The Rolls Royce Dawn is the “World’s Best Luxury Convertible”

“There is no substitute.” 

“The Best or Nothing.”

“The Pursuit of Perfection”

All three of these automotive tag lines describe the Rolls Royce Dawn even though they belong to other manufacturers (Porsche, Mercedes, and Lexus respectively). After spending a week with the Dawn, I understand why people enthusiastically spend over $400,000 on an ultra-luxury car. It’s not just for the prestiege of owning a car from the iconic brand who once held the speed records for land, air, sea. Discerning millionaires and billionaires drive (or better yet, are chauffeured in) Rolls Royce Motors Cars because of the unparallel experience.


Quality

Nothing comes close to the level of detail Rolls Royce has placed into the Dawn. This is because over 90% of Rolls Royce vehicles are bespoke works of art. Every detail, from the type of exotic materials used to the embroidery of family crests, are handcrafted. The particular car I tested feature a sporty design with bulls leather read and black seats, and piano black wood trim. I was told that on average, craftsmen spend 80 hours just on the interior of each car – that is someone spending 8 hours a day for two weeks!!!

Comfort

Roll Royce calls their patented suspension system, “Magic Carpet Ride” for a reason. Driving a Rolls Royce feels like you are floating on a cloud. The vehicle glides over bumps like nothing was there in the first place. 

While all Rolls Royce vehicles have amazing rear passenger compartments, the Dawn was built for the owner to drive it. I put approximately 350 miles on the car and every minute was a surreal experience. 

Cruising down the boulevard or along a coast road with a cool breeze flowing through your hair is what the Dawn was designed for, but it quickly adapts to any situation.


Even when sitting for hours in rush hour traffic, it is a pleasure to drive the Dawn. You feel relaxed because you are sitting in an extremely comfortable and roomy seat, plus you are enjoying studio quality tunes from you favorite brands via the satellite radio. When the noise from the other vehicle start to bother you, simply push a button and the top closes in a matter of seconds, delivering a nearly silent experience.

The noise isolation on the Dawn is an impressive feat, because at full speed on the highway, you barely hear anything from the outside. Convertibles on the highway are typically a noisy affair when compared to hardtops – even modern convertibles. Rolls Royce Dawn breaks the mold, with the top up, it is quieter than most fixed roof vehicles.

Luxury

There isn’t a car manufacture that represents “true luxury” more than Rolls Royce. The Dawn I tested featured a multitude of unnecessary, but nice to have features – all of which enhance the experience of driving the “World’s Best Luxury Convertible.”

Example 1: Motorized doors. A distinguished gentleman (or lady) should never have to close his own door when entering a vehicle. So, Rolls Royce added a mechanism to close the front doors with a button.


Example 2: A Beautiful Mascot. Every proper motor car deserves mascot. Jaguar has a cat, Mercedes has a Star, and Rolls Royce has “The Spirit of Esctasy.” Unique to Rolls Royce though, their hood ornament mechanically pops in and out of the front fascia. It pops up automatically when you unlock the car. And when you lock the car, it automatically hides into a spot right above the grill. You can bespoke your car with the Spirit of Esctasy made using an assortment of materials, including crystal. If you want to highlight its beauty at night, and optional LED spotlight is available.


Example 3: Performance. Gas mileage is terrible on the Rolls Royce Dawn – I got less than 300 miles on a single tank of gas – this is thanks to a thirsty 6.6L V12 motor. What is more luxurious than having a V12 engine that can rocket your 5,776 pound car from zero-to-sixty faster than a Porsche 911? 4.3 seconds to be exact. 

Before I conclude this review of the Dawn. I want to give a shoutout to the Dawn’s discontinued bigger brother, the Phantom Drophead Coupe. It is the only convertible “nicer” than the Dawn. The Phantom Drophead Coupe took the passenger experience to another level. It was larger and featured a more refined backseat with options such as a champagne cooler. While the Dawn is all about the driver, the Phantom was about cruising in style while your man servant drives you into town. So if I had to choose between the two vehicles, I would take the Dawn… Which is why I say the the 2017 Rolls Royce Dawn is the “World’s Best Luxury Convertible” that money can buy.

Visit your local Rolls Royce dealer or go to www.Rolls-RoyceMotorCars.com to learn more.

