All posts in “luxury”

McCall Motorworks Revival Photos | Monterey kicks off with fancy airport party

Yesterday, the McCall’s Motorworks Revival happened, for the 30th time no less, kicking off Monterey Car Week. Which is another way of saying it happened before most people showed up. 

So what is it? Fancy cars parked among fancy planes while fancy people walk about with fancy food and cocktails. This differs from other Monterey events, such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, in that it takes place at an airport rather than a golf course. It’s also more of an evening affair than a garden party, complete with a DJ, a band and dancing. Oh, and the cars are less impressive. That, admittedly, says more about the prime metal displayed elsewhere, especially at Pebble. There’s still a lot to ogle, even if you didn’t get to enjoy the fancy food and cocktails. We dispatched ace photographer Drew Phillips to take it all in and to put down an offer for us on that Citation Longitude. 

Amongst the new cars on display, most brought there by their manufacturers, we see a Corvette Stingray, Lucid Air, Aston Martin DBX, Land Rover Defender, Polestar 1, Hennessey Venom F5, Ruf 911s, and a big showing by Ford with a GT500, a Mustang Mach-E, a Bronco and multiple GTs. Two were done up to match an original parked alongside it, while the Bronco flanked an original prototype from 1966. Neat. Hopefully no one spilled Perrier Jouet on it. 

Classics? There were aplenty, but frankly, we’re most fond of the two VW buses: one towing the No. 22 1957 Denzel 1300SS Roadster in front of that Citation Longitude and another from Meyers Manx supporting an adorable flying boat with “Smiles for Miles” written on the side. Now that’s the kind of private plane I could get behind.  

Vadolibero designed the magnificent DOMUS R3 as a refined bike storage system

Let’s just say that you want to take a break from driving around in your exotic supercar. Perhaps a buddy has been bugging you about cycling and its health benefits. Assuming that you are spending a fortune on your two-wheeler, Vadolibero is offering a classy storage solution. Designed as an elegant piece of furniture – the DOMUS R3 — to enhance any space within your home.

Much like high-performance vehicles, some road bikes from leading brands can cost as much as a supercar. The design, materials, and technology these bring to the table are undeniably top-notch. So, you might want to show it off for everyone else to gawk at. The DOMUS R3 and its craftsmanship make that all happen.

It may look like a fancy rack to hang your clothing, but it comes with multiple storage options for your bike and gear. Instead of just a straight rod of satin-polished stainless steel, it is intentionally shaped like the Vadolibero emblem – a stylized handlebar.

The underside features touch-enabled LED lighting to draw all eyes to your ride and accessories when the sun goes down. A regenerated leather mat protects the wooden surface of the base from scratches. Meanwhile, a stainless-steel clamp keeps your bicycle upright on the DOMUS R3.

Cubicles and drawers below provide more space for all kinds of stuff. Wooden pegs let you hang helmets, shades, headphones, and more. Choose between black oak, dark brown oak, Canaletto walnut, and natural oak for the solid wood frame. The Vadolibero DOMUS R3 is a striking bike storage system befitting your precious mechanical steed.

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Images courtesy of Vadolibero

Pininfarina Battista production car revealed to kick off Monterey Car Week

The Pininfarina Battista is officially here in production form. Pininfarina released the first images and video of the production car today, tooling around Southern California roads ahead of it being displayed during Monterey Car Week.

There are no additional specs or figures available beyond what has already been announced. The Battista will produce 1,900 horsepower from its four electric motors, have a range of about 280 miles on a full charge and hit 60 mph in “under 2 seconds.” Those in Monterey will have a chance to see the exposed carbon bodywork in person for the first time. Plus, potential clients will be provided the opportunity to go for a ride.

It’s not just this single Battista that will be shown, either. Pininfarina says it will also be debuting a Battista Anniversario. This special edition of the Battista will have “aerodynamic enhancements and tailored detailing producing a uniquely dynamic personality.” It will also be limited to just five total vehicles worldwide. Seeing it at Monterey may be the first and last chance you get to ever lay eyes on one.

The one nugget of information Pininfarina gave us today besides the new photos is detail on the Battista’s sound. It takes after a sound philosophy conceived by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. Any multiple of 432 Hz is said to be a “pure sound” according to Verdi, so Pininfarina used 54 Hz (a multiplier of 432) as the core frequency of noise for the Battista. As you accelerate, the frequency will continue to increase in multiples of 54 Hz to keep the in-cabin sound pure and consistent with Verdi’s principles. How very Italian.

“Every driver has an emotional bond with a car, and the sound of Battista will nurture this connection, not by replicating a familiar car sound, but with one that radiates the beauty of Battista’s design both inside and out,” says René Wollmann, product platform director for sports cars at Automobili Pininfarina. “This way, the Battista will not only impress with its aesthetic appeal and performance, but also on a new emotional level enhanced through the sound. We look forward to the input we will receive from clients in the U.S. as we fine-tune Battista’s sonic experience.”

We’ll look forward to hearing the sound ourselves one day. For now, the wait is on to see the ultra-exclusive Battista Anniversario. Look out for more Pininfarina news soon as Monterey Car Week revs up.

