Auto blogFri, 21 Jun 2013 19:59:00 EST
Chris Harris is back on the job, taking on really really difficult car questions like: Which enormously sexy and good-to-drive, high-performance convertible is the top of the heap? As one of the hottest cars in the luxury space right now, the Jaguar F-Type S is, of course, in on the action. Competition comes in the form of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster and the Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet. Sun-loving CEOs who despise test-driving need look no further.
Scroll on below for a fully featured (with a running time of more than 20 minutes) comparison video. Harris does his best to entertain - in a typically nitpicky and made-up-British-words fashion - and the moving pictures are lovely to look at. Kick back, pour a pint and get your weekend started off right.
In what must have looked and sounded to motorists on the M6 like an invasion of The Swarm, a parade of 50 enthusiast gems leaving a charity event were caught shooting down the on-ramp and merging into traffic. There were plenty of Porsches joining the 959 and Ducktail above, Aston Martins going back to the badboy V8 of the last millennium, a Ferrari Testarossa, a TVR and numerous other Easter eggs.
There were not, however, plenty of turn signals, with someone counting just five among the fifty engaging in proper use of the blinker. One reason put forth for that is the same reason we're posting this video, which is from last Summer, below: "because supercar." Enjoy.
This has been a tumultuous year for Lotus - to say the least - from the company being sold off back in January to its CEO Dany Bahar being fired in June to its questionable financial status and rumors of the British automaker being sold off to another automaker. First, we heard that Volkswagen was interested in acquiring Lotus and parent company Proton, a rumor that was later dismissed. Now Automobile is reporting that fellow Brit Aston Martin could be in the market to work with or possibly even merge with Lotus.
While this is pure speculation at this point, such a venture could prove to be beneficial for both independent companies. That's because with Lotus focused on lightweight, relatively affordable sports cars and Aston Martin producing high-end performance cars, there is virtually no product overlap between the companies. The article suggests that a person or company wanting to merge these two automakers would have to raise between $1.1 billion and $1.6 billion in order to make a go of it, however.
We're not sure what to think of this latest rumor, but anything that can help get the struggling brand back to health at least has our interest.
A pair of head-turning high performance cars are catching some attention off a different kind, in the form of safety recalls. Aston Martin and Lotus have issued recalls for the V12 Vantage Coupe and Evora, respectively.
Aston Martin's affects 169 examples of the 2009-2012 V12 Vantage Coupe. It concerns the tire-pressure monitoring system, and is less a malfunction than it is a compliance issue. The TPMS does not alert the driver until the front tire is more than 25 percent below the recommended cold tire pressure. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 138 states that the alarm must sound when tire pressure is "equal to or less than either the pressure 25 percent below" the recommended cold inflation pressure. To address the issue, Aston Martin will notify owners and reprogram the software, free of charge.
As for Lotus, 80 supercharged Evoras have been recalled, all built between February and September, 2011. The problem involves an engine-mounted oil feed pipe, which could rupture, causing loss of engine oil or a possible fire if the oil sprays onto a hot engine.
It's hard to think back now, but the same man overseeing the design of the 2013 Ford Fusion also presided over a rather lackluster period in Ford design, highlighted by vehicles like the Five Hundred and Freestyle. With the redesigned Fusion receiving high praise, J Mays tells Automotive News that he feels vindicated from criticisms suggesting he's not a daring enough designer.
When Mays took over as lead of design in 1997, he admits to having quite an ego ("My head would barely fit through the door some days. I've long since gotten over myself") and the workload to match. With the Blue Oval's portfolio full of premium brands like Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo at that point, along with the bread-and-butter Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models, Mays certainly had quite the challenge.
It was in the mid-2000s that Mays took over just the premium brands, and took on the new title of Chief Creative Officer. At the time, Mays endured some criticism for looking backwards to retro styling, rather than setting a new standard for American car design - criticism that Mays says he is free from with the all-new Fusion.
Bentley went to the Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance as the main sponsor and showed off six of its best among the gathering of "60 of the finest motor cars in the world," including the 4¼-liter Bentley 'Embiricos' Special built for a Greek shipping magnate and gentleman racer in the 1930s.
Even better, for us at least, is that when Bentley decided to capture the moment it took pictures of most of the metal on the lawn, not just the Bentleys. Thanks to that, we have a high-res gallery that's home to rarities like the Vauxhall 30-98 Type OE Boattail Wensum Tourer, beauties like the Bugatti Type 57S Atalante, long-tail Ford GT40, Maserati Tipo 60 Birdcage, Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato, a sinister Ferrari 250 GTO and the even more sinister Rolls-Royce Phantom Aerodynamic Coupe, among others. All you need to do now is click and enjoy.
The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance is a showcase for some of the world's most exquisite vintage vehicles, but if newer metal is more your speed, the Concept Car Lawn is the place to be.
This year saw models from Bugatti, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, McLaren and Bentley as well as SRT, Hennessey, Infiniti and Lexus among others. The ultimate sampler platter of exotic and concept vehicles saw the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse mingle with the Lamborghini Urus Concept and the mighty Hennessey Venom GT, though we found ourselves particularly smitten with the BMW Zagato Roadster and the Aston Martin Vanquish.
Not that we could go wrong anywhere we looked. The 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed seemed perfectly content parked on the manicured putting green, as did the McLaren MP4-12C Spider. Get cozy with the full gallery below to see the smattering of metal on the lawn.
If you have, like us, been salivating at the notion of a new generation of Maybach and Lagonda ultra-luxury crafts built by Aston Martin, we've got some bad news: According to reports emanating from Germany, talks between AML and Daimler have broken down.
The proposal under negotiation would have seen Daimler outsourcing production of the next family of Maybach models to Aston Martin, which in return would benefit from Mercedes-Benz platforms and engines - not only for its svelte GTs, but also for its own future Lagonda line of limousines and luxury SUVs. That, and a boatload of money - or at least that's what AML was reportedly seeking, an issue that served as the stumbling block over which the deal reportedly collapsed.
That's not to say the two parties couldn't still reach some sort of a compromise, but short of that, Daimler may opt to either shut down Maybach altogether, find another partner, or take another stab at building new models internally.