Car of the Year 2010

Overview

The world's elite new models race for the title of Car of the Year - Allard, Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Spyker & more. Also, forward fashion for Spring, business attire with an athletic edge. Plus, the car of the decade, Bugatti's unrivaled Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport.

From This Issue

Car of the Year 2010: Steering Committee

The following Robb Report readers were among the guests who joined the magazine’s editors and writers in driving, evaluating, and ranking the 2010 Car of the Year candidates. Norton Alderson is CEO of Universal Switching Corp., a high-tech firm specializing in switching equipment for communication and defense agencies. David Arnold is senior vice president, group […]

Car of the Year 2010: Winner Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Winged Wunderauto No car in this year’s competition has been more eagerly anticipated than the SLS AMG. This century’s all-new Gullwing is a most deserving Car of the Year and does not disappoint in either the performance or panache departments. Contortionists will enjoy the novelty of the trademark doors; others may take a more leisurely […]

Car of the Year 2010: No. 6 Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography

Good Sport Range Rovers have always been square with sharp corners; and though they are great when sloughing off road, they are inclined to laziness and lurching when hauling horse trailers on dry land. So forgive our judges for prejudging the Autobiography as just another contrived special edition intended to conceal the same old four-wheeler. […]

Car of the Year 2010: No. 11 Spyker C8 Aileron

Singular Spyker The Dutch automaker continues to refine its original C8 concept with the slightly larger Aileron. A longer wheelbase translates to more room in the cockpit, yet the Spyker signature remains. That signature is an unmistakable shape augmented by details in cast, machined, and engine-turned aluminum that are simply unheard of in today’s world […]

Car of the Year 2010: No. 9 Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake

Cobra Cult Carroll Shelby’s take on the latest Mustang recalls the Texan’s tune-up of Ford’s first-era pony car. Like its 1965 forebear, the 2010 model has evolved from a respectable but mostly unremarkable motorcar into a devil only a handful of drivers will appreciate, much less be eager to live with. But just as some […]

Car of the Year 2010: No. 7 Jaguar XKR

Feline Pedigree Soon after the first E-Type Jaguar was unveiled in 1961, the car with the cat quickly became known as the embodiment of grace and pace, as well as the purveyor of not a little bit of pain. Happily, the oil leaks and electrical mishaps of that era are history, and the legacy of […]

Car of the Year 2010: No. 3 Aston Martin DBS Volante

Britain’s Beauty As Aston Martin’s flagship model, the DBS Volante impresses on every level. The car performs like a sports car, rides like a grand tourer, sounds like a supercar, and takes the prize for best dressed. More importantly, this Volante version offers something the Ferrari 599—the DBS’s closest competitor—will never be able to match: […]

Car of the Year 2010: No. 5 Bentley Continental Supersports

Bentley Brutale Based on the sheer excess of power this Bentley so brilliantly puts to pavement, some might have wagered that it would take top honors. It does everything exceptionally, though any story about the Supersports begins and ends with tales of the massive torque on tap from its twin-turbocharged W-12. One must admire a […]

Car of the Year 2010: No. 4 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni

Balboni’s Baby Bull Unlike its crosstown rival, Ferrari, which merely names its factory streets after star employees, Lamborghini honors its Hall of Fame workers with a namesake limited edition. The Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni bears the name of the Italian automaker’s chief factory test-driver, who began his career in Sant’Agata in 1967 and […]

Car of the Year 2010: No. 2 Audi R8 V10

A Thorough Thoroughbred The 2009 Audi R8 was named Robb Report’s Car of the Year for 2008, outgunning all of the heavy artillery that Italy, England, and Germany could muster. But the 2010 Audi R8 V10 represents far more than a two-cylinder upgrade from its V-8-propelled predecessor. Its Lamborghini-sourced V-10 not only is one liter […]

