By: Catriona Cherrie
From the largest indoor theme park in the world to Grand Prix race tracks to crystal-strewn hotels, Abu Dhabi—the wealthiest of the seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates—is fast becoming one of the most extravagant and exciting places in the world to visit. For those who can only afford to take two days from their charter schedule to make the visit, you will find Abu Dhabi is filled with more than enough to keep you busy in 48 hours.
Until recently, Abu Dhabi had been known as the federal telecommunications and banking hub of the region and with this, had struggled to compete with tourist destination Dubai, about a 90-minute drive away.
This has all changed in the last 20 years, with a huge growth in Abu Dhabi’s building sector aimed towards tourism drawing in hordes of interested visitors. Despite this impressive boom, Abu Dhabi has retained the essence of its rich culture and unique customs and remains the best place in the Middle East to experience true Emirati food and culture.
Upon arrival at the beautiful and very well serviced Yas Marina, berth with ease and take a short taxi ride to the opulent Emirates Palace Hotel. Located on the western end of the Abu Dhabi Corniche, next to the Royal Palace, this hotel is widely known for its extravagant decor and even more extravagant clientele.
The hotel was the third most expensive in the world to be built, at a cost of approximately US$ 3 billion and at the Le Cafe, located inside the hotel, guests can indulge in the famous 24K Gold Flakes Palace Cappuccino.
Next, it's time to make your way back to Yas Marina, where the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place every year in November as part of the international Formula 1 circuit. From the comfort of your very own yacht, you can view and engage in the excitement of the real Grand Prix, which will be held this coming weekend from the 26th November.
Otherwise, guaranteed fun for the whole family can be found at Ferrari World, the only Ferrari-themed park in the world, which has rides and activities for all ages. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the park is home to the fastest rollercoaster in the world.
As the sun sets, on your first day in Abu Dhabi, make your way to dinner and drinks at Stratos. The award-winning restaurant has a very distinctive quality to it, as it spins 360 degrees, allowing diners to have a panoramic view of Abu Dhabi while dining.
The next day is your opportunity to truly take in some of the culture of Abu Dhabi, starting off at the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi. This new museum of world cultural history is a feat of modern architecture and cost over £1 billion to create and build.
From here, make your way to one of the most beautiful feats of architecture in the Middle East, to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The building is spectacular, with a mix of Mughal and Moorish styles, incorporating 82 marble domes of various sizes and minarets up to 351ft high.
Inside you will find the world’s largest carpet and chandeliers incorporating millions of Swarovski crystals. On the third floor of the northern minaret is the mosque’s state-of-the-art library containing more than 50,000 rare books and manuscripts.
Have a leisurely cocktail from the vast array of options on the bar menu of Asia de Cuba, before a decadent dinner of fusion Asian tapas on the terrace. From here, watch as the sun sets on your final day in Abu Dhabi
by Uygar Kılıç
The Bugatti Divo. If you already own a Bugatti Chiron or a Chiron Sport I am sorry to say that your cars are not slower. Bugatti has just revealed a new model called the Divo that doesn’t get up to 400 km/h! It can only do 379 km/h, so be aware that someone will be able to overtake you!
Although it is a new variantion of Chiron, the Divo still uses a historic piece in the form of a W16 engine that is largely based on the VW VR6 engine from the late 1990s. It still produces 1500-HP from its 8-lt W16 engine and costs €5-million. This time Bugatti decided to make a car that is designed to handle.
The Divo is 35kg lighter and has 90kg more downforce than the Chiron. The wide front splitter guides more air to the cooling system, and the rest of the vents are designed to create an air duct. The rear spoiler is 23% wider than the Chiron (1.83-mt) and is there to increase the aerodynamic force in order to increase the car’s handling.
Veyron and Chiron are not very well known for their cornering abilities. Due to their heavy engine, heavy gearbox and luxury items, the Veyron and the Chiron are as agile as a castle on a curvy road.
Bugatti realised this problem and decided to reduce the weight of the Chiron and re-engineer the aero dynamic structure of the vehicle so as to improve the handling and, as a result, we have the Divo. However, when you play with aero dynamics for better handling, you scrap your top speed.
You might be saying 1500-HP is a lot. However, the aero dynamic friction is really high at higher speeds and to increase the top speed beyond 300 km/h you need lots of horsepower!
Long story short, the Divo is a hardcore version of the Chiron, and shows what it really can do. It handles better, is track focused and more aggressive.
How has this happened? Bugatti’s current CEO, Stephan Winkelmann, used to be Lamborghini’s CEO. He was the person behind the Reventón, the Gallardo as the Sesto Elemento and the Aventador as the Veneno and Aventador J.
