From the Rolls-Royce Cullinan’s off-road capabilities to the standard Chiron’s 261mph limited top speed, one thing unites all of these expensive machines: you’ll probably find them wafting slowly through London’s Knightsbridge instead. So let Chris Harris look past the glamour, and explore these cars properly. Series 28: Geneva Online Motor Show: First Look: Want to watch a bit of on the internet? Welcome to the most comprehensive collection of official clips you’ll find on YouTube. Whether you’re searching for a caravan challenge, Ken Block in the Hoonicorn, cars versus fighter jets, Stig power laps or the latest Chris Harris Drives, you can find all the iconic films here.
so 11 years ago bugatti lent me a veyron for a day it was one of the best motoring days of my life and it kind of kick-started my career because we posted a video of me doing 220 something and lots of people saw it on the interwebs well now bugatti has a new car it’s called the show and once again they’ve given it to me for one day what would you do with your one day in a chiron obviously i’m going to drive all day but before we go some numbers 2 million pounds 1500 horsepower 4 turbochargers 8 liters 16 cylinders yeah this is uh the new veyron we are actually on the board of oman and the uae on some stunning mountain roads so we’re going to wiggle around here a bit yeah amazing or as my american colleague would say so weed takes all of about 400 yards of driving in the chiron to realize that this is a profoundly different car to avail on i suspected and feared it would just be another very on with more power in other words the car that was immensely impressive in a straight line at very high speed but didn’t really like corners this car loves corners in fact on this road it demolishes most other cars and that’s down in parts of the spirit this is one of the best electric steering racks i’ve ever driven apparently there are seven different algorithms overlapped to give it the right response the result is a car you can place really really well and there’s the new michelin cup 2 tyre super sticky and then there’s the four wheel drive system which is helpful and then there’s the electronic which means you can just leave the thing wide open and hang in them i’m not man enough to turn it off here and you don’t need to anyhow watch what happens when you accelerate yes i don’t have words to describe what this can do the ride is level and composed it is just designed to demolish road services i think technically over this kind of service it’s one of the most complete cars i’ve ever driven and i really didn’t expect to say that the engine what’s to say sequential turbo so from zip to about three eight i get two then the other two come in full afterburner effects you get a lovely step at about three eight that makes you just feel like a school child all over again and the numbers that come up on the dashboard can’t really talk about them in terms of power and torque this car has no equal on this road i don’t think anything could stay with it a 918 maybe with all its talk vectoring but once you get to an open stretch this is just brutal and it’s so composed and you know what it’s fun it’s fun threading it accurately it’s not a car you let slip and slide or there’s a bit of slip allowed in the handling mode in the eb mode which is the normal mode you get more supple ride and earlier intervention on the electronics but oh my days what a machine extraordinary extraordinary that’s my look of surprise because i did not expect this car to be able to do this on a windy road wow so it may be miles better than expected on a windy road but you have to clock some proper speed during your 24 hours with the shiron so we’re heading back to the alamat tomb airport where we shot the television film to head north of 200 miles per hour ugh this is what you might call a runway look at that for a view look at that for a view quite often people like me get a bit sniffy about straight line speed it lacks skill circuits are more glamorous they there is something about a car that can go around a circuit that makes it somehow more credible than a car that can just go straight in a straight line but speed’s addictive isn’t it speed is addictive i’m addicted to speed i have a 4.8 kilometer runway ahead of me and a car with 1500 horsepower that’s currently limited to 236 miles an hour what would you do know what i’m gonna do this insane vehicle runs with a tire pressure monitoring system that goes to two decimal places because tire pressures are critical i’m now running at about right below 2.8 bar is dangerous so i’m going to concentrate and the pressure drops with the airflow over so i’m losing pressure front left and rear right keep one eye on it it’s fine and there we are 236 miles an hour one hand i think they call that engineering i’m going to slow down that’s outrageous there’s so much airflow over the front tires they cool as you go up through 200 miles an hour and you lose pressure how mad is that so this is it then the first all-new aston martin in a long long time looks pretty but is it any good within about 20 seconds of driving this car you know straight away it’s a gt not a sports car it’s quite big and with the damper set the soft it’s supple it’s much more comfortable than any rival even an f12 with the dampers knocked back isn’t as supple as this thing and i like that there’s a bloke working at aston martin now who used to be at lotus i won’t say his name he’ll be embarrassed but you can feel his influence in the way this car is very supple it’s got good wheel travel and it’s happy to go the full throw of the damper the