16th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

The equation was perfect and undoubtedly one that any car aficionado would appreciate for years to come. The timeless Ritz-Carlton was the setting for a cadre of luxury, exotic and classic vehicles over the four-day weekend at the 16th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Thanks to BMW, Automotive Rhythms was able to experience the monumental showcase in grand fashion including the honoring of racing legend Bobby Rahal.

If you have ever been to the concours at Pebble Beach then you will come to appreciate the ease of maneuverability and comfort of the Amelia Island show. The vehicles were impeccable and the networking was powerful. Roll-Royce kicked off the concours Thursday March 10th with the Wine Maker’s Dinner. The following Friday morning BMW set up a 4-hour ride session with a cadre of their latest including the renowned 192 horsepower S 1000 RR superbike. While others swapped bikes along the ride, I chose to stick primarily with the technologically laden RR. It’s currently the most powerful bike on the streets and features ABS, traction control, lean angle sensors, clutchless shifting and three ride modes. Not to mention it’s gorgeous!

After the ride we were able to check out vehicles from participating auto companies including Jaguar, Infiniti, Porsche, Maserati, Lamborghini, Bentley, Aston Martin, Spyker, Roll-Royce, TVR and Bugatti who showed their record breaking Grand Sport which tops out at 268 mph. Yes, I was able to drive the super car at speeds half its capabilities. John Hill is to thank for that!

On Saturday Automotive Rhythms was offered an opportunity to experience BMW’s 2012 650i Convertible which will be available in May for $91,375. The coupe is coming later down the line in October. Upgraded with BMW’s incredulous Direct Injection 4.4-liter, 400 horsepower (450 lb-ft of torque) twin-turbo charged V8, the 6 feels stronger and more agile than its predecessor. It’s longer, wider and lower and comes with either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed sport automatic transmission. A high definition 10.2” trans reflective display gives the dash a prominent feel and eases the viewing for all of iDrive’s operations. Also new is the full color heads-up display.

It’s phenomenal when you can play around with toys from an auto company that engineers both fine bikes and vehicles. Honda and Suzuki make nice 2-wheelers, but operate as separate units and would not have been able to set up ride and drives like BMW. Please don’t forget BMW was the first to offer the following on a production vehicle: electronic throttle; fully digital engine electronics; traction control system; electronic stability control system; ABS in a production vehicle (Mercedes-Benz actually invented it); xenon lights; park distance control, and one touch windows. Convincing enough?

Later that evening we all went window-shopping for $10,000 watches at the Breitling cocktail reception and then on to the Mercedes-Benz gala dinner that benefitted the Community Hospice. M-B is the founding sponsor of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and was well represented with the world’s first automobile dubbed the 1886 Benz.

Sunday was the grand finale. A sea of classic cars adorned the fairway while ladies and gentlemen stepped out in their best attire and top hats. Many vehicles and owners came out winners after the long day of judging. The times and memories are indeed unforgettable. See you next year!

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