Car of the Year 2014

Overview

Car of the Year: 14 Marvels of Modern Engineering Chase the Title

From This Issue

FrontRunners: Open Calendar

The company’s signature mixture of technical and aesthetic watchmaking is on display in the Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso III (www.bovet.com). The open-worked watch combines a tourbillon with a retrograde perpetual calendar, and as with recent Bovet tourbillons, the cage is suspended and connected to the movement with the slightest of supports. The perpetual-calendar displays are […]

FrontRunners: Renaissance Writer

The fourth pen in the company’s Great Characters collection, the Montblanc Great Characters Limited Edition Leonardo (www.montblanc.com) honors the Italian artist, scientist, and inventor Leonardo da Vinci. Many of the $3,615 pen’s details refer to Leonardo’s fascination with flight. The nib displays a reproduction of his drawing of a bat in flight, and the grip […]

FrontRunners: Cowboy to City Slicker

An El Paso, Texas, company that has been making exceptional cowboy boots for 130 years has slipped into shoes for city slickers and released the Lucchese footwear collection (www.lucchese.com). The line includes the oxford, the Chelsea boot, and other classics, as well as the Massimo boot shown here. It is a calfskin style inspired by […]

FrontRunners: High-Mileage Fashion

Among the many options for BMW’s new plug-in i8 coupe is a set of designer luggage that fits the car’s compact spaces as precisely as puzzle pieces. Each set of Louis Vuitton i8 travel bags (www.louisvuitton.com) includes four lightweight, scratch-resistant pieces in the brand’s signature Damier logo canvas. The bags (starting at $4,375 each) are […]

FrontRunners: Trend Spotting April 2014

Retro styling gives sunglasses a fresh look for spring.   1950s Tom Ford updates the square, Eisenhower-era style with sleek metal accents. http://www.tomford.com   1960s Morgenthal Frederics modernizes the John Lennon–style classic with a graphic gold frame and wood temples. http://www.morgenthalfrederics.com   1970s Persol’s simple tortoise design features winged oval frames with wire temples. http://www.persol.com

FrontRunners: Plenty of Pickup

Delivering modern-day high performance while displaying midcentury design, the Icon Thriftmaster (www.icon4x4.com) pickup truck is the newest addition to the Southern California–based company’s stable of vintage-inspired made-to-order vehicles. The Thriftmaster’s exterior styling is based on that of the 1947 Chevrolet 3100, one of the most popular pickups of the post–World War II era. However, there […]

FrontRunners: Distinguished by Design

Shortlisted for an International Yacht and Aviation Award, the Cheoy Lee Alpha 87 Express Sportbridge (www.cheoylee.com) has sweeping exterior lines by Michael Peters Yacht Design and a flowing, open-plan interior by Luiz de Basto Designs. The yacht, which is priced at about $6 million, can reach a top speed of 30 knots when equipped with […]

FrontRunners: Belle of Gstaad

When Daniel and Davia Koetser purchased Gstaad’s oldest palace hotel on its centenary, the Swiss couple’s ambition was not a simple cosmetic makeover, but rather an intelligent reimagining of a traditional Swiss Alpine lodge. Following a yearlong renovation, Le Grand Bellevue (www.bellevue-gstaad.ch) opened in December as a stylish ski retreat without a hint of stuffiness. […]

FrontRunners: Natural Beauty

In a country flush with artificial isles and towering skyscrapers, Sir Bani Yas is an anomaly. The island—a once-deserted landmass that was transformed into the United Arab Emirates’ largest nature preserve in the 1970s—is home to mangrove forests, a wildlife park, and, as of last June, a stylish new beach retreat. Set along an isolated […]

FrontRunners: Shutter Priority

Two new travel experiences with a focus on photography. Exclusive Exposure: The destination club Exclusive Resorts has partnered with the camera company Leica to host a series of Destinations in Focus journeys (www.leicaakademie.com). Priced from $2,999 per person, the four-night programs will debut in July with workshops at the club’s private compound in Costa Rica’s […]