whole time so i like that fits the character of the car the engine well that’s interesting it doesn’t feel that turbocharged to me but the torque is so enormous that it frankly overcomes the rear wheels as you can see it’s raining on a wet damp day like this you can barely use the thing even with the damper set the soft and that’s a bit of a pain but you really can change the personality of this car with these two buttons on the dash i’ve got an s here and a damper here so this s button gives me the dna of my power trains a gear shift engine that kind of thing and that means i can go from normal to sport sport plus sport plus gives me a loud exhaust as well here we go here’s some of this they’ve done a really good job of getting intake noise considering it’s turbocharged so well than aston martin the damper button again three settings normal which is called gt mode i quite like that sport and then sport plus firm it up you get a load more support less roll and a less kind of heaving motion over bumps but you do lose a load of that ride comfort so on the road i tend to leave it in gt and i have it on the second powertrain mode so just sport better throttle response and a little bit more noise not too raucous though do you like the styling it doesn’t photograph well and i worry that the whole floating c-pillar thing will age cars like this and the i8 a bit quickly but on the road i actually really like the db11s wide hip look the numbers are 600 horsepower from the 5.2 litre twin-turbo v12 516 foot-pounds of torque and it weighs 1770 kilograms aston claims it’ll do 200 miles an hour and it feels that punchy the front brakes are 400 millimeter steels the gearbox is the eight speed zf unit and bridge tone named the tire the s s-007 how sweet so for fast road driving i think this car is really well judged gearbox calibration of that is very clever too is that f8 speed just leave it in drive and it really does think for you you don’t need to have it in manual now and again it’s nice to snicker gear but i just leave it in drive and away you go again reinforcing the gt credentials cabin well as a place to sit it’s lovely there’s lots going on here the mercedes infotainment doesn’t feel that modern nowadays but i love the readout here it’s very clear and it’s a new direction for us to march in the square steering wheel yeah you can keep that wind and tire noise again well suppressed supporting the gt roll but what’s it like if you drive it really fast i suppose we ought to go to a racing circuit the weather at anglesey is horrendous today pretty much flooded so it’s going to be more side window viewing forwards than windscreen and i know i’ll be accused of being irrelevant but that’s the way it is okay i can tell you what it’s like on the road i have done i’ve told you about the refinement the damping everything else so now you need to know what it’s like to absolutely thrape the new db11s within an inch of its life i will gladly do that for you although it’s looking very very very flooded here so we’ll see what we can do without throwing it into the irish scene first of all i’m in the most aggressive chassis mode i’ve got my dampers in the middle mode and i’ve got my traction and stability completely off this does mean that the first three gears are to be used tentatively in fourth you can give it the full potatoes so there you go this is second gear now there’s an idea how easy it goes it’s a different throttle and it’s already fully sideways so what have we got we’ve got easily the most balanced aston chassis i’ve ever driven this is an absolute honey long wheelbase lots of steering lock and a level of progression towards the outer limits of oversteer that i’ve never experienced in an aston they can only be quite spiky but this is really really nice that’s partly down to the differential the last few fast astons i’ve driven have been a bit nightmarish this sort of gets hot and becomes asymmetrical works one way and not the other well this one not the same this feels like a completely new setup for us to martin to me gearbox is great shifting quickly i’ve got it in the manual setting the tire the bridgestone tyre feels quite hard to me i mean it’s not finding anything like the grip that an equivalent michelin would in these conditions but it’s beautifully progressive when it breaks away the motor very interesting i had to remind myself it was turbocharged a minute ago because it makes such a great noise and the delivery is so linear you only realize it’s turbocharged we need to think about how much it’s struggling to get any traction i mean if i touch the throttle there look at that i’m barely even trying to be honest with you and then through this quick right hand here if i just turn in it will want to oversteer there it goes brakes are good they’re not ceramic for the money should they be ceramic probably the other thing i’ve noticed is that when you want to turn the car in this car’s got a bit of rear bias so you can actually use the brake just to help it in now there you go there it goes look at that i did that on the brakes i didn’t touch the throttle that’s quite that’s quite helpful utterly irrelevant for a large gt car i’ll give you that all round i didn’t expect it to be this much fun it’s a really really playful fun car with heaps of balance and much easier to slide around that i ever expected and it feels like it could do it for a long long time it feels robust so yeah this is miles better than i’d expected let’s first of all square this whole rolls royce’s going off-road thing because it’s not that much of a surprise nearly a hundred years ago rolls royces were regularly