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Anyone on Earth with access to the Internet, a television or radio for the last 20 years knows that China is no longer the poor stronghold for strict Communist ideals that it was for much of the 20th Century. (Well, at least not in some places.) Traveling to China twice in less than a month - first to Shanghai for a very international auto show and now to Beijing to drive and review the 2014 Bentley Flying Spur - I've learned that there's no lack of personal wealth, at least in two of the world's largest cities.
And yet, even I think the scene before me is a little bit ridiculous. Here I am, slowly climbing up a hillside to reach a fortification at something called Zhuanduo Pass, where roughly a dozen pristine examples of Western decadence sit idling their hand-built 12-cylinder engines in the shadow of China's revered and awesome Great Wall. Not five kilometers south of here, I'd passed an old man in traditional all-black garb, literally carrying a bundle of sticks on his back from one side of a village to the other. Now as I look through the snug-fitting and silent side glass of my $200,000+ palace on wheels, I'm more apt to see fat German tourists crisping in the hot Chinese sun while blowing the equivalent of an average Chinese monthly paycheck on lunch and a few Great Wall souvenirs.
Of course, it's nothing like the average Chinese person that Bentley is targeting with this new Flying Spur. There is a rapidly ballooning class of rich and super rich in the People's Republic these days; China can now lay claim to around 100 billionaires (in US dollars), as well as some 60,000+ individuals worth more than $16 million and, famously, now more than 1 million millionaires. Considering that Bentley had a booming year in 2012 by selling 8,510 vehicles, the importance of what is quickly becoming the world's biggest luxury car market is easy to see.
And that's why, despite the cost of hauling me from Ann Arbor to Beijing and back, and despite the cognitive dissonance of driving a $200,000+ car through villages whose buildings are probably worth less in total, Bentley jumped through a whole lot of hoops to pull off what it says is the first-ever global vehicle launch in China. I've got to tell you, if this is what being a trailblazer feels like, I could get used to it.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Bentley is celebrating the 90th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with two special edition model. Both the Mulsanne and Continental lines can now be fitted with six new specification packages to mark the event, each named after a famous racer from the automaker's past. Each package one combines select exterior colors with with special interior combinations that pay homage to the gents who took the company's cars to victory in France.
John Duff, Dudley Benjafield, Woolf Barnato, Tim Birkin, Glen Kidston and Guy Smith all get their own namesake packages. You can see the full run down in the press release below. So far, there's no indication as to exactly how much each pack will cost, but we have a hard time imagining a dollar figure scaring off any potential buyers.Permalink | Email this | Comments
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.Permalink | Email this | Comments
There's a new version of the Bentley Mulsanne that costs no less than $2.55 million. How come you've never heard about it?
Apparently, 30% of Bentleys in China are owned by women. This compares to 10% in the rest of the world.
So far, our new weekly series called "what outrageously expensive police car did Dubai get this week" has seen both a Lamborghini Aventador