Every year, Jetset Magazine previews the latest dream cars designed and produced by the international luxury car makers.
After watching the new model trends introduced at the 2012 Paris Mondial de L’Automobile show last fall, it is needless to say that 2013 will be an exceptional vintage for the luxury car segment.
Nearly 50 vehicles debuted at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show last month, confirming that the auto industry in North America is experiencing its best annual sales rate since 2008, and this positive growth could clearly be seen in the number of debuts. The show featured world debuts ranging from electric vehicles to performance and luxury designs from a global array of the world’s top automakers. The Show also played host to the highly anticipated North American debut of the Jaguar F-TYPE convertible sports car and the 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series, the Bentley Continental GT Speed, the new Aston Martin Vanquish and DB9 and the world debut of the new Porsche Cayman. Other high-end manufacturers like Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Bugatti were not at the show this year, but they, too, recently unveiled new outstanding models featured in this 2013 luxury car preview issue.
ASTON MARTIN DB9
The introduction of the 2013 model year DB9 gives the British luxury sports car maker the perfect opportunity to further enrich the appeal of its mainstay in the GT sector. The exterior design of the DB9 communicates a powerfully assertive yet elegant character. The surfaces display taut lines and subtle muscular forms that point to the underlying power of this renowned Sports GT. DB9 sits low and wide, visually “planting” the car on the road, communicating a clearly athletic stance. The car’s inherent width is accentuated by the “light catcher” feature which runs from the lower front bumper and continues along the sill of the car, creating a chiseled, determined look. A large lower front grille feeds air into the Carbon Ceramic Braking system while the front splitter also serves to visually widen the car.
The new 510bhp 6.0-liter V12 takes some of the “Gen4” VH architecture hardware technology developed for Aston Martin’s forthcoming new super GT, the Vanquish, but has been tuned to suit the character of DB9. The result is an engine with effortless torque of up to 457lb.ft (620 Nm) and acceleration from 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds with a speed of 183 mph.
Inside, as out, the revised DB9 becomes yet more elegant and more luxurious. Unmistakably Aston Martin, the Sports GT’s opulently-appointed interior boasts authentic materials and the highest levels of attention to detail.
THE BENTLEY GT SPEED COUPE
Since the launch of the original GT concept at the Paris Salon in 2002, the W12-engined Continental range has gone from strength to strength with over 50,000 sales worldwide, making Bentley’s factory in Crewe, England, the largest producer of 12-cylinder engines in the world. The W12 story continues to unfold and remains the ultimate expression of Bentley’s engineering strength.
The new 205 mph W-12-engined Continental GT Speed is the fastest road car Bentley has ever produced. As Bentley’s new performance flagship, the Continental GT Speed coupe appeals to driving enthusiasts who place a high value on outright performance and agile handling.
The GT Speed develops 616 bhp (625 PS/460 kW) at 6000 rev/min with 800 Nm (590 lb.ft) of torque available from 2000 to 5000 rev/min for instantly accessible high performance. Coupled with a new ZF eight-speed close-ratio automatic transmission and state-of-the-art engine management software, the GT Speed dispatches the zero-to-sixty sprint in 4.0 seconds (0-62 mph in 4.2s), reaching 100 mph from a standing start in just 9.0 seconds.
In-gear acceleration is equally breathtaking. The advanced software of the close-ratio 8-speed transmission enables quick shifting in Sport and Tiptronic modes. The gearbox also features “block-downshifting,” enabling combined downshifts for maximum acceleration. Typically, when cruising in eighth gear, full acceleration is achieved by dropping straight down to fourth. While this puts the GT Speed at the very top end of automotive performance, the new model retains the driving refinement, supreme comfort, peerless craftsmanship and contemporary luxury associated with Bentley cars.
2013 BUGATTI VEYRON 16.4 GRAND SPORT VITESSE
The new Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse unites the elegance of the Grand Sport and the performance of the Super Sport, confirming that beauty and intelligence can form a successful symbiosis.
Numerous components of the drive system have been optimized in the Grand Vitesse Sport. The use of four larger turbochargers and air coolers, along with an overall reduced exhaust gas back pressure, ensure a significant increase in power with even lower fuel consumption. The further improved acceleration rate and the 8-liter displacement of the W16 engine, which develops a maximum torque of 1,500 Nm at 3,000 – 5,000 rpm, provides a maximum output of 1,200 hp at 6,400 rpm and an outright sprint from 0 to 63 mph in just 2.6 seconds. While the maximum speed is taken advantage of exclusively on closed tracks with special safety precautions, the Grand Sport Vitesse has a special safeguard in “normal” handling mode, which electronically limits it to 233 mph.