going off-road because there were no roads and actually the legend of rolls-royce was built on the fact they were indestructible and they could drive on gravel roads does it feel wrong to be doing this in rolls-royce i’m not sure it does car’s a car isn’t it it’s a massive suv it should be able to do this the refinement in this thing is extraordinary we’ve been in it for 10 minutes and it is unquestionably the quietest suv ever built i think in engineering terms this is incredibly impressive it’s massive it’s quiet it’s so comfortable the ride quality is yeah it’s not been seen in a car of this type before however and this is the subjective bit from the rear three quarter i can live with it from the front i think it looks it’s a technical phrase for this terrible slight dilemma here i’m thousand seven hundred and eighty feet up a mountain in this brand new rolls royce that’s worth as much as a row of houses in say martha tidbill and um there’s a big puddle there i mean should you really get the rolls royce covered in for wanted a better word crap i suppose you should shouldn’t you so it’s windows up and i’m gonna get mud on a roller so rolls-royce has built an suv it’s not much of a surprise really is it last night a man from rolls-royce told us how the company had agonized for ages about whether it should build an suv or not but i’m not sure i buy into that it was a no-brainer commercially this vehicle was always going to sell because let’s face it as the world becomes richer the rich people become more tasteless and they want more and more suvs and that’s why lamborghini makes one and bentley makes one and porsche makes one and i can’t believe i’m saying this ferrari is going to make one so here we are in a rolls-royce suv now i’ll lay my cards on the table from the outset i don’t like suvs i can’t think of a single situation which i’d rather have an suv in which to live with and use as my everyday spacious car over an estate car estate cars are better i’d rather be lower to the ground and not so heavy and not so ostentatious but i have to put myself into someone else’s shoes and try and understand why someone might want to buy this car so i’ll treat it objectively i promise the car is called the cullinan and that’s named after the largest uncut diamond ever taken out of the ground i stood there last night as um rolls royce’s design team talk me around the reasons why this line met that line and that swage did this and that did that and i thought to myself it all sounds really clever but it’s a bit gopping i’ve not met a single person who says they think the kalanin looks good you know offers a positive reaction some people will make excuses for it so it’s not too bad from this angle or that angle but for well over 300 000 pounds you shouldn’t be justifying yourself by saying it doesn’t look too bad should you now i normally shy away from discussing subjective matters you know taste the way things look but with the colon i have to get involved because i just don’t think it looks very good it looks to me like a chinese knockoff of what they think a rolls-royce suv should look like you know what i mean when you go to a motor show and you see something that looks a bit that’s it that’s how this car looks that’s just terrible i think the engineering that’s gone into this thing is impressive they’ve been doing it for about three or four years it’s on a bespoke platform it’s a heightened moved around phantom underneath but it is a completely unique platform for this car that’s critical because if you go and look at an urus or a bentayga or a cayenne or a touareg you know they all share commonality this thing doesn’t this is a standalone vehicle and that’s very impressive and it means it’s very very very strong indeed and when you’ve got a stiff structure you’ve got stability when you’ve got stability you can have great suspension so from the moment you get in this thing the ride comfort is different level there is no other suv that gives you the sense of serenity that you have in this car the mvh is incredible it’s got about 100 kilograms of sound deadly material wedged up inside wheel arches in the floor everything else this is a a silent suv at times you’re not sure if the engine is running that’s the ultimate accolade for a luxury vehicle when you keep trying to start it again you turn it off i’ve done it three times today in this car the ride at low speed very good when you get to medium speeds again it has that slightly magic carpet quality but occasionally there’s a big sort of transverse line a scene between two surfaces that rattles those air spheres a bit and it it isn’t that dignified it could be better i think but all in all it does that job better than any other car of its type that i’ve driven well done rolls royce so if you want to be silent and be comfortable then this is the best suv ever made now the engine 6.75 liters twin turbocharged uh more power than the saturn v rocket yes this thing weighs you know not far short of three tons but when it picks up its skirt by hell it goes the old power reserve needle goes down to naught and it just fires along i have no idea how accelerative it is but it’s more than enough for something this big i tell you why because when you get to the first corner you’ve got to stop the bloody thing and it does that just about but i wouldn’t want it to be any more powerful because it’s so heavy you have this sense of inertia trying to stop all that mass is really tricky and then there’s the handling there’s body roll because it needs to be supple to keep that that lovely ride and also it just starts to understeer it’s a bit like