Lamborghini, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce: The Best Debuts at Monterey Car Week

From electric hypercars to hydrogen SUVs, there’s something for everyone at America’s most glamorous car event.  

(Bloomberg) — No auto show in the world can compete with the quality of new car debuts during Monterey Car Week in Carmel, California. The annual multi-day festival of all things automotive—classic car concours, product launches, races, auctions, rallies and plenty of posturing—has replaced the traditional auto show as the place to be for car brands and enthusiasts alike. 

This year, more than 20 automakers showed their best efforts to attract elite car buyers: There were electric SUV concepts with doors that open in reverse, and one-of-one supercars covered in gold and intricate hand-painted pictures of other cars. Elsewhere, 3D-printed hypercars and an SUV that runs on hydrogen attracted prospective clients. 

And while the traditional status symbols of horsepower and torque still held sway (Exhibit A: The 1,000-hp Fisker Rōnin and 1,877-hp Pininfarina B95), these days the best new cars are using technology, rather than brawn, to seduce buyers with promises of how they can improve their lives.

Electric Standouts

Most new technology revolves around leveraging electric power, as in the Rōnin. Priced at $385,000, the electric convertible hails from the polarizing company best-known for its charismatic and prolific chairman, Henrik Fisker. Limited to 999 vehicles, it promises an unprecedented (and as-yet unverified) 600 miles of range. Production will start in the second half of 2025, according to company documents.

There were lots more electric supercars to see: Mate Rimac’s eponymous Croatian company debuted a special “Time Attack” edition of its record-breaking all-electric Rimac Nevera hypercar. Priced at $2.1 million, the Nevera can bolt from 0 to 60 mph in 1.85 seconds; top speed is 258 mph. The new model celebrates a host of speed records set by the company; it boasts 1,813 horsepower and a limited-edition run of just 12 units to be made. (They’ve all already sold.)

Lamborghini’s Lanzador is a conceptual model of a future electric vehicle, with seating for four. It will have the versatility of the Lamborghini Urus and high ride height inspired by the off-road capable Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato; it also has two electric motors, one for each axle, providing all-wheel drive. The rig hints at a model slated for 2028, the company says. 

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Italian innovator Pininfarina showed the PURA Vision, a concept SUV with carriage-style doors (which open in reverse) and seating for four, plus a wine cooler and a central touchscreen that can be powered down to disappear into the dashboard. Pininfarina hasn’t released a pricing estimate for the vehicle, since it’s still in conceptual state, but the idea could become a near-competitor to the four-door and electric $1.8 million Koenigsegg Gemera.

The brand also showed the all-new Pininfarina B95, a $4.8 million electric open-top car that fuses classic racing style with new technologies, and an “Edizione Nino Farina” of its existing $2.2 million Pininfarina Battista that Bloomberg reviewed in 2019.

Electric Workhorses

Plenty of the electric vehicles on display were not anywhere near as expensive as those above. Many will offer the kind of practicality is more broadly appealing to consumers. Acura debuted its all-electric 2024 Acura ZDX Type S, its first all-electric SUV.

Kia showed the all-electric Kia EV6 SUV, with a limited edition in dark green. 

Infiniti brought the Infiniti QX Monograph Concept, a design exercise the company says is inspired by its Japanese heritage and intended to show a vision of future styling language. The towering SUV features lighting that looks like digital piano keys and a panoramic roof.  

BMW showed its i5 M60 and iX5 Hydrogen, two road-going vehicles leading the German automaker’s aggressive alternative fuel goals. An electric sedan, the BMW i5 M60 has an estimated range of up to 256 miles. It joins the iX SUV and i4 sedan, among others, in BMW’s all-electric line. The BMW’s iX5 Hydrogen SUV is based on the BMW X5 and was unveiled as a concept at the IAA show in 2019. Now, a fleet of roughly 100 of them are on the road for demonstration and trial purposes for various target groups, the company says. 

Internal Combustion Power

Mercedes-Benz showed a smattering of vehicles both electric and not. The German automaker brought its Maybach EQS electric SUV, as well as the Maybach Night Series and Vision One-Eleven concept, a modern take on the historic C111 supercar. It also unveiled its new Mercedes-AMG GT, the successor to the powerful and sleek coupe it first started making in 2015—now with optional four seats. A special edition of the Mercedes-AMG SL made an appearance, too: the 2024 Mercedes-AMG SL 63 Manufaktur Big Sur, available solely for the US market in limited numbers. 

That AMG GT will have plenty of company in the internal combustion (ICE) segment. Despite advancements in power and range for battery-powered vehicles, ICE engines retain the bulk of car sales worldwide. Consumers in Monterey saw the 2024 Aston Martin DB12 Volante, the open-top version of the excellent Aston Martin DB12, with a twin-turbo V-8 engine that gets 670 horsepower and from 0-60mph in 3.6 seconds. Top speed is 202mph. Pricing will start around $265,000. The British brand also displayed a jewel-toned Valour, a special-edition V-12 limited to 110 units.

