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Monterey Car Week wraps up

Big hitters launch most powerful models at 10-day-long Monterey Car ‘Week’

23 Aug 2022

AMERICA’s largest and most prestigious car show, Monterey Car Week in California, is an all-out ten-day auto-fest showcasing the old, the new, and everything in between.


The world’s most rare and, of course, expensive vehicles converge across Monterey County for the various festivities, most notably the 71-year-old Pebble Beach Concours d-Elegance classic car meet – where this year punters were treated to an ultra-rare 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo that took out ‘Best in Show’.


Across the week, an estimated US$400 million ($A581.8m) worth of classic cars were auctioned, the most expensive being a one-of-two 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider raced by Carroll Shelby sold for US$22 million.


High-end manufacturers also take advantage of the exclusive event to launch their latest and greatest – this year being no exception.


McLaren revealed its ultra-limited Solus GT hypercar, a track-only closed-cockpit racer with a V10 engine that spins to more than 10,000rpm.


The Solus GT was first born virtually in the Gran Turismo Sport video game, as a no-holds-barred vision of what could be, before McLaren engineers were tasked with bringing the concept to life as a special commission for 25 lucky customers.


“The McLaren Solus GT is the realisation of a radical McLaren concept vehicle originally created for the world of virtual racing,” said McLaren Automotive chief executive officer, Michael Leiters.


“Engineered free of any restrictions from road or race regulations, but with the full spectrum of McLaren’s expertise to bring it to reality, it epitomises our pioneering spirit.”


The mental realisation of the ultimate McLaren is powered by a naturally-aspirated 5.2-litre V10, mated to a seven-speed sequential ‘box, producing 609kW/649Nm and capable of revving beyond 10,000rpm.


The Solus GT will rocket to 100km/h in just 2.5 seconds and is capable of more than 200mph (322km/h) – on-track of course.


Weighing in at 1000kg, and producing a staggering 1199kg of downforce, the Solus GT is capable of “the fastest lap times of any McLaren outside of single-seater racing” and the car-maker likens the driving experience to that of a Formula 1 car.


While McLaren hasn’t released pricing details, sources estimate a US$3.6 million ($A5.19m) price tag – unsurprising, really.


Aston Martin also unveiled the new V12 Vantage Roadster – its most powerful production model ever alongside the coupe version – offering unprecedented open-air thrills for fans of the marque.


The new V12 Vantage Roadster features a widebody design, wide-track suspension, and Aston Martin’s venerable 5.2-litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine.


The monstrous V12 produces 515kW/753Nm, sent to the rear treads via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and propels the Vantage to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds.


Owners have little chance of keeping their hat firmly on their head in the drop-top Aston Martin, with a claimed top speed of 200mph (322km/h).


The V12 Vantage Roadster has shed plenty of weight, further enhancing performance, thanks to a carbon fibre front bumper, clamshell bonnet, and front guards. A weight-saving composite material has also been used for the rear bumper and deck lid, as well as a lightweight 1mm-thick stainless steel exhaust system. 


The new V12 Vantage Roadster is limited to just 249 examples globally and Go Auto has confirmed it’s bound for Australia – presumably in very limited numbers.


“The V12 Vantage Roadster is available to Australian and New Zealand customers and we anticipate strong interest within both markets,” said an Aston Martin spokesperson.


“However, we are unable to disclose exact numbers of local customer orders.”


Bentley was also busy throughout Monterey Car Week, unveiling its ultra-premium Mulliner Batur grand tourer – giving us a taste of its future EV design focus.


Despite premiering the new design DNA “that will ultimately guide the design of Bentley’s future range of Battery Electric Vehicles”, the Batur is powered by Bentley’s most powerful internal combustion engine.


It’s all a little confusing, but Bentley’s aim here is to debut its new design language, destined for EV models, while still celebrating its W12 engine.


“As the engine enters its twilight years as part of Bentley’s Beyond100 transformation journey to being fully electrified, the Batur forms the first part of a celebration of the W12’s extraordinary power, torque and refinement,” Bentley’s official release stated.


The 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 produces an eye-watering 544kW/1000Nm, with an ‘eLSD’ electric diff to manage all of that torque. 


Bentley has gone to great lengths to enhance the handling of the Batur, with speed-tuned air suspension, electric anti-roll bars, four-wheel steering, and torque vectoring.


Just 18 examples will be produced, all reserved by Mulliner clients and priced at $2.8 million, with deliveries expected in mid-2023.


“The Batur is a significant car for Bentley. Far more than the heir to the highly successful Bacalar, the Batur showcases the design direction that we’re taking in the future as we develop our range of BEVs,” said Bentley chairman and chief executive, Adrian Hallmark.

“Beneath the beautiful exterior lies the most powerful engine we’ve ever developed. Our W12 engine is easily the most successful twelve-cylinder automotive engine in history, and as it approaches its retirement to make way for future hybrids and BEVs, we want to mark its accomplishments.”


The 18 vehicles will be built by Bentley’s in-house bespoke coachbuilding division, Mulliner, offered with lavish options like 3D printed 18 karat gold, sustainable natural fibre composites, and titanium parts.

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