Life’s too short, not to,’ says a famous line from an ad campaign, and it holds true even if you are a part of the jet set. Work and travel can be stressful, and when you yearn for an escape from the usual routine, there are a few things you could do (or buy), especially if you’re nuts about all things automotive. So here is a compilation of what you must experience, park in your garage or place as a showpiece in your living room.
Need for speed
It’s the most powerful production car in the world! Now, if that’s not enough incentive, we don’t know what is. With a whopping 1184 bhp on tap, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport is quite simply a technological marvel.
Sure, there are other similarly powerful cars out there like the Hennessy Venom or the Koenigsegg Agera, but what sets the Veyron apart is that it cocoons you in luxury while shuttling you about at insane speeds. An 8.0-litre W-16 engine fed by four turbochargers manages to crank out nearly 1200 bhp of peak power, while a specially designed 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox takes care of power delivery to all four wheels, which also happen to be shod in specially designed rubber.
What makes it a must-have? Well, for starters, in the Veyron you’ll be doing well over 200 kmph in about 6.7 seconds. For perspective, some other performance cars barely make it to 100 kmph in that time. How’s that for bragging rights? And the best part? The Veyron goes on to a top speed of 415 kmph, which means you can travel from one meeting to the next faster than in a private jet.
At over Rs 20 crore, ex-showroom, India, the Veyron doesn’t come cheap, but it’s well worth it.
Alternatives: Don’t feel up to driving the world’s fastest production car? Well, there are other options out there for you. The Koenigsegg Agera, for example, only makes 940 bhp, and it’s a little slower than the Veyron, but if you’re feeling environment conscious, it also runs on bio fuel. There’s also the recently unveiled McLaren P1 which is fantastic in its own right. The design is a bit love-it-hate-it, but you can’t argue with its specifications. A petrol-electric hybrid powertrain gives you a combined power output of 903 bhp and for city driving, you can choose to use only the electric motor. How’s that for making a statement!
Care to go to the hunting ground of supercar manufacturers and learn if your car is up for the job? Well, there’s the 22 km long Nordschleife track for you. About 175 km from Frankfurt, it’s considered the Mecca for auto enthusiasts. You can drive up in anything (as long as your rental car company allows you) and lap the track that is regarded by many as the most technical racetrack in the world. With dips and crests and fast straights, you need more than nerves of steel to tackle it. A lap costs ¤26 or Rs 1,850 and if you set a time of less than eight minutes on the track, you are generally equated with His Holiness. Get involved in a crash though, and you pay for track damage. Best time of the year to visit the ‘Ring’ is from March to September.
Then there’s the Land Rover Experience. Designed to test the limit of both man and machine, this takes place in the UK, South Africa and Canada to name a few countries. Challenging both to the mind and the body, you get the opportunity to put some of Land Rover’s finest vehicles through the paces and test your own ability in off-roading. The experiences range from an hour to a full day and can cost up to Rs 40,000 for the one in the UK. From basic courses to full-fledged, expert class experiences, with unique ones like winter and night driving courses, it can be a lot of fun.
If you do decide to take an extended vacation, then this next one is definitely the one to go for. Mercedes-Benz India will embark on a 47-day tour from India to Poland, spanning eight countries in G-Wagen SUVs. Made famous by the recent instalment of the Die Hard movie series, the tour extends through Asia and Central Asia before landing up in Poland. The wild, one-of-a-kind experience, however isn’t cheap; costing the better part of Rs 20 lakh per person.
Ice, ice, baby!
What could be more thrilling than mashing the pedal of a Lamborghini and carving corners on a racetrack? How about mashing the pedal of a Lamborghini, losing traction and then drifting across a vast expanse of frozen lake! Don’t be fooled into believing that it’s an easy affair — remember we’re talking about Lamborghinis here, which means this is no driving experience for the faint of heart. So here’s what this is all about: the Lamborghini Winter Academy in Cortina is where you can become a skilled supercar driver on the frozen stuff. There are two levels of courses — the Intensivo programme and the Avanzato programme. Intensivo is for beginners to learn the ropes of driving on ice, with students starting off in Gallardos and eventually moving up to 700 bhp Aventadors. The Avanzato programme is much more intensive though and is spread over two full days, during which the entire Lamborghini range is at your disposal. While students start off with collision avoidance and oversteer control, they move onto tougher stuff including a complete gymkhana set up in an Aventador. How much? Prices start at Rs 422,000.
The good thing about having more money than you can count is that making a choice is easier, since money isn’t a factor. So, to match your ludicrous bank balance, we have an equally ludicrous motorcycle in store for you. What the folks at Marine Turbine Technologies (MTT) did was turn every little kid’s dream into reality — they built a jet-powered motorcycle! And unlike the one-offs which have come before it, you can actually go out and buy this jet-powered two-wheeled missile, that is, of course, only if you can swallow the rather steep Rs 2-crore price tag. For your big money transfer, you’re rewarded with the fastest production motorcycle in the world. A motorcycle that packs a 420 horsepower Rolls Royce jet turbine engine meant for helicopters! Numbers? Well, 0-300 kph (yes, 300) is dealt with in a claimed 5.2 seconds and it’s capable of 420 kmph, if you’re up to it. But when Ted McIntyre of MTT, who’s maxxed out the motorcycle, says that ‘you don’t want to go there’ (all the way to the top speed), we’d take his word for it.
When Fernando Alonso goes to bed every night, there’s a distinct possibility that he dreams of driving a Formula1 car. Now the perk of being Alonso is that he very likely wakes up in the morning and goes and does just that — drive an F1 car, we mean. But if you’re unhappy at the prospect of waking up and looking at the dreary world over a cup of coffee, we’ve got just the thing for you! How about a Renault R27 nose cone coffee table then? Yes, it’s an actual nose cone from its 2007 F1 car.
How much? Rs 3,80,000
No point if it gets dark at night and no one can see your swanky F1 nose cone table, is there? Not to worry then. What once started out as an F1 exhaust system on the Renault R26 (the car in which Fernando Alonso won his second driver’s title) is now a lamp! It has an aluminium casing and LED lights as well, that can focus light exactly where you want it.
How much? Rs 3,80,000
For the tifosi that would like to have Ferrari branding on just about anything they use, Acer has teamed up with the Italian firm to bring us Ferrari branded electronics.
First up is a series of laptops bearing plenty of prancing horse logos. Of course, with show like that, they better have the go to match, and on that front they do deliver!
Another product of this partnership is the Acer Liquid E Ferrari edition, which is an Android-powered smartphone. It even comes with a matching bluetooth headset. Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve!
How much? Acer Ferrari One Rs 35,400
Acer Liquid E Ferrari Rs 21,790