The SLC43 AMG is the perfect daily driven roadster!


Daily driver and roadster rarely fits into the same sentence unless you are a complete car enthusiast. That’s because roadsters traditionally trade comfort for the ride of a lifetime. Some classic roadsters such as the Jaguar XK120 roadster didn’t even have rollup windows! And if you think that is unpleasant, the Porsche 550 Spyder didn’t even have a top! Those lavish features were meant for “convertibles.” Modern roadsters have power windows and most have automatic cloth top.

Mercedes-Benz, staying true to the motto “The best or nothing,” has brought comfort back to the roadster – first with the SLK in 1996 and now again, 20 years later, with the SLC.

The car’s best feature is its retractable automatic hardtop. It allows the SLC to transform within seconds from a roadster to a sporty coupe. You literally get the best of both worlds! There is no more saying that roadsters are too noisy on the highway or that they are too hot during the summer (or too cold during the winter for my northern friends). Some might argue that modern rag tops are just as well insulated as hard top convertibles – they might be – but I don’t think so. When I am driving with the top up on a rag top, I am constantly wishing in the back of my mind that the weather was nice enough to put the top down. When I drove the Mercedes SLC43 AMG with the top up, I kept thinking to myself how great the coupe experience is.

Also rag top roadsters such as the Porsche Boxster, Jaguar F-Type, and Audi TT don’t look nearly as good with the top up as the Mercedes SLC43 AMG does. Now there are a couple drawbacks to having a hardtop convertible: 1) It weighs more because of the mechanical mechanisms. 2) You typically have less trunk space. With that being said, this is your daily driver and not a track car, so weight is less of an issue. In terms of trunk space, the SLC43 AMG does have less room than the 718 Porsche Boxster (with its two trunks), but I was able to fit more groceries in my SLC tester car than I was in the Jaguar F-Type convertible I tested last year.

The interior quality has also been kicked up a notch with the SLC43 AMG versus the competition. I instantly fell in love with its saddle brown leather interior with white stitching. As part of the AMG variation, the SLC I tested also had a semi-alcanta flat bottom steering wheel to accentuate the performance aspects of the vehicle. With a 362hp 3.0L V6 biturbo engine and a 9-speed gearbox, the Mercedes-Benz SLC43 AMG is no slouch. It will do zero-to-sixty in less than 5 seconds. The rear-wheel-drive SLC43 AMG also handles surprisingly well thanks to a well tuned AMG Sport suspension. I specific rear-wheel-drive because one of its unnamed German competitors (the Audi TT) has a front-wheel-drive bias for its all-wheel-drive system.

With a performance oriented mindset, luxury accommodations, and the benefit of having both a convertible and coupe, the Mercedes-Benz SLC is my pick for the best daily driven roadster… The top seals the deal!

You can find more information about the Mercedes-Benz SLC43 AMG by visiting your local deal or by clicking here to visit the Mercedes-Benz website.

“You Have Arrived” with the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Cabriolet

The Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Cabriolet is a status symbol in the truest form, but it also delivers the ultimate luxury convertible experience on four-wheels. Some will argue that Bentley Continental GT V8S and Rolls-Royce Dawn deliver are in a league of their own because of their posh manufacture marques, but I think the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Cabriolet delivers an unprecedented driving experience. Mercedes has created a fusion of modern technology and old-world ultra luxury, combined with true AMG high performance.

The standard drivetrain is a handcrafted AMG 5.5L Bi-Turbo engine paired with a AMG 7-speed automatic transmission and a AMG Performance all-wheel-drive system. This shoots the 4,817 pound car from 0-to-60 in 3.8 seconds. That is faster than a Porsche 911S! Stopping this beautiful machine isn’t a problem, because it comes with 6-piston AMG high-performance brakes. Cornering isn’t this vehicle’s strongest suit (when compared to a traditional sports car), but it feels remarkably nimble when compared to the Rolls-Royce Dawn that I recently tested at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Its agility comes from an adaptive sports suspension system that allows drivers to stiffen or loosing the suspension based upon your driving style – stiff on a curvy road and soft while cruising around town. This is definitely the ultra-luxury car to get if you want to have a little fun with it! If found myself constantly switching back and fourth between comfort and performance modes while testing this car for a week in Ft Lauderdale. I also found myself stomping the gas peddle and enjoying the roar of the exhaust every opportunity I got.

