Lexus LF-C2 Concept Shows Future Design Plans

Lexus Toyota has been captivating the auto industry since the glorious LFA supercar concept first shook things up back in 2005. Flash forward to 2014 and the brand is still making waves with their modern yet also futuristic design cues. The Lexus LF-C2 concept hit the stage at the LA Auto Show recently, providing a glimpse of things to come. While some are still adapting to that shapely grille–it does tend to grow on you.

Lexus LF-C2The Lexus LF-C2 concept boasts a special multi-layer paint that reflects light in just the right way. It is science.  

According to Jeff Bracken of Lexus: “The LF-C2 concept shows what is in store for our brand’s future design direction. It shows consumers around the world Lexus’ devotion to emotional designs as well as our passion for an exceptional driving experience.”

Lexus LF-C2The distinctive grille design on the Lexus LF-C2 carries over from previous models, but the overall look is more provocative. Let’s take a look at the little stunner:

  • The first thing that stands out is the fresh white leather seats inside. The LF-C2 it is a convertible and the brightness pops.
  • The layout is a 2+2 with the following dimensions: 186” long, 72” wide and 55” tall. This is like the RC coupe.
  • Sweet LED lighting and quad exhaust tips announce power and a capable engine.
  • What engine that will be is not yet known. Most assume a V8 or V10 like the LFA and others.
  • Remote Touchpad system.
  • That hot white sport style seating will look great with any exterior hue.
  • New things: Rear combination lamps and braided mesh grille.

Lexus LF-C2The drop-top GT Lexus LF-C2 pushes the pedal down toward future design in LA. 

Overall, the LF-C2 is stunning on the inside and out. The chief designer of the concept, Yasuo Kajino, summed up the project nicely: “We’ve been instinctively drawn to and inspired by those things that capture the beauty of light. When you put something in the right light, people see it in a way they never have before.”

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The Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600: It is Back!

After a bit of the standard anticipation and teasing, the lavish Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600 has rolled out. The company chose the well-attended Los Angeles Auto Show to unveil the comeback model, with much to admire and many questions in its wake. Will the symbol of the perfect luxury car survive another round on the market? It is just two years after the funeral, after all! Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600The Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600 is an exquisite example of what a true luxury automobile should be. But can she survive in this rather complicated market?

The Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600 at a glance:

  • Power is derived via a thirsty new 6.0-liter biturbo V12 engine. The engine was produced meticulously at the AMG division, so you know it is outstanding and aggressive.
  • Extended wheelbase. Yes, this version of the lux limousine is even more dramatically drawn out, perfect for chauffeuring and laden with amenities.
  • Like the Maybach 57 predecessor, the interior seats are all electronically adjustable. That means everyone will be comfortable, not just a driver and front passenger.
  • Detailed Napa leather lines the entire cabin, as one would expect from a front-running model.

Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600How will this time be different for the Maybach?

It was just two years ago that the upscale Maybach brand was buried by the brand because she was not exactly carrying her weight. It seems that this time the two have a new arrangement, wherein the Maybach brand will exist much like the Mercedes-Benz AMG performance division. To put that into perspective, the AMG division is a bit of a producer, attracting and unloading a variety of high-performance offerings. The Maybach badge could self-sustain in the area of exclusivity, arguably.

Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600Will the Mercedes-Benz Maybach and perhaps even a Pullman rise from the ashes and once again grace our roadways? Stay tuned!

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Rolls-Royce White Glove Driver Course Preserves Motoring Traditions

The Rolls-Royce White Glove driver course is poised to pave the way toward a better brand understanding and operations by today’s chauffeurs and professionals. With traditions and even minimal etiquette standards nearly a distant memory, can the brand salvage some of that former class and pizazz? The focus of the program is on proper driving and operational professionalism. What that means: A Hawaiian shirt is never acceptable attire for the chauffeur of a Rolls-Royce car.

Rolls-Royce White Glove

Geared toward keeping the traditional chauffeuring practices alive, the Rolls-Royce White Glove professional driving school delivers owners from fleet frustration.

The Rolls-Royce white glove program provides training for interested buyers. Much like driver’s education programs, the Rolls-Royce professional driver course does not ensure a viable finished product—but it certainly gives it every effort. Andi McCann, head instructor of the course, lightheartedly summed up the driving school effort: “A Rolls-Royce is a splendid piece of art. It is a monument of brilliant engineering. The driver is the weak link.”

