Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz unveil dazzling new models in Hong Kong

Bentley adds facial recognition to cars, while Rolls-Royce opens new customer studio in South Korea

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 October, 2016, 5:19pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 October, 2016, 10:58pm

Ferrari launches GTC4Lusso in Repulse Bay

Ferrari dealer Auto Italia unveiled the HK$4.988 million Ferrari GTC4Lusso in Repulse Bay on Tuesday. The marque’s newest four-seater integrates rear-wheel steering with four-wheel drive for the very first time, according to the dealer’s spokeswoman, Elaine Fong. Deliveries are expected to begin during the first half of 2017, she says.

The 6,262cc V12 grand tourer belts up to 697 Newton metres of torque at 5,750rpm with 80 per cent already available at just 1,750rpm, “making the GTC4Lusso in sports car mode equally [responsive] in city centres or on long journeys”, Auto Italia says. The model hits 100km/h in 3.4 seconds and tops at 335km/h. Its exterior “is a further refinement of the shooting brake coupe”, and its “dual cockpit” architecture gives front-seat passengers better access to the central console’s controls. The dealer also presented a 1966-vintage 330 GTC to highlight Ferrari’s GT-model history.

Mercedes-Benz spotlights GLC Coupé in Harbour City

Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong unveiled the GLC Coupé at the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, at Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, on Monday. The SUV-coupe crossover is available in three models, the 1,991cc, 211-horsepower GLC Coupé 250 (HK$549,000); the 245hp GLC Coupé 300 AMG Edition (HK$678,000) and the 2,996cc V6 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupé (HK$895,000), all with a 9G-TRONIC transmission. The GLC Coupé is already in the marque’s Hung Hom and Causeway Bay showrooms, and will also remain on display at Level 6 of the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel until November 12.

Royal cars could trump red bling on Cotai Strip

Rolls-Royce says it has provided a large fleet of Phantoms to the Wynn Macau, “as well as the Venetian and Galaxy”. However, along with the 30 extended-wheelbase Phantoms it handed over to Stephen Hung’s The 13 hotel recently, the deliveries could raise high-rollers’ expectations – and escalate “car wars” – across southern China’s hospitality industry.

While The 13’s limousines can make “madam” feel like a queen, a British auctioneer is about to sell a private collection of 12 cars that have been owned and driven by real royalty. At Birmingham’s NEC, on November 12 and 13, Silverstone Auctions is due to present the one car that could trump The 13’s fleet in Macau: a Barnato Green 2012 Bentley Mulsanne owned by Queen Elizabeth. Produced by Bentley for the queen’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee tour of Britain, the royal Mulsanne has walnut burr-veneered picnic tables, door panels, rear-quarter vanity lights and waist-rails featuring inlaid Royal crests. The limousine also has “subtle security features befitting a head of state’s car”, such as front and rear blue flashing lights, Kevlar-reinforced tyres and “armour protection where appropriate”, Silverstone Auctions says, citing a price estimate between £215,000 and £235,000 (HK$2.07 million and HK$2.26 million.

Another car of interest is a 2001 Daimler Supercharged V8. Estimated at between £50,000 and £60,000, the limousine was the queen’s ride for 11,000 miles (17,600km), and “at her request, features a number of unique modifications including a factory adapted arm rest with a sliding holder specifically designed to hold her particular type of handbag”.

The sale also offers Princess Diana’s 1994 Audi Cabriolet, with 21,412 miles on the clock. Estimated to sell for between £50,000 and £60,000, the pearl automatic, 2.3-litre Cabriolet was “occasionally photographed with Princes William and Harry in the passenger seats”. Then there is a 1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith II (£90,000 to £110,000) owned by Princess Margaret, the queen’s late younger sister; a 2005 Rolls-Royce Phantom (£135,000 and £155,000) owned by Elton John; a 1987 Bristol Brigand, owned by pop star Will Young; and 1976 Bentley T1 owned by film director Michael Winner. For smaller budgets, the sale also presents a little 1972 Fiat 500L (£18,000 and £22,000) bought by former British premier David Cameron as a surprise birthday present for his wife Samantha.

Goodwood studio opening in South Korea

Rolls-Royce also announced its new customer studio in South Korea, its second after the “Atelier” at its Goodwood factory. From Tuesday, the facility near Incheon International Airport will offer closed-course test drives on a 2.6km track and a relaxed atmosphere for choosing wood, leather, paint and other features in the customisation of a luxury car, the marque says. “South Korea is an increasingly popular destination for wealthy clientele in Asia, with Seoul flourishing as a luxury retail destination,” says Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos. “South Korea is a country of growing importance to us as a business in Asia – last year vehicle deliveries here grew at the fastest rate in the region.”

Bentley configures cars with facial-recognition technology

Meanwhile, Bentley uses its Inspirator app and emotional-recognition technology to help customers personalise their cars at its new personalisation studio in The Village at Westfield London. “Users are guided through an immersive film that is shaped, directed and inspired by your facial and emotional reactions,” the marque says. “Based on your measures of engagement – captured by your device’s camera – a bespoke Bentayga or Mulsanne is recommended for you from the vast selection of exterior paint colours, wheels, leather hides and wood veneer.”