Aston Martin Vantage V8 N340 Review

The Aston Martin Vantage has always been a great looking car and with the N340 certainly doesn’t disappoint with head turning looks and increased performance and power.

The N430 has been fitted with sharper suspension compared to the standard V8 as well as a little more horsepower; 430bhp to be precise.

It also comes in a broader selection of colours, including shades apeing its racing siblings, has unique dark-finished alloy wheels and lightweight buckets seats all as standard.

The N430 sits a little lower to the ground and the dark alloy wheels are a pleasing touch. The contrasting yellow nose and roof details might not be to all tastes but they are optional

Where some of its rivals might seem like obvious choices, it’s hard to knock the Aston Martin image as it mixes Britishness, Bond and motorsport to great effect.

Space and practicality

It’s clearly a sports car at heart so you’ll only be sharing the pleasure of the N430 with one other lucky person. Space for you and your passenger is reasonable but not exceptional; the roof is low and the transmission tunnel is relatively wide. However the standard carbonfibre bucket seats are very supportive.

The boot is big enough for a fun weekend away or a reasonable shopping trip – and there’s an Aston Martin umbrella in there too of course – but don’t waste your time shopping when you could be out driving it.

Behind the wheel

Some of the N430’s key rivals are significantly younger, but rather than leaving the Aston feeling dated it instead makes you realise that progress isn’t always a good thing. For starters it has a very mechanical feel; the steering is relatively heavy, the gearbox needs a firm hand and the pedal actions are all weighty. That means precision is required, making the experience all the more rewarding.

That lusty 4.7-litre V8 sings a glorious tune and although there is plenty of torque it thrives on revs, building to a crescendo as you reach the red line. The suspension is unquestionable firm, but the way it tracks the undulations of the road and is balanced through the bends makes it worthwhile. It’s a car to make you travel hundreds of miles just to try it on the right kind of road.

Value for money

At a fraction under £90,000 the N430 is far from cheap, but the standard specification is generous and you’ll want for very little indeed. Also comparable cars from Germany are more expensive right from the off, even before you delve into the realms of long option lists.

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A Ferrari for the Super Rich

If you think that Ferrari could not be more exclusive then think again because they have just launched a new car that is aimed at only the super rich.

Only 6 have been made and to get one you have to be personally invited by Ferrari. Not surprisingly Ferrari have already spoken to their chosen few and all six have been snapped up.

The super car known as the Ferrari Sergio,is a concept car was unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.

It was designed in collaboration with Italian firm Pininfarina, and each model is expected to sell for millions, though Ferrari would not disclose an exact price.

Ferrari, which is owned by Fiat (FIADF), has built a world-class name for itself based on its reputation for exclusivity.

It capped production at 7,000 cars per year to ensure demand consistently outstrips supply, making its cars all the more desirable.

However, after a recent management shake-up, the company said it will ramp up production by 5% this year to ensure its waiting list doesn’t get out of control.

While vehicle output may be increasing, limited production cars like the Sergio help Ferrari keep its exclusive edge.

The automaker also offers a “one-off” program where rich car collectors can buy a completely original car that they help design themselves. Each car costs millions.

It’s as far removed from mass production as you can get,” said a Ferrari spokesperson.

Ferrari has only created about a dozen of these bespoke cars since the “one-off” program launched a few years ago, but it said the program is gaining traction, which could be helping the company’s bottom line.

Ferrari reported record revenue in the first six months of this year, up nearly 15% compared to the same period in the previous year, even as it sold fewer cars. Profits for the period also rose by 10%.

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The new owners of the Sergio can expect delivery in early 2015

How a Billionaire Parks his Super Car

There are just some Super Cars that you can’t take your eyes off and this is why some of the super rich are deciding to install a glass garage in their homes where you can stare longingly at your baby from the comfort of your sofa.

In Knightsbridge a house has gone on sale for £16.5m which, alongside the swimming pool, spa, bespoke wine cellar and media room that are now a given at the top of the property market, features a glass wall in the study offering a view of the garage.

James Forbes, partner at Strutt & Parker in Knightsbridge, the estate agent selling the four-bedroom Park Lodge, says he has seen a number of properties refurbished to include high-end garages. “People who are buying these properties often like cars and want to look after those cars and keep them off the street,” he says. As a result, developers have been fitting “leather dado-rails, heating and lights to guide you in”.

Clearly the developers didn’t picture this particular garage as somewhere to store a clapped-out chest freezer and some old wellies; they were probably imagining a Bugatti Veyron or a vintage E-type. However, Forbes says they have thought of everything: “What they’ve cleverly done here, something I’ve not seen before, is make it so the glass can be opaque if you need it to be. If you’ve got your grubbly old mountain bike in there after a trip round the park you don’t have to look at it.”

