kind of car you’re pumped to drive. You think about it the night before. You read up on it. You tell your friends and family. You notice passers-by admiring it in the driveway. They try to be sly. Some gawk. There’s anticipation.

But is there satisfaction? The NSX immediately raises two questions. Where does it fit among its contemporaries and does it measure up to its legendary predecessor?

Seeking the answers, I slip behind the wheel on a sunny morning. The NSX is a welcome respite from the cares of the world and concerns of the coronavirus. I’ve got a few hours ahead of me in a $203,000 supercar. It’s a good time to reflect.

Immediately, I have a sense of déjà vu. I drove an NSX in 2017 at Pebble Beach, but my senses take me farther back, to the fall of 2014 when I drove a 1991 NSX. I had the same anticipation, nerves even, as I prepared for that drive. Getting situated in the 2020 model, I’m struck by the simplicity of the NSX. A McLaren or a Lambo take a minute to figure out, but everything is easy to read and use in the Acura. Like the ‘91 NSX, it looks striking on the outside, but the inside is almost plain. I’m OK with that. Simple works for Porsche, which will happily sell you a six-figure 911 with a spartan interior.

I’m underselling the NSX’s cabin — which is actually quite nice inside — understated yet cool. My tester has a black interior with carbon-fiber accents and semi-aniline leather seats with Alcantara, though the big steering wheel is the focal point. Looking to my right, the infotainment anchors the center stack, and there’s a knob for tuning the drive modes and the push-button gear selector. The outward visibility is outstanding. Driving a supercar can be intimidating, and being able to see things is helpful, especially when you’re inches off the ground.

I accelerate onto a surface street where the speed limit is 45 mph. There’s a low growl, and then the NSX gets a bit angrier. It’s never quite uncouth, even when the revs spin up on the expressway. It’s surprisingly gutsy low in the band, around 2,000-3,000 rpm, and the soundtrack gets louder and better from there. Anticipation building, I near the onramp to Interstate 75 in Detroit’s northern suburbs, where I run into cones. And blockades. Construction work is a staple of summer in Michigan. More time on the suburban slow road, and I find myself growing more comfortable in the NSX. Unlike the Lamborghini Huracán, Audi R8 or even some Mustangs, the Acura is civilized, docile even. It reminds me of my first time in that ‘91 NSX, where my nerves gave way to cockiness. The old NSX was so drivable, agreeable even, that I’ve long believed it made the cliché “everyday supercar” a real notion.

Acura tightened the suspension, retuned software for the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive and made the steering more responsive for the 2019 model. It feels more buttoned-up than the car I drove in Pebble Beach before these updates. There’s more feedback in the steering, which previously felt a little light. The Continental SportContact 6 tires provide plenty of grip. The brakes return stopping power with little pedal travel — not as immediate as McLarens I’ve tested, but more balanced for daily driving. This NSX is equipped with the optional carbon-ceramic rotors, which look great with the silver calipers visible through the gray Y-spoke wheels.

The other 2019 updates changed the grille accent to match the body color (it was silver before) and added gloss black trim in place of matte. Those sports seats I like so much and the tech package are now standard equipment.

The NSX is a striking car, especially in Valencia Red Pearl with the optional carbon-fiber elements, including the decklid spoiler, front chin spoiler, engine cover, rear diffuser and side sills. It’s beautiful, and in this shade it reminds me vaguely of recent mid-engine Ferraris. While I like the silhouette, the NSX is also a little angular and even busy, which is in contrast to the original NSX.

The expressway opens up as I make my way across town, sampling the driving modes. Sport mode is the basic setting, and Sport+ tightens up the chassis and makes the exhaust louder. I spend a decent amount of time in Quiet mode, which is actually all electric at speeds of less than 50 mph for brief periods. A couple of neighbors on bikes didn’t see me coming, then did triple takes trying to process what exactly was coming at them.

That stealthy capability belies the NSX’s raw power. Between the 3.5-liter V6 and electric motors, the NSX puts out 573 total horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque, enabling sprints to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds en route to a top speed of 191 mph. The sequential paddle shifts summon all of this power into your fingertips, and pulling the paddles at high speeds while gripping the steering wheel with traffic parting gives even the novice performance driver a bit of a Senna streak.

