Johana BaldellaApril 13, 2017




It’s only natural that if your work confines you to the city, you feel an urge to get away from the urban environment whenever you can, whether it’s to go climb a mountain, or simply enjoy a great view. Toyota has picked up on this mood among millennial-aged professionals to produce its new FT-4X Concept (Future Toyota – Four-Wheel Drive Crossover), which made its world debut today at the New York International Auto Show.

Dubbed a four-wheel drive “toolbox,” it has been penned by Toyota’s Calty design centre in California. Its styling is defined by the theme of “Rugged Charm,” while its capabilities are “casualcore” rather than hardcore, making the FT-4X suitable for any kind of outing, any time.

Kevin Hunter, Calty President, introduced the concept: “The Toyota FT-4X is not simply a concept where style meets function; it is a thoughtful, charming and engaging experience that adds real pleasure and convenience to the journey. We focused on how a crossover vehicle can add fun and value to casual adventures both in and out of the city.”

Casualcore exploration

The Toyota FT-4X Concept’s “casualcore” quality addresses the growing popularity of unplanned, spur-of-the-moment trips among young urban people, whether its dinner on the beach, heading into the country for a run or a walk, camping under the stars or time spent shooting the breeze and listening to music with a group of friends sitting on the tailgate of your vehicle. It’s the kind of get-away that can be inspired by social media, moving on from “liking” a digital snapshot to going somewhere to create your own.

“Rugged Charm” persona

Rugged Charm places value on simplicity, capability, durability and Toyota heritage. It also takes into account compact, sturdy dimensions and the provision of a wealth of tactile grips, handles and controls that give the user a satisfying sense of a mechanical reaction to their input.

“You can really tell we had a blast designing the FT-4X because it looks fun to use and fun to drive,” said Ian Cartabiano, Calty Studio Chief Designer. “I love this idea of mechanical satisfaction because while we’re living in today’s digital world, we took something that’s based on physical movements and made that a large part of what this vehicle is.”

The designers took an unconventional approach to their work, starting with the rear of the vehicle rather than its nose or profile. This acknowledged how the target Gen Y explorers make the tailgate or hatch of the car the centre of activity.

For the exterior, the stylists applied an “X” theme throughout the car’s Toyota New Global Architecture C-platform: for example, a door handle is located at the centre of a vertical, bowed X, at the widest point of the vehicle. This places driver and passenger within the broadest area, creating a natural protective zone. A similar bowed X shape can be seen in the rear hatch design, again with the door handle centrally located.




The concept is fitted with 18-inch wheels and custom 225/55R18 Goodyear All-season tyres. It stands 1,623mm tall, measures 4,249 long and has a 2,639mm wheelbase.

The rear Multi-Hatch can be opened horizontally, in Urban Mode, or vertically, in Outdoor Mode. Urban Mode splits the hatch in half for easy kerbside loading when space is tight. Outdoor Mode opens the hatch upwards in one piece. The door’s design has a satisfying mechanical touch, a rotating handle that’s turned to select the opening mode and which is deep-set so that it’s easy to operate when wearing thick gloves.

The flat roof is reinforced so that big items can be carried, with tie-down hoops located at each corner. Power outlets are integrated into the base of the tie-downs for use with camping or roof rack accessories.

Generous approach and departure angles ensure that FT-4X can tackle both on and off-road conditions – capability that is reflected in the black-painted wheel arch mouldings. A vertical window above the offside rear wing pays homage to the design of Toyota’s Xtracab pick-up and original 4Runner SUV, with removable glass that can be replaced with tinted or opaque options.

Sculpted rocker panels enhance underbody protection and durability when venturing off the beaten path. And whenever the FT-4X does find some heroic scenery, a GoPro® HERO5 Session™ camera built into the driver’s side rear-view mirror can capture it all.

The X theme is captured in the front design, too. A classic, extra-large Toyota emblem is set dead-centre, flanked by LED headlamps. The horizontal orientation of the grille, headlights and bumper nods to classic Toyota FJ Cruisers and pick-up models of the past.

Multi-tool cabin

The cabin has been conceived as a large open space fitted with easily accessible storage for all kinds of kit. Areas are colour-coded: blue for closed and orange for open storage. The inside of the hatch features two boxes, one warm, one cold, to warm or cool items as required.

