Bentley bliss

first_imgThe Mulsanne with its 505 bhp of max power and 1020 Nm of max torque, besides superb road holding, revels in the Scottish Highlands with short straights, gentle curves and breathtaking viewsThere is a fairytale castle in the background on the banks of a long lake surrounded by lush green,The Mulsanne with its 505 bhp of max power and 1020 Nm of max torque, besides superb road holding, revels in the Scottish Highlands with short straights, gentle curves and breathtaking viewsThere is a fairytale castle in the background on the banks of a long lake surrounded by lush green rolling hills. It’s that part of the country where, on a sunny day, the locals tell you that you are blessed because you’re enjoying one of the two sunny days of the season. I am trembling with anticipation. The locals think it’s because the lake behind me is the Loch Ness and I’ve already had nightmares about the creature haunting its depths.The actual reason, though, is quite different. The trembling can be attributed to two incidents, one that has just occurred and the other that is about to. I have just been out for a ride in W. O. Bentley’s personal 8-litre car, the second of the hundred ever built. This was Bentley’s flagship car; the largest, most luxurious and most expensive car made by the marque before it merged with Rolls-Royce back in 1930! And now I am about to set off in the spiritual successor to the original 8-litre: Bentley’s new flagship, the ultramodern Mulsanne.From the banks of the Loch Ness, I am going to drive north to Inverness, the famed setting of Macbeth, and look upon the North Sea before crossing the breadth of Scotland to the western shores at Loch Ewe before returning to the Glen Ord distillery to sample the best known produce of Scotland). The town of Inverness does not quite fit in with its pristine surroundings; it is an ugly jumble of modern buildings juxtaposed with ancient ones, narrow streets and industrial areas. But I have the V8 under the hood of my Mulsanne and over a thousand newton-metres of torque to call upon. I put the power to good use and let the concrete jungle of the capital of the Scottish Highlands disappear behind me. It is perhaps the picture postcard country that Scotland otherwise presents that makes me want to get away from Inverness. If you ignore the looks, it’s a pretty decent city, and ranks in the top 10 in the quality of life index of British cities.By now, I’m climbing the narrow mountain roads which, after a heavy downpour, are glistening in the harsh sun, a ribbon of sunlight upon the bright green Scottish highlands (to misquote the famous British poet who drew his inspiration from the Welsh mountains). Is this all wrong, I wonder.For roads like these, one needs a superagile, fast-accelerating light car that can play the straights, pirouette around the curves and accelerate hard till the next turn. The Mulsanne, on the other hand, is huge and it takes a lot to get the nearly three tonne mass of steel, alloy, fluids and flesh up to speed before bringing it to a near stop for the tight corner.The stateliness of the Mulsanne makes it fit for the driveways of castles such as the Aldourie, on the banks of the Loch NessThe roads all seem to edge valleys with smoothened out hills on either side with a river or lake keeping the road intermittent company. The countryside looks a lot like Austria; only these hills are lower and more rounded and the greens brighter than that seen on the continent. The men working in the countryside are all wearing netting around their faces. I’m told it is to keep at bay the midgets that breed in the hundreds of thousands in summer and cause huge discomfort when they bite.The Mulsanne, meanwhile, is proving to be quite a nimble vehicle, belying its size. It’s as if the jumbo jet has learnt the tricks of an MIG-29 and is intent on showing off to all and sundry. The car gets up to 100 kmph from a standing start in just over five seconds and, though I am yet to look up the dimensions, the ventilated brake discs in the 21-inch wheels seem awfully large. Indeed, they bring the Mulsanne to a complete stop with just a tremor.Agility coupled with nimbleness, which in itself is stunning for a car of such mammoth proportions, is not the only selling point. After all, a Bentley isn’t a Bentley until it is opulent and stately and luxurious as well. The Mulsanne feels like a barrister’s library from the days when wood and leather were the norm in the lair of every successful man. It is sheer opulence on