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New Lamborghini Countach teased again with three images

Lamborghini posted three more teaser photos of the coming Countach resurrection to its Instagram page. We’ll have to let the pictures do most of the talking since we don’t have any more information than we did when the first tease dropped a couple of days ago. We get a shot of a nose unlike any other Lamborghini in the current stable. A narrow black grille just inches wide splits the upper and lower section of the front fascia, recalling the area where the original exotic placed its black front bumper and fog lights. The name “Countach” appears on the right side of the coupe, in all lowercase letters just like the original, but stretched and angular befitting the brand’s modern design language.

A second shot exposes the engine cover, this a new design based on the clear cover that can be fitted to the Aventador. Three flat hexagon panels, thickly bordered in black, step down from the roof to the tail. Beneath them is the longitudinal and posterior V12 portion of the LPI 800 powertrain. The initialism stands for Longitudinale Posteriore Ibrido, and we’re still waiting for any information on that last bit, the hybrid. The V12 in the Lamborghini Sian FKP 37 received help from a supercapacitor, but that special edition didn’t get official designation as a hybrid. The last car from Sant’Agata to do so was the 2014 Asterion LPI 910-4 concept from the 2014 Paris Motor Show. The Asterion hid a V10 in back for the rear wheels, and two e-motors with a combined 296 horsepower on the front axle powered by a lithium-ion battery. The Sian produces about 785 horsepower, the Countach will deliver about 789, the Aventador S makes 690. So Lamborghini isn’t using electricity to chase gaudy numbers. Yet.  

The last pic presents the area behind the side window. This is a slightly tighter shot of an image that a site called Lamborghini Specs posted a few days ago, snagged somehow from the automaker’s customer-only site, Lamborghini Unica. This reveals a Huracan-like intake treatment, the opening descending from the roof to the rear fenders. Ahead of the intake, a row of slats harks back to Gandini’s Countach prototype that arranged a flat row of vents along the fender, just behind the glasshouse. The fender is decorated with a cap that could be the fuel filler or a charging port or something else.

Way back in 1987, Lamborghini worked up a Countach Evoluzione prototype to test new technologies that made their way into the last of the production Countach run and the successor Diablo. This Countach could be doing something similar. The brand has already been taking orders for whatever’s coming, so there’s an excellent chance it will be sold out by the time it debuts on Sunday, August 15, at Monterey Car Week.

Ultimate exclusivity with Rolls-Royce’s Black Badge Escapism Luggage Collection

In 2019, McLaren owners were treated to a number of high-class bags to match their snazzy new rides. When you have the capacity to splurge on supercars of this caliber, it’s easy to brush off the cost for additional gear. Rolls-Royce takes it even further with the Black Badge Escapism Luggage Collection.

Perhaps the best way to describe these items is to call them the range-topping editions. Although Rolls-Royce allows its clients to personalize their purchases, the Black Badge versions use an exclusive color palette. The roster includes the Holdall, Organizer Pouch, Tote Bag, 24hr Weekender, and 48hr Weekender.

You can purchase each item individually, but Rolls-Royce also offers the Black Badge Escapism Luggage Collection as a set. Unlike the regular edition, clients can order these in Bold or Understated trims. The former features a two-tone design, while the latter goes for a stealthier blackout theme.

Rolls-Royce is crafting these out of luxe premium leather, soft canvas, and using a technical weave fabric. The new material it introduces is from the Cullinan Black Badge which adds new refined texture to the Black Badge Escapism Luggage Collection.

Chief Executive Officer for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Torsten Muller-Otvos describes it as “edgier personas” of existing products. He also says that “these exquisite new pieces represent the very best in Rolls-Royce design, materials, and craftsmanship.”

As global and local trips begin to pick up this summer, the Black Badge Escapism Luggage Collection might just be what you need to travel in style and luxury. As long as you don’t mind spending upwards up of $40,000 for the complete lineup.

Check out the collection: Here

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Images courtesy of Rolls-Royce

Bell & Ross presents the BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire for the 2021 Only Watch auction

It may be difficult to find a watchmaker that can pull off a skeleton timepiece like Bell & Ross. Even though most of its lineup draws inspiration from aviation instruments, it can take it up a notch when it comes to avant-garde designs. The BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire is such an example that’s truly one of a kind.

Talking about exclusivity, Bell & Ross is crafting only one for the 2021 Only Watch charity auction. Proceeds from all sales made during the event will fund research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Joining the rest of the luxurious roster is the BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire.

With such a noble cause behind it, we’re sure several wealthy individuals are already eager to be charitable We previously featured the Defy 21 Double Tourbillon Felipe Pantone Edition from Zenith. Bell & Ross is taking cues from it and going for something extravagant in time before bidding begins in November.

As already indicated by the name, the watch flaunts a 45-mm gemstone case. The level of expertise and engineering that goes into its production elevates it into luxe territory. Sitting within is the namesake – a faceted skull — made up of six sapphire elements with orange metallization,

The watch runs on a BR-CAL.309 hand-wound movement with a 48-hour power reserve. One cool feature of the BR 01 Cyber Skull Sapphire is the jaw which moves when you wind the crown. Bell & Ross finishes it with an FKM rubber strap that uses a 316L stainless steel pin buckle closure system.                                                                                                                                   

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Images courtesy of Bell & Ross

Bentley says the Flying Spur Hybrid Odyssean Edition is both luxe and sustainble

In addition to blackout themes for, gear, accessories, gadgets, and automobiles, we also love to see certain shades of metallic brown. To illustrate what have in mind, take a look at the Flying Spur Hybrid Odyssean Edition from Bentley. This high-class sedan embodies the carmaker’s vision for future luxury automobiles under its banner.

