Aston Martin, Bentley, Range Rover Introduce Special Editions on Same Day

aston martin valiant special edition
British Invasion by Aston, Bentley, and Land RoverAston Martin

The original British Invasion, if you don’t count the War of 1812, took place in the 1960s and involved the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, and The Kinks, among others, who swarmed the American pop charts in the decade of upheaval. Well, something similar happened this week, when almost all major British luxury carmakers introduced special editions on the same day.

Not quite the same thing as the Beatles, but close.

Let’s see what came in with the tea, shall we?

Bentley Continental GT Speed

Bentley revealed the fourth generation of its Continental GT Speed, representing the most power ever in the Continental GT Speed’s 21-year history. Peak output of the all-new Ultra Performance Hybrid powertrain is now at 771 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque.


The powertrain consists of a gasoline-fed 4.0-liter V8 working in tandem with a single 187-hp electric motor. All the above returns a 0-60 mph time of 3.1 second and a usable electric-only range of 50 miles (on the EU drive cycle, anyway).

Bentley said the Speed rides on a new chassis system, with redesigned two-chamber air springs paired with new dual-valve dampers, along with Bentley Dynamic Ride (48V active anti-roll control), eLSD and torque vectoring. The result, Bentley promises, is “incredible body control and the best Continental GT ride comfort to date.” There’s even a 49/51 rear-biased weight distribution for the first time in the Speed’s history.

Outside, it gets a new face in front, with the first use of single headlamps since the ‘50s. The Speed comes in coupe and convertible body styes, both being launched concurrently and available in showrooms in the fall.

british invasion

Aston Martin Valiant Special Edition

This isn’t just some tarted-up special with a big wing and some stickers. No, the V12-powered “ultra-exclusive, track-focused, road-legal extreme Valiant special edition” was supposedly the result of a personal commission by no less than Aston Martin Aramco Formula One® Team driver Fernando Alonso. At least that is what Aston Martin is claiming.

Even though it’s kind of hard to believe that Alonso wanders the halls in Gaydon making demands for special commissions, we’ll go with it. Especially since it’s so powerfully alluring.

Developed through the company’s bespoke service, Q by Aston Martin, this Special Edition is not necessarily based on an existing car.

“Valiant is based on the Aston Martin bonded aluminum sportscar platform, but with a bespoke powertrain calibration, suspension, and custom body structure,” Aston said.

The Special is powered by a 735-hp 5.2-liter twin-turbo V12 mated to a “bespoke” 6-speed manual transmission. The coupe rides on a bespoke (they love that word) chassis with Multimatic ASV dampers and recalibrated electronics for enhanced track capability.

It’s wrapped in carbon-fiber bodywork with improved aerodynamics to reduce weight and increase downforce.

Even the interior is “pared-back” for lighter weight, with controls that enhance connection and driver focus. The look is supposed to “reimagine iconic legendary ‘Muncher’ Le Mans racer using cutting edge materials and technology.”

Further weight savings come from the use of magnesium, titanium, and advanced 3D printing for key components.

Get in line now since production is “strictly limited to 38 units globally.” Look for deliveries by the end of the year. No price was listed.

british invasion

Range Rover Sport SV Celestial Collection

The Celestial Collection is a limited offering of five “exquisitely crafted curations of Range Rover SVs inspired by ancient mythology and the cosmos.”

The debut collection from Range Rover’s SV Bespoke Design team features “meticulously curated content, including bespoke colors and finishes, with 23-inch wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes, carbon-fiber hoods, and unique symbolism” throughout what Range Rover promises are “luxuriously appointed interiors.”

Should sell well in Malibu.

For instance, one of the five creations is Gaea, which, drawing on Greek mythology, features a Green Terre Matte exterior paint finish, a tailpipe created from Satin Forged Carbon Fiber, Carbon Bronze ceramic calipers, and a Narvik Black roof. The interior is available in a Caraway Windsor leather with Kvadrat steelcut backboards, Natural Brown Silver Birch wood finishes, and a tonal stitch.

There are four more like that: Theia, Io, Vega, and Sol. But you get the idea.

“The idea of mystery and intrigue from the celestial sky was key,” said Phoebe Lindsay, Materiality Manager for Range Rover. “The symbolism you can find throughout the collection draws a deeper meaning. These stories have been carefully considered to reflect the exemplary tastes of our clients.”

And to get them to pay a hefty premium, no doubt. Or is that missing the point?

“The cosmos is a transcendent theme that crosses boundaries, fascinating and uniting people globally,” said Lindsay. “It’s a theme that feels appropriate for the first collection for the Range Rover Sport SV–embodying modern luxury design, while pushing the boundaries of the British originality Range Rover is famed for.”

british invasion

Land Rover Classic and Pebble Beach Celebrate the Vehicles of HM Queen Elizabeth II

God Rest Her Majesty. The beloved queen, who reigned for 75 years, liked Land Rovers. She even drove them. In fact, during World War II she was a mechanic—not on Land Rovers because those would come later, but on trucks and other vehicles of the war effort.

Now Pebble Beach, along with Land Rover, has arranged the quartering of 10 of Her Majesty’s Land Rovers on the lawn at the concours this August. And not just any patch of grass, either—it’ll be “a British garden party in a special hospitality area adjacent to the show.”

Every one of the 10 vehicles was used by the Royal Family at one time or another, either in an official capacity or as part of the household fleet.

“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II dedicated her life to service and was the first female member of the royal family to volunteer for military duty when she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in February 1945,” JLR said.

“Her specialty was driving and servicing military and rescue vehicles. It is said that this time sparked her love of driving and the mechanical aspects of vehicles, which lasted a lifetime.”

british invasion

Rolls-Royce Spectre Super Coupe

Okay, this one isn’t all-new—in fact we just drove it a few months ago. But it did come in Tuesday with all the others, so here it is. Rolls took the occasion of the 2024 Rolls-Royce Owners Club meet in Nashville to showcase the history and future of the brand. At the meet, classic models stood alongside the all-electric Spectre Super-Coupé, “highlighting the brand’s enduring allure and innovation,” Rolls said.

It does endure and it is alluring. In the Spectre, electric motors front and rear combine for 584 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. That launches it to 60 mph in an effortless 4.4 seconds. The Spectre is the natural culmination of 120 years of Rolls-Royce striving for the ultimate luxury feel.

In Nashville, the newest expression of luxury was parked next to some of the oldest, including 1909 and 1911 Silver Ghosts. But until an anti-gravity Rolls comes out, the Spectre will remain the Spirit of Ecstasy.

rolls royce spectre and silver ghost

McLaren Says a Little about Its EV Supercar

McLaren teased a bit more about the electric supercar it has planned for 2030. Mostly it’s just McLaren CEO Michael Leiters bemoaning the lack of a proper EV supply chain in the UK.

Leiters said existing UK component suppliers are not equipped to meet the unique performance requirements of electric supercars, and he calls on any future UK government to provide a strategic roadmap for investment in future powertrain technologies.

“A clear industrial strategy, led by investment in the domestic supply chain, will deliver growth, support jobs, help decarbonise the economy, and secure a vibrant future for the UK performance car industry,” he said.

“It’s time we regained confidence in our sector by investing in a world-class domestic supply chain to support the development of tomorrow’s high-performance vehicles.

“The UK was once the world’s largest vehicle exporter. Today it remains home to some of the world’s most admired performance car brands, as well as the majority of Formula 1 racing teams.

“We must harness the skills, knowledge, and ingenuity of the UK motorsport and performance car industry to create a global, high-performance center of excellence.”

It’s a bit of the chicken-or-egg question, but we hear ya.

british invasion