the phantom in that respect it lulls you into thinking it’s hidden all that mass and the moment at which it goes ah actually i was tricking you you’re in trouble so don’t barrel into corners too much don’t think for a minute this can compete with the likes of the urus or the bentayga or any of those in terms of agility it’s a much much bigger beast but the person who buys it i suspect won’t care about that does the cullinan owner drive it themselves or be driven in it unquestionably they drive it this is not a phantom what’s it like to drive then it’s commanding the driving position is yeah it’s imperious i’m just looking down on the poor people of the world i’m not that comfortable with that but i suppose some people are the cabin well i tell you what rather than do that on the move let’s talk you round the cabin now and then we’ll come back to some more bits about how it drives and how it makes you feel so here is the outside of the culinary i’m not going to walk around and describe the styling to you because you can see it so maybe we just leave the outside alone i’m not no go go to the rear three quarters no we’re three quarter now this is the only surprising bit for me the more time i spent with the car the more this kind of works for me okay it’s a bit range rover it’s quite bulky it’s quite powerful and this sort of suggestion that there’s a luggage compartment in on the back of it yeah it kind of works but the boot itself well come and have a look it’s not that big is it in fact with those massive wheel arch intrusions there because it’s got big air spheres that’s a tiny boot if you have two labradors one will need to be dominant so what they’ve done is they’ve sacrificed luggage space four wait for it for rear legroom and there’s plenty of that allow me to show you okay and we get it’s spacious but i sense there’s been a there’s been sort of a clash of conscience at rolls-royce as to whether they needed the rear leg room or the boot space and they’ve happened across a solution that isn’t necessarily quite what i thought it would be but there we go they know more about these cars than i do you’ve got touch screens here you’ve got a usbc down in there to charge your devices you control the radio you’ve got different heater functions and you’ve got a glass roof do you know what it is luxurious and there are so many different rear seat options this is the bench option so this gives you the proper family rolls but you can go for individual rear seats and you can go for the super luxurious ones which have extra padding and and look a bit like a first-class aircraft seat the all-powerful driving seat ahead of me lies a world of poorer people than me so um steering wheel has got a thicker rim than a phantom i quite like thin rims stream rules and rods this particular little baker like one on the phantom 7 but this hasn’t got it this is a rough leathery substance that looks like don’t quite understand it the rest of the materials are beautiful i mean it is it’s a step above a bentayga in terms of the materials used i’ll give them that the ergonomics ponzi word for where stuff is are quite baffling at times these little buttons here they control what your seats doing in terms of fans because it will cool your bottom or heating because it’ll heat your bottom or your heated steering wheel if you want a massage well that should be in the same place but that’s down here that’s hidden down there why is that down there and those are there and why are they so small i can’t see them this is the sort of rolls-royce contorted i drive thing because it all comes from bmw ultimately and the stuff on the on the leeward side of where i’m sitting i can’t see this armrest here is it feels really cheap you know the rest of it feels expensive that to me feels there’s a whiff of citroen picasso about that um instrument pack pretty this nav screen i quite like that because it’s quite small however crucially watch this when the culinary driver can’t be asked to lean there like i just can’t be asked to reach that door can’t be asked almost worth 330 grand alone let’s do that again do that one more time watch that yeah i cannot be i can’t be asked to move six inches so it’s a mixture it’s not as expensive as a phantom and it doesn’t feel it it lacks the opulence it lacks some of some of the quality uh the seat is is really impressive in the front it’s supportive and it’s very comfortable and that coupled with the lack of noise and harshness in the cabin means this is a very very relaxing place to be and long journeys are not going to be fatiguing this in many ways is a car that you don’t want to get out of because it’s so comfortable the seat is so good the ride is just so plush and the general sense of silence and of being in something that’s ending into perfection is that’s just so powerful but also you don’t want to look at it because when you get out for me that illusion’s shattered i just don’t want to see it i want to park it up and walk away from it the rear three course is getting better for me but it’s it’s just not look or is it i just feel a bit ashamed to be seen in it which is i know it’s sad and i’m sure there are lots of you out there that think it’s gorgeous and i’ve never ever allowed myself to have you know to have an opinion an overall opinion about the car so fundamentally swayed by the way it looks but i just don’t want to be seen in this thing i really don’t however the new phantom i have one of those so what i’d say to you is if you can deal with the looks this is a great car if you can’t like me get a phantom and if not just do the world of favor and buy an estate car you