FrontRunners: Caribbean Royalty

Aruba’s tourism boom began more than 50 years ago, when Palm Beach’s first high-rise resort, the Aruba Caribbean Hotel, welcomed the Netherlands’ Queen Juliana and her husband, Prince Bernhard. The recent debut of the 320-room Ritz-Carlton, Aruba (www.ritzcarlton.com), has revived the island’s noble legacy with spaces that include a 15,000-square-foot spa and a 2,390-square-foot suite […]

FrontRunners: Suite Centennial

To commemorate Beverly Hills’ 100th anniversary this year, five hotels—the Peninsula Beverly Hills, Montage Beverly Hills, L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, the Beverly Hills Hotel, and the Beverly Hilton—have each created a new suite that reflects a defining era in the Southern California city’s past. The Suite 100 collection (www.lovebeverlyhills.com), which debuted in March and is available […]

FrontRunners: Game On

Smash Hit ❖The Shangri-La Hotel, Paris (www.shangri-la.com), is offering one of the French Open’s most exclusive spectator experiences with its one-night Parisian Dream package. Priced from $1,526 per person, the experience includes box or category-one seats at the tennis tournament (May 25 to June 8), lunch at the Brasserie des Jardins de Roland-Garros, and dinner […]

FrontRunners: Seventh Heaven

Japan’s southernmost island of Kyushu is a patchwork of rolling country hills and vibrant beach cities. For passengers aboard the new Seven Stars train (www.cruisetrain-sevenstars.jp), the environs inside the railcars are equally impressive. Debuted in October, the train—which journeys from Hakata to Nagasaki and Kagoshima on one- and three-night itineraries—features 14 suites with hinoki-cypress paneling, […]

FrontRunners: Cellar Notes April 2014

Radical Expression Marco Caprai’s obsession with tradition made him at one point something of a radical in the eyes of Italy’s viticultural establishment. The onetime student of political science cultivated controversy in the late 1980s when he took over the management of Arnaldo Caprai, his father’s estate in the Umbrian town of Torre di Montefalco, […]

FrontRunners: Water Powered

Most Scotch-whisky experts agree that a few drops of water in a dram can release complex flavors and aromas hidden within the spirit. Now Uisge Source (www.uisgesource.com) is producing bottled waters drawn from Scotland’s three major whisky regions: Speyside, Islay, and the Highlands. Each varies  naturally in mineral content and pH, and is intended to […]

FrontRunners: Make Way for Knobbly

The racecar model that dominated the British circuits during its debut season in 1957 is making a comeback of sorts. The new Lister Jaguar Knobbly (www.listercars.com) is an exacting continuation of the original model, so called because of its rounded fenders and protruding hood. Designed and built in Cambridge, England, by the then-27-year-old Brian Lister […]

Car of the Year 2014: A Sweeping Success

Landslides are called more often in the premature pontifications of modern live election coverage than they ever have been by the officials actually tabulating votes. Most performances on the U.S. political stage are decidedly undramatic; and when drama does unfold, its tenor is generally more comic than heroic—particularly where presidential contests are concerned. Yet occasionally, […]

Car of the Year 2014: Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

No Contest Though we have been involving readers in our Car of the Year events for a decade, we continue to be surprised by the emotional reactions—good and bad—that certain entries elicit from them. Some models could seemingly incite an angry mob to wield pitchforks and hoes, while others spread pandemics of praise so infectious […]

Car of the Year 2014: Audi R8 V10 Plus

Familiar Finish The R8, in various variants, has competed in four of the last seven Car of the Year events and finished second each of the last three times after claiming victory at its Napa Valley debut in 2008. Evidently our judges find something magical about the combination of a fiery, Lamborghini-derived V-10 engine and […]

Car of the Year 2014: Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster

More than Enough To borrow a phrase from the Seder, if Lamborghini had delivered only the Aventador, dayenu—it would have been enough for us. But instead, the carmaker created a roadster version of Robb Report’s 2012 Car of the Year that is even more audacious because of the addition of a featherweight two-piece removable hard […]