He knows how to impress customers and make their wallet lighter by offering a lighter car. We can see the same strategy with the Bugatti.
As Bugatti stated when the Chiron was released, there won’t be any cabrio versions, so we have to be ready for more aggressive Chiron derivatives.
Honestly, I like the Divo and the story behind making a Bugatti that can’t achieve 400 km/h. Winkelmann showed that Bugatti is not just all about the top speed, and I am glad he did it, because it was getting ridiculous. The Veyron was a great masterpiece for its time! The early 2000s was the era of top speed and we were all really impressed with the Veyron. However, the world has changed and Bugatti needed to change to survive, and to avoid being stuck in 20th Century.
Will I be able to let you see any photos of this car? Unfortunately not. As the London Bugatti dealer is no longer part of the Bentley dealership, I can’t get inside the HR Owen Bugatti showroom and take photos. I have tried my luck a couple of times and it didn’t work. As I understand it, since HR Owen moved the Bugatti into a separate branch, they want to attract real clients instead of people like me. As a result, I unfortunately won’t be able to post any close-up photos of the Divo.
By: Sarah Turner
In 1970, the Peninsula Hotel introduced Rolls Royces to ferry passengers around Hong Kong. The tradition continues today with a fleet of 14 Phantom VII cars, all branded in the hotel’s distinctive green. This month, the hotel has also launched its first yacht. The Sunseeker Manhattan 60 is a 19 metre cruiser that seats up to 15 passengers. It will see service around Victoria Harbour for sunset cruises and private charters, both extending the guest experience and maximising visibility for the hotel.
Hotels yachts are nothing new; examples include Jumby Bay’s Yennecot and Dhahab, a traditionally-styled wooden dhow owned by the Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman while Ashford Castle in Ireland has its own boat, Cranki which regularly explores Lough Corrib. (Shall we be sniffy and maintain that the Gritti Palace’s Riva Aquariva in Venice is more of a speedboat, as indeed the Pulitzer’s boat in Amsterdam? Even though they’re still rather beautiful.)
In the Maldives, the Four Seasons Explorer is a liveaboard, while for all-round good looks, it’s hard to beat Amanikan and Amandari which are attached to Amanwana and offer voyages into the Indonesian archipelago, as does the Alila hotel group with the five-cabin Purnama.
What is changing is the yachting world’s relationship with the hotel. In Switzerland, Le Montreux is a restored 1904 steamer. Belonging to Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne, in summer it glides through Lake Geneva in a stately fashion during summer, while operating as an event space in winter.
Now though, it has competition. Guests staying at the Evian Resort, which comprises the Hotel Royal Palace and the Hotel Ermitage, can be picked up from the airport by Evian One, its 12-meter new catamaran. Built by A2V in La Rochelle, the futuristic design allows the journey time between airport and hotel to be cut to 45 minutes. Seating just eight people, with a cruising speed of 50 knots, its innovative design meaning that it can travel twice as fast as conventional boats while using half as much fuel. By supplying the hotel with one also allows the company to showcase its product to a potential clientele.
In Ibiza, Pershing has teamed up with the new 7 Pines resort to give guests access to the company’s latest power boats. Next to a pine forest on the south west coast of Ibiza, both the Pershing 74 and company’s newest product, a 28m Pershing 9x are dropping anchor here; the latter, one of the company’s newest boats, has interiors by Poltrona Frau and Antonio Luppi.
Pershing's relationship with 7 Pines extends to creating a clifftop bar that draws inspiration from the company's yacht design.Jordi Cervera
Back on land, guests will also get to experience the hotel’s clifftop Pershing Yacht Terrace, designed by the Pershing team specially for Seven Pines, with a décor evokes the smooth surfaces and curves of their distinctive yachts. It is not so much a hotel with a yacht, more a brand collaboration.
The stunning new McLaren has self-tinting electrochromic glass, airplane ailerons at the rear and your name woven into the carbon fibre body. Only 106 will be made – and they've already been sold
By Alistair Charlton
Almost two years since McLaren said it would revisit the three-seat layout of the legendary F1, its successor, the Speedtail, has finally been revealed. The hybrid hypercar is the company’s first so-called “Hyper GT" and marries over 1,000hp and a 250mph top speed with a host of technical innovations.
The car is priced from £1.75 million (plus tax) and a total of 106 will be built – the same as the F1 from the Nineties. But it’s no use reaching for your wallet now, as they have already been sold, such is the hunger of today’s hypercar market.
