Car of the Year 2011


The top 2011 models compete for the title, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Ferrari, Porsche, Rolls-Royce & more. Plus, Spring Fashion, let there be white.

From This Issue

Aman Sveti Stefan

On the heels of similar conversion projects in Cambodia, China, and Sri Lanka, Singapore-based Amanresorts is set to reveal its largest restoration effort to date: an 82-acre compound on and off mainland Montenegro that is being transformed into the Aman Sveti Stefan resort. During the early 15th century, fishermen sought refuge on Sveti Stefan Island […]

One Ski Hill Place

For three out of the last four winter seasons, Breckenridge Ski Resort has edged out its Colorado neighbor and sister property Vail as North America’s most-visited ski area. Unlike Vail, however, Breckenridge has never had a legitimate luxury hotel in which to house discriminating downhillers. The opening of One Ski Hill Place—just steps from four […]

The Savoy, a Fairmont Managed Hotel

After nearly three years and more than $300 million, London’s legendary Savoy reopened last October as a Fairmont hotel. Fairmont claims the undertaking was the “most ambitious hotel restoration in London history,” but it was not, according to the company, a renovation: Instead of modernizing the Savoy, Fairmont brought the 122-year-old hotel’s beauty back to […]

The Setai Fifth Avenue

From the ice cave in its Auriga Spa to the mattresses in its guest rooms, the new Setai Fifth Avenue is built to pamper. The former—an 8-by-10-foot chamber where guests rub themselves with chunks of ice—is Manhattan’s first. The latter—Duxiana mattresses that cost $12,000 apiece—promise to be “the most comfortable you’ve ever slept on,” says […]

Car of the Year 2011: No. 3 Porsche 911 Turbo S

Fast and Efficient Close your eyes while sitting in the passenger seat of the Porsche 911 Turbo S, and when the driver floors it, you will swear you are in the cockpit of a Bugatti Veyron. (Those with weaker stomachs should avoid this experiment.) Equipped with a tuned version of Porsche’s 6-cylinder boxer engine, the […]

Car of the Year 2011: No. 2 Audi R8 V10 Spyder

Driven Daily to Extremes When the V-8-engined Audi R8 trounced its Car of the Year competition two years ago, it sent a wake-up call to those marques that were resting on their exotic, mid-engined laurels. Practical but possessing great finesse, Audi’s sports car set a new benchmark as the sensible supercar. With the V-10 engine […]

Car of the Year 2011: Winner Ferrari 458 Italia

Better than Expected Since the advent of the F355 in 1994, Ferrari’s mid-engine V-8s have been wonderfully civilized thoroughbreds that anyone can drive. By the time the F430 started showing a gray hair or two, it was hard to imagine its successor being anything but a measured evolution of that near-perfect sports car. But the […]

Car of the Year: Emotion in Motion

For much of the magazine’s 35-year history, the Robb Report Car of the Year competition has furnished four-wheeled fodder for an audience interested in unique motoring experiences. Since the 2003 contest, however, our readers have been, as it were, in the driver’s seat. Prior to that time, our team of seasoned automotive journalists was charged […]

Car of the Year: 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 2011 Car of the Year candidates. David Arnold is senior vice president, group publisher, of Robb Report. Shai Burstein is founder and controller of Trend Marketing, a Canadian footwear wholesaler. Michele Cestone is […]

Car of the Year 2011: No. 14 Lotus Evora

Driver’s Delight Lotus has always built cars for serious drivers possessing a disdain for excess and a willingness to sacrifice space, amenities, and brute force in deference to a lightweight, elemental means of going fast. With the Evora, Lotus makes a foray into daily-driver territory, expanding its waistline with available 2+2 seating and building a […]

Car of the Year 2011: No. 13 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

Motown Hit Kudos to Cadillac for having the chutzpah to go head-to-head with Europe’s most formidable sport coupes, and in measurable ways, trouncing them on their own tracks. The CTS-V sedan is a little monster with a giant engine; the Coupe ditches two doors, piles on extra style and even more attitude, and makes a […]