wheels. While my own indulgence is complete as the twin-turbochargers whirr their way to the car’s unmatched performance, my co-passenger-a gentleman from Dubai-revels in the sound of the 20-speaker, 2200-watt Naim Audio music system.We stop for mid-morning coffee at the house of a gentleman who has already made his millions and now indulges his twin passions: riding classic motorcycles in India and philanthropy. His house is situated on the side of a hill which forms part of a bowl made by mountains.The only way to get here is to follow a river up a valley which ends in the bowl. Only a few families live in the neighbourhood and our host’s closest neighbour is a family which made its fortunes from something called Lego. So it’s quite normal for them to have a series of Bentleys drawing up into their driveway and turning their front yard into the most expensive car park in Scotland, perhaps.The interiors are a mix of fine materials and exclusive equipmentOur lunch stop is at The Pool House, an exclusive hotel overlooking the bay which sheltered many allied convoys during the World War II. Run by a family, it caters to authors and artists as well as the occasional pop star or two. I savour the lunch but am the first one to get back into the car. Not because our next destination is the Glen Ord Distillery, whose biggest client is Johnnie Walker, but because I have just been told something amazing: there are no speed limits over the next hundred kilometres or so, because these roads are seldom used.The road hugs the coast for a bit, before turning inland over the Scottish mountains as the Mulsanne gets its wind, proving its mettle as a Bentley and living up to its name, derived from the famous straightaway and village at Le Mans.Glen Ord is one of the finest distilleries in Scotland, offering two types of single malts, one matured in sherry casks and another matured in bourbon ones. After learning how simple it is to make single malts, I think up the distillery that I will set up back in India. And then I am told the secret to the flavour and quality of each of whisky is the water. Each distillery here has its own source of water, which makes each of its malts unique. Dreams die fast.It’s time to head back to Aldourie Castle and this time I am safely tucked into the rear seat. (Of course I prefer the front right seat of cars in the UK, but the fumes of the single malts from the maturing rooms could have found their way into my blood stream and I cannot drink and drive after all.) To my surprise, the rear seat is actually a good place to be in. I see our chauffeur for the evening, the head of PR for Bentley, quietly turning the knob from Sport to Bentley, a setting that most favours the car and I can immediately feel a cushiness in the ride, thanks to the quickreacting, adaptive air suspension.Ensconced in British luxury at its best, single malt fumes swirling around in my head, before I know it, the car is drawing up to the castle and a bagpiper striking up a tune as the village lasses gather in the main hall to welcome back the lord and dance away the evening Stripping the Willow, a Scottish Highland fold dance where couples weave through a line up of other couples. Did I fall asleep?Indeed dozing off is not difficult in the Mulsanne, the ultimate statement on wheels. Of course, if you want just a luxurious statement, you could buy a Rolls-Royce. But then you wouldn’t get the thrills that come with driving an exotic car. For speed, you could put your money on a Bugatti, but that’s not allowed on a regular road, or a Ferrari, which is downright impractical.Although more refined, the engine has the same configuration as the flagship of the 30sTo make a perfect statement, you need a car that has presence, a powerful engine and unparalleled luxury. In keeping with the times, it should be green as well. And last, but definitely not the least, the marque should have heritage. The Mulsanne, which replace the aging Bentley Arnage, therefore, is the perfect statement to make. Well, as perfect as can be in our imperfect world.To create its new-age car, the company decided to use things from its past as the basic building blocks. After all, a large part of a Bentley is the heritage of the marque.The new car looks a trifle slab sided from the front, more like one of the large American cars rather than a British one. What this front does is give the car a mammoth presence that you’d be hard pressed to find in some of the other exotic cars available around the world. The rest of the car is