ROAD TO LUXURY
By Caroline Laleta Ballini
1 May, 2017
After three consecutive yacht shows, Phuket has proved to be a must for luxury lovers. With the opening of the “MGC–Asia Autoplex Phuket” inaugurated on February 25th and bringing together BMW, Mini Rover, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce and Azimuth, the pearl of the Andaman is now punching above its weight and has every intention of building a new, even more prestigious brand for itself.
After the superyachts of November’s Thailand Boat Show, followed by December’s Thailand Yacht Show and January’s Pimex, 500 VIPs met on the Bypass on February 25 to pay tribute to the world’s leading car brands, represented by Mr. Stéfan Teuchert, President of BMW Group Thailand, Dr. Sunhavut Thamchuanviriya, Managing Director of Millenium Auto Group, Khun Krisda Utamote, Head of Corporate Communications BMW Group Thailand, Paul Harrys, Asia Pacific Regional Director of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and his Chief Commercial Officer, Ian Grant, Patrick Nillson, president of Aston Martin Lagonda – Asia Pacific and Governor Khun Chockchai Dejamornthan.
Let’s allow ourselves to break the last of the Ten Commandments for a moment, and thus covet the horses of our favourite heroes, both of today and of yesterday. From The Persuaders! to Mission Impossible, and without forgetting James Bond, all of these characters, with their exceptional courage, have accomplished so many exploits and travelled so far, giving their mounts precious little respite, that they have contributed to boosting the sales of some of the most prestigious brands on the planet.
But, beyond our fascination with these extraordinary cars, the fact remains that you will have to spend between 4 and 35 million Baht to get your hands on one of these crown jewels…
Aston Martin, the Great Bond Forward
Since the sixties, the brand’s different models have made whole generations dream. Roger Moore, a.k.a. Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders! caused a sensation among young people with his Bahama Yellow DBS. And yet, in 2014, its vintage look still won over an “ex-fan of the sixties” collector, who bought for himself the most famous DBS in the world for 654,924 euros, or more than 23 million Baht.
Today, in its new Phuket showroom, Aston Martin proudly exhibits its new DB11, a figurehead for the manufacturer from Gaydon, and showing the advent of a new era for the brand. With its elegant silhouette, this DB production model is proving to be the most powerful and the highest-performing model in the company’s history. The car’s 608 horsepower can propel it to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds, and give it a top speed of 320 km/h. Will it replace Spectre’s DB10 in the next James Bond? 007’s erotico-magestico-egotic relationship with Aston Martin has lasted for over 50 years, spread over 11 films, 6 of which featured the famous DB5, discovered in Goldfinger. The model was so coveted that a DB sold in 2011 for 2.9 million pounds, or 3.3 million euros, and in 2015 for 595,100 pounds, or nearly 700,000 euros or 26 million Baht!
50 years later, Bond’s latest installment, Spectre, unveiled the decibel 10, specially developed for the film. Out of only 10 models created, 8 were modified for the movie and 2 were preserved as exhibition models, only one of which was finally auctioned. It sold in February 2016 for 2,424,500 pounds, or 2,900,000 euros.
Today, Aston Martin is exhibiting 5 cars on the Bypass, including a DB11 Cinnabar Orange and a white Vanquish worth between 15 and 29 million Baht.
44,000 Shades of Rolls
With this new dealership in Phuket, added to the one in Rama III and the studio shop in Bangkok, Thailand can now boast of being the only country in Southeast Asia to host 3 installations of the famous British brand. 2 models are presented in the 280 m2 showroom, with 3 more in the ground floor’s workshop. A comfortable lounge area and a customization workshop allow customers to unleash their imagination and configure their dream car: mixing the types of wood, matching different leathers and finishes, and choosing from a color chart of 44,000 colors. Rolls-Royce’s tailor-made program makes it possible to customize just about everything, from plates to headrests, with your own initials, as well as to include more sophisticated accessories such as a picnic basket or luggage designed specifically for your own needs.
You will remain speechless when you see the massive, sporty, sophisticated and elegant Dawn convertible sedan. The world’s quietest cabriolet offers 4 real seats, an intelligent 8-speed front-wheel-drive, heated and air-conditioned seats, as well as its eternal door umbrella. So British! It costs approximately 35 million Baht.
The prestigious Wraith two-tone coupe is also a true work of art. Nothing is left to chance. It is not only the most technologically advanced, but also the most powerful model in the history of Rolls-Royce. Wraith, a nod to the Phantom, perfectly embodies the legacy and vision of Sir Henry Royce: “Take the best that exists and make it better still. When the best doesn’t exist, invent it.”
BMW, Chasing the Race
Like Bavarian Mountain Hound, which are medium-sized dogs, slender, muscular, lightweight and adapted to running, the company’s models delight many and are closer to our reach than those of some other companies on this list. For 11.8 million Baht, you can afford the car of the future: the I8, the first rechargeable hybrid sports car. With her science fiction silhouette, she awaits fans of the Mission Impossible series and of Tom Cruise.
Fans of the Z-series should know that Pierce Brosnan’s Z8 – James Bond in 1999’s The World is Not Enough was auctioned by Sotheby’s for 264,000 dollars in January 2016 for more than 9 million Baht. However, you could still purchase the wonderful Z4 for 4 million Baht, or an M2 coupe for only 6 million Baht.
Mini, But Doing a Max
With car racing in its DNA thanks to John Cooper, who has won many rallies, including three races at the prestigious Monte-Carlo, the MINI Cabrio John Cooper Works models are appreciated by both the general public and by race car drivers. They boast stunning performance and the feelings felt at their steering wheel are comparable to those of a racing circuit. Expect 5 million Baht.
From Phuket with love