This limited-edition offering supposedly showcases the marque’s plans for its cutting-edge platforms. The company is ready to fully phase out combustion engines in the coming years. Therefore, a hybrid powertrain is an acceptable solution for the time being.

Bentley points out that clients can choose the base color of the Flying Spur Hybrid Odyssean Edition. However, each unit retains the Pale Brodgar accents. These are applied to the lower bodywork, brightware, and all four of its 21-inch wheels with ten twin-spokes each.

Odyssean Edition badges are visible on the “D” pillar to remind everyone of its exclusive distinction. Drawing inspiration from the EXP 100 GT concept car, the profile is sleek and sexy. What follows is the lavish interior of the Flying Spur Hybrid Odyssean Edition that uses only the finest yet sustainable materials.

You’ll find British wool tweed on the seats instead of leather. These feature diamond textures and the Bentley emblem just below the headrests. Meanwhile, the Koa wood elements of the cabin boast an open-pore finish. The designers are only applying a thin coat of lacquer to retain the texture and reduce pollution.

The Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid Odyssean Edition is endowed with a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6. Accompanying the power plant is a 100kW electric motor. These two combine for a total output of 536 horsepower with 553 lb-ft of torque.

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Images courtesy of Bentley

McLaren Speedtail ‘Albert’ has a paint job you absolutely must see

There’s no McLaren Speedtail that looks as wild and exotic as this one. Say hello to the “Albert” Speedtail, made as an homage to the first Speedtail testing vehicle.

That initial test vehicle featured a similar look, only done using crude vinyl body wrap. This Speedtail was meticulously painted and sweated over by the McLaren MSO team. The Albert name is derived from McLaren’s 1992 F1 test mules — those testers were given the name Albert, as the name of the road where the F1 was designed and built was called Albert Drive. Since the Speedtail is another three-seat McLaren, the name stuck.

The paintwork for this specific Speedtail took 12 weeks total to complete. McLaren broke that down into two weeks of masking, six weeks of painting and the remaining time for drying and reassembling. The MSO team also spent a good deal of time practicing and preparing to paint the actual car before it started. All the masking had to take place on the fully-built car, too, as painters had to ensure everything flowed around the vehicle with panel alignment and the wheels.

The final colors chosen for this project are Magnesium Silver and Ueno Gray. That silver is the first color the F1 was ever shown in, and the gray is the color of the 1995 Le Mans winning F1 GTR. The Speedtail’s teardrop shape lends itself to this sort of patterning and design better than most, and we absolutely adore it. This car already looks like a spaceship on wheels, and adding this paint job only elevates the feeling.

McLaren of Beverly Hills originally commissioned this car, and it will make a official public debut at a Beverly Hills Cars and Coffee this Sunday, August 8, in case you were curious to see it in person. Lastly, McLaren noted that this is one of the final Speedtails in the 106-car production run, so McLaren is almost done with this hypercar.

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The Big Bang Unico Red Carbon Alex Ovechkin is Hublot’s ode to the ‘Great Eight’

Hublot matches the fiery heat of summer with a crimson-clad luxury timepiece. The Big Bang Unico Red Carbon Alex Ovechkin is a striking tribute to the legendary NHL player himself. To achieve that distinct almost-camouflage-like detailing, the watchmaker turns to carbon fiber and red composites. This gives it a stunning profile that draws attention to your wrist.

Dealing with the crafting process of such materials means no two watches will have the same pattern. This also implies that each of the 100 examples Hublot plans to build is truly one of a kind. With that out of the way, the Big Bang Unico Red Carbon Alex Ovechkin ships in a 45-mm case.

The bezel and caseback also feature the flowing mix of reds, blacks, and grays. Meanwhile, the caseband, screws, crown, and pushers of the chronograph are all n black. under the sapphire crystal is a skeleton dial with the minute track on the flange.

It uses a mix of Arabic numeral and stick hour markers outlined in black outlines with red lume. There are two sub-dials at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock with a date window built into the latter. Big Bang Unico Red Carbon Alex Ovechkin also replaced the 8 o’clock hour marker with the player’s Great Eight emblem.

The HUB1242 UNICO Manufacture automatic calibre is good for 72 hours. Aside from the view of the movement and rotor, the sapphire window on the caseback also sports the signature of Washington Capitals’ left winger and captain. Finishing the Big Bang Unico Red Carbon Alex Ovechkin is a red fabric strap with micro-blasted black ceramic buckle.

Buy – $26,200

Images courtesy of Hublot

Aston Martin Valkyrie is set to lose its roof at Pebble Beach with roadster variant

Aston Martin is coming to Monterey Car Week with a new car reveal. The specific model name isn’t explicitly mentioned by Aston, but one look at the “teaser” gives us all the information we might need to suss it out.

The Valkyrie is losing its roof for a new Roadster variant that will join the existing hardtop and racing-only AMR Pro model. You must look rather closely at the roof area of the teaser, but upon inspection, the roof of the Valkyrie shown here is missing. Additionally, the doors have a new design to accommodate the missing roof. Instead of opening via the roof in gullwing fashion, they appear to be scissor doors. Beyond these details, we’re left to guess at the rest. The car looks similar to the standard coupe up front, and the convertible appears to keep the roof scoop, too.

Aston says the wraps will officially be taken off this new model on Thursday, August 12. After being revealed at a private event, the car will be available to see by invitation-only beginning the following day at the Aston Martin Club 1913. All Aston will say about the model so far is that it’s “a new product from the brand which extends the company’s performance credentials a step further.”

