LIFE WITH CARS
The Prestige issue
Audi A8 V8 › VW Phaeton W12› Range Rover Evoque › Tour des Niveaux ›
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uxury and prestige is the name of the game this month. Road staff snapper, Neil Denham flies down to the French Riviera, to test drive a £90,000 Audi A8 4.2-litre V8, and luxuriate in a five-star hotel, owned by Bernie Ecclestone. Nice work, if you can get it! Ex-Roadie, Tim Hutton, gets to waft about in a VW Phaeton, with a W12 six-litre engine, and discovers it defines stealth luxury limo motoring. We take a look at the new baby Range Rover, the c£30,000 Evoque. And we have a beautiful supercar drive in Europe, called the Tour des Niveaux: Stunning stuff! Special cars, many of us can not afford, I concur, but they are bloody nice to have a drool over and imagine what they’d be like to own... or drive... I think you will agree? Meanwhile, please do remember to follow our daily updated blog at www.roadmagazine.blogspot.com. We upload the very latest car news as it rolls in, find must-see, highly entertaining video clips for you to enjoy, and tweet and facebook like there’s no tomorrow. Get on board Roadies. And tell a few mates about us too! Thanks!
IMAGERY: WWW.NEILDENHAM.CO.UK WORDS: NEIL DENHAM & PHIL ROYLE
A8 V8 DOES FRENCH RIVIERA Road staff snapper, Neil Denham jets off to the south of France, to live in a land of luxury, in a suitably sumptuous saloon: An ÂŁ89,700, 4.2-litre V8 Audi A8. Neil takes in the sea air at Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer and tackles the steep hill-side roads
udi’s A8 super saloon is a mind-melting technology-fest and the epitome of C21st luxury motoring from the German uber-brand, in speedy saloon, Quattro form. Big efforts have been made by Audi’s engineers to reduce the carbon footprint of this enormous (largest in class), third genera-
tion (Type 4H) A8 Quattro range – which features 290PS/310lbft 3.0-litre V6 TFSi and 372PS/328lbft 4.2 V8 FSi petrol engines and 250PS/406lbft 3.0-litre V6 TDi and 350PS/590lbft (!) 4.2-litre V8 TDi diesel engines – available with the brand new, innovative 8-speed tiptronic automatics or 7-speed dual clutch roadmagazine.co.uk
s-tronic gearboxes. And, thanks to its super slippery aerodynamics, trick engine and gearbox specification/mapping and the A8’s aluminium monocoque space frame chassis being the lightest (1,835Kg) allwheel-drive vehicle in the full size luxury saloon sector, Audi have done it – cutting CO2 emissions by up to 20%. Bravo! In a further step to reduce emissions across the beefy A8 range, a front-wheeldrive 201bhp 3.0-litre TDi will be added to the range. It’s not all dull, if essential in this modern world news though. The 4.2-litre V8 model we tested now comes with the Quattro Sport rear differential (as used on S4 and S5 models), giving a welcome tail-happy balance to the AWD handling. Nice touch! Unsurprisingly (and again showing what a topsyturvy modern world we live in), with almost 600lbft at its disposal, the 4.2 TDi is the fastest A8 boasting a 0-62mph time of just 5.4sec. But the V8 we testroadmagazine.co.uk
ed is only a whisker behind the oil burner at 5.7s, and it revs, very well. Meanwhile, all models come with a limited 155mph top speed. Further amazing A8 techno-highlights include a class leading drag coefficient value of 0.26 Cd, stop-start technology, camera-controlled LED lighting (offering cornering light, country, highway, intersection and city modes), an advanced cruise control system and an enhanced “Multi Media Interface” system, with touchscreen. This can recognise handwriting inputs for the phone and Sat Nav systems, provide 3D maps via Google Earth, offers night vision assistance, pedestrian recognition and allows mobile broadband internet access. Wow! The luxury and prestige options list further show off the Buck Rogers-esque and Bentley-levels-of-quality technology in this luxury liner; with a driver assistance system linking the GPS with the adaptive headlights, transmission maps and cruise control. And, naturally, there’s a new 1400w Bang & Olufsen system.
