Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. Our AE Quote of the Week goes to Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. who, in writing about the political mess in Oregon today in The Wall Street Journal - "Oregon Is Greener Than Thou" - had this to say: "But something about our Western longitudes seems to be conducive to a hypocrisy so unaware of itself as to be entertaining. Take Tim Cook of Apple, who sanctimoniously advised investors at Apple's annual meeting to 'get out of the stock' if opposed to shareholder money subsidizing green energy. Too bad taxpayers can't opt out. Mr. Cook's latest $848 million solar project will be profitable, he insists, thanks to taxpayer subsidies that include 30% of the project's upfront costs."
Editor-in-Chief's Note: Yes, this is a BMW Minivan, aka the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer. It represents, as I've repeatedly predicted, The End of Rational Thinking at BMW. This company's insatiable pursuit of volume to the detriment of everything they once proudly stood for is glaringly apparent in this uh, car. Why does it exist? Flat-out, unrestrained greed, pure and simple. The "bad" faction of bureaucrats inside BMW have finally pounded the "good" True Believers into submission and now chaos roams freely within the once-hallowed halls of BMW. You don't need to know anything else about this rolling abomination other than the fact that it represents everything wrong with the "new" BMW going forward. Does BMW still build some highly desirable cars? Yes, of course it does. But the meter is running, and the more crap like the 2 Series Gran Tourer that gets pumped out, the closer the propeller brigade gets to Toyota. This is dark day in autodom, my friends, and it's truly pathetic. - PMD
Bentley Motors is updating its Continental GT and Flying Spur models for 2015. The Bentley Continental GT is refreshed with a smaller radiator shell and new, more pronounced fenders that now feature a new vent, complete with a metallic “B” adornment. New bright chrome fender badges for the V8 S and W12 models now match those applied to the GT Speed. The rear of the big coupe is now more sculpted, with a pronounced aerodynamic profile to the trailing edge. The rear bumper has been reshaped and widened, and the V8 S and GT Speed also gain a new rear diffuser. New 20" and 21" wheels complete the exterior updates, because when it comes to Bentley, too many wheel choices aren't enough. The standard wheel for the GT V8 and GT W12 becomes a new 20” six-tri-spoke wheel, in painted finish for the V8 and bright machined for the W12. The Mulliner Driving Specification wheel changes to a new 21” seven-twin-spoke design, finished in Graphite grey with bright machined spokes. Finally, a new 21” five-spoke directional sports wheel joins the existing 21” design available for the V8 S and GT Speed. New interior tweaks and details are part of the updates as well. The new Bentley models will be unveiled and displayed at the Geneva Motor Show with deliveries starting this summer.
Mercedes-Benz is celebrating the 60th anniversary of one of its most memorable performances in motor racing by releasing a special model of the SL Roadster. Its name commemorates the unexpected victory of a 300 SL in the production sports cars class at the 1955 "Mille Miglia," one of the world's most challenging long-distance races. That SL started the famous "Mille Miglia" in 1955 with race number 417 at 4:17 am. After 11 hours, 29 minutes and 21 seconds it had completed the race distance of 1597 kilometers on public roads from Brescia to Rome and back. Driven by the American John Fitch with assistance from his co-driver Kurt Gessl, it finished fifth overall, leaving numerous racing prototypes behind. Production 300 SL cars also took second and third place in this class. The new SL Special Edition "Mille Miglia 417" has the legendary number "417" integrated into the badge as a reminder of this triumph from another era. The Special Edition "Mille Miglia 417" comes standard with a designo night black magno matte paint finish. Other upgrades include AMG Line seats as well as a black center console with contrasting inlays and red edging. The leather headrests feature an embossed carbon structure and an embroidered "SL Mille Miglia" label. Red edging also outlines the black door center panels along with red armrests and red seatbelts. The steering wheel is wrapped in red and black nappa leather with an embossed carbon structure. Other trim elements have a matte carbon finish, while the black floor mats have red edging and sport an embroidered "1000 Miglia" label. The SL Special Edition "Mille Miglia 417" will be available as an SL550 in the U.S. in the fall of 2015.
Aston Martin has unveiled a Vantage GT3 special edition inspired by its recent forays in international GT racing. Strictly limited to a production run of just 100 cars, the new model "combines all of Aston Martin’s learning from its years of sports car competition around the globe to produce its most performance focused road-going Vantage," according to the manufacturer. The Vantage GT3 has a tweaked version of the brand’s 6.0-litre V12 engine, which is capable of generating up to 600 PS1, it comes loaded with aero and dynamic tweaks, and it weighs 100kg less than a standard V12 Vantage S. Customer deliveries beginning in the third quarter of 2015.