What those lucky (and very wealthy) buyers will get for their money when the first deliveries begin in early-2020 is the fastest McLaren ever made. It is also the longest and most aerodynamically efficient roadcar to leave the Woking factory, with a tail which appears to swoop down in one continuous dive from the top of the windscreen to the pointed end of the rear deck.
The car’s unusual stance and long tail give it the profile of a 1980s Group C race car, a look further emphasised by the front wheel covers, which remain static when the car is in motion to reduce turbulence around the wheel arches and help keep air closer to the car, where it can be fed neatly into the radiators.
McLaren’s pursuit of aerodynamic slipperiness is seen in every curve and crevice of the Speedtail’s design, from the smooth nose and deep splitter, to a pair of ailerons on the rear deck.
Similar to what you’d find on the trailing edge of an aeroplane wing, these panels are made from flexible carbon fibre, a material patented by McLaren, which allows the ailerons to move up and down, stabilising and braking the car as required, but without any turbulence-causing panel gaps. They are invisible when folded flat, yet appear a rigid part of the car’s shape when elevated.
The Speedtail uses cameras instead of conventional wing mirrors, each streaming their high-definition view to a pair of dashboard screens. The cameras retract when the car is parked, but can also be tucked away to help the Speedtail reach its 250mph top speed.
All this may seem a lot of effort to give the Speedtail a top speed just 7mph greater than that of the McLaren F1, built in 1993. One could perhaps question if McLaren is sandbagging for now, and the car’s true top speed – like that of the Bugatti Chiron – is not yet known.
However, what is clear is just how different the Speedtail looks to the rest of McLaren’s vehicles – a lineup often accused of sticking too close to the shared house style. The Speedtail is a smooth, droplet-shaped tonic to the edgy, brutalist Senna. Both cars are equally purposeful, but where the Senna is about lapping circuits as quickly as possible while still wearing number plates, McLaren's goal for the Speedtail’s is for a driver and two passengers to cover ground quickly and comfortably. There’s even space for McLaren’s luggage set in the nose and tail – tailored to match your choice of interior, naturally.
There are reminders of the 720S and 675LT in the Speedtail’s nose and headlights, while the driver’s seat and small window apertures could almost have been lifted directly from the F1.
McLaren Automotive chief executive Mike Flewitt describes the car’s shape as being “reminiscent of sleek ‘streamliners’ that once set world speed records”. Flewitt says: “As our first Hyper-GT, the Speedtail is the ultimate McLaren road car; a fusion of art and science that combines an astonishing maximum speed with an iconic central driving position and a pioneering approach to bespoke personalisation.”
To keep the weight down to a claimed 1,430kg without fluids, McLaren is of course building much of the Speedtail from carbon fibre, this time wrapped around a bespoke version of the firm’s Monocage chassis.
The use of carbon extends to the interior, but unlike the carbon used by rivals Ferrari and Lamborghini, McLaren has opted for Thin-Ply Technology Carbon Fibre (TPT), produced in collaboration with Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille and a world-first for the automotive sector.
This material sees layers of 30-micron thick carbon built up, then milled to expose a shimmering construction with a flowing, high-gloss finish. This material is used most obviously on the steering wheel and overhead controls, but also features on the nose badge, for which ostentatious buyers can choose to have McLaren spelled out in solid gold.
Another material making its debut is 1K Titanium Deposition Carbon Fibre. Used by the Speedtail’s front splitter and rear diffuser, the material sees a micron-thin layer of anodised titanium fused into the weave of carbon fibre, becoming integral to its construction. This process allows for unique patterns – like images, words, or symbols – to be woven into the carbon, and in any colour the buyer specifies.
The car’s three seats, arranged with the driver in the middle and their passengers flanking slightly behind, are developed by the Bridge of Weir Leather Company, their material has had its density and weight cut by 30 per cent by infusing air beneath the surface during the manufacturing process.
More weight-saving is found in the Speedtail’s lack of sun visors. Instead, the top portion of the windscreen is made from electrochromic glass which can be tinted at the touch of a button. This glass is also featured in the car’s roof panel, the tops of the vertically opening doors, and the rear quarterlights.
The dashboard curves around the driver and features a central digital display flanked by a pair of large touch screens, replacing most of the car’s physical infotainment controls. In the roof there are gear selection buttons for the paddle-operated semi-automatic gearbox, dials for the car’s traction and stability control systems, the engine ignition, and switches to operate the windows and powered doors.
