Edited by William Wadsworth
Aces high for Mad Dogs
The Mad Dogs Motorcycle Club is busy promoting its April 20 poker run. We hear the club's members have been distributing flyers this week in a sterling effort to invite all riders to join the annual event.
'It does not matter what you might be riding: scooters, dirt bikes, race bikes, Harleys or Japan Cruisers,' says the club's sergeant at arms, Doug Netzel. 'Just come out! The cost will be HK$120 and will also cover tunnel tolls.'
The run will start at 11am at Granville Square in Tsim Sha Tsui and travel through the New Territories with a break for lunch, says Netzel. There will be 'three stops along the way, so each biker can pick a card from a deck of 52,' he says. 'Also one pick at Granville Square and at the end of the ride at the Bull and Bear Bar in Wan Chai. There's a cash prize for best poker hand,' he says. The Mad Dogs drew lots of bikers from other clubs to their Toy Run last Christmas (below). Inquiries, go to mdmchk.com
Rolls-Royce goes for Beijing gold
Rolls-Royce will launch its Phantom Coupe at Auto China in Beijing on April 20, says a publicist for the marque, Kevin On. The two-door, four-seater coupe (right) is Rolls-Royce's fourth car under BMW ownership and is powered by a 6.75-litre, V12 engine that's said to waft to 100km/h in 5.8 seconds, top at an electronically limited 255km/h and cruise with a range of 600km. You can also see the full range of Rolls-Royces at the New China International Exhibition Centre event from April 20-28.
It will be the first time that Rolls-Royce has exhibited the entire Phantom Series at an Asian motor show, the marque says.
'Specially commissioned for Auto China 2008, bespoke versions of the Phantom Extended Wheelbase and the Phantom Drophead Coupe will be on display,' Rolls-Royce says.
The marque's chairman, Ian Robertson, says Auto China is 'the natural platform for the Asian launch of the new Phantom Coupe and our showcase of specially commissioned cars'.
China is Rolls-Royce's biggest market in Asia-Pacific and the third-largest in the world after the US and Britain, and it 'saw record sales in 2007 with growth of more than 50 per cent', Robertson says. As Rolls-Royce opens its order book for the start of the Phantom Coupe's production at Goodwood this summer, Bentley will present its six-litre Continental GT Speed (above, far right).
The two-door four-seater is the Le Mans-winning marque's most powerful production car and capable of 100km/h in 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 326km/h. Neither marque says much about the CO2 spew of their latest models in the Olympic city, but we hear the Phantom Coupe belches 377 grams per kilometre and the Speed smokes 396gpk. But that's not bad for such big engines.
Drivers laud Lexus eco-swishie
Lexus announced a significant triumph on Monday when the LS600hL scooped the GBP50,000-GBP100,000 category in Chauffeur magazine's Car of the Year Awards. After all, as the delighted Japanese marque says, the big hybrid was 'judged closely against flagship saloons from Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi ... in the toughest category for the most popular vehicles chosen by the chauffeuring industry'. And chauffeurs know their limos.
The LS600hL (right) is popular in Hong Kong, says dealer Crown Motors. The dealer says it has sold 150 models here and we can see why. The eco-limo is a comfy ride with lots of technology and it comes from a reliable marque, but we're surprised that Chauffeur readers picked the LS600hL ahead of its German rivals.
We found the hybrid biggie a bulky drive in the bends of Mid-Levels compared with the BMW 750Li, Jaguar XJ and the delightful Mercedes-Benz CLS 500. We got the impression that the LS600hL is a cachet ride rather than a rollickingly good drive, but the Chauffeur readers' vote suggests that we might give the HK$1.554 million-plus eco-swishie another look.
The LS600hL's five-litre V8 engine and two electric motors deliver impressive fuel stats, at 10.8km per litre for a spew of 219 grams of CO2 per km. You get 'the performance of a six-litre vehicle, while its fuel efficiency is 45 per cent higher than cars of the same class, even comparable to a three-litre car', Crown Motors says.
The LS600hL is also packed with safety electronics, earns a HK$50,000 first-registration tax discount as a green drive and has a five-year or 100,000km warranty with 10 years' back-up on its nickel-metal hydride battery, the dealer says.
Critics suggest, as we do, that you could buy the excellent 4.6-litre V8 LS460L (HK$1.344 million and a hybrid Toyota Prius (HK$233,850) for a similar outlay, but the LS600hL is still a fine - if expensive - greenie boast to shareholders and overseas clients, and it also seems well-suited to the daily routines of eco-image-conscious Hong Kong bosses. Sir or Madam can now take longer over lunch in the knowledge that their eco-limousine will be pre-cooled or go once more around the block under electric power. 'There will be no gas emissions,' says the dealer.
But it can't confirm rumours from above Bowen Road that some Hong Kong chauffeurs are allowing their bosses to borrow the big hybrid. 'There are LS600hLs on the streets at weekends and during holidays, but we cannot verify whether the [drivers] are bosses or their chauffeurs,' the dealer says.
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