The NSX is a car that you discover as you drive. There are layers to its personality. I learned a lot about the NSX, and Acura, simply by running errands. That’s not something every car gives you. Critics point to the “everyday supercar” label as a discredit, that the NSX is somehow watered down. It’s not. It’s cerebral yet passionate. What it lacks in flash it makes up for with a breadth of capability.

Let’s return to my original questions. How does the NSX compete against modern exotics, like Audi, McLaren, Ferrari and the like? It’s a peer. And that’s enough. It’s not the best of the bunch, but it’s competitive and interesting.

More weighty, how does the 2020 NSX measure up against the first generation? It does not break new ground in the way its predecessor did, which is not necessarily a demerit. When the New Sportscar eXperimental debuted in 1989, Ferrari and Lamborghini were making erratic cars that were at times as dangerous as they were exclusive. The notion of actually driving your supercar as I did on this bright Saturday was inadvisable. The NSX changed all of that. In that era there was room for improvement. Now the market is more mature, and even mainstream American brands like Chevy and Ford offer mid-engine performance.

It’s tough to compete against your younger self, but that’s not the point. The point is Acura chooses to make an NSX, and it’s excellent in the ways a modern supercar should aspire to be. The NSX crashed the party once. Now it’s simply accepted as part of the establishment.

Lucid Air and Maserati MC20 unveiled | Autoblog Podcast #644

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Associate Editor Byron Hurd. Before they get to the juicy news of the week, they chat about the cars they’ve been driving, including a Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R, Audi A6 Allroad, Mazda CX-9 and Kia Niro. It’s been a busy week in the news department, with GM investing in Nikola, Lucid Motors launching the Air electric sedan, Maserati unveiling the MC20 mid-engined supercar and a farewell to the Lexus GS. Then they talk about having a newfound respect for the Fox Body Mustang and the Mazda CX-9.

Autoblog Podcast #644

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Hennessey Performance is teasing a limited-edition pickup called the Mammoth 6×6

For a glimpse of some of the most jaw-dropping automotive builds, look no further because Hennessey Performance is where you want to go. We’ve seen their work on muscle cars, supercars, SUVs, and trucks among others. In the past, the shop already gave us several 6×6 behemoths that are nothing short of breathtaking. Now, it’s ready to impress yet again with another. This time, its naming the new project the Mammoth 6X6, which is fitting for the whats awaits lucky owners of this beast.

The donor vehicle is a 2021 Ram TRX, which, in its stock configuration is already one capable platform. It’s ships with a 6.2-liter HEMI V8 engine capable of 702 horsepower with 650 lb-ft of torque. Nevertheless, it does not seem enough for Hennessey Performance so out it goes. Instead, the team is slotting in a Mopar Hellephant power plant that will deliver a staggering 1,200 horsepower.

Of course, similar to its predecessor, the bed is getting an extension to accommodate the extra set of wheels. This 6-wheel drive behemoth should be able to handle all types of cargo without breaking a sweat. Aside from the aforementioned conversion, the Mammoth 6X6 is also kitted out with enhancements to match its menacing output.

Hennessey Performance is not stopping there. The front and rear bumpers of the Mammoth 6X6 get bespoke replacements. To help with low-light visibility. They’re also slapping on a set of LED lights that should match the overall aesthetics. Then there’s the off-road suspension to keep the everything smooth while driving, Finally, the interior will likewise get a bespoke treatment. Only three units will be available and each retails for $500,000.

Discover more about it: here

Images courtesy of Hennessey Performance

Caviar reworks Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra with marble via its Eternity Collection

To think that Apple is supposedly overpricing its products. Last week, Samsung – competing against its rival – was recently launching a $1,999 smartphone. While regular people like us would find it too expensive for our tastes and budget, there are those who seek even more. Its exactly for that reason why companies such as Caviar Royal Gift exist in the first place. The Russian jeweler has been offering exclusive versions of popular handsets and the latest to get the luxury treatment is the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Samsung is already selling an unlocked Galaxy Note 20 Ultra for $1,299.99 and $1,499.99 depending on the internal storage size. However, Caviar kicks it up a notch with its Eternity Collection that replaces the already premium construction with pricier alternatives. The material of choice is marble and is available in four exclusive variants each limited to only 99 examples globally:

Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus makes its debut on the back panel of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Nevertheless, it’s not stopping Caviar craftsmen from replacing it with the metamorphic rock. The models get their names from iconic structures around the world. These include the Forbidden City, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Parthenon, and the Hagia Sophia.