Car of the Year 2014: Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

Flying High The Aston Martin Vanquish Volante does not need an ejection seat, concealed machine guns, or tire-slashing wheel spinners. Even without those features it still embodies the qualities that always have been associated with the century-old marque: high-tech, handmade, and rare. The Vanquish sits at the top of the Aston Martin hierarchy. It debuted […]

Car of the Year 2014: Bentley Flying Spur

Continental Divide While some may carp about the size, price, and decadent details of Bentley cars, knowing souls concur that the company has always represented the apogee of poise and luxury. The four-door Flying Spur is indeed large (nearly 17.5 feet long) and expensive (more than $200,000), but it also is graceful, spacious, luxurious, and […]

Car of the Year 2014: Porsche Cayman S

A Cut Above Porsche seems to have cast the Cayman as an automotive Cinderella, forcing it to assume a subservient role to its domineering 911 siblings. Though it has been denied 911 power and finery, the Cayman nevertheless beguiles its fanciers by doing so many things so well. And for the 2014 model year, Porsche […]

Car of the Year 2014: Porsche Panamera Turbo

Daily Beast Porsche was the only brand with two horses in the 2014 Car of the Year competition, and the Panamera Turbo placed immediately behind the sporty Cayman S. The cars’ adjacent finishes speak to the judges’ acceptance of the 520 hp sedan as a bona fide Porsche. As if to emphasize that the Panamera, […]

Car of the Year 2014: Jaguar F-Type V8 S

Back in the Game It had been a long time since Jaguar built a sports car—some four decades, in fact. This hiatus came after the company had produced the SS100 in the 1930s, the XKs in the ’50s, and the E-Types in the ’60s and into the ’70s. Does the F-Type—specifically the V8 S variant, […]

Car of the Year 2014: Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe

Happy Return Stingray, a Chevrolet designation first given to a Corvette in 1963, has become a synonym for daring GM design, legendary Detroit engineering, and sporty American muscle. General Motors pirated some of the original Stingray’s styling from Jaguar’s E-Type and some from a mako shark, basing the rest on wind-tunnel testing for aerodynamics. The […]

Car of the Year 2014: Mercedes-Benz S550

Hidden Treasures The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which has been in production longer than any other current luxury sedan (officially since 1972), represents the category’s benchmark. Generation after generation of the S-Class has offered exquisite styling, amenities, and performance. At the Car of the Year competition, Mercedes-Benz showcased the S550, which it completely redesigned for the 2014 […]

Car of the Year 2014: Maserati Quattroporte GTS

Siren Song No longer content with selling a few thousand cars per year in the United States, Maserati is expanding its model line to broaden its appeal. Its latest model is the Ghibli, a midsize sedan comparable to the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Maserati brought a Ghibli to the Car of the […]

Car of the Year 2014: Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography

Signature Comfort The luckiest judges were the ones whose final drive was in the Range Rover Autobiography. After nine hours of exhilaration spikes and adrenaline rushes from thrashing the Ferrari, Audi, Jaguar, and Lamborghini around wine country, they could enter the SUV without bending themselves in half, lean back on seats that are as comfortable […]

Car of the Year 2014: SRT Viper GTS

Snake Bit The fifth-generation Viper, the flagship of Chrysler’s Street & Racing Technology (SRT) division, represents three years of reengineering by Ralph Gilles and his team to create a track tyrant that looks as though it was styled in a wind tunnel. As our judges discovered, even in its more refined GTS form, the Viper […]

Car of the Year 2014: Steering Committee

OUR SPONSORS Robb Report wishes to thank the following companies for their support of the 2014 Car of the Year event: Carl F. Bucherer, Chopard, Gaggenau, Garia, Graff, Jet Aviation, Jewelers unBLOCKed, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, Korean Air, Lalique, Pal Zileri, and Paul & Shark.   The following Robb Report readers were among […]

High Time for Sri Lanka

The GippsAero GA8 Airvan floats nimbly through the clouds, sweeping over the paddies and craggy mountains of the Sri Lankan countryside. Traveling north from the island nation’s seaside metropolis of Colombo to its famed Cultural Triangle, the aircraft soars past Adam’s Peak—a jagged, cone-shaped mountain whose footprint-like indentations have for centuries prompted holy pilgrimages—then veers […]

