Jaw-dropping rides in HK require limousine budgets, here are some

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 December, 2016, 6:57pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 December, 2016, 10:16pm

The new Bentley Bentayga costs a limousine-like HK$4.24 million and talks posh through a six-litre W12 engine but at the end of the day it is just a sports utility vehicle. However, if you really want to impress in Pedder Street – and become a somebody in Hong Kong – you’ll still need the jaw-dropping glide of a big, customised limousine. There are plenty of models to choose from in Wan Chai and Causeway Bay’s showrooms, and here are some of the best.

Bentley has also presented new limos this year. In April, it showed its updated Mulsanne range at the Beijing Auto Show; and on November 25 its “flagship” 530 horsepower Bentley Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase was named as “Best Car for Being Driven In” by Top Gear magazine. The marque also presented the four-door Flying Spur V8 S in Beijing and then in Monterey, California, in August. This model has a four-litre, 521hp V8 that is 21hp stronger and about one third of a second faster than the basic Flying Spur V8 (HK$3.605 million) offered by Bentley Hong Kong. In September, the marque also launched a Flying Spur W12 S, which is 10hp more powerful than the 616hp Flying Spur W12 (HK$4.007 million) on display in the Leighton Road showroom.

Even so, the best Bentley in town this week is arguably the four-door Bentley Mulsanne Speed (HK$5.81 million), the No 2 of the three new Mulsannes. Facelifted to exude more power on 21-inch Speed wheels, it has a 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 producing 530hp and 1,100 newton metres of torque – or 200Nm more than the Bentayga. As a result, it reaches 100km/h in 4.8 seconds and is said to top at 305km/h via an upgraded ZF eight-speed gearbox. The Mulsanne Speed also has an upgraded Sport suspension mode and dark-tinted, “more menacing” brightware, the marque says, and the interior is as plush as it gets. “Of the 400 hours it takes to build a Mulsanne, around 150 are dedicated to creating the sumptuous leather interior,” Bentley says. “Stitched, shaped and finished entirely by hand, the completed seats, doors and other leather accoutrements rival the quality of luxury domestic furniture. The contrast stitching alone takes 37 hours to complete.”

The Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible (HK$4.843 million) appears to be the marque’s best open-top ride. It has a new front and is fitted with a 620hp, six-litre, twin-turbo W12 engine that produces 820Nm of torque and reaches 100km/h in 4.5 seconds. Its top speed of 328km/h might be a dream in Hong Kong, but there are fine highways for touring across the border. The convertible’s interior finish hints of Bentley’s racing heritage.

The Rolls-Royce Dawn (HK$6.9 million) is a beautiful alternative, and boosts the soft-top limousine niche. Like the Wraith, it is aimed at a new generation of younger, self-driving Spirit of Ecstasy fans. It is a powerful ride with a 563hp, 6.6-litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine and an eight-speed automatic gearbox that achieves 100km/h in five seconds and tops at 250km/h.

Long at 5.285 metres and strong with a steel monocoque body, the Dawn has a new two-by-two seating configuration that is intended to create a more social space for travelling in style. The roof goes up and down in a competitive 22 seconds and is fitted with a tailored “French Seam” that quietens the air flow over the car’s raised roof. The convertible’s two coach doors store umbrellas and help to make the convertible stronger as well as look good. The Dawn’s audio system has also been configured to deliver a purer sensation, Rolls-Royce says. Other Dawn treats include Bluetooth wireless technology; a 10.25-inch display; voice recognition and single-voice commands.

Alternatively, have a look at the Rolls-Royce Ghost SII saloon (HK$5.9 million), which has a similar engine, gearbox and speed as the Dawn. Designed to be “an oasis of calm” for the successful entrepreneur on the move, the four-seater Ghost SII offers plenty of connectivity via the Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller, which also manages emails, phone calls, video-conferencing and TV. A voice-recognition system helps drivers keep their eyes on the road for navigation, telephone and entertainment functions. The Ghost SII also has a 10.25-inch screen, and a touch pad that enables drivers to write simplified Chinese characters with their fingers and scroll function menus.

The Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is designed for chauffeured drives and is offered in two variants in Hong Kong: the 5,980cc, 530hp V12 S600 (HK$3.398 million) and a 455hp, 4,663 V8 S500 (HK$2.368 million). Both hit 100 in five seconds and top at 250km/h via seven- and nine-speed G-Tronic gearboxes, respectively. Both ooze luxury with the marque’s latest technology and sumptuous interior fittings, including an IWC-designed analogue dashboard clock. Other exclusive interior touches include Agarwood fragrancing; two silver-plated and handmade champagne flutes; and a Burmester surround-sound system. The Mercedes-Maybach S-Class also has voice amplification for conversations with the chauffeur, and a Chauffeur Package that creates more back-seat stretch and includes a heel support. The limousines’ other comforts include a rear-seat massage function that the marque says is “based on the hot stone principle”, along with thermo cupholders and rear-seat folding tables. No wonder Hongkongers still look up at passing limousines.