The Superior Luxury BMW Cars.. Love It

Best Serious Sedan: BMW 750i xDrive

The new 7-Series is the biggest sedan BMW makes.
The new 7-Series is the biggest sedan BMW makes.
Source: BMW

The 750i comes with a massive V8 engine that pulls 445 horsepower and will hit 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. It has multiple drive modes that adapt automatically to your driving style and an 8-speed automatic transmission built on all-wheel-drive. That’s all great. But it’s the up-front tech (self-parking system, gesture-driven technology) and in-back features that matter most, such as the enormous panoramic sunroof spanning from the front to the two rear executive seats, both of which massage and one of which can fully recline (there’s even a custom scent selector). BMW’s biggest sedan feels as posh and businesslike as a Lear jet in the back and drives as light and nimble. There is nothing on the town car market today with the same supreme engineering and understated dignity.

 

Best Sport Coupe: BMW M2

The M235i includes xenon headlights, hands-free Bluetooth and USB, and dynamic brake and stability control, all as standard features.
The M235i includes xenon headlights, hands-free Bluetooth and USB, and dynamic brake and stability control, all as standard features.
Photographer: Hannah Elliott/Bloomberg

BMW introduced the 2-Series last year as a way to upgrade everyone from the 1-Series and compete more directly with the Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz C350 coupes. The efficient and affordable M235i costs less than $50,000, even with such upgrades as Harman-Kardon sound, park assist cameras, and heated seats. What’s more, its eight-speed turbocharged inline six engine packs 320 hp and gets to 60 mph in four and a half seconds. Moral of the story? It’s small, tight, and powerful, like a punch from a welterweight. Once you hit the gas, you’re not going to want to get out.

 

Best ‘Impractical’ Coupe: Mercedes AMG GT

Mercedes AMG Review: $130,000 of Flashy Fun

This is the purest sports car Mercedes has ever made, even more than the iconic 1960s-era SLs it evokes—and no, there’s no back seat. It has a 7-speed AMG-built transmission and paddle shifters that push its aluminum body to nearly 200 mph. (Zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.) There are three drive modes and adaptive carbon-fiber brakes, a carbon-fiber drive shaft, standard crash avoidance, and a performance exhaust system loud enough to let everyone know you’re coming. The suspension and chassis are tuned to racing precision. It feels born to be on the track, even more edgy than a 911. Buy the AMG GT S because it’s faster and, more importantly, more fun to drive than any other production car Mercedes makes.

 

Best ‘Practical’ Coupe: Aston Martin DB9 GT

Review: Aston Martin DB9 GT, Different In a Good Way

For the latest version of its Bond-worthy DB9, Aston made the DB9 GT, a coupe as precise to drive as a laser and just as effective. It shares the same V12 engine as its standard sibling paired with an automatic 6-speed transmission and rear-wheel drive. The car gets to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds; top speed exceeds 180 mph. Driving it feels like jumping into the middle of a big-budget film chase scene—the DB9 is alluringly raw. It’s also “practical” because it does have a “back seat,” but I’d keep passengers to a minimum.

 

Best SUV: Tie

Bentley Bentayga

Bentley’s 6.0-litre W12 behemoth gets 600 horsepower on an all-wheel-drive, eight-speed automatic transmission. It’ll go to 60 mph in four seconds and hit a top speed of 187 miles per hour. It is the world’s fastest SUV and easily the most luxurious: hand-stitched trim, accoutrements galore (picnic basket and champagne, anyone?), more of them than any other SUV in its class. In this car, Bentley combines the ultimate interior with the ultimate in performance. After all, it would never stoop to distribute anything less than the superb, made-for-royalty coaches it routinely turns out in coupe and sedan form. The massive, surprisingly handsome new Bentayga only ups the ante.

 

Tesla Model X

When it finally comes out in 2016, the Model X will have 250 miles of range and massive horsepower. Company founder Elon Musk has said it’ll hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds (even faster with Ludicrous mode) and will have a top speed of 155 mph. If true, that sprint time will beat the plush Bentayga. And if it is as good as the exceptional Model S sedan(and if you’ve got a place to charge it), this will be the SUV to buy when you want something big—and earth-friendly. There’s currently nothing on the market like it. Consider it money well spent.

 

Best Exotic: Ferrari 488 GTB

Ferrari 488 GTB Coupe Does Turbo-Charged Power Proud

This 660-horsepower V8 coupe will hit 60 mph in 3 seconds. Wonderful. More importantly, as the first Ferrari in years to use turbocharged power rather than natural aspiration, it gets 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway—progress for this elite exotic and better than most of its compatriots. It’s Ferrari’s statement that you can combine massive power with Italian good looks and raw performance without creating a total gas-guzzler. Baby steps, right? For a new Ferrari that is furiously drivable yet enjoyable on a daily basis, this is the one.

