Abu Dhabi at Silverstone

Formula one Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand PrixAbu Dhabi revs up for major British Grand Prix sell during the F1 weekend at Silverstone (27 June – 30 June). A major promotional event to raise interest for this year’s Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November is taking place this weekend in Silverstone.

The Whittlebury Park campsite adjacent to Silverstone has been re-named the Abu Dhabi Fan Zone offering race goers free Wi-Fi and other complimentary goodies, including 20,000 goody bags containing Etihad Airways blankets, ponchos etc. There’s also plenty of general travel and tourism information available at the specially created destination pavilion and heritage village where fans can enjoy henna and Arabic calligraphy artists, a falconer and of course, competitions and huge giveaways, including a ‘golden ticket’ for a luxury trip for two courtesy of Etihad Airways.

Silverstone Golden Ticket“The international profile of the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and Abu Dhabi as its host city continues to grow at a tremendous pace,” said Richard Cregan, Chief Executive Officer, Yas Marina Circuit. “Last year, we welcomed our largest international audience to date and this year, we are building upon that success through leveraging a wide array of marketing and sales initiatives to increase footfall from one of the emirate’s key international source markets.”

Formula One fans going to Silverstone this weekend will be able to buy tickets to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November at the many sales counters available throughout the village.

Petrolheads and exotic performance car fans will also be in for a treat. The organisors of the Run To Yas (a supercar racing event taking place between Muscat, Oman to the Yas Marina F1 circuit in Abu Dhabi) will also be there to promote their event leading up to the F1 on November 3rd. For more information on this and future events, follow the link below.

For further information on all of the above, log on to:, and
Formula1- Track & The Yas Hotel LR

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Supercars – Geneva Motor Show

A selection of supercars at the Geneva Motor Show 2013.

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Ferrari – Geneva Motor Show

Ferrari unveil the LaFerrari at the Geneva Motor Show.

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Lamborghini – Geneva Motor Show

Lamborghini at the Geneva Motor Show 2013.

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Chevrolet – Geneva Motor Show

Chevrolet’s newest models on show at the Geneva Motor Show 2013.

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BMW – Geneva Motor Show

A selection of new models and concepts from BMW at the Geneva Motor Show 2013.

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Rolls-Royce Wraith Premiere at the Geneva Motor Show

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO

“I am delighted to unveil a new Rolls-Royce model that promises to draw superlatives from its audience. In launching Wraith we present the boldest design, the most dramatic performance and most powerful Rolls-Royce that has ever played host to the famous Spirit of Ecstasy figurine.

Naturally, the starting point is luxury, refinement and exclusivity, traits that have made Rolls-Royce the world’s pinnacle luxury brand for the last 109 years. But this is also a car defined by a timeless elegance, one that encapsulates a sense of power, style and drama – and just a hint of the noir. The launch will revive one of the most famous Rolls-Royce names first used in 1938 and one which perfectly expresses the character of our new car. Wraith alludes to an almost imperceptible force, something rare, agile and potent, a spirit that will not be tethered to the earth. And I can assure you that performance delivers on the promise of its dramatic exterior styling, while of course remaining steeped in hallmark luxury, refinement and exclusivity.

Our new car will boldly shape the years ahead for Rolls-Royce, building on the success of Ghost, bringing more new customers to the marque. For Wraith is the ultimate gentleman’s gran turismo; it is the car we believe our great founding forefather and adventurer the Honourable Charles Rolls would have chosen to drive were he alive today.”

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Urban Life Magazine announces media partnership with Top Marques Monaco

For immediate release (updated 30/11/2012):

2013 marks a special year for Urban Life and Top Marques Monaco. Top Marques will celebrate their 10th year anniversary with the next edition of the show in April; whilst we start to prepare for ours the following year (Urban Life was founded in 2003 but first published in 2004).

Our respective and continuous growth, based on diversity and innovation, is testament to our enduring appeal amongst the jet-set elite who value and appreciate the best in luxury lifestyle. Urban Life is more than a magazine; it’s an attitude based on the lifestyle choices our readers make. Similarly, Top Marques is more than just a supercar show. It is a platform for some of the most creative minds in automotive design to present their wares to an eagerly awaiting audience and showcase the most exciting engineering advances in automotive technology, with safety, development and green technology at its core.
Top Marques also hosts a number of world premieres each year, thus setting the stage for the exotic and luxury car manufacturers to show their latest models to enthusiasts, buyers and collectors from around the world. And with the addition of the superboats and watches categories, it makes for a must-attend show each and every year attracting high-profile visitors from around the world.