Although McLaren is keeping the engine’s specification a secret for now, we know the Speedtail is powered by a petrol-electric hybrid system which differs to that of its last hybrid hypercar, the P1 from 2013. It will produce 1,050PS (1,035 horsepower) and accelerate the car from standstill to 186mph (300 km/h) in 12.8 seconds, which is 3.5 seconds quicker than the P1 could manage, and 0.8s ahead of the Bugatti Chiron.
Under the all-carbon body, the Speedtail has an active suspension system made from aluminium, and carbon ceramic brakes. These will likely form part of an energy recovery arrangement, where energy lost during braking is harvested and fed back into the hybrid system’s battery, ready to be deployed with the next press of the accelerator.
And lastly there is the Speedtail’s party trick: Velocity Mode. With the press of a button above the driver’s head, the rear-view cameras retract and the car lowers itself by 35mm to improve aerodynamic efficiency. The hybrid system is then optimised by temporarily adjusting the engine’s idle speed to fully charge the battery, ready to deploy the thousand-plus horsepower through the car’s bespoke Pirelli P-Zero tyres.
Starting at $69,500, the all-electric I-Pace runs from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, with 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque going to all four wheels. But that's not what's important here.
I’m 40 feet from the Jaguar, mint chocolate chip ice cream dripping down the cone onto my fingers, when I hear the purring from under the hood. Strange, I think. First off, the car is parked. Second, it doesn’t have an engine. It’s only after a moment that I realize the sound is the car defending itself against the brutality of a summer day in Southern California’s Coachella Valley. The fast charger I’ve plugged into the car is ramming in electrons, heating up the battery pack. Add 100-degree weather on top of that, and you see why the fan is running full pelt. It’s making sure the I-Pace, Jaguar’s first all-electric car and a serious challenger to Tesla’s EV dominance, remains a cool cat.
After wiping the remnants of my own heat-defense mechanism off my hands, I disconnect the charger, note how long the car’s been plugged in and how much power I’ve added, and climb inside the small SUV. I press the chromed start button and watch the screens in the middle of the dash and behind the steering wheel spring into life with a cat motif. Then—at the point when a conventional car gets loud—the I-Pace quiets down. I pull out of the mall parking lot and onto the freeway in silence.
Near silence, anyway. When I put my foot down, I can’t suppress a giggle as the I-Pace rushes up the freeway on-ramp.
I’m halfway through a road trip from LA to Palm Springs in this all-new EV, one of the first cars to rival Elon’s Musk-mobiles in terms of range, performance, technology, and luxury. Deliveries in the US start later this year, with a price tag from $69,500. For that, buyers get a car that runs from nought to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. (That feels especially quick in the small, high-seated vehicle.) The two motors send 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. No wonder the automotive press corps has bestowed glowing early reviews on the new Jag.
But it was a given this car was going to be quick. All high-end electric cars are, to the point where the specs are getting a touch outrageous: Zero to 60 mph times under two seconds are increasingly common, as are four-digit horsepower figures. “We have a bubble right now between the premium brands, around torque and things,” says Chelsea Sexton, a longtime EV advocate. “It’s a bit of a manhood measuring contest.”
As the auto industry moves into the electric age, then, we need new ways to evaluate these vehicles, focusing on factors that are much more useful in everyday life. It might mean relearning a few new terms you’ve forgotten from high school physics, but it’ll make any decision to go all-in on EVs a lot clearer.
So while I will allow myself the occasional heavy-footed launch in the I-Pace, I’m going to be looking at how day-to-day drivers will use their electric cars. Not just how far can you go without plugging in, but how fast you can refill the battery.
The SUV is a new look for Jaguar. But Americans’ lust for bigger vehicles knows no bounds; Jaguar’s F-Pace SUV quickly became its top-selling car. The roomier model can also handle the space and weight demands of a big battery.
“I think charging time is more important than range, frankly,” says Ian Callum, Jaguar’s chief designer and the man who penned the I-Pace. That might be true one day, when superfast chargers are at every highway rest stop. For now, they’re typically few and far between, so range still matters.
There’s a 90-kWh battery under the floor of the I-Pace, about what you find in a high-end Tesla, good for around 240 miles. Charging takes 40 minutes from 0 to 80 percent at a 100-kW fast charger, or 85 minutes at a more common 50-kW charger.
My round trip to Palm Springs and back is 224 miles, plus some driving around while I’m there, plus blasting the AC in the desert heat. Hence midtrip refill, the ice cream, and note-taking to check the figures. I added 44 kWh in 52 minutes—which cost $10.40 on a 50-kW EVgo charger—taking the battery from 24 percent to 75 percent full. More than enough to get home, and in line with Jaguar’s claims.