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There was also the new Porsche 718 Spyder RS, a mid-engine roadster that produces 493 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque, with a MSRP of $162,150. It will arrive at dealerships in the spring of 2024. Lotus showed a new track-only Lotus Type 66 powered by a mid-mounted V-8 that gets 830bhp and 550 pound-feet of torque.

RUF, the former Porsche tuner cum independent manufacturer that makes Porsche-like vehicles on their own bodies and chassis —and which makes performance parts for various Porsche models—debuted a new design study in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Porsche 911. The Bavarian manufacturer will also show two new vehicles: the RUF R Spyder, a design concept inspired by classic sports roadsters, and the RUF BTR Twin, a twin-turbo variant of the BTR2 sports car. Pricing has yet to be announced on the new vehicles, but, for reference, a 1997 RUF BTR2 sold for $720,000 at a Gooding & Co. auction in May.

McLaren showed the 2024 McLaren 750S, a lighter and more powerful version of the outgoing 720S. It drops 66 pounds and gains 30 horsepower, along with other improvements, to help it surpass its predecessor. The 750S coupe starts at $331,740; the Spider version starts at $352,740. 

Maserati revealed the Maserati MCXtrema. Built only for the track, it is based on the existing $212,000 MC20 V-6 sportscar but offers additional technical specifications and 730 horsepower. It is limited to just 62 units made. 

Hennessey debuted the $3 million Venom F5 Revolution Roadster, a limited-production variant of its Texas-Made $2.1 million Hypercar. Those cars use a  twin-turbocharged 6.6-liter V-8 engine and claim a whopping 1,817 horsepower. 

Danish brand Zenvo Automotive had the global public reveal of the Zenvo Automotive Aurora, which is expected to have a 0-62mph sprint time of 2.3 seconds and a top speed of more than 280mph. The €2,590,000 ($2.8 million) supercar comes in two different variants, and it has a combined powertrain of a 6.6-liter quad-turbocharged V-12 engine and an electric motor that produce a total of 1,850 horsepower. It can travel 35 kilometers (21 miles) on pure electric power. Production begins in 2025. 

Ford, meanwhile, debuted the $300,000 Ford Mustang GTD, an 800-horsepower V-8 coupe the company says will begin deliveries in late 2024. 

​​Czinger Vehicles revealed the Blackbird, the latest iteration of its 3D-printed 21C, a $2 million hypercar with a turbocharged V-8 engine. The Los Angeles-based company is calling the 1,350bhp vehicle a “founders’ edition” that pays homage to American innovation and the SR-71 Blackbird Spy Plane.  

Super Specialized and Rare

Then there were the vehicles in Monterey that celebrated exquisite and often bespoke specifications. This type of car trades on its ultra-rarity and, or, its ability to deliver a client’s fondest wishes for what a car should be. 

Bugatti is at the forefront of that group. It debuted a one-of-one customer car that represents the brand’s halcyon days. The Bugatti Chiron Super Sport “Golden Era” celebrates the history of the French marque, with artwork of historic Bugattis painted on its sides, including the Type 41 Royale from the 1920s and the Type 57 SC Atlantic, which is often considered one of the most beautiful cars ever designed. Made by Bugatti’s special Sur Mesure team, the 16-cylinder car was privately handed over to its new owner in Monterey. The company declined to identify the person, but the dealer handling the exchange is Bugatti Greenwich.

Rolls-Royce’s new Droptail is a coachbuilt sibling vehicle to the V-12 Boat Tail from 2021 and Sweptail from 2017. A low-slung roadster with a removable hard-top, the $30 million-plus Droptail has a V-12 engine, seating for two and curved grille design never before seen in a Rolls-Royce vehicle. Only four of them will be made. The brand also showed the ineffable Rolls-Royce Spectre, its first-ever electric vehicle. Bloomberg had the world’s first press drive of the vehicle; read about it here.

Ferrari is catering to its high-dollar clients with specialized cars inspired by the track. The Ferrari SF90 XX is the first road-legal car in Ferrari’s exclusive XX Programme, which offers a select group of clients extreme cars legal only for track use. The new supercar draws on the program’s concepts, and features a fixed rear wing, the first to appear on a road-going Ferrari since the well-known Ferrari F50. 

Under normal driving it has 786 horsepower, but combined with a new boost feature for the electric motors, total system output is 1,016 horsepower. Ferrari says the car has a zero-to-62-mph time of 2.3 seconds, which is 0.2 seconds quicker than the SF90. The Ferrari XX Spider is the open-top version of the same limited-edition model. 

Even Land Rover got in on the low-volume action. It brought a special 2024 Range Rover SV Carmel Edition similar to last year’s 2023 Range Rover SV Carmel Edition, which was limited to just 17 units and priced at $345,000. But this one is even more expensive and rare: Created by SV Bespoke solely for the North American market, the latest Carmel Edition comes only as a long-wheelbase edition and costs $370,000. Just seven will be made. 

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