foot down

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 December, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 December, 2004, 12:00am

Eight Ferrari Superamerica convertibles have been earmarked for Hong Kong from a global production run of 499 convertibles, says Italian Motors' Sancy Chan.

'But we're trying to get more, since we have a lot of potentially qualified customers who are interested in this car,' she says. 'We hope to get 12 for our local customers.'

The Pininfarina-designed Ferrari Superamerica, which Chan says is expected to arrive next September, combines Ferrari 12-cylinder Berlinetta power with an innovative take on the convertible concept. The Fioravanti-patented electric rotating roof movement allows the Superamerica driver to drop the top in 10 seconds flat, making it the world's fastest convertible Berlinetta (320km/h top speed).

Derived from the 575M Maranello, the Superamerica is available with either an F1-style or manual gearbox, the marque says. Its big 12-cylinder engine has been boosted to deliver 540hp, too. The new car can also be fitted with the GTC Handling package, which includes carbon ceramic brakes.

The Superamerica's unusual electric roof has been dubbed 'Revocromico' to highlight the unique combination of its rear-ward rotation movement and electrochromic technology, Ferrari says. It has a carbon-fibre structure and the boot capacity remains unchanged whether the roof is open or closed. The glass rear window also acts as an effective wind deflector when the roof is open.

Electrochromic glass means you can control the level of light entering the cockpit.

Chan says she can only estimate prices. 'We have an early price indication of about 10 per cent above the 612 [currently $3,588,000],' she says. But watch the effect of the euro.

BMW says that the new fleet of 30 BMW 730Li at The Oriental hotel, Bangkok (above) are 'an integral part of the Oriental's successful credentials'. BMW Thailand president Frank Roesler says the fleet preference 'emphasises the 7-Series' positioning as the ultimate luxury sedan for connoisseurs: offering superior comfort and unprecedented level of driving pleasure'. The Oriental order was a coup for BMW, as the hotel's fleet was originally Mercedes-Benz.

But the Sevens aren't available to all hotel guests, says Oriental spokesman Wasana, so we recommend you specify your ride when you reserve rooms, which start at US$330. You can rent the three-litre, six-cylinder for a 231 brake-horsepowered one-way trip to the airport for 1,800 baht ($355); nip up to Ayuthia over six hours for 6,500 baht; or be chauffeured around Bangkok for up to 12 hours, for 9,000 baht.

Wasana says the drivers were trained by BMW instructors to twiddle the car's iDrive - it's easy to get the hang of - and there's plenty of reading matter, including two daily papers and a magazine, on the back seat, just in case you're stuck in Bangkok traffic.

If you plan to ride in an Oriental 730Li, do bring your favourite CDs - the smallest Seven has an excellent stereo, with eight loudspeakers and four amplifiers that would satisfy any music yearning along the banks of the Chao Praya River. Reservations, tel: (662) 659 9000 or e-mail

Competition winner

The winner of last week's Scalextric car competition is Keith Butler. Congratulations, and thanks to all those who entered.




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