Any electric car beats any gas car when it comes to efficiency, but some EVs give a harder score smackdown than others. My total energy consumption for the trip, as recorded by the I-Pace’s computer, was 41.6 kWh per 100 miles. (This is another metric manufacturers have yet to standardize, but a potential substitute for the soon-to-be-defunct miles per gallon.) In Tesla’s Model 3, I clocked just 26 kWh per 100 miles on a similar route. The difference matters: It means the Tesla can squeeze 310 miles out of a smaller, lighter, and cheaper 75-kWh battery. For the cross-shoppers, the downmarket Hyundai Kona gets 258 miles out of 64 kWh. The Chevrolet Bolt gets 238 miles out of 60 kWh.
Bigger, taller cars like the I-Pace have to spend more energy punching through the air than their smaller, svelter counterparts, so they consume more electricity. But where a Range Rover can carry a 27-gallon fuel tank and run for hours between (more expensive) gas station stops, Callum’s team could only make a battery so big without trade-offs in weight and space. So they turned to other tricks to keep the range up.
“The biggest influence I have is the aerodynamics of the car, which we take very seriously,” Callum says. Thus the large hood scoop, which funnels air from the front grille and shapes how it flows over the car. The spoiler over the rear window keeps the air attached to the vehicle. The tall, squared-off back end limits turbulence, which invites drag. The door handles retract so they’re flush with the sides. “It is what it is for good reason,” Callum adds. “It’s the result of logical integration of package and engineering.” It happens to look nice too.
The SUV is a relatively new look for Jaguar, long a sedan and coupe shop. But Americans’ lust for these bigger vehicles knows no bounds; Jaguar’s F-Pace SUV quickly became its top-selling car. In addition, the roomier model can handle the space and weight demands of a big battery. Callum says that there’s room for a small, efficient, electric car in Jaguar’s future, which will help diversify the range and give the company a product for all EV buyers: luxury seekers and eco-warriors, mall rats and backroad explorers. Yet he also pointed out that technology will eventually, roughly, even out among all automakers. Range and charging rate matter, but only so much.
Car purchases are emotional decisions. Along with Jaguar, more rivals for Tesla are coming, including models from Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and others. The EV field will soon be stuffed with competent cars, which consumers will learn to evaluate on their own new terms. An I-Pace buyer will choose the vehicle because the neighbors already have a Tesla, or it looks good, or it drives great, as long as it meets her basic needs. Callum doesn’t see that changing: “We’ll still be about performance, agility, and driving.”
Back in Los Angeles, I pull off the freeway and into my garage, with 25 percent of battery remaining, and plug it in. (The whole plugging and unplugging thing is going to have to become routine, just like with smartphones.) For people who can afford it, this is not just a great electric car, but a great car, full stop. And I can’t wait to get back onto the freeway ramp, where I’ve got the room to stomp the pedal.
by JESUS DIAZ - Toms Guide
Forget all Teslas. Trash all the electric SUVs from the future. Scratch out all the best electric cars.
After the new all-electric Jaguar E-Type Zero starts to come out of the Jaguar Land Rover factories at the end of 2019, no other car would be able to compete with this piece of elegant metal, what Enzo Ferrari--the founder of the legendary eponymous Italian car manufacturer--once called “the most beautiful car in the world.”
Coming from the guy who made the stunning 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO and dozens of the most incredibly beautiful cars of the 20th century, that’s quite the compliment. And Enzo was probably right--even if the E-Type is not the most beautiful, it is the epitome of elegance on four wheels.
The announcement--made last week at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering, which is held annually since 2009 at Carmel, California--comes one year after the British automobile manufacturer introduced the concept as one single car: Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero.
The success of that one-of-a-kind built was so big that the firm is now going to sell them starting in 2020, while also offering an EV conversion service to existing E-Type owners (which is good news because the original E-Type was as beautiful as it was prone to mechanical failures).
The car will sport an all new carbon fiber and aluminum interior, a classic steering wheel, and huge digital touch screen. Its guts--taken from Jaguar’s all-electric i-Pace SUV--feature an 40kWh battery pack that fits perfectly where the original engine was.
With a wingspan of 385 feet, the Stratolaunch is the world's largest plane by width.
BY STEVEN EWING - CNet.com
On winding Alpine pass or smooth Italian autostrada, there’s no better way to blast across Europe than in Bentley’s exquisite new Continental GT.
