dfghDespite flagging sales and an audience so limited it puts the "ex" in "exclusive", Mercedes-Benz unveiled a new Mercedes-Maybach at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week; the Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Cabriolet. Designed to appeal to oligarchs and record producers everywhere.
Based on the S-Class Cabrio, the new soft-top is powered by a 6.0-litre V12 engine pushing out 463kW. There will be only 300 examples of the S 650 Cabriolet made and aspiring internet moguls will need to fork out about €300,000 (more than $450,000) to fill the fifth bay of their six-car garage with one.
Despite Simon Cowell's insistent patronage basically ruining the brand for everyone else, the Maybach arm of Daimler AG has doggedly continued to make specialised finery for those who find the standard Mercedes-Benz S-Class a little on the basic side.
There are several models still available for "status-orientated customers" (the words that appear in a Mercedes-Maybach press release), including the Mercedes-Maybach S 500 and S 600 models, launched as recently as last year. (Who would have thought?)
Utterly gorgeous sedan on stilts
Alfa Romeo unveiled the highly anticipated Stelvio -- named after the pass -- at the LA Auto Show last week. And the gnashing of teeth from rival carmakers was audible.
The problem (for the latter) is that the Stelvio is utterly gorgeous. It is essentially a Giulia sedan on stilts; parent company FCA says as much, what with the crossover SUV and the soon-to-be-launched-here sedan sharing the same "Giorgio" platform.
At first glance the Stelvio features all the tightly trimmed design cues and sumptuous interior stitching as seen on and in the Giulia -- a car that will be available only in top-trim editions in New Zealand when it goes on sale next year.
And as much as it's lovely to look at, Alfa representatives were big on winking at and nudging anyone who'd listen, suggesting we should all wait until we drive it to see how good it really is.
Here at The Good Oil we can't wait. Although we'll have to: the Stelvio isn't scheduled to go on sale until 2018.
We received a richly detailed media kit USB stick from Alfa Romeo at the motor show, too. Nestled in a presentation box, its solid metal chassis and fabric strap are lovely to look at. But when we stuck it in the computer back at Good Oil Towers, it wouldn't work. At all.
A pretty but flawed product? We only hope that's not a premonition of things to come.
May the Force be with you
In the US, the Nissan X-Trail is known as the Nissan Rogue. Which is a terrible name, if you ask us. Well, it is until a little movie franchise called Star Wars decides to release an origin side-story to its main narrative titled Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Then it instantly becomes a genius name.
Why? Because someone in Nissan's marketing department had the foresight to jump on the opportunity to become one of a handful of corporates with an officially sanctioned Lucasfilm Limited tie-in to the film series.
As a result, in the US -- if you're extremely quick -- you can pick up a special edition Rogue One-emblazoned Nissan Rogue SUV. There are only 5400 across the US and Canada, though -- sounds reasonable until you factor in just how deeply immersed in this stuff some people are. And what some are prepared to pay for such tenuously linked memorabilia.
Naturally, the mid-size SUV comes with plenty of Star Wars-themed graphics to delight fans everywhere. You can choose between magnetic black and glacier white exterior paint, peppered with associated Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire logos.
Inside, the Rogue features Star Wars logos in its illuminated kickplates and a special-edition plaque sits behind the front wheel arches, boldly describing the owner's fanboy/girl level of geekery to all.
Want another sweetener? Every one of the 5400 Rogue One edition Nissans comes with a full-size replica Death Trooper helmet. Lucasfilm has apparently released these 1:1 scale replicas for the Nissan tie-in and have pinkie-sworn not to make any more for sale for anyone else.
That in itself will be enough to tempt plenty of buyers who hadn't until this precise moment realised they were ardent Nissan fans.
As far as memorabilia goes, it beats a framed movie poster, doesn't it?