In order to put the unrivalled power of the Grand Sport Vitesse on the road in a safe and masterful manner, the Bugatti engineers have reconfigured the chassis of the high-performance car, thanks to the quick-responding dampers that have been adapted from motor racing. As a result, the control of the vehicle has been further improved and perfectly balanced. Body roll and pitching during hard acceleration and braking are now virtually imperceptible. Optimized wheel-load fluctuations have further reduced under-steer and allow a maximum level of active safety. Bugatti has plans to produce only around 100 of the Grand Sport Vitesse.
THE FERRARI F12 BERLINETTA
Sporting a new V12 engine, it is built around highly-evolved transaxle architecture and features state-of-the-art components and control systems. The F12 Berlinetta’s wheelbase is shorter, and its engine, dashboard and seats are lower in the chassis. A new suspension and gearbox layout helped reduce the car’s rear volume. The result is a shorter, lower and narrower car than the previous V12 coupe. The new 200-bar direct-injection 6262cc 65° V12 engine delivers unprecedented performance for a naturally-aspirated 12-cylinder. It punches out a maximum of 740 CV at 8250 rpm, with a specific power output of 118 CV/1 and maximum revs of 8700 rpm, record figures for this type of engine.
The F12 Berlinetta’s technical specifications are completed by the very latest version of the carbon-ceramic braking system. The F12 tops 0 to 63 mph acceleration in 3.1 seconds. The F12 Berlinetta is the most high-performance road car in Ferrari history.
Aerodynamics play a major role, and many innovative solutions have been discreetly integrated in the F12 Berlinetta’s styling. These include the Aero Bridge which, in a first, uses the bonnet to generate downforce, and Active Brake Cooling, a system that opens guide vanes to the brake cooling ducts only at high operating temperatures. The car’s Frau leather interior is completely new. The cabin has been optimized to ensure maximum usability of the interior space with additional luggage capacity behind the seats, which can also be easily reached thanks to the large aperture offered by the tailgate.
THE FISKER KARMA
The Fisker Karma is the world’s first true electric vehicle with extended range. This is Fisker Automotive’s first car. It is built according to the company’s sustainable and accountable design philosophy, which represents a dramatic leap forward for the entire auto industry.
Loosely translated from Hindi, “Karma” implies that good deeds are rewarded. The Fisker Karma allows drivers who appreciate style and performance to own and enjoy a car that is also environmentally conscious, one that achieves fuel consumption and emissions performance that is simply beyond the capability of today’s conventional luxury automobiles.
Combining striking, elegant design with high performance, ultra-low fuel consumption and zero emissions on demand, the four-door, four-seat Karma embodies the brand’s commitment to creating uncompromised responsible luxury vehicles that deliver pure driving passion.
With its proprietary EVer™ powertrain – inspired by a military stealth vehicle – the Fisker Karma can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, yet achieve the equivalent of more than 100 miles per gallon and ultra-low emissions of just 169g CO2/mile (53 g CO2/km in Europe) in real-world driving on an annual basis.
With a U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $102,000 before federal tax incentives of $7,500, the Karma can run purely on electric power supplied by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for up to 50 miles (80 km). After that, a 175 kW generator driven by an efficient, 2.0 liter, direct-injection, turbocharged gasoline engine extends the range up to an additional 250 miles. The Karma’s total range between recharge/refuel can reach up to 300 miles.
With incredible economy and the ability to drive tailpipe-emission free, the Fisker Karma is the only truly responsible choice for luxury car buyers.
THE JAGUAR F-TYPE
The new Jaguar F-TYPE is a two-seater, convertible sports car focused on performance, agility and driver involvement. The F-TYPE is a continuation of a sporting bloodline that stretches back more than 75 years and encompasses some of the most beautiful, thrilling and desirable cars ever built.
The F-TYPE features all-aluminum double wishbone front and rear suspension and a quick-ratio steering rack for ultimate responsiveness. A new 3.0-liter V6, developed from Jaguar’s highly acclaimed 5.0-liter V8, is available in either 340PS or 380PS variants, powering the F-TYPE and F-TYPE S respectively. Both applications exhibit the same free-revving, willing nature that encourages the enthusiastic driver to explore the full extent of the engines’ abilities. Producing 495PS and 625Nm of torque in the F-TYPE V8 S model, it has an astonishing torque-to-weight ratio of 375Nm/ton, accelerates to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, and on to an electronically-limited top speed of 186 mph while emitting 259g/km of CO2.