To make it even more special, each one showcases engravings one can immediately associate with each respective heritage sites. All of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra units from Caviar tout metal frameworks with rose gold electroplating. This magnificent series just one of many in the brand’s extensive catalog of high-end mobile phones intended its affluent clientele.

Exclusively available here

Images courtesy of Caviar Royal Gift

This F1 Simulator from Cranfield Simulation is a full-motion platform for racing fans

It is highly likely that automotive enthusiasts are likewise fans of motorsports. Additionally, they are also the same folks that absolutely love racing games or driving simulators. Thankfully, there is no shortage of peripherals that can make the experience even more immersive. Logitech and Thrustmaster are perhaps the most iconic brands when it comes to steering wheels, shifter knobs, and pedals. However, these pale in comparison to what Cranfield Simulation can offer with the F1 Simulator.

While a high-end steering wheel with force feedback can do a remarkable job mimicking the real thing. You can feel the vibrations and resistance that would emulate how the vehicle behaves on the road or the race track. Formula One cars are still considered the pinnacle of motorsport. In fact, many would give anything to fell what it’s like being in the cockpit of these powerful machines. Thankfully, Cranfield Simulation can make it happen in a sense for the right budget.

The company is offering the most robust and dynamic systems out there to configured to meet the buyer’s needs. For the F1 Simulator, there are three options available: Static, Full Motion, and Full Motion + G-Force. The basic package starts at about $34,000 with the top of the line setup costing as much as some high-performance supercars at $170,000.

Using Cranfield Motion Cueing technology, the range-topping F1 Simulator version can reproduce various sensations one can feel inside an automobile. It combines everything to give the user the most accurate representation of what an F1 driver feels during a race. The set already includes everything one needs to get started, so make sure that you have adequate space to house this massive monster.

Order it here

Images courtesy of Cranfield Simulation

Samsung delivers cinema-grade entertainment via The Premiere 4K laser projector

Among the business greatly affected by the pandemic lockdowns are the movie theaters and the studios that make the films. In order to adapt, many of the biggest entertainment companies have shifted their efforts to pay-per-view or streaming platforms. Therefore, those who crave the cinema vibe are likely in the market for devices that can emulate it. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of options available. For example, The Premiere from Samsung takes into account homes with limited spaces and still deliver an immersive experience.

The problem with most types of high-end projectors is the distance it needs to properly display the images on the screen or wall. If it’s positioned too closely, the size will be affected. Therefore, users who do not have an adequate area cannot enjoy its full potential.

Samsung, on the other hand, provides a simple solution that does not compromise visual quality. The Premiere is actually a short-throw model that can be set closer to the projector screen or surface. The Premiere is part of Samsung’s Lifestyle catalog of premium entertainment hardware.

So far, the South Korean outfit is giving us the picture frame-esque The Serif, the rotating The Sero, and the outdoor-ready The Terrace. These lineup of products sports features and looks that will blend with your home’s décor. In short, these are pricey pieces of consumer electronics.

Samsung is offering two variants of The Premiere: LSP9T and LSP7T. The Premiere is capable of up to a 130-inch projection and is apparently the world’s first HDR10+ certified projector with triple laser technology. Meanwhile, the latter is still impressive nonetheless with a projection size of up to 120 inches minus the brightness levels of the range-topping version.

Check out the press release: here

Images courtesy of Samsung

A Sneak Peek At The 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Rolls-Royce Teases More Information About The New Ghost

In the build-up for releasing its all-new Ghost, Rolls-Royce is doing a masterful job of releasing just enough information to whet our appetites. The luxury car manufacturer recently revealed an illuminated fascia feature that looks like it’s going to be stellar, and we can’t wait to see the finished product.