The cabin is divided into three zones: Clean Zone, where the driver and front passenger sit, with rugged floor mats and sills inspired by Japanese sunoko slotted wood flooring; Wet Zone, with all-weather mats where damp or muddy kit can be stowed just behind the front seats and below the rear bench; and Rear Cargo Zone.

The Rear Cargo Zone has a completely flat floor with a concealed deep storage compartment accessed by sliding the floor section towards the Rear Multi Hatch (doing this transforms the floor into a tray). Extra space can be gained by folding the rear bench and there are plenty of red tie-down hooks to hold items in place.




An ultra-compact The North Face® sleeping bag fits neatly between front passenger seats, and functions as an armrest that is strapped atop an extra-large dividing console. The console can fold upward, revealing additional storage capacity for medium-sized gear. Its breathable, high-grip, hybrid mesh surface allows for wet items to dry quickly, and its bungee cord lattices keep small items in place.

Clever touches abound: the interior lighting can be removed and used as a torch; the side and rear door handles can serve as ad-hoc water bottles; and the armrests are fitted with USB ports and large rotary window switches. The centre dome light can be taken out to use as a locating light or beacon. The multimedia audio system can also be removed and is designed with an extra-large handle grip. There is no traditional navigation screen; instead there is a mobile phone mount immediately above the cylindrival digital instrument cluster, the thinking being that owners will download apps for both navigation and off-road instrumentation.


The FT-4X has been designed potentially to run with a small-capacity four-cylinder engine. It features mechanical four-wheel drive and selectable low-range transmission, reinforcing its always-ready character. The sophisticated MacPherson strut front and double wishbone rear suspension design is engineered to cope with driving over rocks and potholes.

Johana BaldellaApril 11, 2017


International music producer challenges audiences to Make Your Mark in new Lexus campaign

Lexus is pleased to announce a creative collaboration with the multi-award-winning music producer for its new flagship coupe, the Lexus LC. The campaign, aptly named Make Your Mark, will help introduce the new model and a new era for the luxury brand.

Through working with Ronson, Lexus will continue to realise its ambition to create amazing experiences, in music, art and technology. Make Your Mark follows on from the successful 2015 international campaign The Life RX, which featured the celebrated actor Jude Law.


During the next six months Make Your Mark will deliver a range of exciting content and experiences for customers and fans.

Speaking about the campaign, Mark Ronson said: “I always like to work with collaborators who are innovative and unique in and out of the studio. When I was approached by Lexus with the concept of this campaign and saw the new LC, it felt fresh and exciting; I was drawn to the idea of using music to inspire and create an experience around this car.”

The LC is the figurehead of an evolving new vehicle development culture at Lexus in which design and engineering teams have worked in an unprecedented collaboration to produce a car that surpasses all expectations. The LC’s design is remarkably faithful to the radical styling of the original LF-LC concept car, and both are recipients of international EyesOn Design awards.

Alain Uyttenhoven, Head of Lexus Europe, said: “Mark Ronson is the iconic music producer behind some of the biggest hits of the decade and we couldn’t have thought of a better collaborator for the Make Your Mark campaign.

“The Lexus LC symbolises the beginning of a new phase for Lexus which is all about creating greater synergy between engineering and design. Who better to work with on this than Mark – a man who has made a significant contribution to the world of music through his incredible performances and collaborations.”


Jeff ArmstrongAugust 18, 2016


Bringing the splendor of Sant’Agata Bolognese to Oxfordshire, Lamborghini celebrates past and present at this year’s Salon Privé, with activities including concours entries, a debut and supercar test-drives.

With cars to admire, marvel at, and even test drive, there’s something for all Lamborghini fans, and Salon Privé is delighted to announce the full Lamborghini event plan for its amazing event from the 1st to 3rd September.

Salon Privé and Lamborghini PoloStorico, the marque’s heritage division, will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Lamborghini Miura, universally regarded as the first-ever supercar. With its own class in the prestigious Chubb Insurance Concours d’Elégance, 50 Years of the Lamborghini Miura will see over ten of the world’s best examples entered into the Miura-only category, with two examples making their way from the USA in order to compete.

