Innovative, powerful, elegant cars
The more beautiful something is, the more people will buy it, even if its price is extremely high. It may seem a paradox, but this is the (tough) law of the market that has been established in Europe and most of the rest of the world. In areas of Europe where sales volumes are decreasing and the manufacturers of small city cars are suffering, car makers producing luxury models are, in almost all cases, celebrating. The big names in luxury cars in Italy and Germany are, in fact, producing results that even surpass predictions, thus rewarding investments and technological research since the brands leading the way are those that regularly propose the most innovative, powerful and elegant models. BMW has cleverly refreshed its 7 Series, introducing some significant but subtle design tweaks - something less than a true facelift, but intended to perfect the latest, already exceptional version. The designer’s pen has lightened the legendary central grille with less vertical slats, added a new strip to the rear bumpers and restyled the side mirrors with turn-signal indicators, and included many new features inside, beginning with the resculpted seats, a 1200 watt Bang & Olufsen sound system and a fully digital dash display integrated in the utmost of infotainment systems. Audi instead has reawakened its sporty soul, offering a new, more mature and modern R8 which features a sharper, sleeker look, a new 7-speed S Tronic transmission and renewed 550 bhp V10 Plus engine. It has simultaneously brought out a Spyder version - a rare gem in the sector - which
is slightly heavier because it is equipped with a electro-hydraulically operated fabric roof. Mercedes, whose aim is to recover ground lost to its two German competitors, has instead launched itself into virtually unexplored territory. With its CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake, it is looking to ride the wave of the newly rediscovered station wagon, suitable for everyday use and, above all, with enough room for the whole family. Instead, with its Concept Style Coupé, Mercedes has established a new style icon, creating a car of breathtaking proportions and lines without compromising on beauty or capabilities. The SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive demonstrates that it is possible to have an all-electric supercar in 2013 which produces an output of 552 kW and torque of 1,000 Nm - like an extreme sportscar. But it might be useful to know that to drive it you need to spend over 400,000 euros and to keep fuel consumption levels down the speed has been limited to the “usual” 250 km/h. The new Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and 4S close our review of German cars. There’s a long waiting list for these eagerly awaited, sought-after models that have enabled Porsche to break one record after another. The new Panamera gives its utmost with the Platinum Edition, an extremely elegant version thanks to, as the name suggests, new platinum silver elements on the body in the details that count, such as the elements on the exterior mirrors, the air inlet grille lamellas, the trim on the small spoiler and the rear diffuser. The British car makers have been equally busy: Range Rover has inaugurated the fourth series, which has unchanged off-road features but is characterised by luxury and all the latest technology: 420 kilos less, cleaner lines outside and less instruments inside, with an unexpectedly simple transmission tunnel. Aston Martin, with the DB9, which has
inherited its style from the Vanquish, displays even more aggressive features and carbon ceramic brakes fitted as standard. Lastly Ferrari pampers its old and future customers with unique details that depart from its usual style. It has designed the FF, the first 4-seater in the history of the brand of the “Prancing Horse”, which presented the 2013 version in Paris with optional panoramic roof along the length of the vehicle. This year, in order to offer a more accessible package, Ferrari presented a renewed entry-level model called the California 30, the number 30 indicating the fact that it is 30 kilos lighter and 30 bhp more powerful. But the car maker’s most important new car is the F12 Berlinetta, simply the most powerful and best performing Ferrari every built. A worthy heir of the Fiorano, thanks to some 740 bhp, it may be one of last “non-hybrid” 12-cylinder cars from the brand.