Rolls-Royce White Glove The Rolls-Royce White Glove Driving Course at a glance:

  • The Rolls-Royce buyer can select from a basic security course or a more elegant professional curriculum. While both driving courses cover the basics, the more upscale course offers appropriate etiquette and a deeper understanding of what it means to own such a remarkable and historic machine.
  • A majority of the attendees are not owners of the cars, but rather, hotel employees, valets and professional chauffeurs.
  • Remember the largest order of Rolls-Royce Phantoms ever placed? Employees of the Louis XIII Hotel where the fleet will live will all be attending the White Glove driver course. Good form, sirs.
  • The course outlines proper attire, behavior and vehicle operation from a chauffeur standpoint. Neat items include: Helping a lady emerge in a short dress, avoiding paparazzi, safety, kidnap or attack strategies.

Rolls-Royce White Glove One of the rules taught in the Rolls-Royce professional driver course: Never cross the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament. The driver is never to walk in front of the vehicle or the passenger. Efforts like this are always a great idea, no one wants to hire a professional chauffeured car and have the driver ruin the experience!

Rolls-Royce White Glove

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Victoria’s Secret Billionaire Sues Auction House Over Ferrari 375-Plus Sale

There seems to be trouble in paradise for well-respected luxury auction house Bonham’s. The billionaire behind Victoria’s Secret and other companies, Les Wexner, recently purchased a 1954 Ferrari 375-Plus at the Goodwood Festival of Speed auction hosted by Bonham’s. Now Wexner is suing due to a pre-existing dispute over the car’s ownership! Bonham’s states that the ownership dispute was resolved prior to the sale, yet Wexner claims he was not made aware of any of the story and claims the legalities continue.

Ferrari 375-Plus

Les Wexner claims he was not made aware of the legal situation involving the Ferrari and that it continues. 

The dispute stems from a series of strange happenings:

  • Part of the Ferrari 375-Plus was stolen from its Ohio home back in the 1980s. The stolen part was taken to Belgium, where the legal spat began.
  • The heated dispute has continued across the Atlantic for decades…defying rationality.
  • Bonham’s did arrange a session that brought both sides of the dispute together and claims an agreement was reached and signed. The agreement supposedly extinguishes all claims and counterclaims on the car.
  • If such an agreement was signed in 2013, prior to the 2014 sale to Wexner, why is he filing for a full refund for the Ferrari as well as damages?

Ferrari 375-PlusWexner is among the largest retail moguls on the planet. Wexner has Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, Henri Bendel and La Senza in his deep pockets to support any shopping habits. The annual Goodwood Festival of Speed attracts buyers like Wexner annually, and auction houses like Bonham’s are eager to provide an arena where buyers and sellers can come together. The auction house should certainly proceed with caution in the matter to avoid losing the confidence of high-end clients.

Ferrari 375-PlusFun fact: the 1954 Ferrari 375-Plus has a 4.9-liter engine capable of nailing the 0-60 mile per hour jump in 4 seconds with a top speed of 186. More fun to look at: Victoria’s Secret models or this Ferrari?

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Get Sweet on the Alfa Romeo SUV

The Alfa Romeo SUV is slated to appear in showrooms as early as 2016—yet few teasers and details have emerged on the strange specimen. At this point in the game, we can merely see some Maserati-based mules out testing and make our best guesses at potential powertrain options. There are also some sexy renderings, but they may not convey the actual end result when it comes to outward appearances.

Alfa Romeo SUVThe Alfa Romeo SUV may be worth getting sweet on. It looks like a crossover body with distinctive sports car curb appeal.

The Alfa Romeo SUV is looking decent at this stage in its life cycle, but the burning question remains: What will lurk under that shapely bonnet? Best guesses indicate the following possibilities:

The Alfa Romeo SUV platform at a glance:

  • The same powertrain as the Maserati Quattroporte Q4? It is shorter than the Ghibli, but could offer decent power if overall weight is kept down.
  • Rear and AWD options with a likely Sport Mode.
  • Turbo V6 petrol and diesel variants with MultiAir variable valve timing and lift.
  • Some say: The range-topping Alfa Romeo engines may be developed by Ferrari.

Alfa Romeo SUVSo what is the back-story to the Alfa SUV? The brand is working hard to solidify a spot in the highly competitive luxury SUV arena. Securing a name for yourself among players like Maserati, Land Rover, Bentley and others clamoring for top spot is not an easy task, which is why a little aid from Maserati will not hurt. FCA owns both Maserati SpA and Fiat SpA, and Fiat owns Alfa Romeo.

