It’s motor show time, California style, and with the Los Angeles Auto Show opening tomorrow (Wednesday) the covers are already being whipped off the new models. Our top three stories for today? Read on!
Return of the Volkswagen Beetle Dune ‘Buggy’
It’s not air-cooled and it’s not rear-engined, but it’s definitely a Volkswagen, comes with or without a roof and it does have Dune in its name. Meet VW’s Los Angeles surprise show star announced today – the new Beetle Dune.
Dune buggies are every teenager’s fantasy set of summer beach wheels, synonymous with VW and models like the Baja California that can still be found churning up the sand in sunny spots around the world. Well this is nothing like it. But as a style-driven modern take on the concept it promises to be fun.
Available as both coupe and convertible, the Dune is a high-riding version of the Beetle with increased ground clearance, bigger, 18-inch wheels and plenty of rugged, off-road style design accents, even a hint of old Beetle running boards!
VW says there are new body colours and the option on the coupe for a contrasting black roof, mirroring the black hood of the cabrio. Body-colour highlights on the dashboard and leather trimming feature inside, along with VW’s latest infotainment system and DAB radio. No eight-track cartridge player here!
Front-wheel drive may limit opportunities for wild oversteer slides through the surf, but along with the latest engines – diesel or petrol from 103bhp to over 220bhp – should provide the on-road manners and efficiency that buyers of this sort of car expect.
In the US and mainland Europe the Beetle Dune can be ordered now (it starts at €23,625) but no decision has been taken on availability in the UK.
We’ll take the old Baja racer in the picture, thanks very much!
Free Breitling with every Bentley!
Bentayga customers get to choose between three watches: the Emergency (complete with personal locator beacon, James Bond style), the electronic multifunction Cockpit B50, and the Chronomat 38 which, says Bentley, ‘has been designed for women’.
The watches, and the new car – which Bentley is billing as the world’s most powerful, most luxurious and fastest SUV ever – had their US debut to LA Bentley fans at a pre-auto show function in the city this week.
As well as the watch, each Bentayga First Edition comes with Union Flag badging, illuminated treadplates and 22-inch polished black wheels, plus a special look inside the cabin. Bentley says there will be 608 First Edition models available worldwide, the number reflecting the W12 engine’s 608PS (600bhp) output.
The 187mph car, which is credited with a 0-62mph time of 4.2secs, costs from £160,200 in standard form the UK.
GLS: New badge on the back of Mercedes-Benz’s biggest
With so much talk recently of luxury SUVs with six-figure price tags the new Mercedes-Benz GLS having its debut in Los Angeles appears something of a bargain…
The top model, at £102,330, just breaks into the six-figure club. This 63 AMG version is entitled to be there too, its 578bhp almost a match for the latest mega-powerful SUVs like the new top Range Rover and Bentley Bentayga, both of which cost considerably more. There’s no word yet on the rumoured super-luxury Maybach version.
So what is the GLS? Not a 1970s Ford Granada trim level but a replacement for the GL, which has been the badge on the back of the firm’s biggest seven-seat 4×4 offering for the past decade. It’s all part of Mercedes’ ongoing model renaming strategy.
The GLS is largely the same as before but with the new family SUV look at the front and featuring the latest transmission, air suspension and driver assist technologies.
The range starts at £69,100 for a 255bhp, 3.0-litre, diesel version, and UK deliveries start next March.