In addition to the new Valkyrie, Aston is also bringing the Valhalla supercar to North America for the first time. You can read all about that mid-engine car here, and then go check it out on Pebble Beach’s 18th fairway. If you want one, Aston just made its production run official — only 999 Valhallas will be built over the next two years.

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Only Watch 2021 welcomes Zenith’s Defy 21 Double Tourbillon Felipe Pantone Edition.

A few months ago, French automaker and subsidiary of Renault Group Alpine announced a special collaboration with renowned Argentinian-Spanish artist Felipe Pantone. A master of multiple mediums, his designs have a street/graffiti vibe to them. Therefore, Zenith unveils a one-off timepiece – the Defy 21 Double Tourbillon Felipe Pantone Edition.

This exclusive model is an entry for the Only Watch 2021 charity auction. This is a biennial event wherein the world’s distinguished watchmaking brands present their one-of-a-kind masterpiece. All of these then go under the hammer with a huge chunk of the proceeds funding research on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

The Zenith Defy 21 Double Tourbillon Felipe Pantone Edition boasts a 46-mm sapphire case. It’s might not be the first or the only timepiece to flaunt one (see Hublot’s and Richard Mille’s previous outings), but the distinct style is enough to see bids skyrocket for this bad boy.

It seems the transparent dial is not enough as Zenith goes for a skeleton dial. Pantone’s artistic direction is visible all throughout as we see splashes of gradient metallic colors, patterns and more. Of course, the two tourbillons – one at 8 o’clock and another at 10 o’clock – heighten its allure.

Meanwhile, to see more of the El Primero 9020 self-winding movement in action, turn it over. The exhibition caseback shows the star-shaped rotor which continually tops up to power reserve, which is enough for 50 hours off your wrist.

Completing its profiles is a black silicone rubber strap with a titanium double-folding clasp closure system.  Zenith notes that the Defy 21 Double Tourbillon Felipe Pantone Edition includes a special box. Moreover, inside is a signed artwork from the man himself.

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Images courtesy of Zenith

Bugatti’s final Divo is a tribute to its last official Le Mans entry

Bugatti’s last official Le Mans entry served as a source of inspiration for its final Divo. The last unit in a sold-out 40-car run left the French firm’s headquarters wearing a blue livery that echoes the track-bound variant of the EB110.

Unveiled at the 2018 edition of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and priced at around €5 million (nearly $6 million) before customization options, the Divo stands proud as the first coachbuilt Bugatti released during the 21st century. It’s much more than merely a rebodied Chiron; it’s its own thing, and the two cars are technically different.

“As well as unique design, customers who buy a coachbuilt model enjoy a new, individual driving experience. Each small series undergoes the same degree of development as would a larger production run,” explained Pierre Rommelanger, the head of overall vehicle development at Bugatti, in a statement.

The final Divo’s anonymous owner wanted to channel the spirit of the EB110 that competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1994. Most of the exterior is painted in light blue, just like the race car, and the wheels are finished in gold. Parts of the lower body wear a darker shade of blue chosen to forge a link to the modern era, according to Bugatti.

Blue also dominates the interior. French Racing Blue and Deep Blue were used to wrap parts like the seats and the dashboard, though it’s interesting to note that the design isn’t symmetrical. The driver’s seat is lighter than the passenger’s seat. Elsewhere in the cabin, matte gray carbon-colored trim pieces provide a touch of contrast.

Spotting the final Divo won’t require a well-trained eye. Bugatti notes none of the 40 examples built were identical. Customers worked directly with the brand to customize the paint, the leather upholstery, the stitching, and the trim. What doesn’t vary from car to car is the engine: it’s an 8.0-liter W16 quad-turbocharged to 1,500 horsepower.

Selling cars is relatively easy; building them and delivering them on-time is harder. Bugatti ticked all three boxes, and the Divo project is finished. The one-of-a-kind La Voiture Noire (which reportedly cost $13 million) has been completed as well, so the French company is now working on bringing the EB110-inspired Centodieci to production.

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Aston Martin makes the DB11 and its configurator more powerful

Aston Martin sold 4,150 cars last year, but the luxury automaker said its configurator served up more than two million specification sessions. Going with the overwhelming numbers, for 2022 Aston Martin has focused on “the customer journey” for imminent and aspirational buyers by rolling out a new and highly featured configurator. At last, the firm greets potential customers and the merely curious with the kind of luxury one expects of the brand. This is especially important for a company working through its Project Horizon turnaround, and also because, as the official Safety Car and Medical Car sponsor of Formula 1, traffic to Aston Martin’s web site spikes every time its Vantage and DBX are called out on track during races.  

The configurator’s been built using Epic Game’s Unreal engine, a digital creation tool building portals for everything from real estate to fashion, supplemented by Nvidia GTX graphics. In the present Phase One, visitors can place their chosen model in studio or outdoor environments, with daytime or nighttime lighting, and get high-res, zoomed-in beauty shots of their their vehicle details. Yet while Aston Martin poured new features into the configurator, it has reorganized and simplified the site’s use. For instance, individual elements such as exterior paint are broken into six color groupings like Blacks & Greys and Bronzes & Oranges, providing users a glimpse at the range of hues on offer without overwhelming them into analysis paralysis.

