Pebble Beach Roundup: Cars Even the 99 Percent May Enjoy...Mostly

By Jacob Brown | August 21, 2012
Amid cars like the Ford GT40 that sold for $11 million Sunday night, and pristine fleets of classics once owned by India's Maharajas, there were some semi-accessible production cars announced at last weekend's automotive festivities in Monterey, Calif., that even regular Joes might be able to afford. And there were a few that weren't. But we're mostly going to touch on the new vehicles announced that will be available at dealerships instead of boutiques. Mostly. And we're going to touch on those that we've not yet talked about that debuted at this year's confluence of automotive events: the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, and Concourso Italiano.
Cadillac spills beans on future ELR, Escalade, and CTS Plenty has been going on in the Cadillac camp as it continues to revitalize its product portfolio. Among the first products to come out will be the 2014 Cadillac CTS, which is expected to grow in size to compete with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series. Like the latter, it will carry a base 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine—the same one used in the upcoming 2013 Cadillac ATS. It will also have a V-6 available. A new Escalade will follow, further differentiating itself from from the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon with which it shares a platform. However, it should remain similar under the sheetmetal, sharing the same truck-like architecture and V-8 engine family.
Lastly, the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid will use the next-gen Voltec technology first used in the Chevrolet Volt. A production-ready version will debut at next year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. In the meantime, we expect to see a new concept car debut in the upcoming months, likely previewing a full-size flagship sedan. Follow the link to Motor Trend's full report.
The Bentley Mulsanne goes topless The Bentley Mulsanne has taken over the top spot in Bentley's portfolio for a few years, starting at the low, low price of just over $325,000. The automaker has always had a "big" car to complement its "small" car; it's always had convertibles and limousines of varying shapes and sizes, too. While the lesser Bentley Continental GTC is hardly a small car, it's just not as audacious as it needs to be to complete with something like the $420,000 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. Enter the Mulsanne Convertible Concept. Reportedly shown in the sheetmetal to a select few whose Black Cards passed muster, the new car likely seeks propulsion from the same "six and three-quarter" liters V-8 engine from the sedan, pumping out a massive 505 horsepower.
While it's just a concept, it's reportedly headed for production under the name Azure, the same title as the last big Bentley droptop. Automobile has all the details.
Aston Martin vanquishes thought that all its cars look the same I worried that Aston Martin had just given up with having a design department, foraging its new cars from parts that looked exactly the same as the old ones. I worried until I saw the new Vanquish, which made its North American debut at this weekend's Pebble Beach concours. Power is expected to come from a 5.9-liter V-12 engine that pumps out an immense 565 horsepower. But raw speed isn't what Astons are about; they're about grand touring in utter opulence. The Aston Martin Vanquish delivers this in spades.
Most importantly, however, it doesn't look exactly like a DB9 or Virage, like the rest of Aston Martin's range. OK, it looks a lot like them, but at least there's enough difference to immediately tell it apart from them .
McLaren X-1 asks "Why not?" about...everything An anonymous aficionado came up to McLaren and wanted a car. But the person didn't want just any other MP4-12C sports car. He wanted his own car, customized from the ground up, like's one-off DeLorean except with some sense of taste and style. Call it garish if you wish, or over the top. But it's not; it's pretty much exactly what anyone with a ton of money and slightly less taste (but only slightly) should want in a custom supercar. McLaren says inspiration for the X-1 was taken from, and we quote, a "1961 Facel Vega, a 1953 Chrysler D’Elegance Ghia, a 1959 Buick Electra, a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K and a 1971 Citroën SM; the Guggenheim museum; an art deco clock; an Airstream trailer; a high-end fountain pen; a piano; an eggplant; and a photo of Audrey Hepburn." Underneath, it's all MP4-12C. That is to say, both where you can see it and where you can't, it's a piece of art.
Fiat inflates the 500 Turbo There's a pretty large middle ground between the 101-horsepower Fiat 500 and the 160-horsepower Fiat 500 Abarth. To bridge the gap, Fiat's bringing out a 135-horsepower version of the car called the Fiat 500 Turbo. Starting some $2,000 less than the Abarth, the Turbo takes most of its cues from the Fiat 500 Sport and cranks them up a bit. The car will also be the basis for an upcoming convertible version with the same mid-level engine. Interestingly enough, the Abarth 500 has 135 horsepower in Europe while the Abarth SS has 160 horsepower overseas. That which we call a Fiat 500 Turbo smells just as sweet.
The Mini Cooper S JCW GP leaves as quickly as it arrives While an example of the 2013 Mini Cooper GP sat around the concept and new car gallery all weekend, it was quickly set free to find a new owner. Mini raffled the car off to wealthy ticket-holders with the proceeds going to charity. Unfortunately, like the Infiniti convertible, Mercedes-Benz GLK, Rolex Oyster watch, and other raffle items on-hand, none of the winners were there to claim them in-person. Way to skip out on the end of the show.
We'd be excited to see a lightweight, stripped-out, more powerful version of the last Cooper S waiting for us. At around $35,000, it's certainly not cheap. But it is accessible. As a last hurrah to the current-gen Mini Cooper, this limited edition car could certainly end up back at Pebble someday under different circumstances one day. Y'know, in 70 or 80 years.