As part of the celebrations, the PoloStorico division will display the iconic one-of-one Lamborghini Miura Roadster, which will take pride of place on the lawns of Blenheim Palace.

Also on display as part of the 50 Years of the Lamborghini Miura class celebrations is the original Miura SV shown at Geneva Motor Show in 1971. It will be showcased at Salon Privé following its recent comprehensive restoration by Lamborghini PoloStorico. The unique pre-production model was originally built with parts of the Miura S, but incorporated pioneering features that would be seen on later SVs.

Not to be outdone, the Pirelli-backed Prestige & Performance Competition on Saturday 3rd has its own Diablo-only class,The Diablo Tribute, where a 2000 6.0 VT Final Edition will battle it out in the modern-day concours against nine other entrants, including chassis number 001 SVR, the first of just 31 racing versions produced, a limited-edition SE30 30thanniversary model and also a VT Roadster.

Throughout the event, Lamborghini’s official Birmingham dealership will manage guests’ test drives in the rear-wheel drive Lamborghini Huracán and its four-wheel drive equivalent, as well as the Spyder version. The 15-mile test-drive opportunity is part of Salon Privé’s ‘see it, test it, drive it’ experience. Salon Privé is the only event of its type that allows its guests to drive cars on the public road in the UK.

Simon BerryFebruary 8, 2016


I was fortunate enough to be asked to attend the launch of the all-new Jaguar XF in Spain both on the road and at Circuito de Navarra on Saturday 5th September. Not only were the hosts, presenters and everyone that represented Jaguar, both directly and on their behalf professional, yet warm, friendly and approachable… the car is exceptional! On arriving in Spain, after the formalities of a safety brief/waiver sign off, we were shown to the cars we would be driving to Navarra.

The first I got to experience was the 163ps RWD 2.0 ltr diesel automatic in the Diplomat specification, which was visually stunning on approach. It has a look of effortless power, even when stationary, it speaks of movement, asking you to take it for a spin. And when you do, my word, you are rewarded! The XF also offered an equally impressive interior, every detail a pleasure to behold, each surface beautifully crafted to be ergonomic, tactile and of the very highest quality. Sumptuous leather seats cradle you and as you would expect the driving position is endlessly adjustable to suit all. I found myself reopening the door to hear again the perfect sound it made on closing, the drive to the track from Bilbao was some 178 km, I was paired with another of the fortunate few at the event (a lovely young lady named Hannah) we each drove half of it, myself going first.image1

Considering I was in the ‘wrong’ (left) side of the car and in an automatic when used to a manual, it really was fairly effortless, the car performing my will rather beautifully, proving to be quite simple and intuitive in operation, this extends to the media unit, which basically does it all, just as you’d expect and more. Cabin noise was extremely minimal (aside from witty banter!), feedback through the steering wheel enabled smooth sailing without vast amounts of adjustment, not a hint of the ‘twitchiness’ I’ve experienced in medium/large powerful saloon cars on narrow roads in the past. The throttle response took some getting used to, it’s close to instant! And speed limits changed often-at times within forty yards the limit will have changed three times! The miles were whittled down all too quickly and the track loomed ahead. The fact we knew lunch was waiting and the place looked like the real deal with glimpses of twisting track offered as a starter on the short drive into the pit-access.

A brisk and enjoyable lunch was followed by a presentation from chosen representatives of each area of design and engineering that nurtured this car to fruition, without repeating all the stats and individual improvements-I was most taken by the passion each showed for their ‘subject’ so to speak and how it fitted into delivering the overall goal, of ‘doing everything better’ than its predecessor, and by virtue of it’s success in this, the competition too.