Car of the Year 2010: No. 12 BMW X6 M

Misunderstood M  That the BMW X6 M occupies the bottom rung of this year’s baker’s dozen mystifies me, as I have logged many hundreds of miles behind the wheel of this capable, albeit curious-looking, sport-activity coupe. The X6’s substantive dimensions and tiptoe stance belie its driver-oriented handling, braking, and exceptional power. While the design may […]

Car of the Year 2010: No. 10 Allard J2X MkII

Allard or Nothing When two of our judges were driving the Allard J2X MkII at this year’s competition, a Napa Valley patrol officer banned the vehicle from public roads because of an issue with the car’s dealer registration. Alas, the modern-day Allard was limited to tours along Meadowood resort’s 5-mph private roads after the first […]

Car of the Year 2010: No. 8 Porsche Panamera Turbo

Peerlessly Bipolar No one can accuse Porsche of not thinking out of the 911 box when it comes to packaging four sausage-fed Stuttgarters into a sedan worthy of the equine crest. Porsche acolytes either love the Panamera or hate it, though the majority falls into the latter camp. Indeed, the first Porsche sedan elicited from […]

Car of the Decade: Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport

Perfect 10 As a brand, Bugatti remembers the past but never intends to relive it. Three years ago, the Bugatti Veyron arrived at Robb Report’s Car of the Year competition with an unprecedented amount of hype. Along with that hype came huge expectations from editors and guest judges, but an unfortunate mishap (a short in […]

Car of the Year 2010: The Road to Greatness

“Whatever you are,” Abraham Lincoln once said, “be a good one.” This advice applies not just to careers and character, but to cars as well. Since 2002, when Robb Report first invited a panel of readers to drive and score the year’s new crop of sports and luxury models, we have spent an inordinate amount […]

Upper Cuts

This spring, leading designers pack a sartorial punch with relaxed yet sophisticated menswear that merges elements of sportswear with tailored clothing. Employing superlight and advanced treated fabrics, these fashion heavyweights square off with softly shaped unconstructed jackets and sport coats paired with trimly profiled trousers—ensembles that project the forward-thinking attitude and unrestrained energy of today’s […]

The Robb Reader: Rob Myers

Rob Myers’ career had humble beginnings. In 1976, the sheet-metal painter and bodywork specialist from Chatham-Kent, Ontario, opened a car-restoration shop in his Canadian hometown, which is located a short drive from Detroit. Myers planned to help his customers buy and sell a few cars, but things did not work out so modestly: In 1991, […]

Wings & Water: Come On, Eilean

“If you want to build a ship,” the French pilot, poet, and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” That lesson need not be conveyed to Angelo Bonati, CEO of Swiss […]

Wings & Water: Come On, Eilean: Time at Sea

Officine Panerai marks each of the company’s Classic Yachts Challenge seasons with a special Regatta timepiece. Limited to 500 pieces, this year’s Radiomir Regatta One/Eight Second (about $17,000) is a split-second foudroyante chronograph that enables the simultaneous timing of two events. The watch, which can also calculate boat speed in knots, features a subdial positioned […]

Amangiri

Travelers who may have felt called to the frontier by Amanresorts’ Western-themed Amangani in Jackson Hole, Wyo., can now follow the sun to Amangiri, a 34-suite resort that opened in October as the Singapore-based company’s second U.S. property. Set in southwest Utah—home to the Navajo and Hopi for centuries—Amangiri occupies a 600-acre stretch of desert […]

Lime Wood

The term country house hotel can conjure up images of crumbling Edwardian piles with drafty rooms, threadbare furnishings, and a culinary oeuvre that trades heavily on spotted dick and bangers and mash. Lime Wood—a voguish 29-room gem helmed by hotelier Robin Hutson, formerly of the classic country retreat Chewton Glen—defies the stereotypes. Situated among wooded […]