Alfa Romeo SUVThere is also a Maserati SUV in the making, based on the full-bodied Ghibli platform. With so much to look forward to, we certainly hope they can accelerate toward the launch dates and end the suspense!

Alfa Romeo SUVGorgeous Alfa Romeo SUV renderings spark imagination. 

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Fiat 500 Abarth Scorpion Shows Off That Aftermarket Sting

Fans of the Fiat 500 Abarth can revel in the heady effects of more aftermarket tweaking with the Scorpion hatchback. The Fiat 500 Abarth Scorpion package hit the 2014 SEMA show in style and aggression. Is it better than the standard version or the 500 Abarth Venom from 2012? You be the judge!

Fiat 500 Abarth ScorpionWhen it comes to prestige, few can match the talent associated with the name Mopar. The Mopar hand remains in the Fiat 500 Abarth Scorpion concept, offering perfectly tuned aggression to match the Scorpion countenance. Yes, all of that bundled into the tight diminutive Fiat Abarth bod. The outward appearance of the Fiat 500 does not do the performance capabilities any justice—few would argue with that opinion.

Fiat 500 Abarth ScorpionThe enormous Abarth Scorpion logo on the tiny hood is the indicator that this little number is different. The logo and the special two-tone flash announce that this is not just an eco car out for a Sunday drive.

The Fiat 500 Abarth Scorpion’s arsenal of fun features include:

  • That tough looking scorpion graphic hanging on to the hood for dear life. Well played.
  • Mopar cat-back system.
  • Itty-bitty Abarth wheels that defiantly do not distract from the body…one must squint to fully appreciate them.
  • Smoked rear lights.
  • Carbon fiber mirror casings, satin chrome trim and rear valance.
  • The inside is draped with Katzkin leather adorned with scorpions–likely just a yard was needed.
Fiat 500 Abarth Venom
The Abarth Venom concept was coated with carbon, though it did not require much. 

Fiat scorpionOverall, the Fiat 500 Abarth Scorpion may start and end its life cycle as a mere concept show car. For those who really like the offerings, they could be made available through the customizations department for new orders, though the price may sting a little!

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Hang on to Your Horses: The LaFerrari XX Track Car

The hyper-hybrid that is the LaFerrari left the world singing along to a throaty tune paired with a name that even begins as a song. Next up is the LaFerrari XX, which will be the track-focused variant of the wonder car. The official introduction should happen next month at the Abu Dhabi World Finals according to Top Gear’s secret sources.

LaFerrari XX Is the world ready for the fast and furious LaFerrari XX? Consider this the one-upper of them all–available to less than zero humans. That is an exaggeration, though likely not by much.

The LaFerrari XX track-focused hypercar at a glance:

  • Sources say she will be the most extreme production-derived variant in the history of the Horse. With 1050bhp, she will effectively trump the standard LaFerrari’s fearsome 100bhp.
  • To put those figures into perspective, that is about 50% more power than a current F1 racer. I like where this is headed.
  • Initial reports of an F1 turbo V6 may not be correct. The XX may employ the same powertrain as the LaFerrari road car, which is a naturally aspirated V12 paired with an electric motor.
  • The standard lady nails the 0-60 mile per hour jump in 2.9—just imagine what the XX will do.
  • No, she will not be street legal. Will that little detail detour Jeremy Clarkson? I sincerely hope not.

LaFerrari XX The LaFerrari XX will have around 60 more horses than the wicked McLaren P1 GTR. 

Once the LaFerrari XX is out, it will likely not be seen out. Just like the Ferrari FXX, the LaFerrari XX models will be housed and maintained at Maranello, with their owners only getting special visitation rights. Cars of this caliber require the constant care of specially trained technical teams to keep them in prime condition. We look forward to learning more about the next-generation of the Prancing Horse’s hybrid endeavors!

LaFerrari XX

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McLaren Sport Series to Show the Practical Side of the Brand

In the near future there will be a new member in the McLaren lineup. The upcoming McLaren Sport Series will be positioned below the McLaren 650S to show a more practical side of the sensational brand. The first leaked photo looks smaller than the 650S sibling and is known internally as the P13. Will it be less intense enough to be affordable? That remains to be seen.

McLaren Sport SeriesTeaser shots of the McLaren Sport Series test mule are circulating. It is not dramatically different but is set to be somewhat more low-key than its siblings. 

