Driving Torque

Articles, reviews and opinions about cars and all things automotive

Archive for the month “January, 2011”

All New Maybach

2014 Maybach

All new Maybach

Readers of a nervous disposition should probably do themselves a favour and not focus too hard on this picture of the forthcoming Maybach, due for release in 2014. See what I mean? – I did warn you!

Since Mercedes revived the Maybach brand and released the imaginatively titled 57 and 62 in 2002, they have been terrifying young and old in wealthy neighbourhoods across the globe and this one looks certain to follow in that tradition, a sort of son of Frankenstein if you will.

According to one Mercedes spokesman, they are keen to use the Maybach ‘as a technological showcase’ for the rest of their line up, a move which seems very sensible; after all, if you can’t use a £500k Limousine as a showcase, what can you use? From customer feedback, they have also determined that keeping the traditional three box design is essential, especially for existing Maybach owners whom they hope to tempt out of their now ageing models.

I’m fairly sure however that when carrying out their customer feedback, they will have received very few, if any forms stipulating that the new model must be, without question, the most hideous looking car to have ever made it into production.

It’s not just me is it? I appreciate that Maybach’s most obvious competition – the Rolls-Royce range are ostentatious, perhaps even vulgar but they are at least distinctive, you at least want to look at them even if you ultimately decide you wouldn’t want to own one. This new Maybach pulls off the wondrous feat of being ludicrously expensive and yet appearing to have been designed on a shoe string.

I find this car strangely reminiscent of the pictures we regularly receive from China. You know the ones – where you sort of recognise the car in point but then realise that it’s actually just a rip off of a premium European brand e.g. the stunningly awful Geely GE seen below.

Geely's blatant copy of the Rolls Royce Phantom

Look familiar?

Sources close to Aston Martin are reporting that they could be involved in the manufacture of this new Maybach. Just a shame that Aston weren’t given the reins when the designs for the exterior were being drawn up!

By Ben Harrington

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Early to Mid Life Crisis – Only a 911 can save me

Nineteen and a half years. Assuming every penny of it was banked, that’s roughly how long it would take Mr U.K. average to earn the amount that I’ve recently valued my life at for insurance purposes. Unfortunately this figure doesn’t take tax or National Insurance into account so unless you live in Switzerland or have an extremely clever accountant, it’s more likely to take around thirty years, with no outgoings, at all.

I’d always been led to believe that mid-life crises occurred when one hit the big 4-0 but as I approach my 31st birthday, I can only assume that mine decided on an early start. A few years ago I wouldn’t have even contemplated doing something as boring as taking out life insurance, why would I when I was invincible? Yet recently I’ve been struggling to sleep at night in case an errant satellite felled me in the street before my policy details were finalised – how middle aged is that?

It gets worse though. In true ‘Bucket List’ fashion, I’ve decided that it’s time for a long term ambition to be realised, possibly before it’s too late. I’m going to buy a Porsche 911. Since their images adorned my walls as a child, owning an 80’s 911 has been an inevitable event in my life, a box that simply must be ticked. Recently however, this need has escalated from ‘I’ll get round to that one day’ to ‘I’d better start seriously considering that’. My amateur psychoanalysis has reached the conclusion that this is partly due to turning 30 but more importantly is due to the overwhelming terror of my next milestone being 40!

porsche-capI do adore the 911, especially air-cooled examples from the 1980’s with their dramatic styling and big wings. Whenever I see one, I can’t help but take a glance at the lucky sod driving it and this, is I think what’s persuaded me it’s time to take the plunge. For me, the whole image is ruined if I see Bob the scaffolder behind the wheel, well into his 40s and well over a 40 inch waist, light reflecting off his balding pate or worse still, a Porsche baseball cap attempting to disguise said pate. This is certainly not how I want to be seen in my 911. I want young blondes to take a glance and see someone with youth, vigour and his own teeth, someone who’s still in his prime, not incontinence pants. This may be the sad attempt of a thirty something father of two trying to kid the world but as long as I’m convinced, I don’t care.

Of course, deciding to buy a 911 is just the first step, achieving it may be a couple of years down the line as I’ve got to save up the cash. Well I’m not going to get a loan am I, that would be far too irresponsible!

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By Ben Harrington

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