Car of the Year 2012


The 13 top new international models race to claim the title Car of the Year. Plus, Spring Fashion: bold looks, subtle lines, striking colors.

From This Issue

Car of the Year: Passion Hits the Pavement

“Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world,” observed George Bernard Shaw. “Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.”  Though intended to rankle members of the Edwardian bourgeoisie—the usual targets of his barbs—this sly syllogism from the notoriously sententious Irish playwright, social reformer, and lifelong vegetarian strikes […]

Wings & Water: Spreading Its Wings

Anyone who has ever been to a Brazilian churrascaria knows to bring an appetite. On a late-August evening, aircraft manufacturer Embraer hosted a dinner at one of these steakhouses near the company’s main production center in São José dos Campos, in the southern Brazilian state of São Paulo. The guests were media members and other […]

Fabric of Time

Passing through the massive wrought-iron gates of Antico Setificio Fiorentino—the ancient silk mill located in the Oltrarno district of Florence, Italy—is like stepping back centuries. Beyond the entrance, a tree-lined walkway leads to a wooden building in which a series of antique handlooms busily fashion exquisite silks and brocades using patterns that date to the […]

Watches: Fashionable Hours

Over the centuries, watchmakers have exploited nearly every conceivable technique for the design and decoration of timepieces; thus, when Philippe Delhotal, artistic and creative director of Hermès’ watch division, began researching new methods for distinguishing the brand’s offerings, he set himself an ambitious goal. For the last three years, Hermès has produced extremely limited series […]

Vacation Homes: Eight Wonders

The easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles, Barbados—or “Little England,” as it is known—has long lured vacationers with its white-sand beaches, a vibrant cultural scene, and the legendary Sandy Lane hotel. Since 1961, this beach, golf, and spa resort has coddled its predominantly British clientele in a private-club-like atmosphere. Last fall, the resort took this […]

Spas: Epic Cures

It is a blazingly clear winter night in Southern California, and on the private terrace at the Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills, a long dining table shimmers with white orchids and floating candles. A seven-course dinner is about to begin. “Close your eyes,” the host commands. In unison, servers step behind the dinner guests and flutter […]

Jewelry: Cuff Love

When an antiques dealer showed Nico Landrigan a cabochon-sapphire brooch from the late 19th century, it was with the hope that Landrigan would buy the ornament simply to harvest its 30-carat centerpiece stone. But Landrigan, president of the jewelry house Verdura, had a different idea. Instead of breaking the brooch apart, he set the entire […]

Golf: Greek Arrival

Before the Greek debt crisis, in the rosy glow that followed the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, a self-made shipping magnate named Vassilis Constantakopoulos began to realize a long-held dream. As far back as the 1980s, Constantakopoulos began acquiring land in his native Messenia, a historically significant region of the southwest Peloponnese. He eventually decided […]

Collectibles: Drawing Power

Before Heritage Auctions acquired the estate of Garth Montgomery Williams, Ed Jaster—a senior vice president at the auction house—was not familiar with the artist. “I had never heard of him,” he admits. But like anyone else who has ever read Charlotte’s Web (or only looked at the pictures), Jaster had long been acquainted with Williams’s […]

Boating: Grande Dame

The Azimut-Benetti Group introduced its Azimut Grande series—a collection of highly customizable planing vessels measuring 100 feet and longer—in January 2011. At the time, the line consisted of the 103SL, the 105, and the popular 116, each of which had launched prior to the announcement. With its first new vessel in the series—a 120-foot beauty […]

The Robb Reader: Forrest Fenn

As an air force fighter pilot in the Vietnam War, Forrest Fenn flew 328 missions and was shot down twice. After the war, he and his wife, Peggy, settled in Santa Fe, N.M., and founded what would become the city’s most successful art-and-antiques business. Fenn Gallery specialized in Old West artifacts and paintings—Remingtons, Russells, Morans—and […]

Car of the Year 2012: No. 13 Chevrolet Volt

SHORT-CIRCUITED BY THE NUMBERS   Yes, the Volt is an honest and well-meaning effort to preserve our global resources and save the polar ice caps. Granted, this plug-in hybrid did not melt its batteries once during our 10-day event. And to be sure, the family-styled sedan is more than capable of traveling almost 400 miles on […]

Car of the Year 2012: No. 11 BMW 650i Convertible

TOO SMOOTH   With the 650i, BMW may be risking its reputation as the builder of the ultimate driving machines. It may well have constructed the best-looking convertible and definitely the most stylish cruiser, with intriguing touches of passenger comforts and convenience. But little of the growl and aggression that drivers have come to expect from […]

Car of the Year 2012: No. 10 Jaguar XKR-S

PICK OF THE LITTER   With its dazzling French racing-blue paint job and enough flaps and fins to excite envy in a plecostomus, Jaguar’s hooligan took many judges by surprise. Its supercharged V-8 is a bottomless pit of power, with a bellowing exhaust note unbecoming of a Jag but welcome music to any car nut. Not […]

Car of the Year 2012: No. 9 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

SPORT, UTILITY, AND VALUE   The Grand Cherokee SRT8 seems poised to intimidate the proliferation of luxury SUVs from Porsche, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Range Rover. At half the price of its competitors, the Jeep is not just a great value but also a marvel of efficient platform engineering. It compromises little and delivers large in terms […]

Car of the Year 2012: No. 6 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG

LIGHTING IT UP   Audi may have started the LED craze, but on this second generation of the car that launched the four-door-coupe category, Mercedes-Benz has made an art form of the headlights and tail lamps. At night, when they glow, the lights lend a sinister look that goes well with the car’s redesigned, more aggressive-looking […]

Car of the Year 2012: No. 5 Bentley Continental GTC

NO APOLOGIES   By any measure or comparison of weight and size, the Continental GTC is excessive. Without passengers it weighs almost three tons. It is longer than most primer sailboats. Manufacturing of one car consumes a month or more, not days, because Bentley’s attention to detail is agonizing. Bentley makes no apologies for its lack […]

Car of the Year 2012: No. 4 Audi A7

FIVE-DOOR COUPE   With little noise and even less posturing, Audi has caught up with its fellow Germans Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz in just about every car category. Now with the thoroughly handsome and elegantly equipped A7, Audi has entered the division that Mercedes-Benz invented: the four-door coupe—that class of so-smooth sedans that look like coupes […]

Car of the Year 2012: No. 2 Maserati GranTurismo MC

FOR COMPETING OR COMMUTING   An Italian automobile-company executive said in the late 1990s that if you cannot afford a Ferrari, you could always buy a Maserati. He could justify his condescension, for at the time Maseratis were inexpensive as well as underpowered and barely average in terms of reliability and engineering quality. Those days are […]

Outside the Lines

Photography by Blair Getz Mezibov; Styling by Christopher Campbell; Photographed at the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation, New York Photo 1: Cesare Attolini wool jacket, $5,275, linen shirt, $525, and silk tie, $225; Ascot Chang wool pants, $995; Corneliani silk pocket square, $115; Ralph Lauren leather-and-suede shoes, $495; Punto by the British Apparel Collection socks, […]

Smoke: Rolled Gold

It is an axiom that as much as 80 percent of a cigar’s flavor comes from its wrapper. But what if that wrapper were made of pure gold? That was the burning question at last year’s International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers trade show, where an aura of excitement surrounded Daniel Marshall’s booth. Even the […]