If, however, your Porsche is parked in there, a flick of a switch makes it visible beneath the bookshelf.

Tracy Kellett, a buying agent for wealthy clients in London, says fancy garages “are certainly a selling point for the high-net worths … if you’ve spent millions (not uncommon) on cars, you want to be able to show them off to friends in a suitable showcase”.


She adds that she’s seen heated and white-floored garages designed for those who want to display their collection. Meanwhile, Joe Burns, of super-prime property developer Oliver Burns, says one home he developed included a glass showcase for a car, another a display for motorbikes.

Forbes says that in these prime London properties “parking doesn’t necessarily add a lot of money but it is a very desirable feature”. And, strangely, it seems that it can be more desirable the closer it is to the living room.

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Well it’s better that watching most of the rubbish on the TV these days.

Fancy a Driving Tour in Sicily?

This week was an exciting one for HPI Luxury Car Hire with the arrival of the  Lamborghini Huracan which is now available to hire (more on that soon) and a trip to Sicily to oversee the delivery of 3 super cars for one of our customers.

Here is one of our company directors Sophie with the 3 cars safely delivered to the client

sicily tour delivery

As you can see the cars requested by the customer was a Ferrari F12, Lamborghini Aventador Roadster and the McClaren MP4 – 12C and they were used for a tour around the beautiful island of Sicily.

The tour is actually a organised event by The Jewel Events society who run a number of driving tours around the world. The one in Sicily is a 9 day event and takes in all the amazing scenery, locations, culture, history  and hospitality that Sicily has too offer.

sicily coastline

All the participants drive a mixture of classic cars, luxury motors and sports cars but unfortunately you have to be invited to join the trip. However there is no reason why you can’t put your own tour together and enjoy this spectacular island in a supercar of your choice from one of our fleet.


The New Porsche 911 Carrera – Best One Ever?

Finally Porsche has revealed its latest version of the classic 911 with the new Carrera GTS.

The GTS version of the 911 follows on from the GTS versions of the Boxer, Cayman and Panamara. The GTS versions of all of these cars offer better performance, looks and handling.

Check out the promo video here. Looks great to me!

Available in coupé or convertible form, and with a choice of two or four-wheel drive, the 911 Carrera GTS will feature a 3.8-litre flat-six engine delivering 424bhp – 30bhp more than the 911 Carrera S power unit on which it’s based.

The new model will also feature special centre-locking alloy wheels

Equipped with Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch automatic gearbox, the GTS will be able to hit 62mph from a standstill in four seconds dead, or 4.2 seconds for the convertible version. Meanwhile, the two-wheel-drive GTS with the seven-speed manual transmission will give a top speed of 198mph.

Porsche adds that improved efficiency means the GTS will return the same fuel consumption figures as the S version, despite the improved acceleration and higher top speeds.

The GTS will feature a number of features that are optional on lesser 911s as standard. The Sport Chrono package, for example, gives the GTS dynamic engine mounts, while active dampers will adjust the firmness of the suspension automatically, as well as lowering the ride height by 10mm.

A sports exhaust will also come as standard, as will an Alcantara-trimmed interior with leather sports seats.
On the outside, the GTS will feature the same wider body as the 911 Carrera 4, which will allow for a wider track. Twenty-inch centre-locking alloy wheels, smoked Xenon headlamps, and a smattering of gloss black trim complete the picture.

The 911 Carrera GTS is on sale now, with the first deliveries expected in November. Prices start at £91,098 for the two-wheel-drive coupe.

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Of course we hope to be offering this new version for hire in the near future.

Until then we have a wide variety of porsche’s to hire in various cities across Europe

5 New Supercars you must see

This month has seen the annual Paris motor show were all the major car brands showcase their latest offerings. There are many different categories to look at but here at HPI Luxury Car Hire we are only interested in the best luxury and Supercars models.

Here are 5 new ones that are getting us excited


Ferrari 458 Speciale A
Ferrari chose to premiere this new supercar in Paris. Powered by a 605hp V8, the Ferrari 485 Speciale A will be produced in a limited series of 499 units. The most powerful convertible ever produced by the Italian manufacturer, the model rockets from 0 to 100km/h in just 3 seconds.

lambo asterion

Lamborghini Asterion
For its part, Lamborghini revealed the Asterion LPI 910-4 concept, a sports car with a total output of 910hp from its 5.2-liter V10 engine teamed with three electric motors. The combination enables a top speed of 320km/h and 0 to 100km/h acceleration in 3 seconds.


