2012 Luxury Car Preview
Car manufacturers around the planet continue to introduce new cars with price tags that are constantly on the rise.
Some of the top luxury automakers continue to see a nice progression in their U.S. market sales, some of them even broke all sales records in 2011 since they started doing business on American soil. The ultra-luxury car and the exotic sports car segments continue to progress as well.
There are cars, and then there are exotic cars. Typically, these aren’t sedans we drive to work in, or the ones we drive the kids to school with. These are automotive deities, beautiful jewels of speed and sex appeal that populate dreams and computer desktops. The world of exotics has never been bigger, better or more exciting.
It is a challenge to select 10 of the most luxurious car makers among the world’s top most recognizable names, but we found a way. We picked a group of 10 2012 models available on the market today that are reasonably easy to find and somewhat liveable on a daily basis. After all, there’s nothing wrong with taking the kids to school in a Ferrari!
The Aston Martin Virage
Aston Martin introduces the new Virage – supremely elegant and powerful, yet juxtaposed as an understated sports car. Beautiful, dynamic and prestigious, the Virage combines outright sports car performance with luxury, comfort and refinement. The 6.0-liter 490 bhp V12 engine’s torque delivery provides outstanding performance, taking the car up to 186 mph, with acceleration from 0 to 62 in 4.6 seconds.
Virage capitalizes on the technology from the DBS and unites it with the comfort and refinement found in the DB9 and Rapide. Aston Martin’s own bonded aluminum “VH” architecture that forms the backbone of the mark’s sports cars takes inspiration from the aerospace industry where weight reduction is the ultimate goal. As drivers and passengers open the signature swan-wing doors, they are greeted by the aroma of seven hides of the finest Bridge of Weir leather expertly hand-stitched by craftsmen. Inspiration has been taken from luxury leather goods to produce a pinstripe welt which flows down either side of the facia and along the seat and door, drawing your eye through the car.
The Virage is on sale now, available from Aston Martin’s global dealership network at $209,995 for the coupe.
2012 Bentley Continental GTC
Taking cues from its GT coupe sibling launched last year, the new Continental GTC builds on the highly successful foundation of the previous cabriolet. Bentley’s design and engineering teams have improved virtually every aspect of the iconic convertible with an uncompromising focus on quality.
While the first GTC was elegant and understated, the sharper radii and assertive stance of the new model delivers a more contemporary and muscular presence. The four-seater luxury convertible features a new, even more spacious and sumptuous handcrafted cabin, with soft-touch leather hides, an extensive range of wood veneers, cool-touch metals and deep-pile carpets. The cabin is even more practical, with additional rear legroom, new storage solutions and innovative features such as touch-screen infotainment, automatic seat-belt presenters and a Bentley-designed neck warmer for comfortable roof-down motoring whatever the temperature.
Still beating at the heart of the GTC is the 6.0-liter W12 twin-turbo petrol engine that puts out 567 bhp. The W12 is the most compact and technologically advanced 12-cylinder engine in the world. Four camshafts and 48 valves allow the engine to breathe effortlessly and help generate the distinctive Bentley wave of torque. The result is a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 195 mph.
2012 BMW 650i Coupe
The BMW 650i Coupe impresses with its stunning design and inspires with even sharper driving dynamics than its predecessor. This is the only car in the segment to offer the combination of top-class sporting ability, exclusive touring comfort and a 16.24-cubic-foot DIN luggage compartment.
Its unmistakable design language gives the new BMW 6 Series Coupe an aura of athletic elegance. The long sweeping hood, short front overhang and set-back passenger compartment team up with a 2.9-inch increase in body length over its predecessor and a 2.95-inch-longer wheelbase to create the hallmark proportions of a BMW Coupe. The innovations in the new BMW 6 Series Coupe also extend to lighting technology in the shape of Adaptive LED Headlights.
The 4.4-liter V8 engine develops a maximum of 400 hp. This unique “reverse-flow” engine, whose two turbochargers are positioned in the V-area between the cylinder banks, produces an instantaneous and sustained wave of power, making it a delight for the enthusiast driver. The BMW 650i Coupe completes the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds with either the six-speed manual or the eight-speed automatic transmission. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.