The track was waiting, it time for us to have a professional driver take us out, show us a little of what the car could do, advise us as to the meaning of the markers to aid in hitting the best line to get safe, fast and clean laps. I was assigned Carles, (with, I believe a history in rally-driving, but certainly a great track driver too).
The model for this was somewhat more apt for the track (though I’m sure the car we arrived in could have put in a respectable time itself). It was time for the XF-S to shine and shine it did, the throttle response and its ability to deliver it’s abundant power without tearing a hole in the road-or in time, seemed a few steps past genius to me! It’s a supercharged 3.0 ltr V8 petrol automatic (with rapid paddle-shift) and has a great power-train, the 8 speed transmission quickly and efficiently picked its way to vast speed smoothly yet assertively. The ride was incredible, 28% more rigid sounds like a huge improvement to make on a car that already handled superbly and… it is! The poise of the car was excellent under all the intense demands of the of track driving, it had not been race prepared and was in fact exactly how a customer would receive it, so no roll-cage. Regardless, even under the massive lateral force of cornering at maximum speed, it all felt perfectly manageable, reassuring and confidence inspiring, the handling at the heart of it, a ‘green light’ for the pre-programmed set of survival instincts we each possess. The wheel base improvements (longer, less overhang) and the variability of the suspension that is switch-able, along with the ecu set-up are just two of the dynamic settings that can (by degrees) tame the beast to make everyday use comfortable and practical too. But here it was at it’s glorious full sporting best. My laps got a little better each time, my fondness of the car grew at a far greater rate.

Finally we were again paired to drive east to the hotel for the night, another-hugely enjoyable 130ish km later I had both engrained more deeply my respect and desire for the all-new XF but also re-acquainted myself with Bruce Springsteen through the media centre having paired to Hannah’s phone, this was our first use of the sound system and-I have to say the audio set up is fantastic, the experience overall was brilliant and the last leg literally rocked!

Would I like one?…

…Yes please!!!!!!!!

Jeff ArmstrongJune 12, 2015


Auctioneers Coys have announced new ground-breaking auctions which are set to take place  in September at the prestigious Porsche Classics at the Castle meeting during the International Motor Show in Frankfurt.

In the year of the 60th anniversary of the very first production 356 Carrera, Coys will hold on Sunday 6th September the world’s  most exclusive pre-1974 Porsche auction during the well-known Porsche Classics at the Castle event at the Hedingham Castle in Essex, United Kingdom. Now, i know some of you Chelsea Monthly readers are big fans of Porsche judging by our coverage and response last year of the luxury car manufacturer.

The classic Porsche meeting has grown over the years and is now a highlight event. For this occasion, Coys will line up a selection of just 35 of the finest and most rare examples of the Stuttgart manufacturer, both road and racing cars.

Coys auctioneer Guy Newton said: “Both personally and with Coys I have enjoyed a lifetime association with the Porsche brand and family and am delighted to be involved in what is said to become the most exclusive Porsche auction in the world”

The second sale on Saturday 26th September is one of the most exciting announcements in the auctioning world in recent times, as Coys become the exclusive auction partner of the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany. This is Europe’s largest motor show with over a million visitors and sees the launch of some of the greatest and most important cars in the world.

Chris Routledge, Managing Partner of Coys, said: For a number of years now, the historic and modern car worlds have blended, forming an unbroken line of history and heritage together. As seen at the Geneva International Motor Show, modern manufacturers are deeply focused on the heritage and nostalgic elements with classic cars featuring on every major marque stand.

He added: “Historic content at the Frankfurt show will be significant in this new era, and Coys auction will be a ground-breaking one, what you can expect from Germany’s leading classic car auction brand

Jeff ArmstrongJune 12, 2015


History repeats itself after more than 50 years as  Le Mans Aston Martin Racing cars go back to the Hotel de France
The town of La Chartre-sur-le-Loir once again echoed to the roar of high speed racing engines last week when Aston Martin Racing cars returned after a gap of some 52 years.

From 1953 until 1963 the Hotel de France at La Chartre-sur-le-Loir was the base of the Aston Martin team for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Drivers and mechanics would prepare their cars in the hotel’s courtyard and then drive them on public roads to the famous circuit – now history has repeated itself.

After two days of testing at the Le Mans circuit, three of this year and Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTEs and their drivers, Darren Turner, Richie Stanaway and Mathias Lauda, recreated some of the famous photographs and film footage from the 1950’s.

The Hotel de France in  association with motor sport and the Le Mans 24-hour race started when John Wyer, a hard-nosed straight talking Aston Martin team manager, discovered it in 1952 and then based his teams there.

Every year hundreds of local people and motorsport enthusiasts would gather in the small French town to catch a glimpse of the cars and see them leave for Le Mans, filming and taking photographs of the drivers and cars.