Maserati Alfieri
The third Italian car in this selection, the Maserati Alfieri concept is a tribute to the founder of the brand, which is celebrating its centenary in 2014. Designed as a study for a future coupe, the Alfieri is more aggressive and compact than the current GranTurismo and packs a 4.7-liter V8 engine with 460hp.


Bentley Mulsanne Speed
The latest model from the British car maker is presented as the world’s most powerful luxury car, boasting a 6.75-liter V8 with 537hp. Slated to go on sale in early 2015, the car boasts a top speed of 305km/h and goes from 0 to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds.


Mercedes-AMG GT
Presented in person by Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche in Paris, the new Mercedes-AMG GT is due to go on sale in spring 2015. Under the hood, the sports car has a new 4.0-liter twin turbo V8 engine with 462hp, enabling 0 to 100km/h acceleration in 4 seconds and a top speed of 304km/h


All of them look fantastic and I am sure will be sold out as soon as they become available.

Why Not Hire a Maserati Ghibli For Your Next Trip

If your thinking of hiring a smart sport saloon for your next trip in the Uk or Europe have a look at the Maserati Ghibli.

Now I know the name is a little odd but we love it as the Ghibli is fast becoming one of our most popular requests especially for business trips and it is easy to see why.

Not only do you get  stylish design, comfortable interior and great performance but you can rent a Maserati Ghibli for a lot less than you would think.

Click here to contact out reservation team to find out the latest prices to rent a Maserati Ghibli.

To convince you even more here is a quick of the Ghibli review done by Top Gear last year.

It’s only taken Maserati 99 years to have a crack at the intensely competitive upper medium segment. With big expansion plans – 50,000 cars per year by 2015 – the Ghibli leads the company’s valiant charge out of its cult cul-de-sac and into the mainstream.

Do many BMW, Audi, Jaguar or Mercedes owners care, or will the Ghibli have to perform some sort of Mediterranean Jedi mind trick to persuade them?

The UK gets three versions: a 3.0-litre, 272bhp V6 turbodiesel, and single and twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 cars, with 325bhp and 404bhp respectively. At £48,830, the diesel clearly fancies its chances at the business end – it’s less powerful but pricier than Audi’s brilliant biturbo V6, for example – and this VM Motori-developed unit is only going to be around as long as it takes Maserati to develop a more potent twin-turbo unit (that’ll probably rock up in 2016). Still, 443lb ft from 2000rpm is useful enough, and the combination of 50:50 weight distribution, a mechanical limited slip diff (the only car in its class to be so equipped), and a seriously good chassis add up to a package that has enough talent to justify the famous badge.

The hydraulic steering set-up is surprisingly meaty, the eight-speed paddle-shift ZF gearbox is as silkily responsive as ever, and though the ride – double wishbones at the front, multi-link rear, passively damped with the option of a ‘Skyhook’ adaptive set-up – can be fussy on broken surfaces, it’s good enough. Barely lighter than the full-size QP at 1835kg, the Ghibli uses a mix of steel and aluminium in its construction, but it feels pretty chunky most of the time, especially in diesel form, although its body control is impressive. Sixty takes just over six seconds, and Maserati claims 48mpg overall. Needless to say, if you drive it like you mean it you’ll decimate that figure.

The base petrol V6 is a sweeter car, and unsurprisingly feels more like a ‘proper’ Maserati. It’s much rev-hungrier, sounds as fruity as any Italian car ever has – the Ghibli uses sound actuators and an exhaust bypass valve for the full Pavarotti effect – and is generally more fun to be around and in. The 404bhp Ghibli S at the launch was the all-wheel drive Q4 version that won’t be coming to the UK, but proves that the chassis can handle much more power. It’s terrific fun, and will most likely be even more entertaining in rear-drive form when it lands here at the end of the year (at a rather steep £63,415).

It’s mostly lovely inside too, better and much less blingy than the Quattroporte. There’s frameless glass in the doors, handsome leather seats, and a Maserati clock in the middle of the fascia. There’s the option of a magnificent 1280w Bowers & Wilkins audio system, the sat nav is clear and easy to use, and the dual zone climate control has hurricane levels of puff. The leather and wood in the various cars I tried was all very high quality, but the touchscreen multi media system’s graphics are less convincing, and the gear-selector is absolutely hopeless to use, with no decent demarcation between P, R and D. Rear cabin space is a bit tight, too.

It boils down to one simple question: should you? In isolation, the Ghibli is convincingly seductive and perfectly credible. The diesel emits 158g/km, and sits in the 26 per cent company car tax banding, so it’s there or thereabouts if you want or need to get empirical and subjective.

But forget all that, and just imagine saying the word Maserati should someone ask what you car your picking up for your next trip. Sounds good, no?

Click here for latest Ghibli rental offers

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If you want a more indepth look at the Ghibli here is a video review