The new feature is a follow-on of the sought-after Starlight Headliner that incorporates between 600 and 1340 hand-placed fiber optic lights in the car’s interior roof lining. The fascia expands on this starry night sky theme on the passenger side of the dashboard.

Designed to resemble a cluster of stars in space, the illuminated fascia results from 10,000 hours of hard work in two years. It uses 152 LEDs, light guides, and other materials to create the nameplate’s 850 stars. When off, the stars are invisible, but it creates an impressive night sky display on the car’s interior when activated. In addition to this dashboard feature, the Starlight Headliner will now include eight shooting stars in its design.

The British marque has kept quiet about almost everything else, which means that most of what has been written about the car that is soon to make its debut is educated guesswork.

This is our take on the Rolls-Royce Ghost.

From what we’ve seen so far, the 2021 Ghost will look similar to the outgoing model – at least from the outside. This will be one case where looks are deceiving because it will be entirely new, from the underpinnings up. We’ve got a feeling that the starry fascia is the tip of the proverbial iceberg and that the cabin of the new model will be far more luxurious than what we’ve seen previously.

Getting Under the Hood

Until now, the first and second-generation Ghosts used the same platform as the F01 BMW 7 Series. According to reports, Rolls-Royce confirmed that as many as 20% of the Ghost’s and the BMW’s parts are identical. That will change with the launch of the new Ghost, which gets a new platform of its own.

As far as the engine is concerned, it’s likely that the vehicle will be powered by a V-12 that surpasses the Cullinan SUV and Phantom. Both these models boast a 563 horsepower, 6.7-liter V-12, with 664 lb-ft of torque. The outgoing Ghost has a 6.6-liter V-12 modified from the BMW N74 V-12 and clocks in a top speed of 155 mph. However, even with a more powerful engine, the car is not a sports sedan. It remains a luxury ride, a powerful one, but a luxury ride nonetheless.

The manufacturer hasn’t said anything about the new Ghost’s fuel economy yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it will be in a similar league to the outgoing model, which travels 100 miles on 7.1 gallons of fuel.

A Cabin That’s Out of this World

The starry dashboard is the only clue to the new model’s interior that Rolls-Royce has given us. While some commentators think that the cabin’s interior will surpass the opulence we’ve seen before now, others believe that the manufacturer has gone in a post-opulent direction. The luxury will be there, but it will be understated rather than showy.

There is no question in our minds that the brand has used only the finest materials and will ensure the traveling experience will be indulgent for both driver and passengers. However, the ride will be dignified rather than pimped. We’re expecting to see massaging seats, fine leather, beautiful metal and wood accents, and a ridiculous amount of space. No doubt, the onboard entertainment will also be top-class.

The outgoing Ghost has some impressive safety features, and we think it’s highly likely that Rolls-Royce will take them up a notch in the new model. A few of the outgoing model features include Electronic Stability Control, Roll Stability Control, and forward-collision warning. Airbags and airbag occupancy sensors and a back-up camera come standard too, and satellite-assisted transmission is one of the driver-assist features. We suspect the new model will retain those features and will see the addition of others. Lane-keeping assistance, lane-departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, and automated emergency braking with sensors to detect pedestrians could all be integrated.

Rolls-Royce hasn’t skimped on connectivity or infotainment in previous models, so the new Ghost is likely to have features that will make our jaws drop. The outgoing model gave rear-seat passengers the ability to use the navigation system and control the radio from the dual-screen entertainment system. We expect to see more of the same, as well as the addition of features such as Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Previous models of the car have come with a four-year warranty and unlimited mileage maintenance package. We expect that the same will be in place with this vehicle.

A Ghostly History

The original Ghost made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in 2009, when it was unveiled as the Rolls-Royce 200EX. In the same year at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the vehicle was named the Ghost in honor of the manufacturer’s Silver Ghost, a car first produced in 1906. The Ghost was designed to be a smaller version of the brand’s Phantom, making it something of an entry-level car – for those who can afford it.

