Wheeled, motorized and luxurious

Nashville-area dealers of upscale automobiles say 2013 models will turn heads

Take note of this vehicle: the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS GT Coupe. You may not see many on the road next year — as a price tag approaching $200,000 will limit the number of purchasers. But when you do spot this well-crafted machine, be assured you will be impressed.

“This vehicle emits the heritage as well as the performance aspect of Mercedes-Benz,” said Harold Hamilton, general manager/dealer operator of Mercedes-Benz of Nashville, Franklin. “The vertical opening doors are unmistakable. It reminds car enthusiasts of the 1954-1957 300SL Gullwing.”

At Andrews Cadillac, the new Range Rover might elicit “the most buzz” in 2013, said Nelson Andrews, the dealership’s general manager.

“This is only the third time the flagship Range Rover has been redesigned since its launch in 1970,” he said.

Robert Hartman, general manager of Jaguar Nashville on Eighth Avenue South, said Porsche just launched its Boxster and 911 and both are doing well. As for Audi, the new A6 is “phenomenal,” Hartman said, adding the car continues to lure people into the dealership.

Mitchell J. Sherwood, product concierge at Franklin-based Maserati Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bentley of Nashville, said 2013 promises to be a noteworthy year in the luxury car world, particularly given 2010-2012 were rather quiet.

“We expect that the 2013 model that will garner the most interest from our customers is the 2013 Bentley Continental V8,” Sherwood said.

“In addition to that, Maserati has updated the GranTurismo for 2013. The new GranTurismo Sport Coupe will be offered with a redesigned, sporty looking front bumper. The car’s output will be increased to 444 horse power, and redesigned seats and steering wheels will showcase the interior. With the GranTurismo being our best seller to date, we expect this update will draw many customers to the new car.”

In general, the 2013 luxury vehicles — across the board — are expected to render the year more dynamic and interesting compared to the previous three. If anything, the new models feature an array of bells and whistles.

“We have new technologies in our vehicles like collision assist, Wi-Fi, Facebook, eco button, fuel efficiency and cloud technology,” said Mercedes-Benz’s Hamilton. “[A Mercedes-Benz vehicle] is becoming more like your home and office from an amenity standpoint, while still providing the foundation of [the brand’s] heritage.”

Andrews also noted the new models will bring excitement, noting 2013 is the “biggest model year update for Cadillac I’ve seen since I’ve been in the business.”

“Cadillac is rolling out the CUE (Cadillac User Experience) system in the new XTS and ATS sedans as well as the SRX Crossover,” Andrews said. “CUE integrates an iPad-like experience into the vehicle. You can pull navigation, traffic, weather and data from up to 10 Bluetooth devices and access them all through your touch screen, instrument cluster, heads-up display and steering wheel controls. It is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in a vehicle.”

Hartman said luxury vehicle drivers and manufacturers alike are becoming part of a general culture that embraces, more so than perhaps in the past, fuel efficiency.

“We have four- and six-cylinder for Jaguar,” he said. “Audi has four-cylinder turbo charges. And we’ll get diesels with most of our cars.”
Sherwood agreed.

“One of the biggest trends in the luxury industry right now seems to be increasing fuel economy without sacrificing power and performance,” he said.

Some of the improved fuel efficiency can be attributed to the fact that many luxury cars are lighter than their previous iterations.

“The Cadillac ATS is the lightest vehicle in its segment,” Andrews said. “Its curb weight of 3,315 pounds beats the BMW 3-series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4. The new Range Rover comes in almost 1,000 pounds lighter than the previous model through extensive use of aluminum and other advanced materials.”

When asked if luxury cars in general are gaining more and more acceptance in the Nashville market, Andrews did not hesitate in answering:

“My experience,” he said, “is that Nashville has long been a great town for tasteful luxury.”