Ahead of the Curve

Ahead of the Curve: The best luxury cars for your buck

A look at the latest and best ultra-luxe dream cars that will speed you along with the greatest panache.

BY December 7, 2015

Your shoes clack against the stone pavers of the The Ritz-Carlton, Naples entryway as you make your way to the valet station, guests in tuxedos and gowns mingling in the moonlight. Valets scurry to and fro, fetching cars and accepting keys. It was the event of the season, and you want to be remembered along with it. As the valet pulls up your ride, you hear gasps as he opens the door, and, yes, it’s you stepping forward for your dream car.

Only a few such cars elicit that gasp in Southwest Florida, and here are some you might aspire to.

Cool Hybrid: BMW i8

Anyone can look cool in the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid. The revolutionary vehicle combines the efficiency of an all-electric motor and the power of a traditional engine. The all-electric motor is situated on the front axle, while the TwinPower Turbo 3-cylinder engine drives the rear axle. When combined, these two components deliver an all-wheel drive sports car with multiple driving modes. In eDrive mode, the car runs purely on electric power with a maximum range of 15 miles and a top speed of 75 mph.

But it really isn’t the advanced hybrid engine that brings the wow factor; it’s the awesome scissor doors. Imagine the sharp inhales when the valet reaches for the handle and the entire door sweeps vertically open. Admittedly, it is difficult to get in and out of the i8—especially if you’re wearing a dress. You’ll look fabulous no matter what you wear when you exit this vehicle.

   Germain BMW, 11286 Tamiami Trail N.

And Now an SUV: Bentley Bentayga

The sumptuous 2016 Bentley Bentayga is an automotive anomaly: It is currently the first and only ultra-
luxury sport utility vehicle on the market (although Jaguar has one debuting this spring, and Rolls Royce, Aston Martin and Lamborghini are not far behind). With no history of manufacturing an SUV, Bentley has disrupted the ultra-luxury market. More importantly, Bentley has successfully met their claim that “with an all-new W12 powertrain, the Bentayga is the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious and most exclusive SUV in the world.” The Bentayga can be customized with any exterior color imaginable. Interiors can include anything from ostrich leather seats to granite trim. If you own a Bentayga, you’ll surely be turning heads.

Naples Luxury Imports, 900 Tamiami Trail, Naples

Sleek and Speedy: Maserati GranTurismo Convertible Centennial Edition

Super-sleek at its best, the Maserati GT Convertible Centennial Edition is a conversation-stopper. It is the perfect blend of lavish luxury and powerful performance. Leather seating gets a serious sporty look from contrasting lines of red, white or blue to match the embroidered Trident logo gracing the headrests. And with a 6-liter, twin-turbocharged, 12-cylinder engine, this car gracefully moves faster than fast.

If you like it, you’ll need to act quickly, as Maserati has manufactured a limited number in celebration of its 100th anniversary.

Naples Luxury Imports

Swift and Safe: Tesla Model S P90D

The all-electric Tesla Model S P90D with “Ludicrous mode” speed is a promising window into the future of transportation. It’s more than a head nod to environmentalists, and it’s pure excitement for auto enthusiasts. The name says it all; the “P” stands for performance, the “90” refers to the 90 kilowatt-hour battery pack, and the “D” is for the dual motor configuration. The combination means acceleration is immediate, silent and smooth. You can feel comfortable flying down the road, as tests have proven the Tesla to be one of the safest cars on the road. And with two motors, one in the front and one in the rear, the Model S P90D digitally and independently controls torque to the front and rear wheels.

The innovative Autopilot system in the Model S P90D allows the driver to be a passenger, too—the car literally steers you in the right direction, also adjusting its speed appropriately to the traffic flow. The autopilot combines a camera, radar and 360-degree sonar sensors to automatically drive the Tesla both on the highway and in heavy traffic. Those challenged by parallel parking will be relieved to learn this car will both detect a parking spot and automatically park itself.


For the Tech-savvy:
Mercedes AMG S65

Some very smart engineers at Mercedes deduced that if a car were able to anticipate imperfections in the surface ahead, they could manage the car’s response, creating the smoothest ride on the road. They proved their supposition by introducing the Mercedes AMG S65 Model with Magic Body Control (MBC). The MBC is really a fusion of multiple sensors around the car. One is a camera situated at the top of the windshield, which scans the surface of the road 15 to 45 feet in front of the car for any blemishes, bumps and dips, and, in fractions of a second, feeds that data directly to the Active Body Control (ABC) system’s control unit.

More cutting-edge technology comes in the form of two screens that sit in front of the driver and on top of the center stack. The left-hand screen replaces the traditional instrument panel, and the right-hand screen displays climate, entertainment and navigation information. There is a touchpad mounted within easy reach that allows users to control the “infotainment” system through the use of smartphone-style flicks, swipes and zooms. The driver can control the console by using his or her fingers to “write” letters, numbers and special characters, to complete a wide variety of actions such as adding a contact or navigating a map.

Mercedes-Benz of Fort Myers, 15461 Tamiami Trail S.; Mercedes-Benz of
Naples, 501 Airport-Pulling Road S.

For the Individualist: Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series

Ferry Porsche once said, “We believe in quality, not quantity, when it comes to building cars.” Porsche continues to subscribe to this motto with the Panamera Exclusive Series luxury sedan. With only 100 vehicles produced worldwide, owners are in a truly exclusive club. Every vehicle in the collection has an interior plaque showing its unique limited-edition number.

Like every Porsche, the Panamera is customizable to your heart’s content. If you can dream it up, chances are Porsche has already thought of it. Leather-trimmed vent slats for the climate-control system? Yep. Engraved doorsills? No problem. Both the buyer and Porsche may make a profit from customization, as each Panamera is destined to be a one-of-a-kind luxury automobile. (Interestingly, Panamera Exclusive Series buyers also receive a set of fitted Poltrona Frau leather luggage.)

Porsche of Fort Myers, 10064 Daniels Interstate Court; Porsche of Naples, 800 Tamiami Trail N.

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