After BMW licensed the rights to the brand name in 1998, the production of Rolls-Royce cars shifted into high gear. The manufacturer introduced its premium style and manufacturing precision that is now seen in cars like the BMW M4. In 2014, the Series II Ghost was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show, featuring various changes inside and out. A tapered wake channel was added to the bonnet, the front air intakes were enlarged and had chrome inserts added, and the headlights were given a sculpted makeover. The interior saw new seat designs and re-angled rear seats, the clock fascia and instrument dials embellished with polished chaplets, and natural grain leather for the A and C pillars. Series II also included new rear hydraulic axle bearings, re-designed front and rear struts, new steering gear, and adjusted dampers.

There’s no doubt in our minds that the new Rolls-Royce Ghost will be a thing of beauty and luxury. Like its predecessor, it’s sure to deliver a luxurious driving experience that inspires greatness and creates an everlasting expression of the exceptional.

Images courtesy of Rolls-Royce

Henrik Fisker interview, and driving the Polestar 2 | Autoblog Podcast #643

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder. They’ve been driving the updated 2021 Honda Odyssey, the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 and the new Polestar 2 electric sedan. After reviewing those, they talk about how the Chrysler 300 appears to be withering on the vine. Next, they take time to talk to legendary automotive designer and eponymous Chairman & CEO of Fisker Inc., Mr. Henrik Fisker himself, about jeans, horses and, of course, electric cars. Finally, they help a listener pick a $100,000 supercar in the “Spend My Money” segment.

Autoblog Podcast #643

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Spyker aiming to revive sports cars and even an SUV with new backers

Luxury sports car builder Spyker, despite having some beautiful and unique products, has had a rocky history over the past couple decades. The last news we had heard from them was the release of a special variant for the last run of its C8 Aileron, and before that was the announcement that the C8 Preliator would move to a Koenigsegg V8. All of that was in 2017. Now the company has announced it has partnered with other companies for some financial, development and production support. And if all goes well, we may see old concepts finally reach production.

The two people involved in the new partnerships are Boris Rotenberg and Michail Pessis. Between the two of them, they operate a number of racing- and automotive-related businesses: SMP Racing, BR Engineering, Milan Morady SA and R-Company GmbH. They each are fans of Spyker, both owning its cars themselves. Apparently, Milan Morady and BR Engineering were already helping build some special edition C8 Ailerons.

As for the future, it seems that Rotenberg’s and Pessis’s companies will be doing some major lifting in building some of the aforementioned C8 Preliator. Plans go beyond continuing production of that existing model, though. Apparently these companies are planning on finally bringing two even older Spyker concepts to production: the smaller B6 Venator and the D8 Peking-to-Paris SUV. The B6 made its debut in 2013, featured a 375-horsepower V6 and was a smaller, presumably more accessible Spyker. The D8 Peking-to-Paris was reportedly based on the D12 Peking-to-Paris concept, shown at the top of the page, but with a V8 engine instead of a V12. That concept dates all the way back to 2006. Time will tell if these new partnerships give Spyker some new life.

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What’s hiding beneath this mystery BMW M8 mule?

Spy photos of a mystery BMW M8 mule being tested at the Nürburgring could be our first glance at BMW’s rumored 600-horsepower plug-in hybrid. The demise of BMW’s mid-engine i8 plug-in hybrid with no news of a direct replacement led us to wonder what BMW really has in store for the future of the formula, but if this early prototype is anything to go on, it may be alive and well. We’re not sure what BMW plans to call its next round of all-electric and plug-in variants, but whatever it ends up being called, the prospect is certainly fascinating. 

Let’s start with what we’re looking at. At first glance, this appears to be a fairly run-of-the-mill BMW M8 with some camouflage over the front and rear, which is about what you’d expect to see from a company that is likely developing alternative bodywork for a mid-cycle update or a new appearance package. Looking more closely, however, we see the strategic tinting of the rear window glass along with very obvious air intake vents where the rear side windows should be. Translation? There’s something back there that 1) needs air flow and 2) BMW doesn’t want us to see. 

