Tag: Luxury

By on September 3, 2019

1974 Lincoln Continental Mark IV in Denver junkyard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsBig, Detroit-made Malaise Era personal luxury coupes still keep showing up in the big self-service wrecking yards, more than 35 years after the last one rolled off the assembly line. Yes, the diminished-expectations Mark VI, the “What Oil Crisis?” Mark V, and the rococo Mark IV— examples of each of these will appear in your local U-Wrench yard from time to time.

Here’s a worn-out Mark IV from the year of Nixon’s resignation and Haile Selassie’s banishment from his throne in a lowly Beetle, now awaiting The Crusher in a Denver yard. (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2019

Bugatti Chiron

Bentley has one. Rolls-Royce has one, too. Lamborghini has one, and so does Maserati. The idea that a utility vehicle should be off-limits to builders of traditional passenger cars went out the window around the time Jaguar unveiled its second crossover.

Automakers everywhere are future-proofing themselves with the added cushion of a popular, high-margin CUV. It’s the equivalent of moving money out of stocks and into gold in the face of a looming economic downturn. So why not Bugatti, maker of the biggest-bucks, biggest-horsepower vehicles on earth? (Read More…)

By on May 7, 2019

Maserati promises it will steer clear of widespread electrification. And yet, it’s unclear whether this is part of a bold corporate strategy that sees electrification as the less-promising path forward, or simply the result of the brand’s current financial situation.

Regardless, the firm’s North American leader, Al Gardner, says it’s not in the cards. While Maserati fully intends to insert more plug-in vehicles and hybrids into its lineup by 2022, it vows to stop short of killing the internal combustion engine. Of course, we know that’s a promise no automaker can expect to keep indefinitely. All it takes is one important change in management to readjust a brand’s corporate trajectory, but Maserati appears safe from total electrification for the time being.  (Read More…)

By on April 26, 2019

Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Pullman

Daimler, maker of top-end Mercedes-Maybach automobiles, is on the hot seat after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was spotted scooting around in brand new armored limos at recent international summits.

Sales of luxury automobiles to the despotic regime are banned under a UN Security Council resolution passed in 2013, and Daimler does not count it as one of its customers. Still, the country’s leader travels in uncompromising Germanic style. (Read More…)

By on March 19, 2019

Forget Teslas and Black Label Lincolns and the upper strata of truckdom — the most expensive vehicle produced in North America will soon be a German offering with an MSRP about 100 grand higher than its domestic neighbors.

An American production site for this vehicle is appropriate, however, as it’s an SUV; the first offered by the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand. (Read More…)

By on March 7, 2019

Image: GM

Americans gain two new domestic midsizers for the 2020 model year, and both of the premium crossover rivals take a different approach in how they propel their human cargo.

The Cadillac XT6, which debuted in Detroit in January and hits dealers this summer, adopts front-drive architecture; the 2020 Lincoln Aviator goes a different route, donning Ford’s rear-drive CD6 platform. It’s V6 power only for both, though Lincoln will slap on a potent plug-in hybrid system for added power and expense.

While pricing lines up closely on the bottom end, Lincoln has the edge. (Read More…)

By on December 18, 2018

Image: Audi

Customers won’t get a chance to buy an Audi E-tron SUV until next year, but, if money’s tight, they might want to hold off for a while. The German brand’s first electric utility vehicle (seen above) arrives in the second quarter of 2019, carrying a base price of $74,800 — at least once the launch editions clear out. More E-trons will follow, including a Sportback version of the SUV and a top-flight GT sports sedan.

Green, but still requiring plenty of green to plunk one in your driveway. Audi apparently has a solution for budget-minded premium EV shoppers, and it plans to make it happen with help from Volkswagen. (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2018

2018 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3t dashboard

Driving my family can be a harried experience. The pair of tween girls in my brood constantly chatter about whatever both to each other and to nobody in particular. Or they’ll be silent save the bleeps and boops of their cell phones or Nintendo 3DS, playing silly games and texting nobody in particular.