The surfeit of choice carries on inside, naturally — there are eleven carpet colors on offer and 12 shades of headliner. The simplifying rationalization carries on in the cabin, too, with three themes available to establish a quick baseline for personalization. The starter theme is called Create, showcasing ornate stitching on the seat bolsters, perforated, patterned seatbacks, door cards, and arm rest. Next up is Accelerate, which “will appeal to customers who wish for a more focused interior.” This one puts Alcantara all over, notably on the entire seat faces and bolsters, with leather trimming the seat sides and headrests. Create and Accelerate can be had in ten colors in monotone and duotone arrangements. Inspire, the topmost theme and “the epitome of luxury,” can be had in 38 colors and in monotone, duotone, and light duotone. This one comes with “the very best of material and color choices,” even more ornate stitching and broguing, trim inlays, and — get this — seatback veneers for anyone diminutive enough to curl into the back seat of one of the coupes to enjoy them. 

As to the objects of configuration, Aston Martin has made a few tweaks to next year’s lineup. The DBX, which has provided half of the company’s sales so far this year, adds wireless charging and a new 23-inch wheel. The coupe formerly known as the DBS Superleggera becomes just DBS, and the V12 DB11 AMR sheds its AMR suffix, but nothing else. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 in the DB11 gets a 24-horsepower boost to 527 hp, and a higher 192-mph top speed. Drivers intending to use all of that puissance should option the new Sport Plus Seats which provide more shoulder, torso, and leg support. Finally, the DBS and DB11 can be had with new 21-inch wheel designs. 

The configurator is live now and has reported for service. Enjoy.

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Here’s the first Pininfarina Battista customer car

Pininfarina continues its slow drip of news about the electric Battista hypercar today with details about the personalization program and photos of the first Battista commissioned.

Above, you can see the Battista in question. Pininfarina didn’t reveal who the client was, but did say that the car’s appearance is “inspired by New York City.” The dominating exterior element is carbon fiber done in Iconica Blu thread. The carbon fiber is black, of course, but Pininfarina uses the Iconica Blu thread in it to make the car appear blue. It’s a rather dark shade of blue, but you can easily see the black carbon fiber weave underneath the paint, providing an extra pop. It drifts heavily into the ‘Murica theme with the red “Exterior Jewellery Pack” adorning the windows and side sills. Plus it also has hand-painted white stripes, adding some sparkle to the exterior. Pininfarina says the white paint for those stripes is named Bianco Sestiere Metallic.

The wheels are done in Dark Matt Grey and have a black center-lock ring to match the roof, rear diffuser and wing. Its final touch is a light-up Pininfarina logo in front made of brushed and polished anodized aluminum. Just like the owner of this Battista, anybody who orders one will get to personalize it from nose to tail. Pininfarina says its customization program allows for a total of 128 million combinations, so there shouldn’t be any Battistas that are exactly alike. You’ll choose from numerous paint finishes, carbon fiber bodywork, different exterior trims and so on.

Pininfarina didn’t show photos of this car’s interior, but it says the car will have black leather upholstery with Iconica Blu Alcantara inserts to match the exterior’s blue-and-black combo. Iconica Blu stitching is matched with more red and white stitching. Plus, it gets white seatbelts and the same Iconica Blu thread on the back of the carbon fiber seats. 

There are very few stones left unturned — even the chassis plate engravings can be customized to whatever you’d like. Only 150 Battistas will ever be built, says Pininfarina, and every single one of them will have the owner go through a customization process that puts them at the actual location of production — the Cambiano facility — to make all of their build decisions.

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Koenigsegg’s first Jesko is a tribute to one of its first cars

Koenigsegg released images of the pre-series Jesko it built to test on the 1,900-yard runway it owns next to its headquarters. The orange hypercar is the result of a massive development program that began years ago.

Unveiled in 2019, the Jesko is not simply an evolution of its predecessor. It’s an entirely new car, one developed by a relatively small company without the scale and the footprint of bigger carmakers, and it’s stunningly advanced. The graphics on its digital instrument cluster rotate as the driver turns the steering wheel, for example.

There’s a different kind of technology under the body. Power for the Jesko comes from a 5.0-liter V8 that’s twin-turbocharged to develop 1,600 horsepower and 1,106 pound-feet of torque when it’s slurping E65 fuel. Instead of using an electric compressor, Koenigsegg solved the turbo lag problem by fitting the Jesko with an air tank and a compressor that sends a 20-bar shot of air through the system to pre-spool it. It’s almost rocket science.

Follow the power flow out of the crankshaft and you’ll find a nine-speed automatic gearbox called Light Speed Transmission (LST) that has seven multi-disk clutches. These are just some of the features Koenigsegg’s pre-series Jesko will let test drivers experience.

While an airstrip is the ideal venue for testing acceleration, the one Koenigsegg has access to is too short to allow the Jesko to reach top speed. Even the three-mile runway at the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds in Florida isn’t long enough. Simulations say the Jesko should hit 330 mph, but Koenigsegg still hasn’t figured out where to try it.

As to the livery, Koenigsegg founder Christian von Koenigsegg didn’t choose the orange hue after drinking a big glass of Sunny D or because he’s already looking forward to Halloween. It’s a reference to one of the Swedish company’s first cars, the CCR, which was presented to the public at the 2004 edition of the Geneva auto show in an eye-catching shade of orange named Lava Orange. It was featured in press images and later sold to a private buyer. It traded hands again at an RM Sotheby’s auction held in Milan, Italy, in June 2021, where it sold for €798,125 (approximately $942,400).