To further grease the skids, our spies tell us that the engine in this car did not sound anything like the V8 found under the hood of either the BMW M8 or its racing variant, the M8 GTE, which carries over the former’s front-engine layout. In fact, the spy even referred to the sound as “unusual,” which could just be good salesmanship, but the fact of the matter remains that whatever is under there, it’s not from an M8, or any other 8 Series derivative currently known to us. 

Conveniently, all of the things that make this an unlikely M8 variant, from the mid-engine layout to the unconventional exhaust note, make a compelling case for it as a revival of BMW’s plug-in flagship. Even the wheels appear strikingly similar to those on the BMW Vision M Next concept the company showed at Frankfurt last year, which was said to be a plug-in hybrid with a turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine making 600 horsepower. BMW claimed it could do 0-62 mph in 3.0 seconds with a top speed of 186 mph and boasting 62 miles of all-electric range. 

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This Dawn Silver Bullet embodies an immersive driving experience from Rolls-Royce

For luxurious elegance that you can always count on no brand is more recognizable than Rolls-Royce. Once again, the British marque reminds us that practically anything that carries its name will exceed all expectations. Those who desire a change from its regular offerings that can accommodate up to four to just two. Here is the Dawn Silver Bullet – an exclusive run of only 50 examples – a convertible that would leave anything breathless. This stunning vehicle is an instant collector’s piece.

Rolls-Royce manages to blend modern specifications with just a sprinkle of vintage essence to make each ride an unforgettable experience. After all, this limited-edition machine is one that many can only dream of. The brand is already available only for a select few, thus, this special production run makes the roadster even more special.

The Dawn Silver Bullet draws inspiration from the 1920s, particularly from the Brewster. Beneath the gorgeous exterior is a 6.6-liter turbocharged V12 engine capable of up to 563 horsepower. Moreover, it can do a 0-62 miles per hour in just 5 seconds which is impressive for an automobile of its calibre. Roll-Royce allows passengers to enjoy the open air as the top completely closes down in just 22 seconds.

This way, you can enjoy the cool air and amid the warm sunlight. Rolls-Royce is reportedly curating a special trip for Dawn Silver Bullet owners, which is an awesome bonus. Replacing the rear seats is a titanium cowling with metallic silver finish. For extra opulence, carbon fiber and brown quilted leather adorn the cabin. This is a once-in-a-lifetime offer that not many will have a chance to drive.

Discover more about this ride here

Images courtesy of Rolls-Royce

Xiaomi knows how to make an impact with its Mi TV LUX Transparent Edition TV

Earlier this year, at CES 2020, almost every other brand had new TVs and display technology on show. LG was showcasing its rollable OLED panel, Samsung had The Wall, and so much more. The event was practically so full of flexible screens which even dribbled down to more portable devices such as smartphones. Several months into the year, Xiaomi takes a bold step forward to give us one of the most stunning premium televisions ever –   the Mi TV LUX Transparent Edition.

The name alone already tells us what it is ready to offer. Engineers were probably thinking of ways to ensure that TVs do not block the user’s view when not in use. Even if mount it on a wall, any regular model just turns into a large black slate when it is off.

Although some manufacturers have turned to other workarounds (motorized, pop-up, and rollable configuration), Xioami’s is perhaps the simplest yet elegant. You’re getting a 55-inch panel with super-thin bezels all around. If you’re wondering where all the ports and internal circuitry have gone, everything sits inside the stylish base stand.

The Mi TV LUX Transparent Edition is a perfect entertainment upgrade for homes that have a view. While it’s operational, you can bask in the vivid visuals moving at a buttery-smooth 120-Hz refresh rate. Moreover, it supports Dolby Atmos, which is a must for those who love the acoustic clarity it offers. Xiaomi is initially launching this beautiful piece of technology in China on August 16. Given the unique feature it promises, it won’t be long before retailers around the globe will have it as well.