Thus, when the kids hopped in the back of this 2018 Genesis G90, I expected more of the same,  turning up the stereo in reflexive compensation. But, to my astonishment, the girls became immediately calm — the youngest dozed off quickly en route to Grandma’s house, located just across town. Quieting a hyper 10-year-old — that alone can sell a car to moms and dads everywhere.

(Read More…)

By on November 13, 2018

2017 Maserati Levante side view (Image: Maserati)

Maserati, a fairly opaque, Fiat Chrysler-owned brand that exists in the periphery of the mainstream luxury scene, has a new leader in North America.

Announced Monday, Al Gardner, head of dealer operations in the region, will take control of the marque from current Jeep boss Tim Kuniskis, who jettisoned his control of the Italian brand in an executive shuffling last month. (Read More…)

By on November 5, 2018

Image: Ford

Great things can happen when you combine something that’s already good with a symphony orchestra. Procol Harum’s 1971 live recording of Conquistador is proof of that. For Lincoln Motor Company, a marque which just suffered another disappointing sales month, the vehicle on which it has placed so much hope isn’t leaving any luxury stone unturned.

Next year’s Aviator, a rear-biased midsize SUV that makes the MKX look like a minivan, plans to woo buyers by taking them out on the town. You won’t be able to avoid a night at the symphony in this vehicle. (Read More…)

By on October 30, 2018

For nearly five decades, Rolls-Royce and Bentley shared the same bed, then lived amicably under the same roof for another 18 years, becoming ever closer to each other due to dwindling shared finances. Then two Germans showed up and they parted ways, forever.

While still representing the richly browned upper crust of British motoring, the two brands have maintained fairly similar development paths, launching sedans, coupes, and now SUVs in quick succession of each other. Now, because green types look down on ornate, porky, roadgoing behemoths powered by gas-swilling eight- and twelve-cylinder engines, both brands have decided to embrace the environmental movement.

Naturally, news of these tentative electric product plans hit the presses almost simultaneously. (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2018

Perusing the responses to Matthew Guy’s QOTD post about the ideal $40,000 vehicle, three sedans kept surfacing in the comments. All three were compact, all of them had engines of identical displacement, and all of them were restrained by a price ceiling — meaning no optional extras.

Today we’ll narrow the $40,000 field to these three, and see which one you’d buy with your own bank’s money.

(Read More…)

By on October 4, 2018

They’re big, expensive, luxurious, and have 12 cylinders sitting under their long hoods. All of them will deplete your checkbook in multiple ways, but you can only take one home with you.

What’s it gonna be?

(Read More…)

By on September 5, 2018

Without rivalry, there wouldn’t be sports, and the Atlantic Ocean probably would have been crossed for the first time by a multinational team assembled sometime in the late 1930s, backed by a top-heavy bureaucracy.

Rivalry, at least outside the workplace, is usually fun, and the fierce competition among Germany’s luxury marques remains an interesting one, simply due to the length of time this has been going on. U.S. sales figures from August show that Mercedes-Benz, which muscled out long-running best-seller BMW from its lofty perch in 2016, has at least some reason to be worried about its rival reclaiming lost ground. (Read More…)

By on August 28, 2018

Yesterday’s first-drive review of the 2019 GMC Sierra Denali and its macho sibling, the AT4, sparked some debate in the comment section. Yes, it’s true that the Denali-trimmed version sports a grille capable of blinding airline pilots if the sun hits it just right. One of you even said the mass of gleaming chrome was ostentatious enough to make Liberace blush.

And yet automakers build these high-end trucks because customers can’t seem to get enough of them. After all, who’s foolish enough to turn down an opportunity to grow margins by plumbing the depths of this high-profit market? From these comments, a question materialized: If handed a stack of cash totalling $60k to $70k, what would you buy — a nice, respectable, and perhaps even sporty luxury sedan, or one of the gilded luxo-dozers offered by Ford, Ram, or GMC? And why? (Read More…)

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