“I think Graham Greene would have approved...” Our A8 V8 SE Exec came in Phantom Black, with black leather, for £63,340, with optional comfort sports seats, 20-in rims, sports air suspension, Quattro Sports diff, BOSE sound system, garage door opener and a whole host of other comfort and driver aid options, boosting the cost to £89,700. That’s almost £27,000’s worth of extras! Ouch! All this technology obviously doesn’t come cheap... Thankfully, standard spec prices start at £52,800 for the 3.0 TDi Quattro, rising to £59,500 for the torquetastic 4.2 TDi and start at £61,500 for the 4.2 FSi V8 – which makes the 3.0 TDi the sure-fire best seller. Road snapper test drive: Neil Denham I flew in to test the A8 via the private airport of Le Castellet, and was greeted by a line of shiny diesel and
petrol A8’s outside. The airport was packed with private jets and folk in sunglasses, as the legendary Cannes film festival was on. Brad Pitt’s jet was in front of ours! He arrived earlier that morning. It certainly set the tone for a test drive of Audi’s new luxury limo. We set off from the airport in perfect French Riviera sunshine, along pine treelined, flat, sticky tarmac roads, and the A8’s first impressions were strong, lavish and classic. I think Graham Green would have approved of one of these, especially the V8! We drove an Audi preplanned route until a lovely roadside restaurant lunch up in the hills. I then tracked back to the coast, to SaintCyr-sur-Mer and then onto La Ciotat, home of the rich and beautiful – where the Audi soon slotted into place, in an understated and classy manner. roadmagazine.co.uk
five-star hotel owned by Bernie Ecclestone (next to a private GP Circuit, naturally) and the three Michelin star chef cooked-up a delightful Even with such a large five course meal, giving me frame, the A8 fitted into time to reflect on the new the narrow boulevards A8, in suitably salubrious and managed to turn a surroundings . few heads as I went to Audi’s A8 is rammed with the bars in La Ciotat. I did new, impressive and innostop and hold the traffic a vative I.T. It’s very capable little as well, taking these and comfortable to drive, evening sunset snaps. as long as you had it in the I returned back to the sport mode, as the nor-
mal or soft made me motion sick, even driving. The gearboxes are slick and suit the car’s engines and AWD perfectly. It’s a big, heavy car on the inside, but not so outside. The night driving was a nice touch with the lighting system for main roads and junctions: The lights worked off the sat nav and spread the beam wide for junctions and narrow for straight roads: Trick! All in all, the A8 is A-mazing.
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BABY RANGE ROVER BORN
Welcome to the new baby Range Rover, the Evoque. It’s the most economical Range Rover to date, is available from just £30,00, looks amazing and is all set to upset the SUV apple cart. Road takes a closer look at the ickle beastie
he SUV-four-by-four bashing brigade are going to hate this, but it’s sure to confuse them, which, in our book at Road HQ, makes the brand new Range Rover Evoque a winner from the outset. So, what are we looking at here, causing eco-mentalists to scratch their heads to bleeding point? Well, the Evoque started as an evolution of Land Rover’s LRX concept car and the PR states: “This allnew Range Rover Evoque is smallest, lightest, most fuelefficient Range Rover ever.” Basically, it’s a luxurious cross-coupé, designed to attract new – less hunting, shooting and fishing or Chelsea tractor type – customers to the revised Range Rover brand.