Only 14 units of the CCR were built between 2004 and 2006, meaning it’s an exceptionally rare sight. The Jesko will be more common. Production will be limited to 125 units globally, and all of them are already spoken for, though some were claimed by dealers hoping to offer a car to a local buyer, so it might not be too late to get one. However, we hope you’ve started saving: pricing starts at $3 million. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the spring of 2022.

Porsche’s follow-up to the 918 Spyder hypercar turns up in the rumor mill

It’s been nearly a decade since Porsche introduced its last hypercar, the 918 Spyder, and a recent report claims the model’s long-awaited follow-up is almost ready. It’s so close that the firm has reportedly started taking orders.

Spike Feresten, a former Seinfeld writer and a Porsche enthusiast, spoke about the mysterious car with comedian and noted collector Jerry Seinfeld on his podcast. “Right now, if you’d like to, you can put a deposit down on a Porsche GT1,” he revealed without citing sources, according to Drive. “The rumor is, they’re going to announce this in August. There is going to be a new Porsche GT1 mid-engined special car that will follow in the footsteps of the Carrera GT and the 918,” he added. None of this is official, but some of it might not be as far-fetched as it sounds.

Porsche has vaguely discussed the 918’s successor on several occasions, though it significantly hasn’t confirmed it’s releasing the model, let alone provided a precise idea of when we’ll see it. If it’s indeed around the corner, we’re not surprised to find out the order book is already open. Carmakers routinely show new limited-edition models to their most loyal (and wealthiest) clients before revealing them to the public. That’s why many hypercars are sold out by the time they break cover. And, we have every reason to believe production of the next 918 will be limited.

Presenting the car in August makes sense, too. Monterey Car Week is back on the calendar, after all. Porsche could hold a private unveiling, or it could introduce the model at one of the dozens of high-octane events, like The Quail.

What the rumored GT1 will look like is still up in the air. It could be related to the 911, like the 1996 911 GT1 was, or it could be an entirely different beast. One inspired by the 680-horsepower hybrid prototype Porsche will enter in endurance races starting in 2023, perhaps? Or, something along the lines of the 919 Street built in 2017 and first shown in 2020? It’s too early to tell. However, we know Porsche wasn’t out of ideas when it came to improving or replacing the 918, it shed light on four never-before-seen hypercar prototypes in late 2020, and some of their genes could get spliced into the new project. What’s seemingly certain is that it won’t be purely electric; the German firm hinted in 2020 that it’s not interested in following companies like Lotus and Rimac into the EV hypercar segment.

At this point, anything is possible, including Porsche steering well clear of the hypercar segment in the foreseeable future. If the report is accurate, additional details about the flagship will undoubtedly emerge in the coming weeks.

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Lamborghini bids farewell to the Aventador with the LP780-4 Ultimae trim

Early in 2011, Lamborghini debuted a new model to replace the outgoing Murciélago as its flagship supercar. The Aventador took center stage and has been the brand’s ambassador since then. After a decade of awesomeness, another machine is ready to replace it. Before that happens, the manufacturer prepares to give it a proper send-off with the LP780-4 Ultimae.

Collectors should keep an eye out for this exclusive release which will be available in convertible or coupe configurations. Lamborghini will build only 250 and 350 examples of each respectively. Translated form Latin, the name means the last, which is exactly what it will be for the Aventador line.

As such, it’s only fitting that the prestigious marque goes all-out with the spec sheet. As others put it, interested buyers can look forward to SVJ-tier performance in a more modest silhouette. Meanwhile, there are also talk about the Aventador the LP780-4 Ultimae being the final Lamborghini supercar to pack a traditional combustion engine.

Just like many of its fellow high-performance luxury automakers, electrification is inevitable. With all-electric platforms eventually taking over, the company will be making the emission-free shift soon. For now, owners can expect remarkable upgrades that would put it above the entire Aventador fleet.

Its 6.5-liter V12 engine courses 769 horsepower with 531 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. Lamborghini says the Aventador LP780-4 Ultimae can zip from a standstill to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds. Unique to its trim are the updated front and rear elements. Meanwhile, its active rear wing should keep it firmly planted as it tackles the tracks.

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Images courtesy of Lamborghini

Editors’ Picks June 2021 | Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sorento, McLaren 720S and more

A mix of crossovers and family cars were awarded Editors’ Picks status this month. Plus, we got into a Porsche and a McLaren that share in the accolades. We finally spent some quality time in the Kia Carnival, too, which was the only minivan missing from our minivan-heavy month of Editors’ Picks back in March. There were some near misses, with none closer than the updated Nissan Pathfinder.

In case you missed our previous couple Editors’ Picks posts, here’s a quick refresher on what’s going on here. We rate all the new cars we drive with a 1-10 score. Cars that are exemplary in their respective segments get Editors’ Pick status. Those are the ones we’d recommend to our friends, family and anybody who’s curious and asks the question. The list that you’ll find below consists of every car we rated in May that earned the honor of being an Editors’ Pick.

2022 Hyundai Tucson

Quick take: The new Tucson is a design marvel for the compact crossover segment, and its wide range of powertrains combined with big utility means it has the usefulness to be a great family car.

