New Name, Same Great Car! The Genesis G80

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I wrote a First Drive review on the Genesis G80 a few years ago, back when it was called simply the Hyundai Genesis. The vehicle hasn’t changed much outside of the rebadging. It is still the same great car with german like styling, but it is more affordable and has double the warranty. When compared to the competition, for a little over $50,000 you can get a fully loaded G80 with ventilated leather seats and a 311 horsepower 3.8L V6 motor OR a base E-Class with vinyl seats and 240 horsepower 2.0L 4-Cylinder motor.

Obviously a lot of people are driven (punt intended) by the Mercedes badge, which is why the G80 is no longer technically Hyundai product. Genesis has spun off into its own manufacture. If you want to buy the car though, you will still be forced to visit a Hyundai dealer until Genesis starts building their own dealerships. You won’t have to visit the dealership for oil changes though because the marque has created “Genesis Service Valet.” The program offers owners the opportunity to have a service professional pickup your vehicle for service and deliver a loaner vehicle complimentary. You also get free scheduled maintenance for 3 years or 36,000 miles.

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Now on to the good stuff… The interior of the Genesis G80 is suburb. The seats are wrapped in Nappa leather and the dash featured genuine wood trim – Nappa leather is an expensive option on the German competition. The seats are also heated and cool, and the steering wheel is heated. Above the dash you will find a full-color heads up display so you no longer have to look at the speedometer to check your speed. The Genesis G80 is a fairly quite ride on the highway, until you crank up the 17-speaker Lexicon Surround Sound system. While Lexicon doesn’t have the brand name of Burmester or Bang & Olufsen, it does deliver a comparable sound – standard issues on the G80 of course. It seems that Hyundai executives told their engineers to buy a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series, and an Audi A6, then to make a car that is just as good, but cost less.

I could go on an on about the value Genesis gives you with the G80, but the best way to experience is to visit your local deal or click here to visit Hyundai’s (I mean Genesis’) website.

 

The Jaguar F-Type SVR is a Porsche killer

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I am start this review of a Jaguar sports car in an unusual way…  by admitting that I am a Porsche enthusiast. When Jaguar created the first generation F-type cars, their mission was to create a 911 killer. Jaguar came close with a striking design and the best sounding exhaust note you will find on a stock production car, but it wasn’t a 911 killer or a Boxster/Cayman killer even. The regular F-Type is a car you take out for a relaxed Sunday drive along the country side or on a road trip while looking bad to the bone while driving it. It is stylish, sophisticated, and comfortable. Porsche sports cars on the other hand are all about performance, especially the S models.

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But now there is a new Jaguar F-Type available, one that truly is able to slay the German Beast, and it is is called the SVR. This limited production vehicle created by Jaguar’s “Special Vehicle OpeRations” department is capable of 200MPH. With a 0 to 60 time of 3.5 seconds versus 3.8 seconds on the 911 4S PDK, the Jaguar F-Type SVR truly is a 911 killer on paper. These numbers are all thanks to Jaguar’s ability to increase the horsepower to 575, increase the torque to 516, add all-wheel-drive for improved traction, and reduce the car’s weight by using lighter materials. It also comes equipped with carbon ceramic brakes, so you can stop almost as fast as you can accelerate.

Note: Carbon ceramic brakes are constructed using different compounds versus traditional steal brakes. These advanced materials decrease stopping distance and reduce heat build up, which prevents brake fade.

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While lots of horsepower and quick acceleration times are a science, how a car makes you feel is an art form. This is another win for the Jaguar F-Type SVR. It is one of the most enjoyable cars I have ever driven – and I drive a new car every week. The way the car hugs corners and then accelerates out of a turn with a snarling exhaust note roaring out of the back is exhilarating! Then as you stomp one the brake pedal, you come to an immediate halt while experiencing a symphony of high performance internal combustion in the form of crackles and pops. The car gives you the sensation you are driving faster than you are because it engages all of your senses. And to make you feel confident behind the wheel, Jaguar has added torque vectoring by braking into the drivetrain. Even when the rear wheels brake loose around a turn, you feel as if you are in control of the entire process.