The Evoque has been penned to reflect the rough, tough and luxurious image and branding of its big brother, the Range Rover. But, unlike its bigger brother, the Evoque will offer class-leading sustainability, with a sub 130g/km CO2 output, and a staggering (in Range Rover terms) 58mpg combined fuel economy. See what I mean...? It’s confusing the hell out of greenies this motor. It will be available in fourwheel-drive and frontwheel-drive versions, with a base model 2.2-litre turbo diesel, offering 148bhp, or a 2.0-litre petrol turbo, offering a healthy 238bhp and 0-62mph in 7.1s. And the Evoque will come in three specifications: ‘Pure,’ with brushed aluminroadmagazine.co.uk
ium and soft touch materials, ‘Prestige,’ with sparkly metallic goodies and finish and ‘Dynamic,’ featuring 20inch rims and plenty of Tim Westwood-esque-appeal. The ‘Premium’ cabin also offers a full-sized glass panoramic roof that floods the sumptuous and stylish interior with natural light (see above and right). And there will be plenty of groovy gadgets and C21st I.T too, featuring “innovative Range Rover technologies,” including a dual-view display for the 8-inch touch-screen and
Surround Camera System. Expect grip and handling, on all surfaces, to be nothing short of brilliant, with a tried, tested and evolved Land Rover Terrain Response™ system and Adaptive Dynamics featuring MagneRide™ The Evoque is a truly global motor, to be sold in 160 countries worldwide, with deliveries from summer 2011 and pricing here in Blighty to start at around £30,000. Cheap, right? “These are exciting times for our business,” said CEO
Dr Ralf Speth. “Not only will the Range Rover Evoque increase our worldwide market share, it helps to define a new segment for premium compact SUVs that are more sporting and stylish.” We think the Range Rover Evoque is a really interesting car, and praise Land Rover for turning a concept into a really interesting, desirable vehicle: Stylish, cool, well-crafted-designedand-built and crammed with great engineering, what’s not to love about the new baby Range Rover?
“What’s not to love about the NEW baby Range Rover?”
WORDS: TIM HUTTON IMAGES: VW PRESS
VW Pha The lap o
aeton W12 of luxury
Ex-Roadie, Tim Hutton, goes up in the world, with a week in a prestigious VW Phaeton W12 and discovers itâ€™s the stealth lap of luxury
ew cars truly stagger me when I drive them. Sure, plenty of them are great cars and do their tasks well, but when was the last time you got in a car, pulled away and thought – wow, this is amazing! Well The W12 Phaeton has just done exactly that.
Touching the gas feels like being dragged through down feathers by beautiful women. Now, bury your right foot and, oh yes, a wave of endlessly smooth torque is unleashed. It doesn’t push you into the seats (with a built in massager), but dramatically, effortlessly increases its
sense of urgency. Scenery starts to blur and you can subtly make out that ohso-special 414bhp, 413lbft W12 engine note. A quick glance at the speedo tells you that you’re serenely approaching the legal limit. Make no mistake, this W12 Phaeton is oh-so powerful. To really test its luxury
qualities I hatch a plan, to go visit Road Ed, Phil in his country abode straight after work on a Friday evening, 200 miles. Not a huge task, but this is Friday evening at the beginning of half term and I will need to drive halfway round the M25, up the M11 and into the sticks of Norfolk: Chauffeur style.
Opening the boot for the first time you are met with the amazingly crafted struts that autolift the tail gate. Yes, this is a long wheel base version, but I am still genuinely shocked by the size of the boot. It’s bigger than my first studio flat! Onto the road, the W12 settles into a nice 80mph
unflustered, barely running rhythm. I’m keen to get a good economy run, but a Clio V6 Mk2 flies up behind me, and I can’t help myself but put my foot down! Within seconds, we are in serious speed territory and the Clio is reduced to a dot in my now tinted mirror. Even more impressive is my coroadmagazine.co.uk
pilot in the front hasn’t even noticed this happen... that’s how smooth this car is. When Clarkson drove the W12 a few years back he was genuinely impressed. A swan song for Ferdinand Piëch, the Phaeton was to show off all the talents of VW’s engineers and help raise the brand profile. This led to over 100 patents for the Phaeton, and while it is a truly magnificent car, it’s pricing (£76,690 for the W12) meant it was mixing it with the big boys of BMW and Mercedes: A tough crowd... but this car has them licked in my view, as it has something that none of them can offer – anonymity. Drive this car around town, and people will think you are just driving some kind of giant Passat. For the proud
badge shmucks, this might be an issue, but I enjoyed the fact this car gave me no hassles. In fact, I felt a bit smug driving around undetected in my stealth limo. Back to the drive... The A3 and M25 are dispatched with ease, M11 goes smoothly until we turn off for the A11, which is closed (again, Ed!). And the detour takes me all the way back to the M11, where I end up driving some kind of hate triangle of 30 miles just to get back to where I nearly was before. While normally this kind of tomfoolery would have me ripping what’s left of Project 320s interior out in rage, I remain composed and calm. The Phaeton is the very epitome of the lap of luxury limo driving, stealth-style.