In 1959, the hotel saw its first victory party, the first of many, when the Aston Martin DBR1, driven by Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori, won the race for the Aston Martin team managed by the legendary Wyer.

Since then, many teams have used the hotel, which has become a mecca for motoring enthusiasts from around the world, but the Aston Martin team had never been back.
Last week saw the cars leave the famous hotel before returning to Le Mans to prepare for this year’s race, which takes place on 13-14 June.

Martin Overington, owner of the hotel, which he purchased and refurbished last year, said: “This is one of the biggest events that has ever taken place at the hotel. It is literally history repeating itself and we are delighted to be welcoming the racing cars, their drivers and of course David Richards, the Chairman of Aston Martin Racing”
David Richards, Chairman of Aston Martin Racing, said: The  Hotel de France is an important part of Aston Martin’s  motorsport heritage, having been the team and Le Mans base for many years in the late 1950s, including 1959 when the team won the 24-hour race. This year, we wanted to recreate the nostalgia of those days, when the racing cars had their final preparations alongside the hotel before being driven some 40km to the circuit along public roads.

The Aston Martin Racing team will have a five-car entry at Le Mans this year, equal to its largest ever entry two years ago. Three Vantage GTEs will compete in in the GTE Pro class with two in GTE Am.   Aston Martin Racing is the reigning GTE Am champion and is looking to both retain this title as well as taking Pro honours too.

Le Mans is also round three of the FIA World Endurance Championship and Aston Martin Racing is currently leading the GT Manufacturers and championship. With Le Mans counting for double points, a good result is important if the team is to keep on course for its first coveted WEC Manufacturers title.  When asked by Chelsea Monthly, what the prospects of double points will be.. Their response “Watch this space”.  Classic!

Jordan KensingtonFebruary 14, 2015

It was December and a few week’s  leading up to Christmas and very busy as per usual. Suddenly,  i receive a call from Audi with an invitation to  meet Marc Lichte, the Head of Design for Audi AG, and his new concept car, the Prologue, which made its début in at the Los Angeles Auto Show.Without a moments notice i was picked up by Audi’s chauffeur as he drove to London City airport en-route to Milan. Milan? Audi in Milan i hear you ask? what has Milan got to do with Audi?  Well, as we all know Milan is the epicentre of design especially here in Europe. Think Fashion! Think Milan!  so with Audi fresh off from what has been a successful year, they decided it was time to confidently step into the ring to announce a new design era at their very own Milan show. 
 Marc Lichte, Head of Design, presented the Audi prologue concept car. Licthte gave the Audi brand a new styling direction in the large coupe. Chelsea Monthly caught up with Litche who  commented: “Audi stands for sportiness, lightweight design and the quattro permanent all-wheel drive. In the Audi prologue, we are expressing this know-how in a new form – we have put the sportiest car in the luxury segment on wheels. Our team took new approaches in both exterior and interior design.”
Audi design is now expressing progressive technology even more powerfully. The two-door coupe has a flowing, elegant shape and taut design. Its forms and lines are unmistakable and introduce many new ideas. In the clear and unobstructed interior, the architecture melds with the display and operating concept to create a new type of unit.
The entire front of the instrument panel is a large touch display, and a portion of the user interface operates with a new type of OLED display made of organic LEDs. The show car’s technology combines power, comfort and efficiency. The 4.0 TFSI produces up to 605PS of power and 750 Nm (553.2 lb-ft) of torque; it accelerates the Audi prologue from 0 to 62mph in 3.7 seconds. Its dynamic all-wheel steering, in which the rear wheels can turn up to five degrees, makes the large couple extremely responsive and stable while driving.  Audi are certainly leading the way and in the closing words from their PR representativeEmma Turnbull There is certainly loads more exciting developments in store for Audi’s future” . Watch this space.
For more info on Audi. Visit:

David CarriganJanuary 18, 2014

An all-new, British luxury automotive brand is to be launched in April 2014, promising to refresh the classic British sports car, for the 21st Century.Successful British businessman and car enthusiast, David Brown, has created a brand in his own name – David Brown Automotive – to deliver his vision for a new take on the British sports car.