Car of the Year 2011: No. 12 Jaguar XJ Supersport

No Spare Change With the quiet demise of the previous XJ series, Jaguar’s Victorian era came to an end. The British carmaker has shed its prudish demeanor and stepped out with a new profile: long, low, and ever so stylish. The new XJ pays tasteful homage to Coventry’s old cats but looks confidently forward, staring […]

Car of the Year 2011: No. 11 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Lift Your Spirits The downsized Ghost has huge tire tracks to fill, those of the immortal Silver Ghost that in 1906 gave birth to Grecian radiators, minted a new metaphor for opulence, and began a progression of the most impressive marque in motoring. Yet this starter Rolls—lighter, shorter, lower, narrower, and about $130,000 less expensive […]

Car of the Year 2011: No. 10 BMW Alpina B7

Higher Ground While BMW cognoscenti worship at the Alpina altar, the luxury-sedan rank and file remain oblivious to Wunderautos wrought by BMW’s partner—which is as it should be, because there are not enough B7s to go around. The engineers and craftsmen at Alpina have taken everything good about the BMW 750 and made it better. […]

Car of the Year 2011: No. 9 Aston Martin Rapide

Hustle and Flow The success of Aston Martin’s sedan-cum-coupe is a matter of seduction by architecture. Its design flows so proportionately that one barely notices the two extra doors. And when driving the Rapide, one becomes oblivious to the rear seats and any passengers unfortunate enough to be crammed into them. Instead, the driver’s attention […]

Car of the Year 2011: No. 8 Audi A8L

Laudable Designs Ask any auto designer—off the record and after a couple of drinks—which marques he or she most admires and chances are Audi will be mentioned. Audi has long been regarded as a designer’s car, in the best sense of the term. Across the model line the exterior and interior plans are understated and […]

Car of the Year 2011: No. 7 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible

No Substitute The GranTurismo just might erase Maserati’s undeserved image of being the Italian car to buy if you cannot afford a Ferrari. Yes, Maserati was once a division of Ferrari, the two companies still are located in the same neighborhood, and all Maseratis are powered by Ferrari-sourced engines. However, Maserati stands apart with the […]

Car of the Year 2011: No. 4 Aston Martin V12 Vantage

Roaring Yet Refined Full disclosure: The V12 Vantage was my favorite car of the year. The Aston Martin went to the front of this year’s lineup because of its unmatched aesthetics, long-distance comfort, ample power, and a Lazarus-stirring exhaust note. By pairing its big engine with its smallest and most nimble platform, Aston Martin has […]

Car of the Year 2011: No. 6 Bentley Mulsanne

Comfort and Joy The Mulsanne is designed to make the good life great. Just sitting in the driver’s seat—which feels more like a throne than a vehicular necessity—provides a sense of lofty serenity that can be described only as perfect. Several of the judges were surprised to find that a car this size could move […]

Car of the Year 2011: No. 5 Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG

Drive, Buy The CL63 AMG can make a driver feel invincible. The big two-door displays a very sporty character when barreling down the road like a Teutonic hammer, yet at the same time it provides an overwhelming sense of protection, the kind usually associated with luxury SUVs. It is no surprise that many judges placed […]

Travel: Horsing Around

Coworth Park, a new 240-acre retreat that opened as part of the Dorchester Collection in September, sits on the outskirts of the village of Ascot in the English countryside. The resort is just 10 minutes by car from the famed Ascot Racecourse, whose premier annual event, the five-day Royal Ascot meet, is a most formal […]

Jewelry: Rock On

Alexandra Mor had been eyeing the stone for weeks: an 85.30-carat, cabochon-cut emerald about the size of a plump strawberry. Mor, a jewelry designer in New York, was hesitant to purchase it because its color was uneven and it was dappled with inclusions. Still, she could not stop thinking about it. “Something about the various […]