It's starting to drizzle as I pull through the toll booth and begin my ascent up Austria's Grossglockner High Alpine Road. Thick fog obscures the view of the mountaintops ahead, and each new mile reveals ribbons of impeccable pavement that appear to have been lovingly drizzled onto the side of this particularly picturesque portion of the Alps.
The Grossglockner's 36 turns will take me 8,200 feet above sea level and back down again, each hairpin apex offering a vista somehow more breathtaking than the last. It's the sort of road that immediately comes to mind when you close your eyes and imagine a luxurious day of European grand touring in an exquisite machine like the new Bentley Continental GT.
That this road was used for testing during the new Continental GT's development is no mere coincidence. And it's up here, high above the quaint Alpine villages, where Bentley's new GT shows its improved reflexes, a newfound sense of athleticism that's perfectly dialed into an unflappably luxurious experience.
Redesigning an icon
The Continental GT was the first Bentley to launch under Volkswagen AG ownership, and since its introduction in 2003, some 70,000 have been sold worldwide. That's a relatively small number in the grand scheme of things, but a huge amount for an ultra-premium, small-volume marque like Bentley. It is arguably the automaker's most important product to date; Bentley designers lovingly refer to the Continental as their "icon."
Indeed, even before the Continental GT's improved on-road enthusiasm or its sumptuous interior have a chance to seal the deal, it's the design that'll grab your attention. Just stop for a moment and take it all in -- the long dash-to-axle ratio, the prominent haunch over the rear wheel, the way the roofline dissolves into a fastback swoop down to the short rear deck. This coupe is stunning to behold.
I'll admit, the dead-on front and rear views are still a little odd and, dare I say, bulbous, but from every other angle, and especially the rear three-quarter, the new Continental GT is a real beaut. Incredible crystal-like detailing in the head- and taillight clusters give the coupe a real presence on the road, though the full-matrix LED headlamps sadly won't make their way Stateside (blame current legislation, not Bentley). The impressive body sculpting is the result of Bentley's "superforming" technique, where huge, solid pieces of aluminum fit together with minimal cutlines and blend both sharp creases and smooth surfaces. The result is a car that has tremendous curb appeal.
Beneath the 2019 Continental GT's longer, lower hood sits a familiar engine: Bentley's 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12, which now uses both direct and port fuel injection and boasts an impressive 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. That's an increase of 44 horsepower and 133 pound-feet over the previous Continental, and paired with a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive, is enough to propel this 4,947-pound coupe to 60 miles per hour in just 3.6 seconds.
Not that I'm performing any sort of daft, full-throttle maneuvers on my way up the Grossglockner, mind you. The long travel of the gas pedal makes it easy to modulate the engine's thrust. It all comes on with a progressive rush, and a pronounced whistle from the turbochargers as they breathe in the mountain air. In Sport mode, that wealth of power is accompanied by a robust exhaust note, one that has me revving to the high end of each gear before letting off the throttle just so I can hear some burbling on overrun.
The 2019 Continental GT rides on Volkswagen Group's MSB architecture, found elsewhere underneath the new Porsche Panamera. So while the new Bentley is only 1.7 inches longer than its predecessor, there's a 4.1-inch increase in wheelbase. The W12 engine is positioned lower and further back in the chassis, which helps with overall weight distribution; Bentley says the Continental GT's front/rear balance improves from 58:42 in the outgoing car to 55:45 here. And speaking of weight, thanks to a greater use of aluminum throughout the body, the new Continental sheds some 170 pounds of mass in this new generation, despite its larger footprint.
While the old Continental was locked into a permanent 40:60 front/rear torque split, the new GT primarily acts as a rear-wheel drive car, only sending minor amounts of power to the front wheels when slip is detected. A maximum of 38 percent of the available torque can be moved forward at any time; in Sport mode, that number decreases to just 17 percent.
It only takes a few sharp turns up the Grossglockner to notice this improved balance. The front end is lighter, eager to dive into a turn and much more willing to rotate around tight bends. Bentley's engineers say it's possible to drift the Continental GT, but I'm not detecting even the faintest whiff of rear-end slip as I blast along the soaking wet asphalt. The fat contact patches of the GT's 275/35-series front and 315/30-series Z-rated Pirelli tires deserve a nod here, too.
A big boon for handling comes via Bentley's 48-volt active antiroll bars -- first seen on the Bentayga SUV -- that adapt body motions based on road conditions and the selected driving mode. Appropriate amounts of waft accompany the ride in Comfort mode on smooth surfaces, but along technical Alpine roads with the diamond-knurled drive mode dial set to Sport, nary a hint of unwanted roll hinders the Conti's reflexes. On top of that, brake-based torque vectoring can restrict power delivery to individual wheels to help with mid-corner precision.