Ferrari 458 Spider
The 458 Spider joins the 458 Italia, widening the range of Ferrari’s mid-rear-engined V8s and offering the same uncompromising technological solutions, handling and performance in a refined open-top configuration. It is equipped with a fully retractable hard top, a world first for a sports car with this layout.
The 570 bhp 458 Spider is powered by Ferrari’s naturally aspirated, direct-injection 4.5-liter V8. The 458 Spider delivers a maximum speed of 198 mph and accelerates from 0 to 62 in 3.4 seconds. The power is transferred to the road by Ferrari’s class-leading dual-clutch F1 paddle-shift transmission through the sophisticated E-Diff, itself integrated with the F1-Trac traction control and high-performance ABS for maximum handling dynamics. Its accelerator pedal mapping and the damping of the multilink suspension have been calibrated to guarantee maximum sportiness and absolute driving pleasure with the top down, in line with Maranello’s exclusive Spider tradition.
Made entirely in aluminium, the hard-top solution adopted for the 458 Spider offers a number of advantages over the traditional folding soft-top, including a reduction of 25 kg in weight and a deployment time of just 14 seconds. This car is truly exciting to drive, blending extreme performance with the responsiveness that characterizes Ferrari’s open-top Berlinettas.
2012 Jaguar XFR
The Jaguar XFR is the most dynamic and exhilarating expression of Jaguar sporting luxury. Advances in lighting technology have allowed the new 2012 Jaguar XF model range to adopt the Jaguar design language introduced on the flagship Jaguar XJ sedan. The grille, hood and front fenders, which incorporate new triangular side vents, give the car a more muscular appearance. The XFR receives its own unique styling to underline its performance potential.
Whether experienced from the driver or passenger seat, the cabin of the 2012 XFR utilizes high-end materials in a contemporary manner, and is a welcoming and stylish place in which to spend time. The XFR incorporates a formidable amount of technology, but in true Jaguar fashion, it is integrated seamlessly into the function of the car.
The XFR is powered by the supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine, produces 510 bhp and travels from 0 to 60 in 4.9 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph. The XFR has an electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission, featuring Jaguar Sequential Shift paddles. Safety features for all models include dual-stage front, seat-mounted side and side-impact curtain airbags, dynamic stability control, active head restraints and a tire pressure monitoring system. MSRP for the 2012 XFR is $83,500.
Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4
With the Aventador LP 700-4, Automobili Lamborghini is redefining the very pinnacle of the world super sports car market; outstanding lightweight engineering and phenomenal handling precision are combined with peerless design and the very finest equipment to deliver an unparalleled driving experience. The Aventador is a jump of two generations in terms of design and technology; it’s the result of an entirely new project, but at the same time it’s a direct and consistent continuation of Lamborghini’s brand values. It is extreme in its design and its performance, uncompromising in its standards and technology, and unmistakably Italian in its style and perfection.
The technology package of the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 is utterly unique. It is based on an innovative monocoque made from carbon fiber that combines exceptional lightweight engineering with the highest levels of stiffness and safety. The Aventador’s spacious interior combines the fine exclusivity of premium materials with state-of-the-art technology. The new 12-cylinder with 6.5 liters and 700 bhp brings together the ultimate in high-revving pleasure with astonishing low-end torque. Even the fantastic 0 to 62 mph acceleration figure of just 2.9 seconds and the top speed of 217 mph do not fully describe the Aventador’s extreme performance. The suggested retail price for the U.S. market is $379,000.
The McLaren MP4-12C is designed and manufactured by McLaren Automotive. It is the first production car wholly designed and built by McLaren since the McLaren F1. As with the McLaren F1, carbon fiber is used extensively in the vehicle to minimize weight. The MP4-12C weighs only 2,868 pounds dry. The chassis is based around an F1-style, one-piece carbon-fiber tub weighing only 176 pounds.
