The actual business of luxury cars might look a little dicey. China, once the darling of just about anything luxury, seems to be coming (crashing?) down from the clouds as economic reality sets in. While the numbers from the Mainland may seem depressing, luxury car brands continue to invest in the China market where it is actually really cool to drive a Buick.
And the news isn’t all bad. Back home in Canada, luxury car brands are having a booming 2015 with lots emptying of all the top models from all the major luxury carmakers. India is another hotspot for the luxury car market as newly minted Indians are looking to splurge their newfound wealth on things that are fast and shiny.
2015 was a busy year for luxury car brands and we picked 4 of our favorite and most significant automotive stories of the year.
Bentley creates the super SUV class
The demand for SUV’s continues unabated and luxury brands have put their own models on fast tracks for redesigns and improvements. Once market which is seriously under-served is the super luxury category. Bentley teased the motoring public with the super luxurious EXP 9 F concept a few years ago. You would think something with that cool a name would be well received but that was not the case and the design was panned as ‘the ugly Bentley’.
This past year, Bentley officially announced its SUV plans with the more conservative Bentyaga. The company claims this will be the fastest SUV and holds the crown by a 1 km/h margin. A 12 cylinder power plant delivers that smooth Bentley power as occupants are wrapped up in traditional Bentley luxury and design. Placing your order is a moot point.
The last McLaren P1 is built
No other car maker creates more of a buzz than McLaren as automotive enthusiasts and the super wealthy anticipate the next ‘great machine’ from the brand. McLaren showed off its high tech and super high performance P1 hybrid super car in Paris in 2012 and by 2013, the entire 375 unit production run was sold out before the first car was built. That’s what happens when you wrap a total of 903 horsepower from 2 engines in a super sleek carbon fiber body.
The P1 set the bar for performance and technology and created the ‘hypercar’ category. McLaren packed as much of its racing knolwedge and technology into this car and saying that it is ‘track ready’ is a bit of an understatement. McLaren built number 375 recently in 2015 ending production of this iconic car. While McLaren does build other mainstream machines, the next pure McLaren won’t appear until 2020 which makes us sad from a car perspective.
Mercedes Benz brings back an iconic luxury brand
How do you make the world’s greatest car even better? Mercedes-Benz answered this question in 2015 with the debut of the S600 Maybach Pullman Edition. In 2014, Mercedes-Benz took its S-Class flagship sedan to new heights of luxury with features like stone massage seats and cabin aromatherapy control.
Increasing market share is the name of the game in the luxury car market and Mercedes-Benz hopes to take away some from more established brands by resurrecting 2 iconic luxury brands, Maybach and Pullman. Based the already successful S600 flagship, the Mayback and Pullman editions take German luxury to new levels. Stretch wheelbases, exotic leathers and woods, unique technology and possibly the plushest ride are aimed to lure Bentley and Roll-Royce buyers across the Rhine.
Porsche aims at Tesla with a missile
As of now, Tesla owns the fully electric luxury performance market but Porsche is on a mission to claim its performance dominance across all engine types. In 2015, Porsche debuted the Mission E concept in Frankfurt to a surprised audience and its purpose is as crystal clear as the car’s emissions: To knock Tesla off its perch as the fastest all electric production vehicle.
As Porsche fans, we hope to see this meld of radical styling and classic ‘Porsche elements’ in the upcoming redesign of the Panamera. Numbers for the Mission E are impressive with a 0-100 km/h time of 3.5 seconds and 600 horsepower directed to all four wheels. A maximum range of 310 miles is excellent for a high performance all electric vehicle but the real dazzle comes in the high powered charging system which can deliver 250 miles of range in only 15 minutes. As Porsche fans, we hope to see this leading technology and radical styling in the upcoming redesign of the Panamera sedan.
By Doron Levy Courtesy TheTopTier Digital Media