Luxury vehicles play an important role in the overall automotive ecosystem, often introducing new features, designs and technologies before rolling out to more fuel-efficient models.
Here are the biggest and most recent luxury vehicle stories, debuts and reviews from the past month.
Canada’s new luxury tax will cost cars more than $100,000, plus accessories
Canada got an updated federal budget in July (congratulations?) and with it some new financial rules regarding the selling price of new vehicles and planes costing more than $100,000, and boats costing more than $250,000. In our world, the car world, such high-end vehicles will now be subject to a tax equal to either ten percent of the total cost; or 20 percent of the difference between the price and $100,000. Cape?
An example helps: If you buy a new Audi R8 for $180,000, the government math says you either owe $18,000, which is 10 percent of the total price; or $16,000, which is 20 percent of the difference between $180,000 and the $100,000 threshold. And because the FBI is so generous, they’ll accept the lesser of the two, whatever that turns out. Certain accessories and upgrades added to the car up to a year after purchase are also subject to the tax.
Cadillac goes all-out with the electric flagship Celestiq
Cadillac appears to be taking the opportunity presented by electrification to try to jump from its status as a “discount luxury brand” to the upper echelons of some of its largely German competition. How else can you explain the $250,000+ electric flagship Cadillac Celestiq?
The US automaker unveiled the “fastback sedan” in late July and said it will be hand-built in limited quantities as part of an $81 million investment in its Global Technical Center. Caddy’s take on luxury motoring includes numerous interior screens, Ultra Cruise (the evolution of Super Cruise), and something called “Suspended Particle Device technology” which allows for multiple zones of different lighting and opacity.
“The Celestiq show car is the purest expression of Cadillac,” said Magalie Debellis, manager of Cadillac Advanced Design. “It brings to life the most integrated expressions of design and innovation in the brand’s history, coalescing into a defining statement of a true Cadillac flagship.”
Our first ride with the 2023 Ferrari Daytona SP3 Icona
The 2023 Daytona SP3 Icona commemorates the iconic redemption story of the 1967 Ferrari team that took the 24 Hours of Daytona by storm in a fitting way: with 828 horsepower and with no hybrid system in sight. (If you’re not up to speed on the saga, we recommend watching the 2019 movie first Ford V Ferrariand then read this feature that gives even more details about how Ferrari retaliated against the Americans.)
David Booth made his maiden drive in the $2.2 million Italian Icona at the Hockenheimring in Germany. the imposed limit of 70 km/h. The interior experience is modern within the wraparound windshield and carbon fiber fairing, with Ferrari’s latest infotainment system and air conditioning. As for looks from the 1970s through 2020s – good looks are the real quality of capturing value in any Italian super –we let the photo gallery do the talking.
The best-selling luxury brands and cars so far this year
What is Luxury? While we may not be willing to define what shade of granite countertop you should install in your new beach house, Driving’s report on the best-selling luxury brands and models in the first half of 2022 gives a pretty clear indication of which luxury car models and brands which Canadians prefer.
The report looks at the sales figures of 16 high-end brands (excluding Tesla, who still hasn’t learned to share) dating from January to June 2022. Unsurprisingly, the German trio of Audi, Mercedes and BMW top the list of most-bought brands (in that order), followed by by Lexus and Cadillac. Germany’s lavish exports also proved popular by model, with the Audi Q5 representing the most purchased vehicle, followed by the Lexus RX and BMW X3. Read the full story above for more insight into the current Canadian luxury car market.
Watch the Rolls-Royce Specter tests in the French Riviera
Rolls-Royce is on a mission to rack up 2.5 million test miles on its Specter and recently headed to the French Riviera to see how it fares in what is undoubtedly a popular destination for the brand’s customers. Testing is about 40 percent complete, Rolls says, with many miles already under the tires in areas such as the nearby arctic of northern Sweden.
The coupe is promised to have the lowest drag coefficient (0.25) of any Rolls ever, and will feature new suspension technology.
Driving the 2022 Audi R8 Spyder
You can do a lot worse than the 2022 Audi R8 Spyder if you’re looking for a special way to dry your hair this summer. With Nappa-trimmed bucket seats and a simple one-screen layout for all the infotainment inside, you’ll be comfortably set up for the acceleration and howl of the engine that takes place when you push the pedal and kick the 5.2-liter V10 that lurking behind the seats lies in action. The V10 makes 602 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, passing it to the wheels with traction through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and pushing the car to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds. OK, so your hair might be a little frizzy, but it shall be dry.
The $246,900 test model that Driving’s First Drive reviewer Graeme Fletcher pulled out proved to be a highlight not only for those in the car, but also for those at the local auto venues, who were excited to see Audi’s top performer in top- down action. See what it’s all about.