In­no­va­tive, pow­er­ful, el­e­gant cars

Avion Luxury International Airport Magazine - - 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.

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