If you like exotic cars, people-watching or imbibing copious quantities of champagne, Salon Prive London is where it’s at. The UK’s classiest car show takes place on the carefully groomed lawns of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea from 21-23 April – and VIP access meant I was first to enjoy the bars. Sorry, the cars…
With everything from coveted classics to the latest supercars, Salon Prive caters to every automotive taste. It also witnessed several UK debuts, including the world’s fastest SUV, the world’s lightest hypercar and the best thing on three wheels since Del Boy retired. Grab a glass and let’s go for a guided tour.
Aston Martin DBX707
With a top speed of 193mph, the new Aston Martin DBX707 is the fastest SUV on sale – well, until the Ferrari Purosangue arrives in 2023. Its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 serves up 707hp, 0-62mph in 3.3 seconds and a soundtrack like rolling thunder. On the right road, the flagship DBX also does a convincing impression of a low-slung supercar. Here’s an excerpt from our recent review:
‘The new AMG-sourced wet-clutch transmission is key to the 707’s added urgency. Where the torque converter ’box of the standard DBX might hesitate to kick down, this setup is fiercely focused, with whipcrack shifts via the long metal paddles. And when you aren’t doing your best Sebastian Vettel impression on amazing roads, it’s smooth and GT-like in automatic mode, too.
Morgan Super 3
Described as ‘the antidote to a daily-driver’, the Morgan Super 3 is bonkers and brilliant in equal measure. Where its 3-Wheeler predecessor used a motorcycle-sourced V-twin, the Super 3 has a three-cylinder 120hp Ford engine. Driving the single rear wheel via the manual gearbox from a Mazda MX-5, it scurries to 62mph in 7.0 seconds. At £41,995, it’s also one of the most affordable cars at Salon Prive London.
The Morgan is just as quirky inside, as designer Harvey Fulford explained: “The dashboard is a weird balance of different eras. The digital gauges have aluminium surrounds that look like they come from an old aircraft. And the joystick switches underneath are like something from a retro arcade game.” Flying goggles are optional.
Ferrari 296 GTB
A new Ferrari is always a bit special, particularly when it boasts 830hp and styling inspired by the classic 250 LM. The 296 GTB has Maranello’s first V6 engine (the Dino 206 GT was never badged as a Ferrari, remember), which is paired with a 167hp electric motor for silent, emissions-free runningaround town. Alternatively, twist the manettino to Qualify mode and blitz to 62mph in 2.9 seconds. Top speed is 205mph.
Priced at £241,550 – before options, naturally – the 296 GTB slots into Ferrari’s range above the F8 Tributo and below the SF90 Stradale. A GTS convertible has already been announced, and a lightweight Pista-style version, drawing upon the 296 GT3 racer, is likely on the way. This Giallo Modena example would suit us just fine, thanks.
Ferrari Daytona SP3
What’s this, another new Ferrari? The Daytona SP3 is the latest limited-edition Icona model, inspired by sports prototype racers of the 1970s and making its UK debut at Salon Prive. Only 599 examples will be made, priced at £1.7 million each. And before you ask – yes, they’re all spoken for.
If the hybrid 296 GTB is the future, the Daytona is a glorious salute to the internal combustion past. Its 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 is shared with the 812 Competizione and revs to 9,500rpm. Zero to 62mph takes 2.85 seconds and top speed is 211 mph, with the aero-sculpted body generating 230kg of downforce at 124mph. Let’s hope they get driven, rather than squirrelled away as investments.
Healey by Caton
The appetite for restomod classic cars shows no sign of abating. This ‘reimagined’ Austin-Healey 100 from Coventry-based Caton is the latest, limited to 25 cars and priced at £474,000. It’s still recognisably a ‘Big Healey’, but cosmetic tweaks include a redesigned grille, LED headlights and new front wings, plus the removal of bumpers, exterior seams and chrome trim. Inside, the wood-n-leather interior looks reassuringly old-school, but a pair of concealed USB sockets mean you can charge your phone.
An uprated 3.0-litre four-cylinder engine serves up 185hp and 195lb ft of torque, so performance will be brisk. The leaf-sprung rear suspension is tightened up with rose-jointed anti-roll bars, while the non-ABS brakes feature larger discs and callipers. As for the steering, that’s still unassisted for maximum feedback. Look out for a review later this summer.
Tushek TS900 Apex
Salon Prive always boasts its fair share of ‘boutique’ hypercars – the kind of exotica that make Lamborghinis look run-of-the-mill. The Tushek TS900 Apex was revealed for the first time at the Royal Hospital and just 36 cars will be made – plus 12 examples of the track-only TS900 Racer Pro. Want one? You’ll need a spare £1.25 million.
With 1,350hp and a kerb weight of around 1,350kg, the TS900 Apex achieves a ‘perfect’ 1:1 power-to-weight ratio. Its hybrid Tushek Direct Electric Drive (TDED) system is also claimed as ‘the world’s highest power density drivetrain’. Tushek was founded in 2008 by Slovenian racing champion Aljosa Tushek, and the TS900 has apparently been in development since 2008.
No wait, come back! Granted, a Korean compact crossover doesn’t offer the emotional sucker-punch of an Italian supercar, but trust us, the Genesis GV60 looks great in the metal. Making its European show debut at Salon Prive, the GV60 is the first EV from Hyundai’s luxury offshoot. Highlights include camera door mirrors and a ‘Crystal Sphere’ on the dashboard that ‘intuitively informs the driver of oncoming driving conditions’. OK then.
Based on the same platform as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, the GV60 squares up to the new Tesla Model Y. Prices start at £47,005 for the Premium model and stretch to £65,405 for the flagship Sport Plus. The latter boasts 435hp and a fully charged range of around 290 miles.
Prodrive Hunter T1
If your idea of an off-road supercar is a safari-spec Porsche 911, prepare to think again. Designed by Ian Callum – of Aston Martin and Jaguar fame – the Hunter T1 was described by Prodrive chairman David Richards as “the Ferrari of the desert”. For about £1.5 million, the Banbury-built racer is your ticket into the Dakar Rally.
Powered by a 600hp 3.5-litre Ford V6, the Hunter can blast to 62mph in less than four seconds and reach 186mph. A huge 480-litre fuel tank gives it enough range to drive for hours across the desert. Or indeed potter across the lawn at Chelsea Hospital. We want one.