Note: Torque vectoring adds to the turning forces of the car by applying the brakes or power to select wheels, thus increasing the speed of which you can safely go around a corner.

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The final piece of the puzzle if comfort and luxury. What is the point of driving a sports car if your body aches every time you get out of the car? Things like adjustable suspension and adjustable exhaust give the driver the option of peacefully cruise around town or hitting every apex on a curvy road as hard as possible. In addition, the seats were well engineered for both support while driving fast and comfort for long hauls. I took a day trip around Lake Okeechobee with no back issues whatsoever.

Notes: The use of adjustable suspension on street cars allows you to transform the ride from soft for a comfortable ride and tight for improved handling. The use of adjustable exhaust allows you to close the baffles in the exhaust system for a quite experience or open the baffles for increase horsepower along with a loud exhaust note.

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True luxury comes into play as soon as your open the door of the Jaguar F-Type SVR. The red leather doors and seats of my test car were jaw dropping with diamond quilted stitching. Black leather on the dash and ceiling accented the red leather seats to give it a sporting feeling. Carbon fiber trim throughout the vehicle and an alcantar wrapped steering wheel further enhanced the effect.

So the question is, if I had $130,000 – $150,000 to spend on a sports car, would I buy the F-Type SVR or a Porsche 911?

The Jaguar F-Type SVR all the way! It is faster, more comfortable, and better looking.

Visit your local dealer to learn more about the Jaguar F-Type SVR or click here to visit Jaguar’s 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.

The Jaguar XJL is the full-size luxury sedan for car enthusiasts.


Rarely in life will you find a true blend of polar opposites. I say this because the Jaguar XJL is both a high end luxury vehicle designed to offer an elegant ride to the theater by your chauffeur, and a high performance vehicle that is designed to hug a twisted road. I didn’t always think this way…

My initial impression of the long-wheelbase sedan was skewed by previouslt driving the Mecedes S-Class sedan. I was expecting the Jaguar XJL to be a gigantic luxury car with private plane amenities and a smooth ride, but lacking the thrill of a performance vehicle. I was naive in thinking this way, because as soon as I got behind the wheel and drove the car a block, I remembered Jaguar’s racing DNA. The Jaguar XJL is big and luxurious, but it wants run! As soon as you apply an ounce of throttle, the supercharge 5.0L V8 pushed the car from 0 to 60 in less than 5 seconds. Then as you hit a curved onramp, you feel the car gripping the road with little body roll. Don’t misread my thoughts, this is still a big and heavy car at 4,131 pounds, but that is nearly 700 pounds less than the S-Class thanks to Jaguar’s extent isle use of aluminum.


The interior is what you would expect from a $100,000 car built in the UK: Classic British styling paired with ultra-premium materials. Every detail, from the diamond stitched leather seats to massive wood trim was eloquently crafted. Annoying grid lock commutes are a thing of the past now, because the front passengers have heated and ventalated massaging seats. Rear seat passengers will have to slum it without the massaging seats, but they do have extended legroom thanks to the extra long wheel base on the XJL. 

I defintily wouldn’t complain about being chauffeured around in the backseat, but I would rather be driving this full-sized luxury sedan with stunning looks and exhilarating performance!

For more information about the Jaguar XJL, contact your local Jaguar dealer or click here to go the website.

The Lexus RX is no longer a “Mom Car”

  
The term “Mom Car” is a very indearing term for me, because I love my Mom. As guy born in the 1980’s, I have seen Mom Cars shift from station wagons, to mini vans, to SUVs, and now to crossovers. The RX line was introduced in 1998 and quickly saw widespread adoption – it is one of Lexus’ best selling vehicles. While I have seen many guys driving the RX, it appears to be dominated by females drivers; likely due to the fact that the previous three generations had a very feminen design…. Thus why I call it a Mom Car.
There is nothing wrong with driving a Mom Car, but as a single guy who is approaching 30 years old, I want something fun in my driveway, something that is stylish, and something that makes a statement. The new Lexus RX 350 F-Sport is just that!