 

Best Convertible: Bentley GT Speed

Test Driving Bentley’s Continental GT Speed Convertible

The GT Speed is the fastest four-seat convertible on the market today, even though it weighs a whopping 6,300 pounds. (It hits 60 mph in 4 seconds.) Pretty inside and out, it has red carbon ceramic brake calipers on 21-inch alloy wheels, a diamond lattice grill, and polished LED headlights that accent the trim bodyline and big British muscular haunches. You’ll be hard-pressed to find something in this price range that can match both the caliber of craftsmanship, the roguish good looks, and the potency of its 626-horsepower V12 engine.

This Aston Martin was so good we actually wanted to buy one

The details are clean, simple, and sinuous.
Aston Martin DB9 25Hollis Johnson

Sometimes a car just takes your breath away — in every imaginable way. It’s even better if this experience is totally unexpected.

I mean, wow.

This happened recently with our transportation team when we checked out an Aston Martin DB9 for a few days. The DB9 isn’t exactly a new car — it’s been around since 2003. The formula for this grand tourer is quite simple and involves two parts. Part one is a gigantic V12 engine stuffed under the hood. Part two is an abundance of suave, British tailoring.

Because what we have in the DB9 is effectively an English Corvette, minus the bone-crunching redneck ‘Vette associations. They’ve been replaced with the requisite infusion of James Bond, which makes sense as Mr. Bond has always been an Aston man.

Honestly, we weren’t expected to be so thoroughly captivated by the DB9. With “only” 510 horsepower, it’s left in the dust, on paper, by several competitors these days. But massive horsepower can be a mere number — it’s in the way that you use it, to borrow a line from a famous English guitarist.

And the DB9 uses all its horsepower to perfection. All while looking so, so good. I’ve had a lot of sexy cars in my driveway, but the $200,000 DB9, in a striking red paint job, stopped more than a few folks in their tracks as they strolled by.

Photos by Hollis Johnson.

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The DB9 was designed by Henrik Fisker, and although its debt to the classic Jaguar E-Type is obvious, in red this car has more curb appeal than should be legal.
The DB9 was designed by Henrik Fisker, and although its debt to the classic Jaguar E-Type is obvious, in red this car has more curb appeal than should be legal.
The DB9 was designed by Henrik Fisker, and although its debt to the classic Jaguar E-Type is obvious, in red this car has more curb appeal than should be legal.
Hollis Johnson
What does it look like when every angle, swoop, line, and curve on a car is right? It looks like the DB9. More recent examples of this genre — the 2+2 GT coupe — can come off as burly and over-muscled. But not the DB9. And believe me, it’s very hard to be this gorgeous without expending seemingly any effort.

This is not an angry face. This is not a serious face. This is a purposeful face.
This is not an angry face. This is not a serious face. This is a purposeful face.
Hollis Johnson
The front-end proportions are completely in balance: headlights, hood width, grille, aerodynamics. The Aston badge is also refreshingly modest. This all enables you to focus on the best feature of the car’s hood, which is how long it is. This is a hood that announces a car with a forceful fanfare that never threatens to go out of tune.
The badging on the rear is low-key …
The badging on the rear is low-key …
Hollis Johnson
So it’s a DB9, not a DB7.

… very low-key.
… very low-key.
Hollis Johnson
And the modest Aston Martin badge from the front is perfectly echoed below the trunk line. What the DB9 reminds you is that the various elements that make up a car’s design are an industrial combination of sculpture, graphic arts, and something else: a tricky-to-capture third quality of equilibrium, with everything working in unison to stir the soul in ways that more arrogant riffs can’t. This design ethos was prevalent in the early 2000s, when the DB9 hit the scene. Over the course of more than a decade, it’s been left behind as high-performance cars have engaged in a sort of arms race of arrogance when it comes to their looks. The idea is to demand attention rather that earn it. The DB9 reminds us which is more satisfying.
I mean, wow.
I mean, wow.
Hollis Johnson
It really does blow you away with subtle magic. You can’t really call it provocative or bold. But it is glorious in execution. You could say that Jaguars are the most English of cars, but this Aston is what I think an automotive calling card from that island should be all about. Even that dash of stylish venting on the fender is well-placed. And study that quietly flexed rear haunch. The beltline is high, but it doesn’t make the roof seem chopped. And even the long hood doesn’t come off as as too long.

The details are clean, simple, and sinuous.
The details are clean, simple, and sinuous.
Hollis Johnson
Because the DB9’s design is over a decade old at this point, it’s mercifully exempt from many of the more extraneous styling flourishes that have beset the auto industry more recently. The headlights don’t lack drama, but they do lack a lot of fussy, jewel-like elements. Form follows function — and the function is to light the road ahead.

