The summertime has traditonally been regarded as 'ballin' season. This is the time of year the big boys bring out theit big toys. On any given day a simple visit to your local mall or plaza can seem like you've entered a car show. Check out the latest models from Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Bugatti as we tempt you with the coldest whips of 2012.
Carbon is the nonmetallic chemical element with the Atomic Number six and hails from Group Fourteen on the Periodic Table. When you bond together carbon atoms with fiber, the breakthrough metabolic engineering process results in a high-strength and decreased weight material that has a heightened tolerance for resistance, temperature and thermal expansion. Of course, carbon fiber is extreme in pricing and is utilized appropriately in aerospace, military and automotive motorsports fields. Aston Martin uses it fittingly for style, grace and performance in its nearly $300,000 DBS Carbon Edition.
If beauty resides in the eye of the beholder, then everyone that laid sight on the Carbon Black DBS (also available in Flame Orange and Ceramic Grey) must have been under an intense British spell because they stared at it like a resurrection. The British 2+2 Coupe’s charismatic intent, posh hand-stitched cabin (70 hours to complete), available power, and quantity of carbon fiber energized my conscience with a minor bit of impetuous arrogance knowing this “beauty and the beast” could electrify a crowd and simultaneously embarrass the majority of myopic sports car owners on the road.
Specifically, carbon fiber comprises the side view mirrors, front chin spoiler, rear diffuser, door trim and pulls, sill plate, and the center stack. A hand-built 5.9-liter V12 engine with 510 British raised steeds allows 0-60 mph to come in a scant 4.3 seconds.
Now, the DBS isn’t the fastest sports car I’ve ever driven (that goes to the Bugatti Veyron), but it does do a lot of things well like braking and cornering. It’s not necessarily always about the pure number of horses under the hood. More important is the weight-to-horsepower ratio, which affects acceleration and braking. To my point, the aluminum and magnesium DBS felt so light and fluid that 510 horsepower can easily equate to 600 horsepower in a heavier vehicle.
When you prefer to drive the vehicle in a more relaxing manner, simply put the gearbox in automatic mode, connect your iPod, and turn up the volume to the 1000-watt Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system. Passengers consistently asked what the two raised, mini towers were from both ends of the dash. These tweeters add style and presence to the DBS.
DBS Carbon Edition prices start at $287,576 for the coupe and $302,576 for the Volante (convertible) and achieves 12 mpg city and 18 mpg hwy. There’s a reason James Bond chose an Aston Martin DBS for his latest installment.
COST: $287,576 FOR COUPE
$302,576 FOR CONVERTIBLE
You can always find a good reason to fly across the pond to attend the International Geneva Motor Show. Whether it’s to catch up with industry colleagues for networking, to witness history firsthand, or study international automotive design schemes, the intimate Geneva Motor Show is one to put on your annual Bucket List. For the 82nd presentation, one of the main attractions was Bugatti’s up to 1,200 horsepower Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, which has entered a new stratosphere of drop-top performance.
After a few drives in the base 1,001 horsepower Grand Sport, we at Automotive Rhythms can officially attest to its performance dominance and entitlement as the greatest high-performance vehicle of all time (GOAT). So we can only imagine what the Vitesse will do to freshly paved asphalt. Visually attached to the Veyron Super Sport, which holds the current world speed record, the Vitesse shows off with consistent dynamic driving characteristics.
Bugatti’s engineers have developed the current GOAT into an even more powerful vehicle with a maximum torque of 1,500 Nm. The increased power of the new roadster’s 16-cylinder engine is made possible by four distended turbochargers and intercoolers and its chassis has been tuned to handle the added power. “The rapid success of the Super Sport convinced us to increase the performance of the Bugatti roadster. Once again our engineers worked hard to demonstrate that Bugatti is able to constantly redefine the boundaries of what is technically feasible,” reveals Bugatti President Wolfgang Dürheimer.
COST: APPROX $2.5 MILLION
In the animal kingdom, Jaguars are a rare breed almost to the point of extinction. For that matter, people confuse them with Leopards and Panthers. Well, in the automotive world the British “cat” is far from extinct and for 2012 has redefined the kitty kingdom with a new high-performance XKR-S Coupe and Convertible. The latest member of the family is undoubtedly the most authoritative and the quickest production vehicle Jaguar has ever built. To prove their case as to why this rendition of the XKR is so fierce, the team allowed me to personally speed test the beast.
The XKR-S is so eloquent and so tamed, but so fierce when you get on it. Both the XKR-S Coupe & Convertible feature Jaguar’s 5-liter AJ-V8 with 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. That’s an 8% and 9% respective increase from the performance of the XKR. It darts from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and shifts power through an automatic 6-speed transmission with steering wheel embedded shifters. An all aluminum body, chassis and engine; a wider and lower bumper intake; and a massive rear wing and carbon fiber diffuser combo add additional performance enhancements to the XKR-S.
So why did Jaguar have a need for the XKR-S when they have a 510 horsepower XKR and will not make money on the project with so few cars? Well, they state it’s more than a car from Jaguar and is a brand ambassador. They want to deliver and showcase the vehicle as a symbol of the revitalization of the brand, and to manifest new emotions and life from their customers.
With six colors available, the Coupe will retail for $132,000 and the Convertible will run $138,000. For 2012 all 100 coupes and 25 Convertibles are sold out. A balance of 100 Coupes and 100 Convertibles are planned for the 2013 model year and in 2014 100 Coupes and 75 Convertibles will be available. So maybe this breed of performance cats will become just as extinct as the Jaguars in the wild!
COST: $132,000 FOR COUPE
$138,000 FOR CONVERTIBLE