Make a big en­trance

Herald Sun - Motoring - - PRESTIGE -

ELEC­TRIC con­cepts may have hogged the head­lines at Frank­furt but the top end of town was fo­cused less on sav­ing Earth than on en­joy­ing it.

Drop-tops and SUVs were the at­ten­tion grab­bers, with Lam­borgh­ini, Benz and Fer­rari un­veil­ing con­vert­ibles and Jaguar and Bent­ley tak­ing the wraps off SUVs.

Nissan’s lux­ury arm In­finiti re­leased its Q30 com­pact cross­over and Citroen off­shoot DS un­veiled a com­pact cross­over con­cept that looks vir­tu­ally pro­duc­tion ready.

Porsche and Audi had the equally spec­tac­u­lar Mis­sion E and e-tron qu­at­tro elec­tric con­cepts (see cover story).

BMW had the re­cently ar­rived 7 Se­ries, the new X1 and a plug-in hy­brid ver­sion of the 2 Se­ries Ac­tive Tourer. Sub­brand Mini de­buted the new Coun­try­man.

BENT­LEY BEN­TAYGA

Awk­ward name, awk­ward looks but there’s no doubt the Bent­ley off-roader has cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of lux­ury car buy­ers. With 450kW/900Nm from its mas­sive W12 en­gine, the Bri­tish bruiser sprints to 100km/ h in 4 sec­onds flat — match­ing the cur­rent fastest SUV, Porsche’s Cayenne Turbo S.

Lack­ing low-range ra­tios, the Ben­tayga has eight driv­ing modes in­clud­ing four off-road set­tings. There are heigh­tad­justable air sus­pen­sion and hill de­scent con­trol for those in­clined to take half-a-mil­lion dol­lars of me­tal bush-bash­ing.

In­side it’s typ­i­cal Bent­ley op­u­lence, with di­a­mond­stitched leather, night vi­sion, head-up dis­play and big An­droid tablets for rear pas­sen­gers.

Bent­ley ex­pects the first Ben­tay­gas to ar­rive in Aus­tralia in May, with 50 to fol­low by year’s end. Half a dozen “sig­na­ture” mod­els cost­ing about $600,000 will be fol­lowed by a reg­u­lar half-mill model.

JAGUAR F-PACE

The Bri­tish brand cel­e­brated its en­try into the SUV mar­ket by claim­ing a Guin­ness world record for the largest “loop the loop” on a 20-me­tre struc­ture at the Nieder­rad Race­course. Stunt driver Terry Grant pulled 6.5Gs dur­ing the stunt.

Jaguar de­scribes the new F-Pace as “the world’s most prac­ti­cal sports car”, although cheaper mod­els will be pow­ered by a dis­tinctly un-sporty 132kW four-cylin­der diesel. It will join a 220kW V6 diesel and two petrol V6s pro­duc­ing 250kW and 280kW re­spec­tively.

De­signed more for carv­ing corners than tack­ling boggy marshes, the F-Pace bor­rows off-road smarts from sis­ter brand Land Rover, with adap­tive sur­face re­sponse tech­nol­ogy ad­just­ing the car’s sta­bil­ity con­trol, brakes and en­gine map­ping for dif­fer­ent sur­faces.

Jaguar says the F-Pace’s foot­print is unique, de­liv­er­ing more space and prac­ti­cal­ity than the cur­rent sedan range. The brand claims rear knee room is class lead­ing and lug­gage space is 650L. Jaguar Aus­tralia says the F-Pace will ar­rive next year and pre­dicts it could be­come the brand’s top-seller lo­cally.

LAM­BORGH­INI HURACAN SPY­DER

Lam­borgh­ini’s open-top is slower than the Fer­rari where it counts most, tak­ing 3.4 sec­onds to reach 100km/h. The switch to open-air mo­tor­ing also takes three sec­onds longer, although it can be done at up to 50km/h.

The Spy­der’s 5.2-litre V10 (449kW/560Nm) is shared with the donor Huracan, with the 120kg of the fold­ing soft-top adding 0.2 secs to the lat­ter’s ac­cel­er­a­tion split and tak­ing thirst to 12.3L/100km de­spite cylin­der de­ac­ti­va­tion and stop­start tech­nol­ogy.

Lam­borgh­ini boss Stephan Win­kle­mann says the Huracan has been a huge hit for the com­pany, with 3000 de­liv­ered in 15 months com­pared with 1700 in the same pe­riod for the pre­vi­ous Gallardo.

MERCEDES S-CLASS CABRIO, C-CLASS COUPE

The S-Class cabri­o­let is the first open-top four-seater from the brand since 1971. Ex­pected to ar­rive in Aus­tralia late next year at about $330,000, it will be pow­ered by a 335kW V8. The cabrio has air sus­pen­sion and a body that is more rigid than the pre­ced­ing S-Class coupe.

Com­fort fea­tures in­clude cli­mate con­trol that senses when the roof is re­tracted and ad­justs the tem­per­a­ture ac­cord­ingly. The roof has three lay­ers to cut cabin noise and can be re­tracted in 20 sec­onds at up to 60km/h.

Other no­ta­bles on the stand in­cluded the C-Class coupe, due lo­cally in the first half of next year, and the GLC Coupe Con­cept, ap­par­ently pro­duc­tion-ready. It is ex­pected lo­cally to­wards the end of next year with petrol, diesel, plug-in and AMG vari­ants. Prices should start from about $70,000.

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