Watches: Added Subtraction

To enhance a timepiece’s beauty, the designers at Piaget not so simply reduce its size. “Our business is to create thin and very elegant men’s watches,” says company CEO Philippe Léopold-Metzger. “The technical part of watchmaking allows the watch to be beautiful. But technique is not, in itself, the purpose.” If a slender profile is […]

Golf: Cyprus Star

With only a handful of courses scattered across its parched, garrigue-carpeted landscape, the Mediterranean island of Cyprus is not the first place that comes to mind as a warm-weather golfing destination for Europeans. Overshadowed by Spain and even Morocco and Tunisia, this divided 3,572-square-mile island—Cyprus is split between the Greek-controlled south and Turkish-occupied north—has a […]

Home: Fancy That

Christopher Guy calls Singapore home; his furniture creations, however, seem to exist in a fantasy world. “I designed an Alice in Wonderland–inspired chair a couple of years ago and really didn’t think there would be much interest in it, but it turned out to be one of my best-selling pieces,” says the 50-year-old British-born designer. […]

The Robb Reader: Kevin Frazier

Kevin Frazier is always on his toes. The 46-year-old correspondent for Entertainment Tonight spends much of his time trying to keep up with his two young sons at the family’s home in Los Angeles. Away from home, he tackles an equally taxing duo in his role as cohost of the Versus cable network’s The T.Ocho […]

Wings & Water: Wind Power

Skipper Peter Holmberg sprung catlike between the twin helms of Sojana, his boat shoes squeaking on the sailing yacht’s deck as he rushed back and forth with each tack and jibe. Gripping one of the wheels, he leaned over it and peered across the white-capped waters off the island of St. Barts. Holmberg, known in […]

Motorcycles: Great Leap Backward

Quantum Leap is less a motorcycle than a proclamation from its creator, Eddie Meeks. His message is clear: Do not count me out, because I can still blow your mind. “When I decided to reverse everything, that was my moment,” says Meeks. “The point was to step outside the box and outside the rut that […]

Sport: Tiger Tales

The sun resembles a fiery peach as it rises over the Zambezi River at 6 am. Fish eagles fly overhead and elephants graze on a distant riverbank while I set out by pontoon in search of the legendary tigerfish, one of angling’s greatest prizes. Two fishing guides, Vasco and Werner, lead me on my quest […]

Boating: The Princess Tide

LVMH’s impressive stable of luxury brands includes, among others, fashion labels Louis Vuitton and Givenchy; Champagne houses Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot; and the Royal Van Lent shipyard, which produces Fead­ship megayachts. In 2008, the Paris-based conglomerate expanded its maritime presence with the purchase of Princess Yachts, a reputable British builder that is now […]

Spirits: Dutch Treat

In certain circles, a high price connotes quality, and few sectors of the marketplace have more expertly exploited this peculiar perception than the distilled-spirits industry, which turns out numerous expensive and stylish bottles whose contents make little impression in the glass. The aficionado who eyes such costly introductions with suspicion might therefore wonder whether Nolet’s […]

FrontRunners: Cadillac CTS-V

Cadillac has launched the world’s most wicked station wagon, a vehicle derived from the carmaker’s new CTS-V Coupe and Sport Sedan. The CTS-V Wagon (, which has a starting price of about $63,000 and will be produced on a built-to-order basis, satisfies drivers with a need for speed and space. The evil Caddy is powered […]

FrontRunners: Airy Craft

The new 44-foot sport cruiser from Azimut Benetti Group–owned Atlantis allows passengers to enjoy the more pleasant natural elements while it protects them from the harsher ones. The cockpit and adjacent seating area on the Atlantis 44 (, which made its debut at the Genoa boat show in Italy in October and has a starting […]

FrontRunners: Inked Well

Tat­tooist and artist Scott Campbell, of Brook­lyn, N.Y., has lent his interpretations of classic patterns and animal symbols from the Chinese zodiac to a collection of Louis Vuitton sportswear and accessories ( Campbell, whose body-art clients include Louis Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs, has created patterns for spring shirts, trousers, scarves, and the $7,150 limited-edition […]