Luxury is synonymous with the S-Class brand, and you can tell that no expense was spared when crafting the S63 AMG Cabriolet. Detailed stitching outlines every piece of nappa leather on the seats, armrests, doors, and dash. Also on the center armrest is the AMG crest, which is subtle reminder that the ultra-luxury vehicle you are driving can beat half the cars on the road in a drag race. Another reminder of this vehicles high-performance prowess is the alcantara and Nappa leather steering wheel, which mimics racing steerings with a flat bottom. Oh by the way… the steering wheel, seats, and armrests are all heated. The two front seats also feature Mercedes’ exclusive “air scarf” heating element. A tiny space heater is positioned above your shoulders to provide a little something extra on those cool days with the top down. So how do you top that? The S63 AMG Cabriolet is available with massaging seats.

My only complaint with the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Cabriolet – and its not even my compliant, it was my 5’4″ girlfriend’s complaint – is the backseats. They are beautifully dressed in perforated Nappa leather with detailed contrast stitching, but the backseats are “unbearable” to sit-in for long periods of time. You would expect an S-Class to have an amazing backseat, but I guess most Cabriolet owners don’t sit in the back.

Now back to the title of this story… “You Have Arrived” with the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Cabriolet. I say this because I am 30 years old and everywhere I went, people treated me different in the S63. I instantly got more respect from other drivers on the road, with many randomly giving me a thumbs up. I also got better service at restaurants. In once instance I immediately got a table even though there was a line for seating because the hostess saw me pull up in the car. At the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show, the parking valet attendant put the car upfront and didn’t charge for parking even though a big sign read $60 for valet parking. All of these things could be a coincidence, but I give the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Cabriolet all the credit. The car you drive makes a statement wherever you go, and this one says that you have finally arrived…

Visit your local dealer for more information about the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Cabriolet or click here to visit the Mercedes website.

It’s good to be bad! A week with the Jaguar F-Type S


Everyone loves a bad boy… Girls want to be with him and guys want to be him. Why? Because bad boys are sexy. The 2016 Jaguar F-Type S is a bad boy, which through the transitive property of “you are what you drive,” this humble Midwestern is a bad boy too…. Well at least for a week.

The Jaguar F-Type S cuts through air like a shark cuts through the ocean. Its lines are an infusion of aerodynamics and beauty. They are aggressive and sleek, but not intimidating. Its authentic air vents, pop up spoiler, and powerful brakes show that the F-Type isn’t just a pretty face.

While the Porsche 911 compromises luxury for performance, the Jaguar F-Type S blends the two together beautifully. The airplane and racing inspired cabin on the F-Type S takes the term luxury sports car to a new level. It is exceptionally beautiful with ultra-soft leather on nearly every surface. The model I was driving included the optional performance seats, which are racing inspired.


Contrast orange stitching on the seats, doors, and dash enhance the sporty appearance.

You feel powerful behind the wheel! That is thanks to a 3.0L supercharged V6 with 380 horsepower and a throaty exhaust. With zero to sixty times of 5.3 with a manual transmission and 4.8 with an automatic transmission, the Jaguar F-Type S isn’t the fastest car in its segment, but it feels faster than the rest of the segment. It is exhilarating to punch it from a stoplight and hear massive roar come from the F-Type’s dual exhaust.

The 2016 Jaguar F-Type S was built to make you feel alive… As you cruise along A1A, you feel the wind blow through your hair as you are wrapped in premium leathers. You pull up to your date’s house and she hears the rumble from the exhaust. You then get on highway 95 with a spirited force, adrenaline is pumping through your veins you are grinning from ear to ear. As you drive to the restaurant, patrons jaws begin to drop. The car is beaming with sex appeal. Then when it is time to call it a night, you take the scenic route home so you can spend a few extra moments with the F-Type…. Whats the rush? Bad boys always get the girl!

The Mercedes-Benz SL400 is the new kid on the block!

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The Mecedes-Benz SL400 has big shoes to fill in the United States. It is the new budget friendly SL for our market. While Europe has enjoyed fuel efficient 6-cylinder SL Class roadsters for over a decade, this is the first year, since 2001, that the US market will receive a V6 option. We have had the luxury of touring around with Mecedes’ powerful V8 and V12 engines, producing up to 621 horsepower.