The Peninsula Shanghai

The Peninsula Shanghai is the first new building in the city’s riverfront Bund district in more than 60 years. The 15-story Art Deco–style hotel, which opened in October, features 235 rooms, five restaurants and bars, an Espa facility, and an indoor pool. Set across the Huangpu River from the Pudong district—home to the city’s bulbous […]

St. Regis Mexico City

From the 33rd-floor helipad at the top of the St. Regis Mexico City, it is easy to overlook the Mexican capital’s flaws. Yes, the megalopolis is overpopulated, polluted, and at times perilous, but it is also one of the planet’s most culturally rich and, from the right perspective, visually dramatic cities. The helipad is one […]

Aviation: Paris, Je T’aime

The concept of a personal jet is certainly a seductive one, but the reality has proved less thrilling. For years, aircraft manufacturers have struggled in vain to satisfy the market’s demand for a model that combines the efficiency, power, and reliability of a turbine jet with the easy flying qualities and affordability of a high-end […]

Personal Technology: Pixel Perfect

Leica has a loyal following among professional photographers, many of whom still cling to the German manufacturer’s film models. But the company’s newest flagship camera, the M9, finally and decisively settles the argument in favor of digital capture. The $6,995 M9, the current version of Leica’s M-series rangefinder camera, features a full-frame, 18-megapixel CCD image […]

Wine: A Grape Beginning

Life’s greatest gifts are often those that are least expected. The birth of a grandchild is such a blessing, as Garen and Shari Staglin, proprietors of Staglin Family Vineyard in Rutherford, Calif., discovered in 2006. The grandchild in question, however, was not theirs, but rather that of Michel Rolland, the renowned French enologist and the […]

Spirits: Return of the American Spirit

Long before there was bourbon, rye whiskey was being distilled in the colonies. In fact, in 1797, George Washington founded a rye distillery and proclaimed it one of his most profitable ventures. Rye is literally the spirit of America. After inspiring such cocktails as the Sazerac and the Manhattan, however, America’s supply of this peppery-sweet […]

Sport: Aman Overboard

Komodo National Park in Indonesia is considered a holy grail of scuba diving, not only for its more than 1,000 species of exotic fish, but also for its relative inaccessibility. Located some 200 miles east of Bali, the 450,000-acre park—which is nearly 70 percent ocean—encompasses volcanic islands, isolated beaches, and pristine coral reefs, but not […]

Motorcycles: Ghost Rider

Surely every seriously smitten motorcycle aficionado has toyed with the notion of perching a fine machine in the middle of the living room. Jewellike engines and shiny fittings elevate the most beautiful two-wheeled conveyances to the level of art, as in the case of the Phantom EG, the exquisite mechanical sculpture recently introduced by the […]

Home: Out of the Ordinary

Familiar objects and fundamental forms are the stuff of inspiration for furniture maker Sylvan Fiss. Take the simple metal bolt that caught the 54-year-old designer’s eye last spring. To anyone else, it is simply a rod for fastening items together, but Fiss saw it as a work of art that became the impetus for his […]

Golf: Castle on High

Considering scotland’s abundance of storied links, it would seem ludicrous to label a new golf course as “the best in Scotland.” And yet Scottish golf-course architect Graeme Webster used that exact phrase to describe Castle Stuart Golf Links following the course’s debut during the British Open week last July. Another observer predicted, “A round [at […]

Autos: Speed Diva

Some vocalists give their most electrifying performances during the encore. Such a performer is Lamborghini, whose second Reventón model, the Roadster, dazzles the ears and eyes. Resembling a wingless fighter jet, the Reventón Roadster has taken the automotive stage with a combination of power and precision that makes most other supercars seem like mere members […]

Jewelry: Forging Ahead

When a prominent Munich art collector commissioned Stefan Hemmerle to create a diamond ring for his wife in 1995, he set one condition: no flashy settings. His wife, he said, detested them. To meet the challenge of creating a piece of fine jewelry both significant and subdued, Hemmerle considered a variety of alternative materials before […]

