Category: Luxury

By on March 16, 2018

Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Pullman

With the minivan now dethroned by sport utility vehicles and crossovers as the king of family transportation, we’ve run into a problem. Larger three-row SUVs can be expensive, while their more affordable counterparts frequently sacrifice cargo space and comfort to accommodate that last row of seats. Another issue is that adults who decided to spawn four children are forced to interact with them during long drives by occupying the same cabin.

Wouldn’t it be incredible if a manufacturer invented a vehicle that could solve most of these problems? Well, some already have. Limousines have been around for ages and it’s ludicrous that they haven’t been co-opted for family use. But, if you’re going to purchase a high-end luxury transport specifically for road trips with the brood, you had better make sure it’s so decadently comfortable and quiet in the back that they can’t help but fall asleep. That’s why the perfect family vehicle is probably the new Mercedes-Maybach Pullman S650.

Granted, the long-wheelbase version of the already lengthened variant of the S-Class isn’t intended for familial use. It’s supposed signal the wealth of overachieving business persons. But exceedingly wealthy parents who think way outside the box might find it worthy of double duty. Read More >

By on March 15, 2018

Lexus sales slipped in the United States over the last two years. While overall deliveries remain relatively strong, the Japanese luxury brand saw its annual volume surpassed by Mercedes-Benz in 2013. BMW followed suit in 2017 and the gap only looks to be widening this year. So, what does a high-end nameplate do to lure back customers?

The answer is an obvious one: it starts building boats. It might shock you to learn this, but boats have actually been around since prehistoric times and physical examples have been discovered that are at least 10,000 years old. Meanwhile, most cars aren’t even 100 years old. Basic math proves boats to be the more sustainable product and a sounder investment. Cars had a good run, but autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing services are about to convert driving into a passive and homogeneous experience in a totally hypothetical and undetermined amount of time. Boats will be where it’s at very soon and every automaker will eventually become a sloop manufacturer.

Alright, I’ll stop being a prick (for now). What Lexus is really attempting to do is gussy up its image, endearing itself to the growing legions of super-rich people by providing contemporary yachts — something Mercedes-Benz has done in the past. Read More >

By on March 10, 2018

It wasn’t long after the invention of the automobile that people became obsessed with acquiring more speed. For manufacturers, having the world’s fastest production car was a major honor, though it took a few decades before objectively minded trade publications made it possible to compete on a level playing field.

Most production vehicles only manage to hold the record for a few years. There are, of course, exceptions. Lamborghini’s Miura P400 maintained its title as world’s fastest production car from 1970 to 1982, when the LP500 S version of the Countach debuted. The next decade would see the record change hands almost yearly until McLaren’s carbon-bodied F1 achieved 240 mph — destroying the previous benchmark by a wide margin.

While there is some contention that the F1’s maximum speed was only achievable via the elimination of its rev limiter, it still set the record at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien proving ground in 1993 under accepted guidelines and held that record until 2005. With the limiter intact, many argue the Jaguar XJ220 or RUF CTR2 would have been king of the hill until the Bugatti Veyron’s debut. Regardless, McLaren still built a production vehicle that was physically capable of reaching 240 mph and never bothered to reach any higher.

That’s expected to change once the company’s love song to the F1, the BP23 Hyper-GT, comes out.  Read More >

By on March 8, 2018

Image: Aston Martin

Aston Martin is pretty damn pleased with itself, having just debuted a futuristic and luxurious electric car concept in Geneva — one it says will attract the next generation of ultra-well-heeled motorcar buyers.

The Lagonda Vision Concept previews a real-world car scheduled for production in 2021, with another to follow by 2023. Bearing a re-launched brand name long associated with the Aston marque, this Lagonda coddles its passengers in a Blade Runner-esque shell that’s outfitted like one of those sexy, Roger Moore-era James Bond escape pods. There’s cashmere and silk. Savile Row tailors were brought in to handle the upholstery. Quite simply, it’s the future of motoring, Aston Martin claims, so you’d better get used to it.

Filled with unbridled enthusiasm over his new creation, Aston design chief Marek Reichman got a little personal during an interview with Britain’s Autocar. Let’s just say his target, now aghast, is having none of this nonsense. Read More >

By on March 1, 2018

Image: Volkswagen/YouTube

Ahead of its premiere at the Beijing auto show this spring, the next-generation Volkswagen Touareg has appeared in an official teaser video wearing next to nothing, as far as camo goes.

Crisp lines and upmarket styling cues set this VW utility vehicle apart from, say, the three-row Atlas, which is all we’ll ever see of a midsize vee-dub ute on this side of the ocean. That’s because the all-new 2019 Touareg is just not suited for life in America. Many would say its predecessor wasn’t, either. Read More >

By on February 27, 2018

Image: Lexus Europe

The only thing missing is a cabriolet. With the unveiling of its new UX subcompact (“urban compact crossover” in Lexus parlance), Toyota’s premium division now spans the utility segment gamut, with models ranging from ultra-small unibodies to full-size, body-on-frame luxo-barges.

Lexus’ European arm pulled the wraps off the UX on Tuesday, ahead of the global model’s world premiere in Geneva next week. In the model’s sights are a trio of pint-sized Germans and a singular Japanese foe, all competing for a slice of a segment with unclear growth prospects. Read More >

By on February 20, 2018

Image: Kia Motors

The photo you see above is your first glimpse of the 2019 Kia K900 — the second generation of the Korean automaker’s full-size flagship sedan. If Kia’s lucky, it won’t be your last time seeing it.