Speaking of brakes, Bentley fits the Continental GT with its largest iron stoppers ever, with massive, 16.5-inch rotors up front with 10-piston calipers, and 15-inch rotors out back, with four-piston calipers. The GT can hit a top speed of 207 mph, so you'll appreciate those huge, powerful brakes when it's time to slow this two-and-a-half-ton coupe with a quickness. And considering how effortless this Bentley is as a high-speed cruiser, you'll have no trouble digging deeper and deeper into the huge reserve of power as the countryside along your local autobahn becomes a vivid blur.
Incredible luxury, familiar tech
Every inch of the Continental GT's cockpit is shod in the finest materials. Each part is fitted together by hand, every stitch lovingly sewn by the talented ladies and gentlemen at Bentley's factory in Crewe, England. The overall interior design has a more contemporary appearance than before, yet the richness of the wood veneers and leather hides speaks to Bentley's century-old tradition of providing truly coachbuilt products.
Of particular interest here is the new double-diamond door stitch pattern, which Bentley's craftspeople spent over a year developing. (And should you ever pull that leather back from the panel, you'll see the signatures of the folks who stitched it.) The aforementioned diamond knurling on the dials and steering column stalks is a beautiful bit of detailed brightwork, as is the optional Côtes de Genève textured metal finishing on the center console, a bit of design brought over from watchmaking. The flat, angled surface of the console is reminiscent of the Porsche Panamera, though instead of flush-mounted controls with haptic feedback, there are cut-out buttons that have a decidedly unsatisfying click to their action. It's an un-Bentley-like experience in an otherwise phenomenal cabin.
The centerpiece of the new Continental GT's interior is the $6,270 Bentley Rotating Display. Front and center in the dash, the mechanism is powered by two electric motors and has 40 moving parts. When the car is off, its flat surface matches the design of the rest of the dash, for a continuous, flush-mounted appearance. Turn the car on, and the whole piece silently rotates to reveal a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment display. Press the Screen button on the left of the fixed row of shortcut controls below, and it rotates a third time, revealing a trio of stylized analog dials that show ambient temperature, a compass and chronometer.
If that 12.3-inch infotainment display looks familiar, it's because it's a Bentley-skinned version of what Porsche uses in the Panamera, with high-resolution graphics and quick response to inputs. Of course, that also means Android Auto isn't part of the equation, though Apple CarPlay comes standard.
More borrowed tech is found in front of the driver, where the Continental's standard digital instrument panel is pretty much a Bentley-fied version of Audi's Virtual Cockpit. Again, not a bad thing -- the large speedometer and tachometer displays have Bentley-appropriate fonts and design detail, and the central display can show navigation, audio, communication or vehicle data.
Elsewhere, Bentley brings the Continental GT into the 21st century with a host of driver assistance tech, including a full-color head-up display, night vision, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition.
On the entertainment front, a choice of three sound systems can pump out the jams, with Bentley's highest-end Naim option featuring 18 speakers and 2,200 watts of power. Not that you'll need to crank your tunes, considering how quiet the cabin is. With new laminated glass that reduces exterior noise by 9 decibels, the Continental GT is library quiet at all times.
A sense of occasion
All of this grandeur is befitting of a car that will cost $214,600 when it arrives Stateside in spring 2019. And while you can certainly argue that an Aston Martin DB11 or Mercedes-AMG S65 Coupe check the same boxes for the same price, neither can match the Continental GT's sense of occasion, the aura of privilege and exclusivity that surrounds a beautiful car with a Flying B on its prow.
Even in six-figure territory, you can't put a price on that.
Cars are more than just a means to get from point A to point B. They can be works of rolling automotive art. Legendary car designers such as Marcello Gandini, Giorgetto Giugiaro, and, more recently, Ian Callum are artistic geniuses as much as they're "car guys."
While beauty is without a doubt purely in the eye of the beholder, there are certain cars whose sleek lines, luscious curves, or sheer aggression make them universally loved. Well, at least universally loved here at Business Insider.
These cars cover a broad spectrum— ranging from sports cars to SUVs, and from fire-breathing supercars to hybrid grand tourers.
Two years ago, we assembled a list that contained what we consider to be the ultimate collection of automotive elegance available at dealerships or from the manufacturer at the time.