pleasing with smooth flowing lines that are traditional as much as modern, strong haunches and a rear dominated by large exhaust pipes. The shape of the headlamps are reminiscent of the original Bentley 8-litre. Then, large headlamps were needed to increase visibility and help the driver see better in the dark. Now, on the Mulsanne, it is the smaller, lower pair set towards the outside that performs the function of the main headlamps.The cylinders on the Mulsanne engine number eight and have a basic configuration that is the same as the engines built 50 years ago at Crewe. Although the six- and three-quarter litres of displacement may be the same as that of its predecessors, the engine on the Mulsanne houses cutting edge technology. Basically, the engine consumes less fuel depending on the load situation and can even shut down four of its eight cylinders under 2000 rpm so as to be about 5 per cent more fuel efficient overall. And although the car itself is heavy, much like the elephant or hippo of cars, the 1000 Nm of torque can propel it to over 100 kmph in just over five seconds and to a top speed of nearly 300 kmph.The weight comes not so much from the body as from the fixtures and fittings in this luxury liner of cars, because though the main body is of high-grade stainless steel, the doors and the bonnet are made of alloys, in the interest of shaving off some weight. The bootlid, meanwhile, is made from composites and houses the sat nav antennae. Ingenious methods have been used to make the car cutting edge in performance while preserving the Bentley look and keeping technology away from the occupants. For instance, although the car has a keyless entry, the door handles are made of solid stainless steel-providing the feel one would expect from a Bentley.The car is surprisingly easy to drive. Electronics help keep it stable under hard acceleration and the emergency braking that was often required on the drive on the scenic roads near Inverness. advertisementadvertisementadvertisementThe slab-sided front gives the car enormous presence. It is the smaller pair of lights that form the main headlampThe 6.75-litre V8 engine has oodles of power on tap and the eight-speed conventional automatic gearbox works very well on the Mulsanne. The gearshifts are seamless and, with eight ratios, there is no perceptible jerk when they change. And keeping in touch with its sporty nature, the Mulsanne has gearshift paddles on the steering wheel as well.The drive experience is good and the rear seats even better, but what stands out is the earlier mentioned Naim Audio 20-speaker, 2200-watt music system. Even to an untrained pair of ears, it sounds like the best sound quality experienced in a car to date.The Mulsanne’s suspension is adaptive and you can choose between Comfort and Sport and Bentley modes, depending on your requirements or driving style. You can also design your own custom set-up in case you’re not satisfied with the presets on offer. On the move, the loudest noise comes from the tyres on tarmac, and that itself is slight enough for you not to notice.Although people may have mixed opinions on the looks, there is no denying that Bentley has achieved what it set out to do. The Mulsanne is more than a generation ahead of its predecessor, the Arnage, and yet retains the old world charm of the earlier cars with the technology hidden away behind wood and leather. Not surprising then that the production for next year is already sold out and all you can do is join the queue for a car in 2012. SpecificationsEngine: 6752 ccPower: 505 bhp @ 4200 rpmTorque: 1020 Nm @ 1750 rpmTransmission: 8-speed autoTop Speed: 296 kmph6. 0-100kmph: 5.3 secondsLxWxH: 5575 x 2208 x 1521 mmWheelbase: 3266 mmCrewe cutCrewe is a legendary place. Legendary because the engines built here powered a generation of aircraft from the world wars; because its racing teams have won the most difficult and arduous of races; and because its craftsmen painstakingly craft the interiors of Bentleys and pass their skills with wood and leather down from generation to generation. Close to 200 hours of work goes into the making of each Mulsanne interior. Oxen hide for the interiors is sourced from Scandinavia, where the skins are cleanest and have no insect or bite marks. And then there is the customisation. Buyers can pick what materials they want in their car, and the colours they want it in. It is totally possible to make the Bentley entirely your own and not have another like it in anywhere in the world.last_img read more