With a smaller engine comes decreased performance, but I will pleasantly surprised by the 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL400. The 3.0L bi-turbo engine produces 329 horsepower and 354 pounds of torque, which means plenty of power for everyday driving. And if the new SL400 is your everyday driver, you will be please to find out that the roadster gets 20 mpg in the city and 27 mph on the highway.

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As with the rest of the SL-Class line up, the Mercedes-Benz SL400 is beautifully crafted grand tourer, designed to trill as you drive along the coast in luxury. The of the SL400 interior is sporty and refined. The seats, doors and dash are blanketed in premium leathers and trimmed with real wood and aluminum. Napa Leather is available as an option. Sporty physical gages are paired with a small display on the instrument cluster. Aluminum brake and gas pedals amplify the performance feeling you get when you are behind the wheel.

It is not a race car feeling, it is a feeling of confidence and comfort. This is the car you want to drive every day or take on a cross country road trip. With the top down you feel like a kid again, and with the top up you can enjoy a peaceful ride.

Because the Mercedes SL400 is a hardtop convertible, you get the benefits of driving a convertible without the disadvantages of owning one. Traditional soft top convertibles are noisy on the highway, the SL400 is as quite. You also don’t have to worry about a thief using a knife to cut open the top and brake into your car.

The Mercedes-Benz SL400 comes very well equipped: Real leather seats (an option on most Mercedes’ now days), wood trim interior, a high-end sound system, backup camera, dual-zone climate control, and a navigation system are all standard. Available options include massaging seats (which don’t work as well as the ones on the S-Class Coupe and Sedan), lane keep assist (which will autocorrect your steering wheel if you veer out of your lane), ventilated seats, and laser guide cruise control.

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My father owns the previous generation SL, the Mercedes-Benz SL550. It was interesting to compare the two vehicles side-by-side. The SL550 was Mecedes’ entry level SL in 2007. It came with a powerful 5.5L V8 that produced 382 horsepower. It also came standard with ABC Sport and a suspension system that allowed you to raise and lower the height of the car – both are expensive options on the new SL Class vehicles. The new one is definitely has a sportier look and much more sophisticated technology.

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While some skeptics might scoff at the Mercedes-Benz SL400 because it has a smaller engine than it’s big brothers, I like it. The smaller engine increases fuel economy, which is important for trips and daily use, plus it comes at a lower price point (starting at $85,000 versus $108,000).

Click here or visit your local Mercedes-Benz deal for more information on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL400.

The 2016 BMW 650i Convertible Is A Fantastic Cruiser

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Fall is coming to South Florida; that means 75 degree weather with partly cloudy skies. BMW has created the perfect car for cruising while basking in the warm sunshine, the BMW 650i Convertible. The car offers full size luxury in the form of a droptop that goes up and down in 19 seconds.

The driver focused interior on the BMW 650i Convertible has been enhanced (versus previous generations) with even more leather and more wood. The model I tested was fitted with beautiful nappa leather and dark red sycamore wood. The seats are adjustable in 20 different ways, which includes an adjustable upper back support and seat extender. Heated seats are standard, ventilated front seats are optional. While the front seats are definitly the center of attention, the backseats are not forgotten. The backseats are big enough for both kids and adults to ride comfortably.

Driving the BMW 650i Convertible is an enjoyable experience with both the top up or down. Heavy sound proofing around the car and on the canvas top, deliver a quite ride even at highway speeds.

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The BMW 650i Convertible blends technology and traditional luxury very well. A mid-sized display is accompanied by physical elements to enhance the driving experience and prevent distractions. It displays, telephone, navigation, phone and vehicle information such as your speedometer and tachometer. A gigantic split screen display sits on the top of the center console. This screen allows you to display both the radio and navigation at the same time; while it may not seem important, it is a very convenient feature. As an available option, the 650i Convertible offer a heads up display.

The BMW 650i Convertible is one of the heaviest cars in its segment, but at the heart of the BMW 650i Convertible is a twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 445 horsepower and 480 pounds of torque. It launches the car from zero to sixty in under 4.5 seconds.

The BMW 650i Convertible’s comfortable ride, beautiful interior, and powerful engine make it a great choice for those who want a luxurious daily driver. Contact your local BMW dealer for more information.