“Top Marques Monaco is delighted to welcome on board our new media partner Urban Life. Not only will we both celebrate our 10th year in 2013 and 2014 respectively, but we both push the boat out when it comes to highlighting the most exclusive supercars, limited edition watches and deluxe objects for those who enjoy an elite luxury lifestyle. Top Marques reigns supreme as the industry choice for launching cutting-edge new models. Still five months before the event’s 10th edition four pioneering brands have chosen to world premiere their 2013 launches at this ground-breaking show. The only car exhibition where visitors can: See it, Drive it and Buy it. The exclusive extra is that Top Marques offers test drives on the Monaco Grand Prix circuit and this is just the beginning of our birthday announcements. Urban Life will keep you informed of our news. See you at ‘Top Marques Ten’ taking place 18th-21st April 2013 at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco” Steven Saltzman, Owner & Director – Top Marques Monaco.

As a media partner, Urban Life Magazine will have unique and privileged access to the latest news from all the exhibitors taking part in the show and will be featuring these across all our channels – print, online and through our social media outlets. We will also feature exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes footage before, during and after the event for our audiences in London and around the world.

“I am very excited to announce our media partnership with Top Marques Monaco in 2013. Ever since we first covered Top Marques in 2004, the year Urban Life was launched, I have always kept a keen eye on the growth and development of the show, which is now firmly established as the most exclusive and prestigious supercar event in the world. I am proud of my team’s achievements in the continuous growth of the Urban Life brand, and am honoured to be able to share the platform with such an illustrious group of our peers in the media from around the world. Furthermore, it seems quite fitting that we both prepare to celebrate our first ten years as we grow and expand into other niches, particularly with our move in to broadcast TV with a high-end motoring show, which we will announce formally in due course. My team and I are very excited to be associated with Top Marques and I am looking forward to working with Steven and his team, and together celebrate the best of luxury lifestyle in its spiritual home – Monaco” Ataur Rahman, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief.

Top Marques Monaco is held at the world-famous Grimaldi Forum in Monaco each year under the high patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II, its most distinguished patron and supporter. Yachts, watches and jewellery also form a part of the show, which enjoys the support of some of the most coveted luxury brands in their respective sectors. We are extremely proud to be a media partner of this exclusive annual event, and look forward to sharing this with our loyal readers and partners who have supported us over the years. We will be featuring exclusive articles with interviews in our Top Marques themed motoring pages throughout the year, as well as posting regular news items online. Please keep an eye on our social media streams for these.

For more information on Top Marques Monaco, please log on to

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Audi Cyberstore Launch with Chris Cunningham

Audi’s new flagship hi-tech digital showroom just opened for business in London’s Mayfair. Aspiring Audi owners, and enthusiasts, can call in at the showroom to try their hand at customising any model currently in production using the state-of-the-art facilities and order a car that is truly unique and personal to them.

And to help celebrate the launch, Audi teamed up with artist/film-maker Chris Cunningham, who’s latest work, jagapparatus 1, took center stage. The live exhibit mixes an elaborate and hypnotic ‘dance’ between two industrial robots. The performance is quite mesmerising, utilising heart thumping music, lasers and lots of smoke. Worth a visit just that alone!

For more information on Audi City, log on to:

Check out the promotional video:

VIP Launch Night:

All images courtesy of Audi

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Range Rover Evoque

The Range Rover Evoque was shown as the concept LRX back in 2008 at various international motor shows. It had its global launch at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2011, followed by various promotional launches around the world attracting a lot of attention.

So after flying up to Scotland for its UK launch towards the end of last year, I experienced my first drive in the new Evoque. Various combinations of 3 and 5 door models in numerous configurations and colours were lined up ready to be put through their paces. The first thing you notice about the car is its wedge shaped design – almost as if it had been squashed from behind! Inside is a different story however with plenty of room and the finish is what you would expect from a luxury SUV of the Range Rover clan.

We took off into the borders in a top of the range dynamic 5-door .The car has a 2.2 diesel with automatic transmission, with auto stop start. Although for those who want something sportier this can be switched to Sport mode for a little more oomph, including gear change with the paddles on the steering column. A panoramic glass roof with power blind allows for a good all round view. The central console has an 8 inch high resolution display which has everything from sat-nav to full TV; should you get bored. We are used to cameras for rear view and parking, but the Evoque takes park assist to new levels with a 5-camera surround system with tow assist, allowing for an all round view, including those mounted under the large wing mirrors that feature blind spot indicators for vehicles coming alongside, as well as two others in the front spoiler…

The Range Rover Evoque test drive was featured in the March edition of Urban Life magazine. You can read the full article here.