Where the McLaren Sport Series will fit in

By adding a new level into the line, McLaren will cater to those who crave an exotic sports car, but not necessarily a supercar. Some say it will be positioned to compete with some of the Porsche 911 variants and lower performance Ferrari cars. The big reveal is likely to take place at the Geneva Motor Show next year, though plenty of details are already coming out.

The McLaren Sport Series at a glance (collective speculation blended with what is likely):

  • It may feature the brand’s carbon fiber monocoque chassis, just like the 650S. The body is lightweight and durable, and using it would make more sense financially than developing something completely different for a less expensive car.
  • Expect the very same 3.8-liter V8 used in most McLaren road variants.
  • Performance specs should be impressive without being over-the-top. This will attract buyers and keep its position below the 650S.

McLaren will continue to release teasers and promote the upcoming Sport Series, like the vague clip above likening the next model to an elusive black swan. The only interesting part is the accent–they can certainly do better in the advertising arena. Hint: Hire Mr. Bean..

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The 2015 Insta-Built Lexus RC F at SEMA: Best in Show?

The Lexus RC F had a tough act to follow in the form of the sleek Lexus LFA supercar. The tuned Insta-Built Lexus RC F by VIP Auto Salon did a fairly decent job at the 2014 SEMA show, however! It is impossible to overlook that Tiffany blue and those decadently sporty styling cues. But is she fast? Lexus RC FBehold: The 2015 Insta-Built Lexus RC F by VIP Auto Salon took the stage at the SEMA show this year. Is she smoking hot or not?

Insta-Built Lexus RC F by VIP Auto Salon at a glance:

  • The vibrant exterior is absolutely stunning and a perfect choice for her shape and style. The color is Seafoam by Oracle and draws to mind Tiffany blue, which always makes the heart race a bit.
  • She is fitted with a Lexon body kit (Japan) and the look is finished off with a set of 20-inch VPS forged wheels supporting Nitto Invo tires. Brembo GT’s for the brakes, of course.
  • You are not imagining things—she is quite lowered.
  • N1 Evolution-X and Apex exhaust with Apex intake.
  • The RC F performance sedan hits the 0-60 mile per hour jump in just 4.4 seconds with a top speed of 167 MPH. No word on how much, if any, the kit alters those specs. The standard RC F variant also gets an impressive 25 miles per gallon fuel economy.

Lexus RC F

The interior of the 2015 Insta-Built Lexus RC F by VIP Auto Salon is rocking Sabelt SPS bucket seating with fabulous detailing. The steering wheel is custom with Alcantara, carbon fiber and a touch of Seafoam to draw the exterior design cues into the cockpit.

Lexus RC F

The Lexus…inspired by the Predator. 

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The Mercedes-Benz S500 Is Plugged Into the Market

The mere uttering of the word “Plug-in” when connected to car talk used to inspire disgust. Now that hybrids, electric cars and other alternative powertrains are being embraced by the masses–it has become rather a term of endearment. The luxurious Mercedes-Benz S500 plug-in may even be a car people actually want to drive, and it is quite quiet. The S500 model is set to arrive in Spring of 2015, according to the Mercedes-Benz website.

Mercedes-Benz S500 plug-inThe Mercedes-Benz S500 is plugged in for a bright future. Not only is it smooth and sporty, it is also performance-based, eco friendly and loaded with safety features and programs.

The future of motoring is about exploring alternative powertrains. New environmental regulations are springing up in almost every country, making this exploration process vital. But in the earlier days of hybrid and electric powertrains, the performance and appearances tended to be sacrificed in the name of mother Earth. I think those mistakes set the precedence for the movement, and created the initial bad taste for them.

Models like the Fisker Karma, BMW i8, Porsche 918, LaFerrari and other upscale hybrids have now paved the way toward alternate energy acceptance in automobiles.

Mercedes-Benz S500 plug-inThe Mercedes-Benz S500 hybrid car at a glance:

  • Original Mercedes S-Class base technology fused with the future.
  • This beauty boasts a 3-liter V6 producing 333 horses paired with an 85 kw electric motor for a total performance output of 436.
  • Achieves the 0-60 MPH marker in 5.2 seconds.
  • The internal combustion and electric motor pairing is the most popular hybrid model today.
  • Power is fed to a seven-speed automatic transmission.
  • A large variety of recognition and assist features.

Mercedes-Benz S500 plug-inOverall, let us all hope to see more cars like the Mercedes-Benz S500 hitting the scene in the future. But more importantly, let their drivers not be taunted like those of the Prius.

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