A whole new British invasion is heading for American shores. Only this time it’s not rock ’n’ roll making a big splash in the stateside market, but an armada of posh new rides that are set to lift the bar even higher on luxury car styling, comfort and performance.
Among 2014’s swank imports is the Rolls-Royce Wraith, the high-tech, high-style reincarnation of a classic 1930s Rolls that was among the most distinctive luxury cars of its era. The reborn Wraith certainly lives up to that pedigree — it’s the most powerful and technologically advanced Rolls yet, and quite possibly the most comfortable.
The handcrafted interior blends familiar Rolls-Royce touches such as natural grain leather seats and soft wool carpets with 21st century amenities like a large LED screen mounted on the dash and an “onboard valet” voice-activated connectivity system.
Although the Wraith weighs in at almost 5,400 pounds, the streamlined fastback design and 6.6-liter twin-turbo V-12 engine make this the most powerful Roller of all time — 624 horsepower, 590 pound-feet of torque and enough oomph to push the car from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.1 seconds.
Elsewhere, Bentley has revamped the Flying Spur for 2014, boosting the twin-turbo, 6.0-liter V-12 engine to 616 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque to present the fastest, most powerful four-door Bentley thus far.
The elegant passenger cabin combines handcrafted leather hides and wood veneers with advanced acoustic and electronic technologies like touch-screen infotainment, mobile Wi-Fi connectivity, rear-seat entertainment suite and a new handheld touch screen remote that lets rear-cabin occupants control an array of interior features.
Brand new from Jaguar, the sleek and sophisticated XJR combines the comfort and styling that drivers have come to expect from Jag with genuine supercar performance. With a top speed of 174 mph and nimble handling, this is a true sports car for the discerning driver.
The XJR’s electronic active differential and dynamic stability control systems are calibrated to enhance handling characteristics while the 20-inch forged alloy with custom low-profile tires maximize road grip. Under the hood is a 5-liter V-8 supercharged engine regulated by an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 2014 Vanquish Volante is the first Aston Martin convertible with a full carbon-fiber body and the first Gaydon-produced ragtop with a full-sized windshield. The vehicle’s triple-skin lightweight fabric roof quickly folds beneath a tonneau and decklid aerodynamically engineered for optimum performance. A naturally aspirated 6-liter V-12 engine pushes the new Volante to a top speed of 183 mph.
Another venerable British automaker, Land Rover, unveils two new luxury models for 2014. The Range Rover Long-Wheelbase is fit for royalty, with a back passenger cabin that rivals airline first-class comfort. Rear legroom has increased a full 7.3 inches over the standard Range Rover while seat recline has increased from eight to 17 degrees.
The Autobiography Black flaunts unique design finishes, leather detailing and other new features that give the vehicle an even more distinctive character. Equipped with an Executive Class package, the “ABB” offers backseat passengers electrically deployable leather tables, integrated USB charging sockets, enhanced stowage and custom lighting.
—Joe Yogerst, Brand Publishing Writer