For 2018, we've updated our list to reflect the latest and greatest from the world's automakers:
10. Mazda MX-5: Over the past quarter century, the Mazda MX-5 Miata has become the best-selling sports car of all time.
9. Range Rover Velar: For decades, Land Rover and its posher Range Rover sub-brand have been the vehicles of choice for the landed gentry. The Range has always been interesting and attractive, but never really beautiful — until now. The new Velar is truly stunning.
8. Jaguar F-PACE: For the first time, not one, but two of the most beautiful cars in the world are SUVs! And they are corporate cousins from Jaguar Land Rover.
7. Lexus LC 500: Over the past few years, Lexus and its spindle grille have polarized the automotive community. However, the luxury brand's new LC 500 coupe is a whole different story. I think we can all agree it's simply gorgeous.
6. Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta: For many, Ferraris are worth idolizing for their beauty simply because they are Ferraris. But the reality is that, over the past 15 years, the company has had its fair share of misses. Fortunately for Ferrari, its flagship LaFerrari Aperta isn't one of them.
5. Lamborghini Huracán: Critics of Lamborghini's entry-level model say its design is just too plain. I disagree. Instead, I think the Huracán is tastefully restrained for a Lamborghini and strikes a contrast to the Aventador's stealth-fighter looks.
4. Aston Martin DB11: In past Aston Martins, the words "Power, Beauty, and Soul" would appear on the dashboard when you went to start the car. While these words no longer appear in the DB11, they offer a perfect summation of everything this car stands for.
3. Pagani Huayra: The 230-mph Huayra is the second all-new model to emerge from the Italian workshop of Horacio Pagani. It serves as the successor to the widely praised Zonda.
2. Ford GT: Ladies and gentleman, the ultimate American supercar. Few cars on the road today are as pleasing to the eye as the Ford GT.
1. Jaguar F-Type: Sir Ian Callum once told me a Jaguar design must possess beauty, simplicity, and a sense of visual prowess.
Like any good Hollywood blockbuster, Jaguar’s F-Pace was made with sequels in mind. So it’s no surprise that now, two years after the company started delivering its first SUV to customers, Jaguar has rolled out the F-Pace SVR, an extra-fancy, extra-powerful version of a vehicle that was pretty fancy and powerful to begin with.
“When we were creating the core F-Pace vehicle, we always had in the back of our minds what changes we would want to make to deliver an SVR version,” says Wayne Burgess, who leads the team that designs all of Jaguar’s production vehicles.
The big change with this car—unveiled this week at the New York International Auto Show—is under the hood, where Jag swapped in a supercharged, 5-liter V8 with 550 horsepower. That’s enough to hit a top speed of 176 mph and go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds. It’s a significant upgrade from the original, which produces 247 horsepower from a four-cylinder engine, or 340 hp from a V6. But ask the man who designed the thing, and he'll point you to all sorts of other changes.
“New front bumper, new bonnet vents, new front fenders, new rockers, new wheels, new brakes, new rear bumper, new exhaust system, and a new rear spoiler,” Burgess says.
Changes like vents in the hood and bigger, 22-inch tires make for a sportier looking car, but Burgess says most are there for a practical reason: When you give a car the ability to get near 200 mph, you want to make sure it stays stable. More rubber on the road helps with that. The tire change also accounts for the wider wheel arch claddings, sticking out a bit from the side of the car to properly cover the wheels, as the regulators require.
The vents come from a lesson the company learned while designing the SVR version of Jaguar’s F-Type coupe. “The amount of air being rammed into the engine bay at 150 plus was creating under-bonnet pressure,” Burgess says. Closer to 200 mph, it was enough to lift the front end of the car—bad news for stability and aerodynamics. “You’ve got to manage the airflow out of the engine bay.”
Other features that seemed helpful in Jaguar’s computer simulations for the F-Pace SVR didn’t quite work as expected: As Jaguar played with prototypes of the SVR, engineers discovered the air ducts near the front wheels and at the rear of the car were actually disrupting airflow, so those got filled up (the ones in the back now house extra brake lights). But hey, they still look cool.
Inside, the biggest change from the original F-Pace fits into the driver’s right hand (or left, on Jag's side of the pond). Burgess’ team dumped the standard rotary shifter, the half-inch tall disc that you twist to move between drive, park, reverse, and so on. The SVR gets a “trigger” shifter, which drivers move backward and forward, so they can easily shift gears when they don’t feel like letting the automatic transmission do its thing. (Paddle shifters cater to those who prefer keeping both hands on the wheel.)
And, like so many sequels that are bigger, brasher, and louder than the original, the F-Pace SVR costs more money than the first F-Pace, which started at $42,065. If you’re looking to enjoy this picture, get ready to drop $79,990 at the box office.