NBA stars hog the limelight at London Olympics 2012

first_imgIf you thought star power at the London Olympics is only about putting on the best shows in various arenas, you have to take a look at the US men’s basketball team.From the time they landed in London, the NBA stars have been in focus, though this time it’s not about winning matches for their respective clubs but how they can land America the gold medal again.From 1992, when the ‘Dream Team’ made its huge appearance at the Barcelona Olympics, the American basketball team has a huge aura which no other team has.Look at it in terms of superstar value and the kind of attention these star players get, you will swoon. As a globally televised sport which has a huge connect with the world audience, names of the NBA stars ring a bell for any fan.Yet, when they come to the Olympics, it’s all about keeping egos aside and performing as a team. On Sunday, the Yanks will fight it out against Spain for gold, a repeat of the Beijing final.Even though on the last day of the Olympics the showpiece event is the closing ceremony, the basketball final is truly a blue-chip event with the millionaires of the sport ready for one last fight to glory.Just sample some of the names which play basketball for the USA. Compared to tennis silver medallist Roger Federer who was the second highest paid athlete at the Games ($52.7) million on the Forbes list, the collective value in monetary terms of the basketball players is a huge sum.advertisementSuperstar LeBron James is the fourth overall with $53 million despite a 20 per cent salary cut. And he holds a stake in Liverpool FC through his marketing partnership with Fenway.The true giant in America, whose interviews are so sought after is Kobe Bryant as the Los Angeles Lakers star is currently paid  $52.3million and is sixth overall. He has the highest salary/winnings.Kevin Durant is 34th overall with close to $ 40 million earnings and Carmelo Anthony is 44th overall. He gets a salary of $ 14.9 million and totals $ 22.9 million.Lower down, you have Chris Paul ($13.2 million) and total 19.2 million and Deron Williams 84th but has a salary of 16.2 million.In sharp contrast, you have the seven feet and one inch tall Spaniard Pau Gasol at 95th on the Forbes list for top athletes and you know what the basketball competition is about.Unlike the poorer athletes who live in the Games Village, the American basketball kings live in posh villas like the tennis stars who annually hire places in Wimbledon.It’s a study in contrast when you have at one end of the spectrum normal athletes and those who live classily.Yet, whenever it has come to the Olympics, the NBA stars have always put the country’s interests ahead and the results are there for us to see.On court, they battle it out like a perfect team, though this time around the Argentine side has posed problems for them.The NBA fan like you and me would think that when you put an assembly of giants on the floor, points will be scored easily and matches won.However, the beauty of sport lies in its unpredictability. Just as many people lost money when they bet on Federer for gold at the Olympics, for the American basketball players it has not been a case of taking the opposition for granted.So high was the ticket demand even for their league matches, even the accredited media had to put in early requests.So what is the difference between action in the NBA and the Olympics? I can tell you it is as different as cheese and chalk as in the Olympics, its national fever which runs all through the fortnight.Yet, to forget egos, the kind of money you make as professional athlete and just fight for the country is a very different challenge.Yes, the Yanks crank themselves up in the Olympics basketball arena as the world watches so many giants leap, run and score points.last_img read more