BMW Holds On To U.S. Luxury Car Sales Crown In 2015, Lexus Moves Into Second

2016 BMW i82016 BMW i8

When it comes to luxury car sales in the United States, BMW was the most popular brand in 2015. This was the fourth-straight year at the top for the blue and white roundel, though Lexus, having fully recovered from the Japanese tsunami disaster several years back, is currently second in the sales chart and close to regaining the title it’s used to holding.

BMW finished 2015 with 346,023 sales (up 1.8 percent on 2014), followed by Lexus with 344,601 (up 10.7 percent) and Mercedes-Benz with 343,088 (up 3.8 percent). The figures all represent new records for the brands in a year where the overall market also set a new record. Light-vehicle sales in the U.S. totaled 17,470,659 units, which was up 5.7 percent on last year’s tally but more importantly was also up on the previous record of 17,402,486 units in 2000.

ALSO SEE: 2017 BMW 5-Series Spy Shots And Video

But focusing once again on the luxury brands, pretty much all the majors, apart from Bentley, Jaguar and Maserati, saw gains in the U.S. during 2015. Finally, it’s worth mentioning the strong performance of Audi. Despite its diesel emissions cheating scandal this year, the brand didn’t see much of a slowdown at all. Audi sold 20,399 units last month to record its best-ever December result, and for the year it sold 202,202 units, up 11.1 percent on 2014’s result. See how most of the major brands performed in the list below:

Luxury car sales in the United States in 2015

1) BMW – 346,023 – up 1.8 percent
2) Lexus – 344,601 – up 10.7 percent
3) Mercedes-Benz – 343,088 – up 3.8 percent
4) Audi – 202,202 – up 11.1 percent
5) Acura – 177,165 – up 5.6 percent
6) Cadillac – 175,267 – up 2.6 percent
7) Infiniti – 133,498 – up 13.8 percent
8) Lincoln – 101,227 – up 7.1 percent
9) Land Rover – 70,582 – up 37 percent
10) Volvo – 70,047 – up 24.3 percent
11) Porsche – 51,756 – up 10.1 percent
12) Jaguar – 14,466 – down 8 percent
13) Maserati – 11,697 – down 9.6 percent
14) Bentley – 2,686 – down 10.6 percent
15) Rolls-Royce – 1,140 – up 2.6 percent

The Maserati SUV we’ve all been waiting for has arrived

Maserati Levante

Maserati revealed the first official photos of its upcoming Levante SUV on Friday.The Levante will be the first SUV in the history of the century-old Italian brand known mostly for its exotic sports cars.

In recent years, Maserati’s parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has worked hard to revive the brand that had all but died out in the US. The company made a big splash in 2014 with the introduction if its Ghibli sedan, but the momentum surrounding the brand has tapered off considerably since then.

With the Levante, Maserati hopes to reignite the company’s flagging sales by tapping into the surging luxury SUV market. The Levante will join Maserati’s existing lineup, which includes the Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans along with the GranTurismo and GranCabrio GT models.

Maserati Levante

Styling-wise, the Levante carries many of the same design cues as other models in the Maserati lineup. The Maserati grille and aggressive headlights bear a striking resemblance to the Ghibli sedan.The rear of the SUV features quad-exhausts and a sloping roofline with a partially integrated spoiler.

Maserati has been coy about the mechanical makeup of the Levante, but the company did reveal that it will be available with both diesel and gasoline engines, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and the brand’s “Q4” all-wheel-drive system.

Maserati Levante

According to Maserati, the first Levantes have already rolled out of the company’s Turin assembly plant. The SUV is expected to launch in Europe this Spring followed by a worldwide launch later this year.Maserati has yet to reveal pricing and interior contents of the SUV.

The Maserati Levante will make its official world debut in March at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

BMW executives hint at luxury car above 7 Series

In an interview with Automotive News, BMW executives hinted at a new product sitting above the 7 Series luxury limousine. The rumored model has been …

In an interview with Automotive News, BMW executives hinted at a new product sitting above the 7 Series luxury limousine. The rumored model has been mentioned in the past few months but different sources with the 8 and 9 Series badge names being thrown around. The flagship BMW aims to compete with the Maybach version of the S-Class offered by Mercedes-Benz.

“Just like certain competitors, we will see that we occupy with credible offers the price bracket of 150,000 euros ($170,000) and beyond,” BMW development chief Klaus Froehlich said.

 Froehlich said BMW wouldn’t just take an existing 7 Series and stretch it, but rather a new model.

“Some simply do 4 or 5 wheelbases [in length] and add varyingly thick chrome packages,” he said. “That will not be the BMW approach.”

“The luxury class will remain a high-margin segment, so we intend to enhance our presence by adding another new model,” BMW CEO Harald Krueger said also.

The most expensive BMW 7 series starts in Germany at around $126,000 and the next most expensive limousine in the BMW Group family is the Rolls-Royce Ghost. The large gap between the two models would allow BMW to tap into a new customer base.