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Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S

To get behind the wheel of a super sports car like the Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S is always a pleasure. The 4-door saloon is very roomy and not the standard 2+2 style where rear passengers usually have to be vertically challenged in order to enjoy the ride without discomfort.

Normally Maseratis are understated, but still head turning. And, this model, with its new exhaust system, sporting a dashboard switch to open a bypass flap in the rear exhaust muffler, certainly commands attention with a deeper, throatier growl. This is any petrol head’s dream engine sound – a V8 rumble producing a spine-tingling note – so nobody misses you driving past.

The Ferrari built all-aluminium V-8 gives an impressive acceleration quoted at 62 mph in 5.1 seconds, for which Maserati claims an ungoverned top speed of 177mph, which sadly I couldn’t
attempt on a short road test. The 4.7-litre engine delivers 433bhp with its ZF automatic gearbox, putting the car up there with the top luxury sports saloons. It is a fantastic auto – quick to change in manual mode with steering wheel paddles – and really smooth and seamless in automatic…

The Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S test drive was featured in the March edition of Urban Life magazine. You can read the full article here.

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Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 Technical Launch 2012

Woking, UK, February 1 2012 (press release – edited version)

The continuation of our double world-champion driver line-up, further consolidation of our championship-winning engineering team and a subtle, yet deep-reaching technical update of our car all underpin the world-class strength, experience and ambition that exists at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ahead of the 2012 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. This morning’s technical presentation of the MP4-27 at the McLaren Technology Centre showcased a natural evolution of last year’s six-race-winning car and underlined the message that the new season is very much one of growth through strength and continuity.

McLaren_MP4-27_Technical_Launch_2012_.jpgAfter finishing second in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships in 2011, our aim for the new season is to fight for both world titles from the very start of this year’s campaign. Evolutionary design of MP4-27 masks overhaul of all major systems
While the all-new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 closely resembles last year’s multiple race-winning car, the 2012 chassis has been substantially revised from the ground-up, with all major systems updated or re-designed for the new season. The most evident visual differences include more tightly waisted rear bodywork, developed to improve flow to the rear of the car, and a revised cooling system, which re-directs the gearbox oil-cooler. Last year’s U-shaped sidepods have also been re-designed – a legacy of the FIA’s new exhaust regulations that redefine the shape of the rear bodywork.

Best driver line-up in Formula 1 retained for third successive season maintaining the belief in the validity of strengthened continuity, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is the only team in Formula 1 whose driver line-up consists of two world champions: Jenson
Button and Lewis Hamilton. Between them, they have scored 22 grand prix victories for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and are the strongest and most consistent driver line-up in the sport. Maintaining the partnership into a third successive season was merely a formality. Strength drawn from consolidation of engineering and race teams. On the technical front, our exemplary engineering trio Tim Goss (director of engineering), Paddy Lowe (technical director) and Neil Oatley (director of design and development programmes) once more remain at the forefront of the drawing office. For 2012, they will be joined by sporting director Sam Michael, whose arrival coincides with the re-organisation of our trackside personnel roster to ensure both growth and development within the group.

Away from the track, the team continues to develop, too: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes last year became the world’s first carbon-neutral Formula 1 team, efficiently managing its carbon footprint and purchasing carbon credits to completely offset its emissions. As well as continuing relationships of record-breaking length with partners such as Hugo Boss (31 years), TAG Heuer (27 years), Kenwood (22 years), ExxonMobil (18 years), MercedesBenz (18 years), Hilton (eight years) and Vodafone (six years), our new strategic partnership with GlaxoSmithKline continues to gather pace. Development and planning continue on the McLaren GSK Centre for Applied Performance, while GSK’s Lucozade scientists are busy developing a groundbreaking cockpit drinks formula to hydrate our drivers during grands prix in 2012.

Finally, in a year when the world’s spotlight will shine on London and the 2012 Olympics, we’re proud that equipment and technology pioneered at the racetrack by Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and developed by McLaren Applied Technologies will be used by Team GB’s athletes in their quest for Gold this summer. Following a one-day private shakedown, Jenson will begin track testing of the MP4-27 at Spain’s Circuito de Jerez on Tuesday February 7.