Man City cruise to Carabao Cup title

first_imgArsenal 0 Manchester City 3: Guardiola thrashes Wenger for first English trophy Matthew Scott Last updated 1 year ago 02:26 2/26/18 Kompany - cropped Getty Images Old favourites Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and David Silva scored as Manchester City hammered Arsenal 3-0 in the EFL Cup final. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City reign landed its first tangible reward on Sunday as the Premier League champions-elect thrashed Arsenal 3-0 at Wembley to win the EFL Cup.Although a clean sweep of trophies is off the table following the FA Cup defeat at Wigan Athletic, Guardiola has already improved on last season’s lack of silverware, with one trophy now secured and the league title sure to follow. Whether or not the Champions League makes it three, City have taken on a dominant air this term, and it showed at the national stadium.Arsene Wenger sprung a surprise in his selection, opting for a three-man defensive system which had stymied City at Wembley in last season’s FA Cup semi-final victory. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player But it backfired spectacularly with Arsenal all at sea to allow Sergio Aguero to score for a fifth meeting in a row, the Argentine bringing up 30 goals for the season with a glorious goal assisted by the much-maligned Claudio Bravo.City stalwarts Vincent Kompany and David Silva also netted in the second half as Guardiola’s men went through the gears and the Gunners had no response.3 – Arsenal have conceded 3+ goals at Wembley for the first time since October 1999 (2-4 v Barcelona in the Champions League). Swatted.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 25, 2018Wenger has now lost all three of his finals in this competition and the disquiet over the Frenchman’s reign in north London is sure to return.The Gunners set out to counter and should have gone ahead when Jack Wilshere charged through the middle before feeding Mesut Ozil in the right channel and the German’s excellent centre gave Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a gilt-edged chance that Kyle Walker’s lunge and the legs of Bravo combined to snuff out.As unexpected as that save was, astonishingly the Chilean’s next contribution was to set up the opening goal as City began to dominate.What looked a rudimentary punt upfield turned into a slide-rule pass as Aguero nudged Shkodran Mustafi out of the way – the German opting to complain to Craig Pawson rather than chase his man – before closing on an advancing David Opsina and sending a delicate lob over the goalkeeper and into the net.Wenger was soon forced into a change as Sead Kolasinac replaced Nacho Monreal, with the Arsenal response amounting to an Aaron Ramsey free-kick straight at Bravo and a chance for Aubameyang that the covering Kompany extinguished with a minimum of fuss.Arsenal were once again in Pawson’s ear when Fernandinho, having already being booked, clattered Wilshere to no sanction, but the Brazilian pulled a hamstring early in the second half and Bernardo Silva replaced him, with Guardiola tiring of throttling back to protect against the counter.Bravo was certainly at full pelt as he charged out to close down Aubameyang, and the striker should have done more to punish the goalkeeper’s wild air kick than pull him to the ground and concede a free-kick.But City were soon out of sight, Kompany extending their lead with an instinctive finish before setting off on a limb-flailing celebration as years of injury misery were given a golden full stop.Six minutes later City were celebrating again as Arsenal began to wilt, Silva turning sharply away from Hector Bellerin and lashing low past the helpless Ospina.There was no further damage, but the inquest for Wenger will begin on Thursday at the Emirates Stadium, where there will be little time to ponder, as Guardiola and City visit with the intention of restoring their 16-point Premier League lead in mind.The @Carabao_Cup is ours! #mancity— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 25, 2018Key Opta stats: – Manchester City’s 3-0 win over Arsenal is their biggest ever cup final victory, as well as the Gunners biggest ever loss in a cup final.- Manchester City have won the League Cup for the fifth time in their history – only Liverpool (8) have won it more often.- Arsenal have lost six of their eight League Cup finals, including each of their last three – the only domestic trophy Arsene Wenger has failed to win with Arsenal.- In fact, the Gunners are the first side in League Cup history to lose in three successive appearances in the final (2007, 2011 and 2018).- In contrast, Man City are one of four sides to lift the trophy on four successive League Cup final visits (Aston Villa, Liverpool and Manchester United).- Pep Guardiola has triumphed in seven of his previous eight major domestic and European finals, losing only to Real Madrid with Barcelona in the 2011 Copa Del Rey final.- Manchester City kept a clean sheet against Arsenal for the first time in 12 games in all competitions – since a 2-0 win in January 2013.- Arsenal had just two shots in the whole of the second half, failing to have one on target. In fact, the north London side’s two shots on target came in the opening 23 minutes.- Sergio Aguero has scored 15 goals in 13 appearances in all competitions in 2018; more than any other player in top five European leagues.  read morelast_img read more


first_imgAdvertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Advertisement Twitter An odd twist of fate has led to Mary Harris’ (Caroline Dhavernas) life coming full circle since the death of last season’s nemesis Grady (Greg Bryk). First, his sister Olivia Bloom (Rachelle Lefevre) orders Mary to kill her husband Travis (Ian Lake), then when poor Mary is forced into the act through a powerfully convincing threat she runs into Ben (Jay Ryan), last season’s love interest and the man who almost threw her in jail. We last left off last week with the two coming face to face for the first time.Wednesday’s episode of the Global TV drama picks up with Ben and Mary taking Travis to a remote location: Ben’s secret makeshift cabin in the woods. The TV Junkies were invited to visit Mary Kills People while filming on location in Scarborough, Ont., where we got to see Mary and Ben’s Season 2 relationship firsthand. Login/Register With:last_img read more

