Good Oil: Box monster gets an overhaul
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Mercedes-Benz might be going through one of its biggest upsurges in product diversification right now, but the harrumph-ing traditionalist in us is relieved to see some things will stay the same.
Namely the boxy, blunt weapon that is the G-Wagen. Oh okay, they’ve mucked about with the nameplate a bit and insist it is called a G-Class these days. But we all know, deep down, even the most hardened Mercedes-Benz board member will still whisper “G-Wagen” under the door if he or she thinks no one is listening.
After nearly 40 years (it began life as a military vehicle but a civvy-street version was launched in 1979), a new one is imminent. Unlike the hand-wringing going on at Jaguar Land Rover with regard to the next-gen Defender — that safety laws demand be a bit, well, safer than the shed-on-wheels it has been until now — spy photos of the G-Wagen suggest all is as it was — mostly. From the outside, at least, it appears things are bullish business as usual.
The new G-Wagen will be wider in body and track, and lighter by as much as 200kg, which can only be a good thing. Some versions will feature the 9G-TRONIC auto ’box too.
The only worryingly modern rumour is that we may see a hybrid version of the all-conquering box monster. Well, as long as there continues to be an AMG-badged twin-turbo V8 version, all will still be right in the universe. After all, with Mercedes-Benz celebrating 50 years of AMG this year, it is hardly going to drop anything as ridiculously, needlessly potent as the AMG version now, is it?
Just phone for a minor tweak
Koenigsegg Agera RS.
Ah Koenigsegg. It is like a Scandinavian Lamborghini.
So, level-headed and with a firm grasp on electronics, but still capable of producing mad-bad-dangerously-alluring hypercars capable of making grown men bite their knuckles and — for an exclusive few — drain their bank accounts.
The manufacturer is building a series of 25 Agera RS models; track-focused racers boasting the 5.0-litre V8 powerplant that, if you really want to show off a bit, can also be driven on the road. Although mainly in front of European casinos and on super-smooth motorways in the United Arab Emirates.
It had sold 10 before it had even announced specification details, so as you can see, Christian von Koenigsegg has his enthusiastic devotees. Those specifications make for impressive reading all the same: a frankly ridiculous 865kW peak power (at 7800rpm) and a colossal 1280Nm of torque at 4100rpm.
There’s also some clever tech onboard the Agera RS. Koenigsegg says it has revised the Agera’s Ohlins dampers with inhouse-designed circuitry that allows the factory to adjust the suspension from anywhere in the world.
Huh? What is this witchcraft?
It’s a clever premise; a wealthy Koenigsegg client who is having a, er, difficult track day can phone the factory and ask the company’s techy types to reprogram the dampers in order to enhance the Agera RS’s performance. This can be done online while the racetrack-suited customer waits, regardless of which track the car is being raced at and on what continent.
The old “it was the car, not me” excuse just won’t fly any longer.
Rolled gold — when only the best will do
Gold plated Rolls-Royce.
A gold-plated Rolls-Royce sounds like a punchline to a joke about hip-hop recording star excess. Or a presidential motorcade order issued by thenew Leader of the Free World, perhaps. Actually, no; there’s no way President Trump would buy foreign.
But the gold-plated Roller does exist. And there are two — both Phantoms — and they’re destined to glide in and out of the lavish 13 Hotel in Macau. They won’t seem too out-of-place; the 13 Hotel has a fleet of 30 Phantoms.
Seriously, if you want to see interior decor Liberace would no doubt have called “comfortably homely”, check out the hotel’s website.
As to the Rolls-Royces, the “gold-plated” headline is a bit of a misnomer. The limousines aren’t exactly encased in gold; imagine the weight for a start. Rather, the Rolls-Royce factory has engineered its most complex and expensive paint finish, taking the cars’ base shade of red and infusing the paint with a layer of 24-carat gold.
Rolls-Royce had to install new equipment at the Goodwood factory (in the Surface Finish Centre; referred to elsewhere as “the paint shop”) to ensure there would be no contamination.
According to a press release, the two Macau-bound Phantoms use 250 per cent more paint on their panels than other Phantoms; there are 10 layers, one of which consists of a 40-micron deep layer of gold. A fine grade glass and aluminium layer is also applied to up the shimmer-factor.
Of course, your appreciation of the colour is only going to be as great as your reading glasses or laptop screen allows. We think we should probably head over to the 13 Hotel to inspect the cars in person, just to make sure the finish is as stunning as the manufacturer says.