  
The new design is masculine, aggressive and sleek. Details going all the way down to the headlights and mirrors examplify the new sporty appearance.

The Lexus RX 350 F-Sport also has a little bite to its bark, with a V6 engine that produces nearly 300 horsepower and a locking differential (for off-roading).

  
The cabin of my press vehicle was carefully wrapped in red leather with aluminum trim. The vehicle’s interior poster says performance with sporty bucket seats, paddle shifters and a heads-up-display on the windshield.

I can definitely see myself buying this car! So much so, that I choose the Lexus RX 350 F-Sport over my Porsche Boxster S (my personal car) to take a girl on a date last weekend. It ended up being a wise choice because she complimented me on how stylish the vehicle was… And she drives a Range Rover.

So if you ask me… The Lexus RX 350 F-Sport is a winner for both guys and girls!

The Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase Is Lady In The Streets And A Freak In The Sheets!

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What other vehicle would allow you to explore the swamp filled Florida everglades by day, and attend a black-tie charity gala by night? None other than the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase. It is the ultra-luxury version of the iconic Range Rover. By iconic, I mean its ancestor was the only vehicle on display at Louvre Art Museum in Paris.

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By ultra-luxury I mean leather, wood, and aluminum from top to bottom. Of-course you have the usual luxury features of heated and cooled seats along with a heated steering wheel. But, with the autobiography trim level, you get 18-way power adjustable seats with massagers, Full semi-aniline leather seats, an alcantara headliner and a 1700 watt 29 speaker 3D sound system from Meridian. As with its other Range Rover siblings, you get an air suspension system that offers a ride quality on par with the Mercedes S-Class sedan.

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The luxury amenities don’t stop with the front seats on the long wheelbase version of this machine, rear passengers will enjoy an unusually large amount of legroom, dual screen entertainment, massaging seats, and sunscreens on the side windows for privacy. Rear passengers can either listen to music and video through the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase’s built in sound system, or with wireless headphones.

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Under the hood of the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase (LRRRALWB) is a 5.0L supercharged V8 engine with 510 horsepower and 461 pounds of torque. It jets the SUV from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds; thats faster than the current generation Porsche Cayman! To exemplify the “Freak In The Sheets” analogy, the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase is equipped with a Terrain 2 Response system, a low-speed transfer case, and two locking differentials. While some may be concerned that the Long Wheelbase version of the Range Rover reduces your off-road capability, fear not… the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase offers 34.7 degree approach, 26.1 degree ramp, and 29.1 degree departure angles.

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In addition to being able to climb over nearly any obstacle, the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase is able to wade in up to 35.4 inches of water. I got to test that number with the help of a tour guide; while exploring the lost city of Golden Gates Estate Subdivision. In the 1960s real estate developers set out to create the largest residential subdivision in the United States. The property was set on 41,000 areas in/near the Florida Everglades and hosted nearly 300 miles of paved roads. The only problem is that the Florida Everglades floods during certain times of the year. Thus, it was the perfect place to test the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase water crossing abilities. Even though beautifully paved roads were underneath the water, it was surreal to think I was driving a $150,000 ultra-luxury vehicle through 2 feet of water… and it handled it like a pro. The cabin remained water tight as we waded past fish and birds through the flooded subdivision.

I look at the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography Long Wheelbase and think, “what are the odds of someone buying this vehicle and actually taking it off roading?” Unless you live Miami Beach (where a number of my friends lost their cars to flooding), on a ranch, or in the mountains, the odds are very slim… But, it is a great feeling to know that you can… It is just like buying a Porsche or a Ferrari; 90% of their owners will never take it to the track, but they know it would be an incredible experience. At least with a Range Rover, you will have private jet class accommodations.

 

I am in love with the 2016 Volvo XC90

There are few cars that I fall in love with after driving them for only a week. They usually tend to be small little sports cars that are meant to be driven on Sunday afternoons when the weather is nice.