Jaguars have always defined sinuous, muscular simplicity and the F-TYPE is no exception, its shape being defined by two “heartlines” forming the front and rear wings. The focus on driver involvement and sporting performance in the F-TYPE is emphasized by the “one plus one” layout of the asymmetric cabin. This is evidenced by the grab handle which sweeps down the center console on the passenger side, delineating it from the driver’s position. Further differentiation is provided by the use of different trim materials on either side of the cabin, with a more technical finish on the driver’s side.
2014 MERCEDES SLS AMG BLACK SERIES
The new 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series is the most extreme version of the celebrated SLS. Inspired by the SLS AMG GT3 race car, the fifth Black Series model from Mercedes-AMG boasts a fascinating mix of breathtaking design, outstanding driving dynamics and uncompromising lightweight construction in line with the AMG Lightweight Performance strategy.
With a curb weight of 3,417 pounds, the car achieves a power/weight ratio of 5.49 lb/hp. The AMG 6.3-liter V8 engine generates a power output of 622 hp at 7,400 rpm and accelerates the most dynamic SLS of all time to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. The SLS AMG Black Series achieves a whole new level of performance with the coil-over AMG Adaptive Performance Suspension, AMG high-performance ceramic two-piece brake system and weight-optimized, forged AMG light-alloy wheels with new sport tires. Additional highlights include electronically-controlled AMG rear-axle differential lock and the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission featuring spectacular shift and response times.
The available AMG Aerodynamics package delivers a further boost to the vehicle’s handling and dynamics. Black Series is a name that resonates with automobile experts and enthusiasts worldwide. Fans of high-performance super sports cars will be fascinated by its high-tech package. The basis for passionate performance and supreme driving dynamics is provided by numerous new developments in the engine, transmission, suspension and aerodynamics —also giving top priority to the AMG Lightweight Performance strategy. Outstanding efforts in the field of lightweight design have resulted in a curb weight of 3,417 pounds.
THE 2014 PORSCHE CAYMAN
Porsche celebrated the world premiere of the new Cayman at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. The third generation of the Cayman, which made its appearance before an international audience at the LA Convention Center, has been reengineered from the ground up. It is lower and longer, lighter and faster, more efficient and more powerful than ever. The two-seat sport coupe will be launched on the market in two versions: Cayman and Cayman S. A longer wheelbase, wider track and larger wheels enhance the driving performance of the mid-engine sports car to a level without equal in its competitive class.
Delivering more power with even better fuel economy than before, one of two highly efficient flat-six cylinder engines is mounted just in front of the rear axle, surrounded by its lightweight aluminium and steel body. The Cayman is powered by a 2.7-liter engine with 275 hp; with the Sport Chrono package, it accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. The 3.4-liter engine in the Cayman S produces 325 hp; with PDK and the Sport Chrono package, it sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
The new Cayman will arrive at dealerships in Spring 2013.
2013 ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM DROPHEAD COUPE
For the ultimate in open-air opulence, look no further than the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. It combines old-fashioned elements like a hand-built interior with a fully modern power plant and the latest conveniences to create a truly unique convertible.
This Rolls is capable of wafting its way from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds, thanks to a massive 6.75-liter V12. The mill puts out 453 horsepower and an impressive 531 pound-feet of torque. Sending all that power to the rear wheels is an eight-speed automatic, which is a new addition for the latest model year.
While decidedly elegant, the Drophead Coupe’s oversized proportions give it a bit of a nautical feel. This appearance can be enhanced by an optional teak rear deck that looks like it was pulled straight from a luxury yacht. Up front, a modern version of Rolls-Royce’s traditional grille is inset in a fascia that was redesigned for the latest model year with rectangular LED running lights.
A notable feature is a split trunk lid Rolls-Royce calls a picnic boot. It allows the vertical lid to which the license plate mounts to swing down, much like a pickup truck’s tailgate, while the horizontal lid is conventionally hinged. With wall-to-wall leather upholstery, fine metal trim and seemingly acres of exquisite wood, the cabin is as coddling as one would expect. The driver faces a large, thin-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel and a trio of simple, old-fashioned analog gauges, while rear-seat passengers are treated to an impressive amount of space.