Soak up the sun in the Audi S5 Cabriolet.

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The 2015 Audi S5 Cabriolet is the ideal convertible: it is super fun to drive, sexy, sophisticated, sumptuous, and sporty.

The S5 is an A5 on steroids. It comes equipped with a 333 horsepower super-charged V6 engine, a 7-speed dual clutch transmission, and a sports-tuned suspension. The extra 113 horsepower and quicker shifting gearbox make a huge difference. The optional sports differential greatly improves its agility… This car was built for increased performance.

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The rear of the 2015 Audi S5 Cabriolet is seductive; with a quad-exhaust system that unleashes a powerful roar when you press the gas pedal. The S5’s beautiful exhaust note enhances the driving experience and breathes new life into the meaning “fun in the sun.” I could drive around all day with the top down listening to it.

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Behind the wheel of the 2015 Audi S5 Cabriolet, you are surround by an ultra-sporty and lavish interior. The seats, doors, and steering wheel are wrapped in red and black Napa leather; complete with red stitching on the seats, doors, steering wheel, and gears shifter. The aluminum & black wood inlays on the vehicle I tested created a really unique appearance (see the photos above).

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Just incase you get too much sun, the 2015 Audi S5 Cabriolet provides a really enjoyable experience with the top up. It is very quiet for a traditional soft-top convertible and it looks good too! The Audi A5 and S5 are one of the few convertibles (in my opinion) that look just as good with the top up as they do with the top down. The canvas top fits seamlessly and flows beautifully to the trunk of the car. Speaking of trunks; the Audi S5 Cabriolet offers plenty of trunk space both with the top up and down.

audi-logo Visit your local Audi dealer for more information on the 2015 Audi S5 Cabriolet or click here to visit Audi’s website.

It is the perfect time of year for an Audi A3 Convertible

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New to the Audi North America line up is the A3 series, complete with the A3 sedan and A3 Cabriolet. This is Audi’s new A segment – replacing the A4 as the brand’s entry level vehicle.

Even though the 2015 A3 Cabriolet is an entry level convertible, it is still packed with goodies. 

Under the hood is a fuel efficient 1.8L 4-cylinder engine that offers 170 horsepower and 200 Ib-ft of torque. You can expect to get 35 miles per gallon from the A3 convertible.

For those looking for an extra punch, an optional 2.0L 4-cylinder engine brings the total horsepower up to 220 and the torque to 258 ib-ft. Personally I would opt for the bigger motor because the smaller one seemed under powered for a performance minded car. The bigger engine also adds all-wheel-drive for improved handling and safety on wet roads.

Standard on both models is a six speed S tropic dual-clutch automatic transmission. It is magnificent gearbox, because it shifts faster than a manual transmission and it offers the convenience of an automatic.

The car drives beautifully! It handles well and feels solid on the highway. If you are use to driving big cars, it feels small, but not cramped.

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The interior of the 2015 Audi A3 is sleek and modern. You will noticed a newly designed dash, complete with circular chrome air vents and aluminum trim.

Leather seats are standard on all models – you won’t find that entry level models from Mercedes or BMW.

Personally, I find Audi to have amongst the most comfortable seats on the road. The shape of the seats work well with my back. I drove an Audi A6 round trip from Saint Louis to Ft Lauderdale a few years ago and no back pain. So, I am really glad to see that the A3 features a similar seat design.

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Technology helps set the 2015 Audi A3 apart from the competition. Featured (with the navigation package) is a large multifunctional display that pops out of the dash. Using an LTE data connection, you can access Google Earth to get turn by turn directions, weather, traffic, and restaurant recommendations. Audi is the only manufacturer to feature this type of integration with Google. The pros of a system that uses a wireless data connection are that you always have the most up-to-date maps and traffic data. The downside of a system that use a wireless data connection is that you have to purchase a monthly data plan for your car.

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As with most convertibles, you get a lot of wind noise with the top down. An available wind deflector helps reduce the noise, but then you loose the use of the two rear seats.

Driving with the top up is almost like diving a coupe. The rear glass window is easy to see out of and the top is well insulated.

Whether you have the top up or down, the Audi A3 Cabriolet is a great car! Nothing beats the feeling of a cool breeze blowing through your hair. With temperatures cooling off in South Florida, now is the perfect time to buy a convertible.