Learn more about it here

Images courtesy of Xiaomi

Historic French brand Delage returns with the D12

We’ve seen several ways so far of resurrecting a dormant car brand. There’s been the continuation build, like at Alvis, with period vehicles created from new-old-stock or parts created from original blueprints. We’ve seen brands wrap modern technology in historically-themed bodywork, as with the new Hispano-Suiza, or put that technology inside brand new bodywork said to channel the spirit of the original, as at Maybach or Bugatti. ü Called the Delage D12, CEO Laurent Tapie says it fulfills the dream of Adolphe Louis Delage, who campaigned a 2.0-liter V12 in the 1923 and 1924 Grand Prix seasons, supercharging the engine in 1925 and winning two races. Delage took the crown of World Champion of Car Builders in 1927 with the Type 15 S 8 and its supercharged 1.5-liter straight-eight, then returned to a V12 formula in 1938 in a car lost to fire before it could race.

The original Delage insisted on technical excellence, its 1914 Indy 500-winning car benefiting from a 4.5-liter four-cylinder engine with double overhead cams and desmodromic valves, a five-speed gearbox with two overdrive gears, a metal clutch, and brakes at all four wheels plus a transmission brake. On public roads, some of the finest coachbuilding of the era sat on top of a Delage chassis; the brand has won Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance three times between 1996 and 2010.

Echoing the dual thrust of those vintage cars, the D12 is road-legal, yet designed to be “the closest to the sensation of driving a Formula One car that has ever been experienced in a street legal car.” Tapie wants the D12 to claim the record for the fast street-legal car around the Nürburgring. There will be two D12 trims, both powered by a naturally aspirated 7.6-liter V12 with 990 horsepower, developed in-house and aided by an electric motor mounted in the eight-speed, single-clutch, automated manual transmission. In the GT version, which weighs 3,086 pounds, the e-motor produces 110 hp for a total of 1,100 horses. In the track-focused Club model that weighs 2,888 pounds, the e-motor contributes a gentle 20 horses for 1,010 hp and is used mainly while driving on the streets, reversing, and parking. Delage says the GT is quicker, but the Club — which can hit 62 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds and tops out at 233 mph — is faster around a circuit.

Delage technical director Benoît Bagur has a résumé including years at Citroën Sport, Seat and VW Sport, and Ligier, the entire technical team said to have been involved with 16 FIA World Championship titles in various series. Bagur claims two in touring cars, the head engineer is responsible for six, and one of those titles is claimed by Jacques Villeneuve, the ex-F1 pilot being one of Delage’s test drivers.

The carbon fiber body panels are accompanied by carbon fiber wheels engineered to channel airflow to cool the brakes, the body and wheels connected by a visible pushrod suspension. In the cockpit, the steering wheel handles are molded to the driver’s hands, the carbon fiber seat and leg support are molded to the driver’s body. 

Tapie says he’s backed by 10 investors, four of them apparently billionaires, but he’s looking for two more. Tapie’s father is French billionaire Bernard Tapie, but the elder is not invested in the nascent car company. Laurent sees the D12, produced from next year in a run of 30 cars priced at $2.3 million each, as the opener to more products. Two D12s have been spoken for so far, sold through Delage’s West Coast dealer, Newport Beach Automotive Group.

With the brand name licensed for seven years, the deal including a provision to buy the rights to the name in 2022, Tapie already has a second model in mind. The follow-up will further highlight the historical connection at the same time as it’s powered by “a revolutionary turbine that’s been in development for 12 years, and will also take advantage of some innovative aerodynamic technology. We really see ourselves as a technology company.” 

Aston Martin Vantage and DBS Superleggera 007 Editions are shaken and stirred

We’re 25 movies into the James Bond franchise at this point and it’s well established that 007 has developed an unhealthy taste for Aston Martins. To wit, the upcoming film “No Time To Die”, says the British motoring company, “will be released around the world in November 2020 and will feature no fewer than four iconic Aston Martin sports cars: the iconic DB5; the classic Aston Martin V8; the brand’s latest super GT,  DBS Superleggera; and the exceptional Aston Martin Valhalla.”

To herald the occasion, Aston Martin has rolled out two new 007 Editions. We’ll start with the Vantage 007 Edition, which is inspired by the Aston Martin V8 from 1987’s “The Living Daylights.” Cumberland Grey paint joins a unique mesh grille with chrome bezel, a dashed yellow diffuser that the automaker says is “inspired by the hazard stripes on the film car’s rockets” and sun visors with an embroidered radio station frequency of 96.60 FM, which will make sense to diehard Bond fans. A series of optional mock weapons, ski racks, and faux bullet holes round out the package.