So I was a little surprised when I started missing the 2016 Volvo XC90 when it left my garage after testing it for a week. It is the perfect luxury SUV! The exterior and interior design make it stick out from the crowd at the country club, while offering a conservative approach when offering a ride to clients, co-workers, and employees. Plus with the advanced safety features, it is a strong choice for hauling the family to soccer practice.

  

  
The interior of the Volvo XC90 is inviting. It’s Swedish design is elegantly simple. Open pore wood and real aluminum accents the doors, center consol and dash. The seats look futuristicly modern, but they were extremely comfortable. The contour of the seats do a great job of supporting your back. I took a day trip from Ft Lauderdale to Naples and back, and enjoyed every minute of it.

 
 The Volvo XC90 features an innovative iPad like infotainment system. The driver (or front passanger) can tab icons to control the car’s navigation system, make calls via Bluetooth, and control media options. A familiar home button rests at the bottom of the screen. To get even more Apple-like, the XC90 I tested featured Apple CarPlay. CarPlay allows iPhone users to plug their phone into the car (via USB) and control core iPhone functions though the car’s display – such as calling, music, and Apple Maps navigation. My only real complaint about CarPlay is that you have to plug the phone directly into the car versus using Bluetooth technology.

 It is no wonder why Volvo has a reputation for safety; the XC90 is packed with safety technology that actually works. The lane keep assist is spot on, the dynamic cruise control smoothly controls the car’s throttle, and the blind spot monitors are very senesitive. I didn’t get to try it, but the Volvo XC90 also offers emergency breaking. So, if the vehicle in front of you slams on the breaks, the XC90 will do the same while coming to a complete stop. Another nifty safety technology feature that I got to try out is pilot assist. The system allows the car to steer it self while applying the gas or break during heavy traffic – this was priceless while sitting in rush hour Miami traffic.

  
Sadly, all things must come to an end. But fortunately with a starting price of around $50,000, the 2016 Volvo XC90 has the potential to be sitting in my driveway.

Spare no expense with the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe

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Life doesn’t get any sweeter than driving around in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe, unless you driving it’s muscular older the brother…. The Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG. The behemoth has a 621 horsepower Mercedes V12 engine under the hood. The handcrafted engine is able to propel the car from zero to sixty in just 4 seconds, but where it really shines is sixty to one hundred and fifty. It takes off like a rocket ship!

In addition to mind blowing acceleration for a car of this size and weight, it has superb stoping power thanks to massive 6-piston 15.4 inch disc brakes. The Active Body Control system on the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG actively makes use of the vehicles hydraulic suspension system, and is able to reduce body roll by up to 30%.

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If you read my article on the 2015 Mercedes S550 Coupe, you will know that the S65 AMG is the pinnacle of Germany engineering and luxury. The interior perfectly blends old world luxury with a modern high-tech design. Every inch of the cabin is wrapped in leather, carbon fiber (or wood), aluminum and glass. With the S65 AMG, you feel powerful, but refined.

At a price tag of over $250,000 (as tested), the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe costs almost a much as a the new Ferrari 488 GTB and the Lamborghini Hurcan. While the Ferrari and Lamborghini may be faster, the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe takes luxury to a whole new level. Do you want a car to take to the race track? Or do you want a car that will leave you refreshed after a cross-country road trip… Plus walk away from almost anything else on the road.

Exploring Arizona in the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport Diesel

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Land Rover is one of my all-time favorite automotive manufactures for one reason, their vehicles are built to go anywhere. They are suited for the heat of the Sahara desert, the frigid cold of Alaska, and the wetness of the Amazon Rainforest. Land Rover’s Range Rover line adds sophistication to your great adventure, without sacraficing capability. A Land Rover driving instructor once described the Range Rover line as a mountain goat wearing a tuxedo.

A few weeks ago, Land Rover flew me to Sedona Arizona to test Range Rover and Rover Rover Sport’s newest engine configuration, a 3.0L Td6 Turbocharged Diesel. Previous drivetrain options were limited to a Supercharged 3.0L V6 or a Supercharged 5.0L V8. This new drivetrain option packs a punch! The Td6 offers 32% greater fuel economy than Land Rover’s Supercharged V6, and almost as much torque as Land Rover’s Supercharged V8 engine. That translates into 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 440 pounds of torque (21 pounds of torque shy of the Supercharged V8).

