RUMOUR HAS IT…
Luxury SUV party
Maybach will launch its own take on the super-luxury SUV market
The reborn Maybach badge will have an SUV within two years to stretch Daimler’s SUV family out to seven models.
The GLS-based super-luxury Maybach SUV will be swung into action to fight the strong-selling Bentley Bentayga, Rolls-Royce’s upcoming Cullinan and Range Rover’s range-topping SVAutobiography.
It will be mechanically similar to the GLS, but will step forward in comfort, ride quality, interior features and luxury. It will be to the GLS what the Mercedes-Maybach S600 is to the S-Class family.
It won’t be just a badge change, with sources confirming it will take styling cues from the elongated Maybach 6 coupe electric car.
At the least, its grille, headlights and tail lights will be different, but the rest will be similar enough to the GLS that Daimler won’t need a new crash-testing programme.
It could include a longer wheelbase than the GLS to add to the rear-seat legroom, though the GLS is already a huge car with a 5,130mm overall length. However, it’s shorter overall than the Bentayga (by 10mm) and the Autobiography (by 69mm) even though it rides on a 3,080mm wheelbase.
Aiming for luxury over practicality, it’s not likely to carry over the second-generation GLS’s third row of seats, instead opting to deliver maximum comfort for just five or even four occupants.
It will transfer the unique Maybach infotainment and instrument-cluster graphics from the S-Class, with the luxury-dripping Designo interior trim levels.
It will run the same powertrains as the stock Benz giant, too, so expect a variant of the 4.0l, biturbo V8 as the range topper, with a nine-speed automatic transmission and active air suspension. There is an unconfirmed expectation that a 6.0l biturbo V12 will also find its way into the Maybach-badged engine bay.
Keeping up the pace
Jaguar’s first SUV, the F-Pace has been so successful it is embarking on a large product onslaught for the genre. It has already unveiled the concept of its electric-powered I-Pace, which will hit the market early in 2018, but now it is also testing the E-Pace.
Smaller and cheaper than the F-Pace, the E-Pace will sit on the same platform as the Range Rover Evoque and will boast a shorter bonnet than theF. Set to rival the BMW X1 and Mercedes GLC, the E-Pace looks set to be introduced around the middle of 2017.
We expect it to be powered by the 2.0l Ingenium petrol and diesel engines.
Urban planners might not always get things right. During his time as mayor of London, Boris Johnson pushed to get private cars out of the city, urging motorists to ditch their cars and use public transport. In many cases he squeezed cars out by taking away road space and converting it to bus and bicycle lanes and creating more space for pedestrians.
It all seemed like a good idea at the time, but in a new report, London Stalling, by the London Assembly transport committee, it appears that the plan has backfired. Private vehicle numbers have declined in the city, but the bicycle and bus lanes have created less space for cars and the narrower roads have been filled by Uber and other private-hire vehicles as well as delivery vehicles. The speed of traffic has reduced and the delays have increased.
Rolling out the truth
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars had to resort to sending out a statement this week clarifying it is not the same company as Rolls-Royce plc, the latter being a manufacturer of aircraft engines and components.
"As an entirely separate company, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has no involvement whatsoever in issues relating to alleged bribery and subsequent legal settlements reached by Rolls-Royce plc with authorities in various jurisdictions, including the UK, the US and Brazil."
Still with Rolls, and the company (the car one, not the aero one) has announced it will supply two of its most expensive Phantom models yet to The 13, a hotel in Macau. The two models boast gold-infused paint, essentially paint containing 23.75 carat gold particles. The glowing Spirit of Ecstasy and the hallmark grille are also plated in gold. As if that is not enough, the RR emblem on the grille is surrounded by 336 diamonds.
If you are fortunate to stay at the hotel and these models seem a bit too brash, then fear not — the hotel has 28 other Phantoms to chauffeur you around in style.
Because we can’t possibly leave out the injured Ford Kuga, the latest news to hit our inbox was the cancellation this week of a test car.
The reason? The vehicle rental companies have informed Ford SA that they are running out of vehicles to give to Kuga owners as courtesy cars, with more than 3,000 already being handed over. Ford has therefore recalled all its press units and company vehicles to give to dealers and Kuga 1.6 owners.
So don’t expect a review of any Ford vehicles in these pages soon.
Lamborghini is testing a Superleggera version of its Huracan that will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Lamborghini SA doesn’t talk to us so while we have the details, we’re not telling you anything. If you want a Huracan, then buy an Audi R8.