â€œThe very epito luxury limo driv
ome of the lap of ving, stealth-style
IMAGES & WORDS: REINHARD LOEVEN & PHIL ROYLE
ON TOP OF THE WORLD
Want a properly exclusive sportscar driving experience? Try six days up the French Calcareus Alps, over 2,770m above sea level, around Mont Blanc and 700Km back down to the glamour of the Côte d’Azûr. Oh-la-la, c’est magnifique!
his is the sensational “Tour des Niveaux,” run by serious car and road trip guru, Reinhard Loeven, of www.sportwagentouren.com – offering a sublime mixture of the best roads, culture, food, hotels and wine in France. Bon! These exclusive, exciting driving experiences usually take place over six days, in your own/rented sports and super cars, with a maximum of five couples per trip, for around 5,400 Euros and include: Six nights with breakfast at fine dining hotels, with “Superior or DeLuxe”
category rooms, with sea or lake views, six fabulous road side restaurant lunches (incl. all non-alcoholic drinks. Booze is not included throughout), six sumptuous dinner menus (incl. all non alcoholic drinks), regional taxes, a German, French and English speaking travel guide and a route planner, map and information, to help you enjoy your driving experience – on a carefully selected route. This “Tour des Niveaux” included first meets and a brieﬁng at the Hotel Chateau de Coudrée in Sciez roadmagazine.co.uk
direct at Lake Geneva on day one, and a fine dinner. Day two was a 210Km drive from Sciez to BourgSt-Maurice, semi-circling the epic Mont Blanc. Day three included 260Km from Bourg to St-Maurice to Jausiers, via the Tour de France-Giants to Briançon route (including the “Galibier,” with the legendary ascent, called “the black hell of Galibier.”) Day four takes you down from the heights of the Alps,
from Jausiers to the stunning Côte d’Azûr, over 225 km of breath-taking roads, through the Sea Alps to the Mediterranean, via the infamous French rally special stage, Col de Turini! Day five is a rest day, and a chance to explore the Côte d’Azûr, with a guided tour through “La Vieille Nice” (Nice old town), and a visit for the ladies to the perfume-manufacturer, “Fragonard,” in Eze. The final day features a roadmagazine.co.uk
round trip through the “Alpes des Haut Provence,” of about 160Km, on tiny, remote roads “departmentale“ in the Hinterland of Grass, straight through “Rallye Monte Carlo Country” – driving heaven! Reinhard Loeven has obviously poured over every detail planning these trips – from the mind-melting road routes, to the perfect lunch spots, the evening hotels and dinners, the excursions (some of which are extra, like the wine tour, as are available upgrades at any of the exclusive hotels) and the general feel and flavour. His knowledge of the area really stands out, and the exclusivity of the event, with only five like-minded cou-
ples on board, means you can relax and make new friends easily. It’s very well conceived stuff – taking all the stresses, strain and the unknown out of the equation, leaving you to sit back, and drive, discovering the delights, relaxed, in style. If you are looking to do something that little bit special this year and haven’t got the time, or inclination, or knowledge to make something so inviting happen, then why not try a trip with Reinhard and the Sport Wagen Touren? These trips are breath-taking, in so many ways, and a sure-fire way to make some memories to tell your grandchildren about, with a great big dose of Bon viveur.
“RALLYE MONTE CARLO COUNTRY... DRIVING HEAVEN”
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Published on Feb 24, 2011
This issue of Road Magazine is all focused on luxury and prestige cars, and drives. Staff snapper Neil Denham fiies to the French Riviera to...