The McLaren MP4-12C is powered by a mid-mounted McLaren M838T 3.8-liter V8 twin-turbo engine developing approximately 592 bhp. The engine is connected to a seven-speed automatic dual-clutch gearbox. The MP4-12C can accelerate from 0 to 124 mph in 8.9 seconds. The car has a top speed in excess of 200 mph and is able to brake from 124 mph to a complete stop in under five seconds.
The name of the new McLaren sports car is MP4-12C. “MP4” has been the chassis designation for all McLaren Formula 1 cars since 1981. Since 1997, “MP4” has stood for McLaren Project 4 (from 1981 to 1996, when McLaren’s title sponsor was Marlboro, the “M” stood for this), resulting from the merger of Ron Dennis’ Project 4 organization with McLaren. The “12” refers to McLaren’s internal Vehicle Performance Index. The “C” refers to carbon. The MP4-12C is sold at a price of $229,000 for the U.S. market.
2012 Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster
The technological highlights of the SLS AMG Roadster read like an A-B-C of modern sports car engineering: the combination of an aluminium space frame body, an AMG 6.3-liter V8 front-mid engine, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in a transaxle arrangement and a sports suspension with aluminium double wishbones is guaranteed to make the hearts of sports car enthusiasts beat faster – while ensuring outstanding driving dynamics and roadster motoring pleasure.
The compact fabric soft-top of the SLS AMG Roadster opens and closes in just 11 seconds. The interior continues the breathtaking design idiom of the exterior, and awakens associations with an aircraft cockpit: prominent stylistic features include the dashboard in the shape of a wing section and the air vents with adjustable cruciform nozzles reminiscent of jet engines. The finest leather, matte-finished solid metal or optional, real carbon-fiber trim create an exclusive ambience and correspond with the authentic feel of the cockpit.
The 6.3-liter V8 with a peak output of 571 bhp at 6,800 rpm makes the open-top SLS one of the most powerful sports cars in its segment. The open-top SLS AMG accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and has a top speed of 198 mph.
2012 Porsche 911 Carrera
The completely redesigned seventh-generation sports car icon is stepping into the limelight with its sleek and stretched silhouette, exciting contours and precisely designed features. When viewed from the front, the eye is drawn to the 911’s trademark wide-arched fenders, emphasizing the wider front track. To complement the modern exterior design, Porsche designers created an interior reminiscent of the Carrera GT. The driver is now even more closely integrated within the cockpit, thanks to the rising center console and high-mounted shift lever or gear selector located close to the steering wheel.
The 911 Carrera S with its 400 bhp, 3.8-liter boxer engine – 15 bhp more than before. At the same time, there are performance improvements in both models. The 911 Carrera S accelerates from 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds. The 911 Carrera needs only 4.4 seconds to sprint from a standing start to 60 mph. Top-track speed for the 911 Carrera S and 911 Carrera is 188 mph and 179 mph, respectively.
The first new 911 models will arrive in U.S. dealerships beginning in February of 2012. The new 911 Carrera Coupe will have a base MSRP of $82,100, while the 911 Carrera S Coupe’s base MSRP will be $96,400.
Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase
The Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase is the newest member of the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars luxury family. Instantly recognizable as a Rolls-Royce, this is the latest beautiful model to proudly carry the famous Spirit of Ecstasy hood figurine. The $290,000 Ghost Extended Wheelbase stands true to the finest values and principles encapsulated by this most famous of automotive icons; supreme quality, effortless performance and the very pinnacle of automotive luxury.
Hand-built in Goodwood, England, Ghost Extended Wheelbase is striking and agile. Its capacious interior comes courtesy of an increase in 170mm length over the already ample interior space that rear-seat passengers enjoy in Ghost. A panoramic sunroof is a standard addition, enhancing the interior ambience, bathing occupants in natural light.
The combination of interior space and performance present the best of both worlds to the most discerning customers, without any hint of compromise. Ghost Extended Wheelbase is powered by the 6.6-liter twin turbo charged V12 engine of Ghost, delivering the same 563 hp effortlessly on an intelligent air suspension system for peerless ride and handling. Travelling from 0 to 62 in just five seconds, and with a top speed limited to 155 mph, Ghost Extended Wheelbase remains imperceptibly different in terms of its performance.