A Voyager, Even Now

At the beginning of the 20th century, the maker of the most stylish and practical custom luggage in Paris was not Louis Vuitton or Goyard, but Pauline Moynat. The only prominent female practitioner of the era, Moynat created distinctively curvaceous bags and witty conceptual pieces, such as a round trunk designed to hold a spare […]

Treasured Discoveries

Jessica McCormack’s Victorian townhouse looks like a tasteful private residence in London’s posh Mayfair district, but this address happens to be home to some of the most elegant and versatile jewelry in the city—or indeed any other. “I love the idea of people coming into a home where they are inclined to slow down and […]

Sea of Green

Most yacht owners like the idea of eco-friendly design, but in practice few are willing to sacrifice comfort or performance in the name of cutting fuel consumption. The Columbus 40 S Hybrid—a versatile new 131-foot model from Italy’s Columbus Yachts—may quell any such concerns with a space-saving design and a range of possible speed-and-efficiency combinations. […]

Show and Sell

The organizers of the Arizona Concours d’Elegance have huge ambitions for their event, whose inaugural edition was held in January at the Arizona Biltmore resort in Phoenix. “Our goal is that within three years, car owners will be asking, ‘Are you going to the Biltmore this year?’ ” says Kevin Cornish, a Phoenix-based health-care consultant and […]

Gotham Revival

Building luxury hotels in Gilded Age New York became a habit for the Astors. The family’s first foray into the field was made by John Jacob Astor, whose Astor House, erected in 1838, was an unapologetically bourgeois bastion that his two aristocratically inclined great-grandsons would have disdained. These cousins, William Waldorf Astor and John Jacob […]

Secret Spot

As the founder and owner of Tropicsurf, Ross Phillips travels the planet in search of the surfing world’s most elusive species: a good break with no crowds. Scarcer still, says the 45-year-old Australian—whose company leads luxury surf trips to tropical destinations from the Maldives to Mexico—is finding this combination directly in front of a first-rate […]

Skin Peaks

Known for its decadent chocolates and fine timepieces, Geneva recently added to its arsenal of indulgences with the debut of the world’s first Spa Mont Blanc. The 30,000-square-foot facility—which opened in October within a two-story, glass-enclosed rooftop space at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva—looks out to the Jura Mountains and the spa’s namesake […]

Cognac Concoctions

The simple but balanced sidecar, perhaps the best-known Cognac-based libation, is widely believed to have originated in early 20th-century Paris, at either Harry’s New York Bar or the Ritz Paris. Nearly a century later, gifted mixologists such as Josh Davis of Chicago are crafting exquisite modifications of the archetypal recipe. Davis’s Spoken Word combines bright […]

On Par

It seemed only a matter of time before the market for Masters memorabilia reflected the annual feeding frenzy for Masters tickets. A turning point may have come last year, when three exceptional Masters-related items made their auction debuts. The most coveted was the green jacket that the Augusta National Golf Club presented to Horton Smith, […]

Kermit Lynch

The Son of a fundamentalist preacher, Kermit Lynch found his calling in the pursuit of pleasure—and inspired a cult following of his own. Starting with a small wine shop in Berkeley, Calif., Lynch became one of the world’s most influential wine importers and the man who introduced Americans to the concept of terroir. The 25th-anniversary […]

Design Portfolio: Grand Touring

The 212 cemented Ferrari’s reputation as the sports-car maker for affluent driving enthusiasts and gentlemen racers. Ferrari produced the 212 from 1951 to 1952, offering a standard version and the more powerful Export version for racing. The company built 27 examples of the 212 Export for privateers who competed at the Mille Miglia, the Carrera […]

Design Portfolio: Truss Fun

About 15 years ago, David Jensen—a civil-engineering professor at Brigham Young University—invented IsoTruss, a sturdy, three-dimensional, open-lattice structure made from a lightweight composite of Kevlar and carbon fiber. The potential applications of IsoTruss, which derives its name from the isosceles-triangle-shaped trusses that form the latticework, range from freeway pillars to cell-phone towers to aircraft fuselages. […]