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Lamborghini, Bentley And Ferrari Go Downmarket With New “Bargain” Options

Good news for people who can "only" afford cars like the Mercedes S-Class or Porsche 911 Turbo S. Ferrari, Lamborghini and other ultra-deluxe automakers are starting to market models that run in the $200,000 range.

A Lamborghini Gallardo Spider in London, England (Ed Callow)
A Lamborghini Gallardo Spider in London, England (Ed Callow)


Luxury limos and sports cars made in Britain or Italy have always exuded a different air than do a mere Mercedes or BMW. German cars may be beautifully engineered, efficient, reliable, but they lack the class, polish, and glamour of a Bentley or a Ferrari.

Traditionally there has been another difference as well: price. But in what may be a new form of austerity, basic models of ultra-luxe vehicles are increasingly priced very near to cars in the upmarket "normal" category.

The new Bentley Continental GT V8, for example, sells for 160,000 euros ($202,000). The Lamborghini Gallardo is priced at 164,815 euros while the Ferrari California is available for 176,200 euros. Compare that to the Porsche 911 Turbo S (170,000 euros) or the AMG version of the Mercedes S-Class at 230,000 euros.

And that's by no means the lowest end of the price scale. A Maserati GranTurismo sells for 112,280 euros, an Aston Martin V8 Vantage for 115,150 euros. Those are middle-range prices for the Porsche 911 and Mercedes S-Class.

Even the traditionally higher maintenance costs for British and Italian models is now becoming less of a concern thanks to options like Lamborghini's competitively priced "Routine Services' program. And although the aristocratic brands are loath to admit it, greater technical reliability also comes down to the fact that the bluebloods share some technology with the commoners.

Aston Martin's 8- and 12-cylinder motors have Ford genes; the Lamborghini Gallardo is technically closely related to the Audi R8; and the Bentley Continental shares a significant number of components with the VW Phaeton. While this may not be great for their image, one advantage is greater reliability, easier maintenance, and less problem locating spare parts.

Still, a Bentley is not a VW. The Continental GT W12, for example, can race at speeds of up to 318 km an hour. No Phaeton can do that – nor for that matter can a Mercedes or a BMW. Most saliently: the deluxe wheels offer unforgettable driving experiences.

Anyone who has put a Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 through its paces, sat in a Bentley Continental GT as the speedometer passes 300 km, or stroked the wood and leather dashboard of a Maserati Quattroporte can tell you that – regardless of pricing policies, maintenance packages, or even how perfectly other cars may be made – they remain a class apart.

Read the full story in German by Jens Meiners

Photo - Ed Callow

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Shame On The García Márquez Heirs — Cashing In On The "Scraps" Of A Legend

A decision to publish a sketchy manuscript as a posthumous novel by the late Gabriel García Márquez would have horrified Colombia's Nobel laureate, given his painstaking devotion to the precision of the written word.

Photo of a window with a sticker of the face of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with butterfly notes at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Poster of Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Juan David Torres Duarte


BOGOTÁ — When a writer dies, there are several ways of administering the literary estate, depending on the ambitions of the heirs. One is to exercise a millimetric check on any use or edition of the author's works, in the manner of James Joyce's nephew, Stephen, who inherited his literary rights. He refused to let even academic papers quote from Joyce's landmark novel, Ulysses.

Or, you continue to publish the works, making small additions to their corpus, as with Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Clarice Lispector, or none at all, which will probably happen with Milan Kundera and Cormac McCarthy.

Another way is to seek out every scrap of paper the author left and every little word that was jotted down — on a piece of cloth, say — and drip-feed them to publishers every two to three years with great pomp and publicity, to revive the writer's renown.

This has happened with the Argentine Julio Cortázar (who seems to have sold more books dead than alive), the French author Albert Camus (now with 200 volumes of personal and unfinished works) and with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The latter's posthumous oeuvre is so abundant I am starting to wonder if his heirs haven't hired a ghost writer — typing and smoking away in some bedsit in Barcelona — to churn out "newly discovered" works.

Which group, I wonder, will our late, great novelist Gabriel García Márquez fit into?

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