Aston Martin’s flagship DBS Superleggera also gets a 007 Edition. Only 25 will be produced, each in Ceramic Grey highlighted by a black carbon fiber roof, mirror caps, splitter, diffuser and rear Aeroblade. Bond-specific emblems join unique 21-inch wheels and an interior finished in black leather with red accents.

Want one? Aston Martin is currently taking orders, with deliveries expected in the first quarter of 2021.

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The Gemera is a 1,677-hp four-seater hybrid that Koenigsegg calls a Mega-GT

Koenigsegg is a carmaker that you don’t often see or hear about making the headlines in the automotive scene. However, when it does, there’s no holding back as whatever is on show will make your jaws drop. This time, what they have here is the Gemera, which the company describes as a Mega-GT. While most supercars and hypercars have limitations when it comes to seats, this one does not.

It might sound unbelievable, but Koenigsegg manages to make what many might consider a pipe dream. As a vehicle carries more passengers, performance and handling will likely take a hit due to the additional weight. Hence, the engineers present a solution that many high-end rides use on a regular basis. That’s right, generous amounts of carbon fiber should be enough to offset everyone inside the roomier cabin.

Another remarkable talking point about the Gemera is the mid-engine configuration. It takes an impressive amount of skill design and fit all the essential components without compromising the original seating capacity. Koenigsegg pairs its Tiny Friendly Giant (TFG) three-cylinder combustion engine with an electric powertrain.

You’re hearing that correctly because the Gemera is flaunting a hybrid setup. The tradition power plant works in tandem with three electric motors – one in the front and two at the back – to blow your mind. The Koenigsegg Direct Drive (KDD) system course 1,677 horsepower and 2,580 lb-ft of torque through a single-gear transmission.

This translates to a 0-60 mph run in less than two seconds. The battery capacity is an 800V 15 kWh unit that combines with a full tank gas to deliver a range of 600 miles. The Koenigsegg Gemera is definitely not a slouch in speed as it clocks in at 249 mph.

Learn more about it: here

Images courtesy of Koenigsegg

Driving the McLaren GT, Audi S7 and Vintage Electric Cafe bicycle | Autoblog Podcast #639

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by West Coast Editor James Riswick and Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. This week, they’ve been having some fun in the McLaren GT and the Toyota 86 GT. James has spent some time with the very lovely Vintage Electric Cafe e-bike. They’ve also been driving the Ford Ranger and Audi S7. In the news, Ford gets new leadership, and Micro Machines are back, baby!

Autoblog Podcast #639

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Platinum Group presents the bespoke Rolls-Royce Cullinan Surf Edition

Aside from the sheer luxury and quality that comes with every Rolls-Royce vehicle, we all know that there’s another fancy extra. That’s right we’re referring to the equally premium umbrellas that slot into a special receptacle on its doors. Over the years, the British marque has expanded its catalog with items other beyond what its clients expect. While many prefer to keep their expensive rides stock as much as possible, others prefer to have add-ons. Platinum Group offers a bespoke Cullinan Surf Edition.

Just as the name suggests, this build turns the elegant SUV into one that embraces the sand and sea. For sure, it would be odd to see a machine of its caliber turned into a beach-ready transport. Nevertheless, the team behind this project seem to have a grasp of what it exactly needs. The Cullinan Surf Edition still keeps its familiar aesthetics, but now boasts a wide-body package from Mansory.

This gives the SUV just enough hints of overlanding prowess but still keep its high-end appeal. Not only is the tweak just for looks, but the extra space can also hold more gear. Furthermore, the wider stance allows the 24-inch Mansory wheels to match the new design. Since the owner will likely drive it over more than just paved roads, Platinum Group adds a new suspension system.

Perhaps others will disagree, but the icing on the cake is definitely the bespoke surfboard that is included. After calling it the Cullinan Surf Edition, the shop would be crazy for not including an item justifying its namesake. Ultimately, the package and slate gray colorway look absolutely awesome.

Check out more from the shop: here

Images courtesy of Platinum Group