David has sought out key industry talent to create the new car.  An experienced design team is led by Alan Mobberley, who was Chief Designer at Land Rover for 19 years, until 2005, while automotive engineering experts, Envisage Group, have developed it, for production.

David has not settled for an update of any existing model. He has commissioned a completely original exterior and interior design, sourced bespoke British suppliers for interior trim and materials and the car has been thoroughly engineered for low-volume production, combining the latest manufacturing techniques with traditional craftsmanship.


David explained: “I wanted all the impact and style of a classic sports car, but with modern capabilities and conveniences. This is what I want in a car, but it’s not something anyone really offers. So, I’ve created it myself.”

The result – codenamed “Project Judi” – will be revealed in April 2014 and will be made available for sale, in strictly limited numbers. It will combine a classically-inspired exterior design, with the latest in performance, dynamics, technology, comfort and refinement.

“I thought that if I’m looking for this, others might be too,” commented David.

More details on the new car, including its name, will be announced closer to the car’s launch date. In the meantime, anyone can register their interest to receive more information at:


Jeff ArmstrongAugust 5, 2011


10. Porsche Carrera GT

Porsche Carrera GT Top 10 Most Expensive Cars In 2011   2012

Prince approx: £700,000 and has a top speed of 205 mph+. The drive of this car is very stable and it can reach 0-60 in just 3.9 seconds.

9. Mercedez Benz SLK McLaren Roadster

Mercedez Benz SLK McLaren Roadster Top 10 Most Expensive Cars In 2011   2012
It is worth £695,000 with a top speed of 206 mph+. It can reach 0-60 mph in just 3.8 seconds and is the fastest automatic transmission car in world.

8. Koenigsegg CCX

Koenigsegg CCX Top 10 Most Expensive Cars In 2011   2012
It is worth £745,568 with a top speed of 245 mph+. It is a Swedish made car and is currently 4th fastest car in the world.

7. Saleen S7 Twin Turbo

Saleen S7 Twin Turbo Top 10 Most Expensive Cars In 2011   2012
It is worth £755,000 with a top speed of 248 mph+. It is an American made sports car and cements 3rd place among the world’s fastest cars. It can reach 0-60 mph in about 3.2 seconds.

6. SSC Ultimate Aero

SSC Ultimate Aero Top 10 Most Expensive Cars In 2011   2012
It is worth £854,400 and has a top speed of 257 mph+. It can reach 0-60 mph in just 2.7 seconds and is the 2nd fastest car in the world.

5. Pagani Zonda C12 F

Pagani Zonda C12 F Top 10 Most Expensive Cars In 2011   2012
It is worth £767,321 with a top speed of 215 mph+. It is produced by Pagani in Italy and its construction is mainly of carbon fiber. Pagani can reach 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds and is the 5th fastest car in the world.

4. Ferrari Enzo

Ferrari Enzo Top 10 Most Expensive Cars In 2011   2012
It is worth £970,000 and has a top speed of 217 mph. Enzo can reach 0-60 mph in about 3.4 seconds. It is a sports car and possesses 6.0 L V12 engine. It was built in 2002 using the Formula One technology.

3. McLaren F1

McLaren F1 Top 10 Most Expensive Cars In 2011   2012
It is worth £1.200,000 with a top speed of 240 mph. It can reach 0-60 mph in just 3.2 seconds and has a 6-speed manual transmission.

2. Lamborghini Reventon

Lamborghini Reventon Top 10 Most Expensive Cars In 2011   2012
It is worth £1,600,000 and has a top speed of 211 mph. It has a 6.5 L (400 cu in) V12 engine and 6-speed e-gear; 6 speed manual transmission. Since the commencement of its production, only 20 cars have been produced for the public and is one of the contributing factor towards its expensive price.

1. Bugatti Veyron

Bugatti Veyron Top 10 Most Expensive Cars In 2011   2012
It is worth  £1,700,000 and has a top speed of 267 mph. It is designed and developed by the German Volkswagen Group and produced by Bugatti Automobiles SAS, France. It has a 8.0 L (488 cu in) W16quad-turbocharged 1,001 PS(736 kW; 987 bhp) standard engine and the height of the car is 45.6 inches.

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