Sold overseas as the K9 or Quoris, the first-gen model appeared on U.S. shores in early 2014 with Hyundai Equus underpinnings, rear-wheel motivation, a choice of V6 and V8 engine, and LeBron James as a spokesman. Sales crested the 2,500-unit mark in 2015 before falling to 455 in 2017. Like Bigfoot, the K900 is large and rarely spotted.

Kia hopes to change that with the new model. Read More >

By on February 16, 2018

2018 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate Black Edition

We did it! Thanks to the modern obsession with larger vehicles and opulence, domestic luxury brands are taking off like a rocket. It’s going so well, in fact, that American automakers are starting to steal market share from high-end import manufacturers. Of course, this is only applicable to SUV and crossover sales.

As you know, sedan sales are losing ground to their high-riding counterparts. While this hasn’t resulted in the obliteration of the passenger car market, despite claims to the contrary, those vehicles are being massacred by wayward consumers. Sedans are becoming passé and this has allowed sport utility and crossover vehicles to amass a significant portion of the pie.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the luxury market. The rapid growth of the luxury truck segment has substantially increased the United States’ share of domestic models sold with an average transaction price of $60,000 or more. Apparently, the inarguably phenomenal Mercedes-Benz S-Class doesn’t have jack squat on the GMC Yukon Denali.

Suck it, cars.  Read More >

By on February 13, 2018

Rolls Royce Cullinan

The rumor of an SUV from one of luxury’s mightiest brands has been kicking around for about three years now. Today, the folks at Rolls-Royce confirmed they will be calling it the Cullinan. Hey, at least it’s better than Urus.

In the spirit of not playing by any rules whatsoever, Rolls is referring to the Cullinan as a “high-bodied car.” Well, then. *adjusts monocle*

Read More >

By on February 8, 2018

koenigsegg agera

The former digital chief of Credit Suisse, Marco Abele, intends to introduce an app allowing wealthy individuals to share ownership of experiential assets — things like vineyards, works of art, and even fine automobiles.

Abele calls the digital service a “blockchain-based investment platform,” which is just a bullshit businessman buzzword way to say there will be a transaction ledger. By keeping things transparent, the group’s owners can ensure nobody gets financially burned when someone drives a shared $300,000 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo into a barricade.

At any rate, it sounds like communism for rich people.  Read More >

By on February 8, 2018

Image: Tim Healey/TTAC

Forgive the headline writer’s apparent shock. He thought Volkswagen was all about SUVs now, yet before him stands a premium midsize fastback sedan from none other than that German utility vehicle giant. Well, “sedan” isn’t entirely accurate.

In the interest of giving passenger cars that extra little bit of added utility, automakers are suddenly pretending it’s the late ’80s again, grafting liftbacks onto the back of sedans from Audi to Buick to VW. The strange-sounding Arteon is no exception. Arriving for the 2019 model year, VW’s Arteon dons a rear liftback as it accepts the role of the brand’s new flagship, replacing the departed CC.

With SUVs and crossovers taking over the world, it’s always interesting to see a new car model appear. Read More >

By on February 6, 2018

Think back. Waaay back — to 11:19 a.m.

In that article, we chronicled Fiat Chrysler’s deft handling (and perhaps, planning) of a historical Super Bowl Ram commercial that sparked a fierce social media backlash, all thanks to the spot’s use of dialogue from Martin Luther King, Jr.

We told you, all that time ago, and with all the certainty of someone knowing the sun will rise again, that the next automaker might not find itself so unscatched by a marketing blunder (if indeed you view the Ram ad as a blunder). Well, that time has come. Mercedes-Benz just offended a whole country. Read More >

By on February 6, 2018

2019 Ford Edge Titanium Elite

Apparently running out of precious metals with which to name their fancy crossovers (and not yet ready to bring the Vignale badge across the pond), Ford has created a Titanium Elite trim for the freshly revised Ford Edge.

And they say the world of crossovers isn’t exciting.

Read More >

By on February 5, 2018

There’s going to be a lot less Italian in Reid Bigland’s diet going forward, after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles removed the Alfa Romeo and Maserati portfolios from the high-ranking executive’s oversight. It’s all part of a broader raft of management changes announced today.

Bigland, quite a star in FCA’s upper echelon, will continue in his existing role as head of U.S. sales and president and CEO of FCA Canada. The executive had the two Italian luxury brands dropped in his lap back in May 2016. Earlier in his career, he headed up the Dodge and Ram brands.

Other changes are afoot as FCA attempts to give Alfa and Maserati the full-time guardian the two brands need in order to thrive. Read More >

By on January 26, 2018

Image: Kia Motors

You’re probably picking your toast up off the floor right now, so we apologize for not softening the shock of that headline. But it’s true, and it comes straight from Kia Motors America’s product boss.

The other day, we told you the Korean automaker is poised to announce the production of a bigger, butchier crossover aimed at tempting buyers in the largest utility class. While the looming Telluride soaked up the lion’s share of a Wards Auto interview with Orth Hedrick, Kia’s North American vice president of product planning, a brief mention at the end of the article caught our eye.

According to Wards, Hendrick “hints the [second-generation K900] will be shown at the New York auto show in late March.”

Hey, pick up your toast again! Read More >

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