FrontRunners: Four Play

Collectors probably will not mind that the new Greubel Forsey Invention Piece 2 ( contains a mechanism the Swiss watchmaker initially unveiled several years ago. After all, that mechanism is a quadruple tourbillon, the company’s most complex and accurate creation. The Invention series also features architecture and finishing that are completely different from those displayed […]

FrontRunners: Sword Writing

The pen and the sword do not have to be at odds with each other, as evidenced by the S.T. Dupont Samurai Limited Edition ( The designs of this new line of pens and lighters from the Parisian accessories company reference the katana, the weapon of choice among the Japanese feudal warrior class. The highlight […]

FrontRunners: Cool Shades

Sally Sirkin Lewis, who has spent nearly four decades creating designs for her Los Angeles–based furniture and textiles company, has introduced J. Robert Scott Ombré (, a finishing technique that leaves wood veneer with a gradient of color from dark to light. The proprietary process yields a watercolor-like glaze that varies in intensity depending on […]

FrontRunners: Heavy Metal

Much of the roughly 700-pound weight of the new 5-foot-7-inch-tall Sonus Faber Flagship loudspeaker ( rests in the huge vibration conveyors at the cabinet’s top and bottom. The considerable mass and clamshell shape of these anodized aluminum blocks trap and collect the energy generated by audio frequency resonance. A vertical steel rod connecting the blocks […]

FrontRunners: Bold and Beautiful

The daring jewelry designs from New York’s Deborah Pagani ( combine Art Deco–style geometric shapes with colorful, unconventional gemstones. After having sold her jewelry through Hotel Ritz Paris for several years, Pagani began offering her pieces in this country last year. They range in price from $500 to $30,000 and include standouts such as the […]

FrontRunners: Deli Delights

The acclaimed pâtés, terrines, and cured meats served at New York’s Bar Boulud soon can be purchased at Epicerie Boulud (, chef Daniel Boulud’s Upper West Side boutique and café scheduled to open in late March. The shop is located across from the Lincoln Center and adjacent to the Boulud Sud restaurant, which will open […]

FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

Several years ago, attorney Bob Finkelstein mentioned to his friend Steve Wynn that his clients, the family of Frank Sinatra, were exploring possible business ventures, among them a restaurant and a wine label. The issue of that interchange was twofold: an Italian eatery at Wynn’s Encore resort overseen by chef Theo Schoenegger, formerly of Patina […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Baronial Beauty

1956 Maserati A6G/54 Berlinetta Before withdrawing from world championship racing in 1957, Maserati moved to the forefront of motorsport competition—alongside rival Ferrari—with the A6G/54 (also known as the A6G 2000 GT), a series of 60 beautiful coupes and convertibles produced from 1954 to 1957. Beginning in 1956, they were powered by Maserati’s signature 2-liter, dohc […]

Robb Design Portfolio: Repeat Showing

A minute repeater’s appeal usually rests largely on how well the watch sounds. But Audemars Piguet ( obviously invested much effort in making its new Millenary Minute Repeater a treat for the eyes as well as the ears. This timepiece, priced at approximately $377,000, is the latest in an unofficial series of complicated watches combining […]

Business Class

Somewhere between Wall Street’s suit and tie and Silicon Valley’s T-shirt and jeans lies the realm of “business casual”—that prevalent, and nettlesome, approach to a work wardrobe that combines a relaxed attitude with a polished, professional appearance. To do it well requires a fine eye for detail and nuance, and for that, we went to […]

Seeing the Light

Photography by David Roemer. Styling by Christopher Campbell. This spring, designers have delivered so many brilliant, white classics that dressing for the weekend is bound to be a leisure pursuit in itself. From relaxed Egyptian cotton slacks to breezy linen shirts and softly structured blazers, the season’s menswear is a matter of effortless, and spotless, […]