Score: 8

What it competes with: Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage, Subaru Forester, VW Tiguan, Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain

Pros: Unique and attractive styling, wide range of powertrains, packed with tech

Cons: Thrashing base engine, lack of volume knob

From the editors:

Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “I was really impressed by my brief time behind the wheel of the new Tucson. It’s comfortable, quiet and (in hybrid form) surprisingly peppy and responsive. Hyundai really nailed the interior too. I smell a winner.”

In-depth analysis: 2022 Hyundai Tucson First Drive Review | A bold leap forward

 

2022 Kia Carnival

Quick take: This minivan wins big in the style and interior tech department. It’s super smooth and comfortable to drive, but the lack of powertrain options is disappointing. No matter, the numerous positives win out.

Score: 7.5

What it competes with: Chrysler Pacifica HybridChrysler PacificaToyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey

Pros: Superb design, luxurious interior, excellent tech and driver assistance features

Cons: No hybrid or AWD option, VIP seats clunky for family use

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “I and my friends had more fun in this minivan than any before, and that’s totally thanks to the epic, reclining VIP second row seats. This van is more than just fancy seats, though. It drives super smoothly, has top-notch tech and a design that has every other minivan beat.”

Senior Editor, Green John Beltz Snyder — “In the right trims, the Carnival looks really neat. It’s a great minivan for hauling people in comfort and — dare I say — luxury. Excellent driver assistance technology makes things easier on the pilot, too. The 3.5-liter V6 is a great engine, but the lack of a more economical offering and no available all-wheel drive feel like missed opportunities to appeal to more customers.”

In-depth analysis: 2022 Kia Carnival First Drive Review | The stylish one

 

2021 Kia Sorento

Quick take: The new Sorento is considerably more stylish than the last generation, and packed with the latest tech. A compact but usable third row provides practicality, and the more rugged X-Line versions add utility to this solid crossover.

Score: 7.5

What it competes with: Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru Ascent, GMC Acadia

Pros: Perky powertrains, attractive looks, high-tech interior

Cons: X-Line’s ride suffers, subpar interior materials quality

From the editors:

Senior Editor, Green John Beltz Snyder — “I spent hours wandering the snowy country backroads in this thing, enjoying the comfort and tech. When the roads dried up, the gutsy 2.5-liter turbo-four made running errands much more entertaining. I’ve already recommended this new Sorento to friends with kids for its space, safety and Kia’s excellent warranty.”

News Editor Joel Stocksdale — “That turbocharged 2.5-liter really is amazing with how much torque it produces, and how you don’t have to wait for the turbo to kick in. It’s also super stylish and gives you a lot for your money. I just wish it handled better and had a more composed ride.”

In-depth analysis: 2021 Kia Sorento Review | What’s new, price, hybrid fuel economy, pictures

 

2021 Porsche Panamera

Quick take: The Panamera in virtually every form drives brilliantly, has a useful, pretty interior and features attractive styling. Its biggest downside is value, as many other luxury sedans and wagons are significantly cheaper in comparison.

Score: 7.5

What it competes with: Audi A7 (S7 and RS 7), BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door, Maserati Quattroporte

Pros: A performance level for everyone, stellar handling, pretty wagon variant

Cons: Sedan has average looks, shockingly expensive, poor value with options

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “Another fantastic Porsche. Big surprise. Stuttgart can’t miss these days, and every version of the Panamera I’ve tried makes a great argument as the one to buy. Still, I’m partial to the Sport Turismo, because wagons rock.”

Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “It’s really hard to articulate just how much smaller the Panamera feels compared to other similarly sized sport sedans. More clinical than an AMG or BMW M, it’s amazingly buttoned down and rewarding to drive fast.”

News Editor Joel Stocksdale — “If it weren’t for the Panamera’s huge sticker prices, it would be just about the perfect all-around car, especially the plug-in hybrid ones. They offer staggering performance that’s accessible and fun, and will even let you tackle short commutes gas-free.”

In-depth analysis: 2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S First Drive | S is for ‘spicy’

 

2021 McLaren 720S

Quick take: Even years after its debut, the 720S is still a performance masterpiece. We’d take it in either Coupe or Spider form. The handling, acceleration and drivability is difficult to beat, even compared to other fantastic supercars.

Score: 8

What it competes with: Ferrari F8 Tributo, Lamborghini Huracan Evo, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Audi R8 V10 Plus

Pros: Mind-melting acceleration, top-notch handling, proper supercar looks

Cons: Seat controls are annoying, poor infotainment system, lack of storage

From the editors:

Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “This is a 3,200 pound go-kart with Hellcat-level power and yet it’s a complete teddy bear in normal driving. The interior is a bit sparse but still charming in an Alfa Romeo 4C kind of way, and man does it move. One of the most impressive things I’ve ever experienced.”

Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski — “There’s no doubt that the McLaren 720S is the fastest car I’ve ever been handed the keys to for a days-long test on the open road. Its acceleration can only be described as brutal. Sure, its interior trim may not compare favorably with the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini, but its engineering certainly does.”

In-depth analysis: McLaren 720S Spider First Drive Review | Absolutely corrupted by power

 

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2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet Road Test Review | The supercar as defined by the 911

If you can afford a supercar, do you want it to be a Porsche 911? That’s the question you ask yourself when considering the merits of the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Do you want one of the highest evolutions of the 911 as opposed to a loaded Audi R8, Lamborghini Huracan Evo or something else exotic? It’s a lot for the fortunate to consider.