Driver Line Up:

Age 32
F1 highlights:
Titles – 2009 world champion
GPs – 208
Wins – 12 (five for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes)
Poles – 7
FLs – 6
Points – 811
Websites –
Twitter – @jensonbutton

Jenson Button joined Vodafone McLaren Mercedes as the newly crowned world champion at the end of the 2009 season and re-signed a new multi-year deal with the team last autumn. His runner-up position in the 2011 world drivers’ championship, including victories in Hungary and Japan and a career-best last-to-first final-lap win in Canada, along with nine further podium finishes, underlined his credentials as one of the most respected and complete drivers in Formula 1 history. The 2012 season will mark his 13th season in Formula 1.

Age – 27
F1 highlights:
Titles – 2008 world champion
GPs – 90
Wins – 17 (all for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes)
Poles – 19
FLs – 11
Points – 723
Websites –
Twitter – @lewishamilton

Lewis Hamilton made his Formula 1 debut with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in 2007, immediately making headlines for his supremely assured blend of speed, wisdom and sheer audacity on the racetrack. A world champion at the age of 23 and, uniquely, a race winner in all of his five Formula 1 seasons, Lewis remains one of the fastest, most gifted and compelling drivers in F1 history. At the end of 2011, he threw himself into a series of intense preparations ahead of the new season, training at high altitude in Colorado and at home in Switzerland.

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Geneva Motor Show 2011

With so many national, European and world premieres, the Geneva Motor Show lived up to its promise of another blockbuster year for the global automotive industry. Patrick Anderson picks and highlights some of the most hyped models presented at the show…

As the first of the main international motor shows each year, Geneva never fails to impress – from new models and the latest concept cars to European and World premieres. Visitor numbers went up this year; in fact they surpassed all expectations with the total number standing at 735,000, a 6% rise on last year’s figures. As is the growing trend, the electric cars were out in force with many now in actual production, several of which are now on sale in the UK. THINK, a Norwegian electric car was one of the newer vehicles on display as was the Toyota EV based on the iQ electric car, as well as Nissan’s sleek electric concept; Sflow.

For concept cars Hyundai showed the i40, Curb and Velostar. Other manufacturers showing their versions included Mazda’s concept SUV the Minage, Renault’s Captur and the Saab Phoenix. In the hybrid categories we saw the Peugeot 908 Hybrid 4 (first shown in Paris), and Volvo with their V60, also a diesel hybrid. Rolls Royce showed their 102EX, a one-off fully electric-powered Phantom, which was a sight to behold. Morgan re-launched a 21st century version of their 3 wheeler and Land rover showed their e-range 4WD vehicle. Amongst the exotics making their world premieres and turning heads were the new Ferrari FF, Jaguar XKR-S2, Koenigsegg Agera R, Lamborghini Aventador, Pagani Huayra and Aston Martin who showed off the new Virage and Virage Volante models. There were of course scores of others, but too many to list here. I will be bringing you more on these in upcoming editions, so here are some of my favourites in the meantime…

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Aston Martin Cygnet

The latest news from Aston is that their concept city car the Cygnet will go into production this year. A small city car unlike anything they have ever produced (you may have seen it featured in one of the Harrods Christmas window displays for a while). I’ll bring you more on the Cygnet in later editions.

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Aston Martin – Track Day

It’s fair to say that it is almost every man’s dream to sit behind the wheel of an Aston Martin. So an invitation to experience not one, but five of their current models on a closed circuit was an opportunity not to be missed! I was invited to join a small exclusive group of people to spend a day putting all the current models through their paces. The cars were the V8 Vantage SportShift, V12, DB9 Touchtronic, Rapide and DBS Touchtronic. What a dream line up.

Millbrook is a 40 yr old test facility originally set up by General Motors and now used by nearly all the manufacturers. Featuring a high-speed bowl, two and a half mile hill route, city routes and standing mile, it enables hard testing of cars and drivers in a safe and controlled environment. Although I did wonder why they wouldn’t allow us to use the off-road and water bath routes. Aston Martin have their own facility here where prospective and confirmed buyers can get some hands-on training in their dream cars. Aston still remains in the old tradition of custom building to every customers spec. You can’t just go and buy a new car from a showroom, so every vehicle is slightly different as you can choose the colour, interior finish, trim etc.

A short two or three laps in each vehicle was not enough for an in depth report but an overall impression of these luxurious vehicles capabilities. The V8 Vantage Sportshift was for the standing mile on the circuit. With the vehicle’s amazing acceleration it was time to brake almost as soon as you got the speed up. A very steady and well balanced car that almost kicked you in the kidneys as you changed gears up and floored the throttle!