If you are reading this and saying to yourself: (1) diesel’s are noisy, diesel’s are dirty, (2) diesel fuel costs more, and (3) what about the VW diesel scandal? Then you have a lot to learn! While clean diesel technology is relativity new in the United States, European markets have been perfecting the diesel engine for decades. (1) Land Rover’s Td6 diesel engine is almost as quite as a traditional gasoline engine. Most people wouldn’t know that it is a diesel unless you are able to recognize the pitter patter sound of a diesel engine versus a gasoline engine. (2) Diesel fuel generally costs more than regular gasoline, but it is almost always cheaper than premium gasoline, which most high performance engines require. (3) VW gave diesel engines a bad rap. I have spoken with several automotive engineers who specialize in clean diesel technology, and all of them basically said the same thing: “VW took shortcuts in order to save money.” The more powerful the engine, the larger the emissions filters on diesel engines, the more they cost.

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So how does that translate to off-roading? You get the same off-road capabilities as the V6 and V8 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, which is second to none. The Range Rover offers two locking differentials, nearly a foot of ground clearance, and an advanced terrain response system. The Range Rover comes standard with a twin speed transfer box (low and high gear range), but it is an extra on the Range Rover Sport.

The new diesel motor drivetrain on 2016 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport turn one of the most capable and refined vehicles in the world into an SUV that will go anywhere and get great fuel economy.

Contact your local Land Rover dealer or click here to visit the Land Rover website for more information on the 2016 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.

Note: I did not receive compensation for this article, but Land Rover did pay for my trip to Sedona.

The Maybach Is Back! Review of the 2016 Mercedes S600 Maybach

  
Maybach has a long history of producing some of the finest automobiles in the while, dating back to 1909. In recent times, the vehicle is often regarded as one of the best kept secrets, because only truly wealthy people (and automotive enthusiasts) will recognize the name. This has both helped and hurt the brand throughout the years – Helped because the elite want something different from the dozens of Rolls-Royces parked in their neighbor’s drive way; and hurt because most people paying 200k+ for car want to be recognized driving a car that cost as much as the average home in mid-west.

  
Mercedes, the owner of the Macbach brand, has given us a toy to play with. The Mercedes-Benz S600 Maybach. The vehicle is no longer its own make, but an exclusive trim level of the S-Class sedan.

  
The Machbach version of the S-Class is eight inches longer than the long wheelbase S-Class, meaning more legroom for the rear passangers. Riding in the back of the Mercedes S600 Maybach is like riding in a private jet. With the touch of a few buttons, your seat reclines and a foot rest pops out. Dual video screens keep you occupied as you tour around town. Should you get thirsty, an available champagne cool and (real) silver champagne flutes are stored in the rear center console. If alcohol is not your thing, the rear cup holders are both heated and cooled.

  
On the off chance that you actually have to work for a living, tray tables pop out of the rear center consol on the Mercedes S600 Maybach.

Two leather pillows are elegantly placed for nap time in the rear. Rear and side window shades can automatically be raised to reduce ambient light.

  
The 2016 Mercedes S600 Maybach wasn’t built just for the backseat passangers, the driver gets enjoy unprecedented luxury. The cabin is a lined with Napa leather from top to bottom. A heated steering wheel, armrests, and seats keep you warm during the winter, while ventilated seats keep you cool during the summer. Two big and beautiful displays show colorful illustrations of your speed, route information, entertainment selection, and control options for the front and rear massaging seats. Imagine taking a one hour road trip with a masseuse gentle rubbing your back.

  
Should you feel the need for speed, just give the Mercedes S600 a little gas, and you will begin to feel the power of a twin-turbo charged V12 engine with over 600 horsepower. The transmission is wicked smooth – it glides you from zero to sixty in five seconds.

  
With private jet styling and one of the softest rides on the planet, the MayBach is back. But this time, with an iconic nameplate… Watchout Rolls-Royce and Bentley!