Short of the race-bred GT3 line, the Turbos are as much Porsche 911 as anyone could ever desire. As one of my colleagues notes, the Turbos themselves are basically racecars, though he only tested the “regular” Turbo. I spent a week blasting around town top down (mostly) in the Turbo S. With 640 hp and a sprint to 60 time of 2.7 seconds, it’s the variant you simply can’t catch.

The high performance efficacy of the Turbo S comes from the 3.7-liter boxer six-cylinder, which produces a stunning 60 hp more than the previous generation. Torque is up 37 lb-ft to 590, helping the S shave 0.2 seconds off its 60-mph run. The Cabriolet is only a tenth slower. They both have top speeds of 205 mph. Additionally, Porsche’s Traction Management All-Wheel Drive system can send 368 lb-ft to the front wheels, depending on conditions. 

The unit is part of a new family of Porsche engines, and it has a new air intake system, larger intercoolers and larger symmetrical turbochargers than found in the old Turbo S. The intercoolers were moved from the rear fenders to right behind the engine to increase cooling 13%. The air filters are now in the fenders and there are two more air vents underneath the deck wing. The direct-injection system has Piezo injectors, which Porsche says increase output and responsiveness. The engine’s bones are found in the 3.0-liter 911 and a lesser-powered version is under the hood of the 911 Turbo (572 hp, 554 lb-ft). The Turbo S powerplant teams with the eight-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission, and the lofty top speed is reached in sixth gear.

The 2021 Turbo S features evolutionary new looks based on functionality. There’s a new rear wing, new front end and LED matrix-style headlights. The Turbo S isn’t a dramatic departure from its predecessor, but it’s 1.65 inches wider up front and 0.39 inches wider in back, with wider tires and front air vents, creating a more defined stance.

The Turbo S is now considerably more capable, and its looks reflect those chops. Still, our test car casts a subtle vibe, clad in Gentian Blue Metallic paint with a black cloth roof. The forged center-lock black wheels (20 inches in front, 21 in rear) have a polished gray 10-spoke design, and even the brake calipers are polished black, lending an understated feel to the aesthetic. Similarly, the truffle brown leather interior with chalk-colored stitching has a mellow feel with patterns that Porsche says recall the 930 Turbo. The optional Burmeister sound system ($3,980) with silver speaker covers accents the cabin and produces a dulcet sound.

Driving the Turbo S Cabrio is a mix of emotional and mechanical impulses. Porsches demand and reciprocate precision through engagement, and the steering immediately communicates a sense of the car’s exacting nature. Same with the brakes, which are carbon ceramic composite and 0.39 inches larger than the previous model. Rear-axle steering and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control are standard. The Porsche Active Suspension Management ($1,510 option) lowers ride height 0.39 inches and is offered as a factory option for the first time with improved shock absorbers and software calibrated for the Turbo S that adjusts damping continuously — allowing the car to be sportier and more comfortable. Our model also has the optional front axle lift feature that can raise the front of the car 1.6 inches and adds $2,770 to the sticker.

The Turbo S offers a formidable array of performance tools. Everything has its purpose, logically added for an assigned task. The emotions are stirred when these tools are put into use. Twisting the steering wheel drive mode selector to Sport, we enter a winding road lined with the summer’s complement of greenery. The exhaust grows louder, angrier, throatier. It already barks at shift points in the Normal setting, but Sport has the effect of poking the Turbo S with something sharp. This car has the Sport exhaust, a $3,490-option that’s worth it. Porsches, Jaguars, Ferraris and a few select Corvettes and Mustangs summon this kind of pulse-quickening sound that few others can match. Simply lifting off the throttle or downshifting produces a growl or a pop that’s better than some sports cars make at full roar.

Pausing under an overpass, the top comes down in seconds. Launching hard, we’re pulled back in our seats as we weave through the twists and turns leading through to Woodward Avenue. A hard right turn onto M-1 and we’re heading north. The sun breaks through and the temperatures sit around 65 degrees making this an idyllic summer day with echoes of fall. It’s cool for late June, but perfect convertible weather.

When caught in a downpour, Wet Mode detects water on the road and tunes the stability control and anti-lock brakes accordingly. Stating the obvious, the 911 then warns us to drive cautiously, which is appreciated. Plodding around town we notice the little things the car offers. The leather-covered steering wheel is large, fairly thin and has grips at 10 and 2 o’clock. The infotainment system is simple enough to use; contemporary and customizable but not too layered. In total, the 911 provides a flexible experience. For instance, you can drive in Normal or Wet and still turn on the Sport exhaust via a button or touchscreen. We drove in Normal with the exhaust pipes up — and Sport with the spoiler down, just to try different things. Obviously, it’s enjoyable to play around, but it’s logical to want to keep the Turbo S performance at heel yet still announce your arrival with an exhaust note. 

With the brown leather, sport exhaust, fancy speakers and a few other options, our test model stickers for $234,570, including destination and a $1,000 gas-guzzler tax. As noted in our 911 Turbo review, the 911 is already more car than you’ll ever need. Perhaps that’s the smart play, as the additional power isn’t necessary and the performance increases the S brings to the table are too small for mere mortals to notice. 

Enthusiasts with this kind of buying power often stop thinking metrically around $100,000. It becomes an object of uber prestige. They want the car because it’s the most expensive and the most powerful. Assuming the GT3 is simply too raw, this is the Porsche 911 in its highest form and you’re approaching future collector status. It’s living in the moment and investing in the future, and using that logic, there’s simply no substitute for the Turbo S. The convertible? Well that just makes it even more fun in the summer.

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