Taking the cars on the hill circuit was an eye opener, having driven the circuit many times in the past on SMMT test days. Plus having one of Aston Martin’s own professional instructors on hand certainly improved my perception and speed on the hill. The cars are all very similar inside; deep luxurious leather trim and well finished facia and instrument clusters. The touchtronic gearbox was simple and as one would expect, well positioned for ease of use. The surprise came with the 4-door Rapide, which from the outside looks almost identical to the other models. And when the instructor asked me to sit in the back, I was rather apprehensive as you can imagine since I stand at over 6.7ft! But much to my (pleasant) surprise, it was fairly comfortable, especially when compared to similar 2+2 sports cars. It wasn’t knee knockingly tight, but I wouldn’t want to travel all day in the back.

So to our final test; having driven the bowl at Millbrook we were not really allowed on the lip top lane. Each lane is designed for certain speeds, so after careful instruction we did the lip circuit at 100mph with no hands on the wheel. I can tell you, it takes a bit of getting used to driving at such high speed and putting your trust in the centrifugal and gravitational pull to hold you on line. All in all a thrilling day and can’t wait to get the chance to drive one of the cars on a proper road test.

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Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX2 DB9 Transponder

So what can you possibly buy for the owner of one of the finest and last remaining pieces of British engineering?
Well, Aston Martin have their own range of luxury goods, but the ultimate must-have has got to be the latest incarnation of the AMVOX Transponder watch from luxury Swiss watch maker Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Following on from the DBS and Rapide, the AMVOX2 DB9 Transponder is a third generation luxury timepiece, which in true James Bond fashion, can be used to open the DB9 by simply pressing on the sapphire crystal of their watch. When first launched two years ago, the Transponder was the first mechanical watch that allowed you to control access to your vehicle using the built-in micro transmitter.

This is the latest collaboration between the two companies, and one which takes luxury merged with technology to new heights. Understated elegance at its best. The watch is available to order from the Aston Martin dealership network and priced at £12,426.

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MAZDA 5 – UK launch

Press launches are a rare occasion to be a passenger as well as a driver. So a 2-day trip down to Devon and Cornwall to try out the improved latest version of the Mazda 5 was just such an opportunity as well as a chance to get to sample some great food and lifestyle down there. Lunch at Jamie Oliver’s 15, a restaurant run to help young people get a job opportunity and a career, was a splendid opportunity to relax and eat as we watched the surfers and half-term holiday crowds on the wide beach at Watergate bay.

Then it was off into the cars for driving across the moors and the winding small roads of Devon and Cornwall. So the car was a people carrier of which we had two different models to try. The two petrol vehicles we tried (2.0litre and the 1-8 litre) were underpowered (diesel models will be available later in the year in the UK).

The steep hills and tight turns of the small roads of this part of England showed this, with a lot of driving resorting to 2nd gear. The other major fault on the six-speed gearboxes is the reverse gear. No lock or gate meant as I changed down on a tight steep hairpin it easily dropped into reverse! My other gripe was with the front passenger seat where I was constantly rubbing my knees on the dash, so not ideal for the taller person. The rear seats can be configured in several ways depending on loading and passengers, with seating for up to 7, in three rows of 2-3-2 configuration. The side sliding doors mean easy access for rear passengers from either side when the car is parked in tight spaces, with doors opening to 686mm and barely standing out from the side of the car at 160mm. The rear seats can also be flattened in various configurations giving a large flat space for big loads.

But if you are tall be aware of the tailgate which is at eye /head catching height when opened up. The dash has a large selection of buttons 13e switches of which 5 are blank possibly for fog lights etc. The driver’s side has no less than 10 switches, but the one thing missing was the sat-nav! None of the models we tested had any fitted, which these days is a standard and not an extra in most cars. However, the 2.0 comes with i-stop which is becoming another standard in many vehicles as petrol prices soar, so there was a little saving grace. After a night in Rick Stein’s delightful hotel/restaurant, including a cookery demonstration in his cookery school followed by a sumptuous meal in the restaurant, we woke early for a drive up across Bodmin Moor. It was raining and the vehicle didn’t like the strong winds. The difference between the 1.8 and 2.0 petrol engines is not very noticeable and still the gear ratios of the vehicle are not very well suited to a people carrier. All in all not the best of the people carriers although a gourmet tour of Devon and Cornwall did make it a worthwhile road test…

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