September 21 2012Remembering Howard Moody at Arco

first_imgSeptember 21, 2012Remembering Howard Moody at Arcosanti by Jeff SteinReverend Howard Moody, social activist, Marine, self-proclaimed Christian agnostic, pastor for 35 years of New York’s Judson Memorial Church and great friend to Arcosanti that entire time, has died this past week at age 91. Moody became famous – and highly revered – in New York and in America for his stands on civil rights, abortion, Viet Nam, drug law reform. He also helped to create Judson Poets Theatre, the famous off-off-Broadway performance space attempting – and succeeding – to make his church relevant to the life of its community.[photo: Howard Moody with Paolo Soleri in the Soleri Archives in 2008]He first came to Arcosanti as a workshop participant in the 1970’s, and his presence here became entirely relevant to the life of our community.  Howard Moody renewed himself and his activism in the American Southwest, spending time in the Hopi lands and returning for several additional visits to Arcosanti. His was a powerful voice at the 1978 Arcosanti Festival, “Art in the Environment” appearing in conversation with the architect, critic and educator Peter Blake.  And Howard was an integral part of the 1981 conference and performances, “Teilhard and Metamorphosis”, sharing panel discussions with Thomas Berry, President of the Teilhard Society; economist and writer Paul Hawken; futurist Hazel Henderson; and then-Governor-of-Arizona Bruce Babbitt.Howard Moody donated a good bit of his time and his reputation to the Arcosanti project; he also donated money. His last official act in 2006 – sporting his usual crew cut and unusual tuxedo – was to accompany Paolo Soleri to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in Manhattan where Paolo was honored with the National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement.Thank you Howard Moody. Your life was a beacon of clear thinking and powerful action to your congregation in New York and to our community at Arcosanti.We miss you already.[photo: Howard Moody was one of the speakers at the 1981 TEILHARD AND METAMORPHOSIS Festival here at Arcosanti, image taken from the festival brochure]last_img read more

Rep Runestad Students head back to school supported by record investment increased

Rep Runestad Students head back to school supported by record investment increased

first_img21Aug Rep. Runestad: Students head back to school supported by record investment, increased emphasis on career prep Students across Oakland County are headed back to school supported by record state funding and a renewed emphasis on preparing for the workforce, Rep. Jim Runestad said today.“Local schools are getting more resources to help students succeed in all areas,” Runestad said. “From learning to read at an early age to training for a career in the trades, we’re giving our students the skills they need to build a better future.”During the past two years in the Michigan House, Runestad has helped deliver an estimated $11.2 million funding increase for the three Oakland County schools he represents.The foundation increase this coming school year alone amounts to an estimated $2.17 million for Huron Valley School District, $1.65 million for Walled Lake Consolidated School District and nearly $2.1 million for Waterford School District.With this increase, every school district in Michigan will receive at least $7,871 per student in the state’s basic foundation allowance this academic year. The annual per-student foundation allowance increase is the largest in 15 years.“My father was a principal, my mother was a teacher, and I graduated with an education degree from Central Michigan University before going onto work as an instructor and start my own business,” Runestad said. “My background taught me that nothing is more important than investing in our kids.”Michigan’s commitment to education goes well beyond the basic foundation allowance. The state also is allocating $100 million for the Marshall Plan for Talent, designed to expand and improve skilled trade career opportunities for students.“Our investment opens the door for more young people to learn the skills they need to succeed in all aspects of life,” Runestad said. “Improved training programs will ensure our children and grandchildren are better prepared to fill well-paying jobs that are in high demand.”More money will go to early literacy and special education programs this year, following up last year’s significant increase in funding for students who are considered at risk either financially or academically.School safety also is a high priority with $25 million set aside statewide for grants to improve building security, plus additional resources to expand the OK2SAY school safety tip reporting system and an advanced 911 secure schools program.### Categories: Runestad Newslast_img read more