FrontRunners: Fancy a Bid

Among the items available for sale this spring at Bonhams & Butterfields Fine European Furniture and Decorative Arts auction (www.bonhams.com) in Los Angeles are a Régence-style regulateur clock and plaques from a private collection of Berlin KPM porcelain. A circa-1890 mantel clock, which is estimated to fetch between $8,000 and $12,000, features an eight-day movement […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

Combining spirits of various ages requires as much care and dexterity of the blender as, say, weaving together disparate melodies does of the master musician. It is with such adroitness that Juan Dobel has crafted his Reserva del Maestro Dobel Diamond Tequila. A blend of reposado, añejo, and extra añejo—aged in new European oak casks […]

FrontRunners: On the Cuff

Graff (www.graffdiamonds.com) is known for its expansive offerings of large white and fancy colored diamond jewelry for women, but the company also creates noteworthy cuff links for men. Its latest cuff links include the striking fancy vivid-yellow cushion-cut diamond examples shown on this page (price upon request), which are flanked by white baguette diamonds. Graff’s […]

FrontRunners: Go, Go Garia

The Danish-designed Garia Golf Car (www.garia.com) is good by association. It is the first golf cart manufactured in an automotive facility—the same Finnish factory where the Porsche Boxster and Cayman are built. Notable features on the cart include handstitched weather-resistant seats and a roof-mounted air scoop that channels fresh air into the cabin. Priced from […]

FrontRunners: Course Couture

Ambrosi Abrianna has stepped to the tee for the first time with the introduction of the company’s AA Pro golf bags (www.ambrosiabrianna.com). The bags are made from fine crocodile and ostrich leathers that the Manhattan-based handbag maker harvests from Australia and Africa. Ambrosi Abrianna treats the skins in a Parisian tannery and has each bag […]

FrontRunners: Greater Eight

Audi’s flagship 2011 A8 (www.audiusa.com) will employ the latest in mobile and wireless technology, facilitated by the innovative Nvidia Tegra computing chip. This ultra-low-power mobile web processor allows driver and passenger to browse the Internet and use navigation tools such as Google Earth mapping. LED headlamps on the A8 will adjust the height and angle […]

FrontRunners: Flower Power

Dutch design studio Brand van Egmond intended for its La Vie en Rose lighting collection (www.brandvanegmond.nl) to instill the feeling of being showered by roses after performing at the opera. Created for a sculptural installation, the dramatic designs became part of the 20-year-old company’s permanent line last April. Brand van Egmond offers La Vie en […]

FrontRunners: Fresh Face

Denis Giguet, founder of the fledgling watch brand Manufacture Contemporaine du Temps, or MCT, has seen plenty of arcane complicated timepieces come to market. Thus, the most innovative aspects of his first watch concern the usability of the display. The MCT Sequential One (www.mctwatches.com) features four digital hour displays made of rotating prisms. When the […]

FrontRunners: Azimut 72S

Launched in 2007, Azimut’s red-hulled 103S paired the muscular lines of an open express with a flybridge and other features common to large yachts. By creating unbroken space between the cockpit and salon—and incorporating a massive sunroof—the boat’s designer, Stefano Righini, pushed the boundaries of the open-yacht category. The Italian builder followed that breakthrough boat […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Fine-Grained Vision

After years of honing his skills as a joiner—a craftsman who skillfully cuts and fastens wood joints without the use of adhesives or nails—German artisan Andreas Licht began creating a series of unlikely objects fashioned from wood. These curiosities ranged from large pieces, such as a wood bicycle, to delicate wooden eyewear complete with wooden […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Supercharged Supermodel

1937 Bugatti Type 57SC In comparison with the Type 41 “Royale,” a mere six examples of which were produced, the Bugatti Type 57 was positively prolific. Among the roughly 700 such vehicles that rolled out of the Molsheim factory between 1934 and 1939 were four (only two remain) Type 57 Atlantic and 17 Type 57 […]