England has a long and distinguished motoring tradition, one which straddles the worlds of both limit-pushing automotive performance and ultra-plush luxury. Hand-assembled, finely-crafted vehicles are the legacy of almost every major British car company, and in recent years each of the prominent English auto brands have made significant investments in their production facilities and technological research efforts in order to improve the quality of their offerings that much further.
Let’s take a quick look at 10 of the best automobiles hailing from the British Isles.
The 2011 Land Rover Range Rover is the brand’s elder statesman, a distinguished full-size sport-utility vehicle that is equally at home spending the weekend at the country stables or ferrying VIPs from one downtown hot spot to another. The Land Rover Range Rover is most notable for its ability to blend high end luxury features such as heated and ventilated leather seats and a full leather interior with some of the most advanced off-road driving systems on the planet
The 2011 Land Rover Range Rover starts out in the HSE trim, which offers a 375 horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 that is also capable of generating 375 lb-ft of torque. The Supercharged edition of the Range Rover slaps a blower on the same motor in order to improve output to a staggering 510 ponies and 461 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is full-time four-wheel drive, and the Land Rover Range Rover can tow a hefty 7,700 lbs.02. 2011 Jaguar XJ
The 2011 Jaguar XJ’s redesign steps away from the stylistic concepts of old that defined the full-size luxury sedan’s looks for decades. Instead, the Jaguar XJ brings with it a fresh and slippery aerodynamic appearance that firmly places it amongst the ranks of some of the most exciting European premium sedans. The XJ also manages to offer impressive handling and all-around performance for a top tier luxury vehicle, due in large part to a focus on lightweight materials and the decision to give the vehicle an advanced suspension design.
The 2011 Jaguar XJ – which comes in both standard and extended wheelbase editions – starts out with a 5.0-liter V-8 under the hood that is good for 385 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. The Supercharged trim makes use of the same motor but generates 470 horsepower and 424 lb-ft of torque (and leaps to 60 miles per hour in just 4.9 seconds) thanks to the introduction of forced induction, while the Supersport model turns up the boost on the supercharger in order to grind out 510 ponies and 461 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission that offers manual shift control is offered with each of the XJ’s trim levels.03. 2011 Aston Martin DBS Coupe
The lofty arena of twelve-cylinder supercars has long been the playground of British car companies, and the 2011 Aston Martin DBS Coupe is a supreme entry into this type of high horsepower showcase. The Aston Martin DBS Coupe represents the performance edition of the luxurious DB9, and the two-door makes extensive use of carbon fiber panels, a trick electronically-controlled suspension system and upgraded brakes in order to provide top notch cornering and stopping power to go with its ability to leap to 60 miles per hour in just 4.3 seconds.
The 2011 Aston Martin DBS Coupe’s drivetrain is as spectacular as its striking body work. The Coupe features a standard 6.0-liter V-12 that offers up 510 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. This prodigious output can be managed by either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic unit that comes with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.04. 2011 Land Rover LR4
The 2011 Land Rover LR4 is one of the most accessible models in the luxury brand’s lineup serving up the perfect balance between off-road prowess (substantial), day-to-day practicality (considerable) and luxurious accommodations (more than adequate). The Land Rover LR4’s available three rows of seating are complemented by up to 90 cubic feet of total cargo space as well as a long list of standard and optional luxury equipment.
The 2011 Land Rover LR4’s 4.4-liter V-8 is rated at 375 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque, and it comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Full-time four-wheel drive is included free of charge, and the vehicle’s Terrain Response system allows for the vehicle to be configured for optimal performance while traveling over snow, gravel, bare pavement or even mud and rocks.05. 2011 Jaguar XK
The 2011 Jaguar XK comes in both coupe and convertible editions, making it a versatile choice for anyone in the market for one of the world’s most exciting luxury two-door automobiles. The Jaguar XK’s eye-catching styling is backed up by the availability of a sport-tuned suspension system, active differential control, high end brakes and sticky performance tires. The vehicle also comes standard with HID headlights, dual automatic climate control, elegantly turned-out leather seats and a navigation system.
The 2011 Jaguar XK initially offers a 5.0-liter V-8 engine under the hood, which is capable of generating 385 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. Stepping up to the Jaguar XKR installs a supercharger that grinds out a total of 510 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque from the same motor. A six-speed automatic transmission handles the gear shifting duties for both power plants, and the XKR can hit 60-mph from a standing start in less than four and a half seconds, making it a formidable grand touring car that can also doubles as a sporty canyon carver.06. 2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost
The 2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost offers the bespoke luxury image associated with the aspirational brand in a smaller package that is easier to park, less expensive to own and yet still breathtaking in terms of design and execution. The Rolls-Royce Ghost is a full-size ultra-premium sedan that includes an active suspension system, its own pair of umbrellas with factory holders, a massage feature for its front heated leather seats as well as the option of a night vision feature and as many as five different types of wood that can serve as interior trim. This list only scratches the surface of what the Ghost has to offer buyers in terms of technology and comfort equipment.
The 2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost also impresses in the engine bay, where its long front cowl conceals a twin-turbo V-12. Capable of producing 563 horsepower along with 575 lb-ft of torque, this motor launches the Ghost north of 60 mph in under five seconds and features an advanced eight-speed automatic as its exclusive transmission option.07. 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
The 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is an all-new and unique crossover that can be ordered in both two-door and four-door editions. The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque matches much of the off-road capability of its bigger Range Rover sibling, but it does so with a smaller form factor. The striking compact crossover is also the most fuel efficient vehicle ever built by the British SUV company, which marks the turning over of a new and greener leaf for Land Rover.
Much of the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque’s newly-minted fuel efficiency can be linked to its 2.0-liter, four-cylinder EcoBoost engine. This unit makes use of a turbocharger to squeeze out 240 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, and it is yoked to a full-time four-wheel drive system by way of a six-speed automatic transmission.08. 2011 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Coupe
The 2011 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Coupe is a two-seat, two-door luxury car that doubles as a finely-honed performance weapon thanks to the careful engineering of Aston Martin’s experienced designers. The Aston Martin V8 Vantage Coupe is also a beautiful example of what can be accomplished when aesthetics doesn’t take a back seat to practical notions such as cost in the automotive world. Loaded with features, the V8 Vantage is an excellent choice amongst well-heeled drivers looking to break away from the dominance of German or Italian exotic coupes and own something that stands out from the rest of the crowd.
The 2011 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Coupe’s eight-cylinder engine displaces 4.7-liters and provides 420 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque. Buyers can choose between either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, with the latter offering full manual control over each and every shift. Like any respectable sports coupe, the V8 Vantage can reach 60-mph in just a few ticks under five seconds.09. 2012 Bentley Continental GT
The 2012 Bentley Continental GT takes a page right out of the English automaker’s history of motorsports competition. The Bentley Continental GT is a full-size coupe that somehow transcends its curb weight to offer surprisingly adept handling and rocket-like acceleration. Updated for the current model year, the two-door Bentley provides a legitimate amount of rear-seat room, the ability to completely custom-design the vehicle’s interior and exterior trim and color and the high level of tech features and comfort items expected to come with such an expensive automobile.
The 2012 Bentley Continental GT gets its license to fly from the twin-turbo V-12 that serves as its standard engine. This 6.0-liter unit is good for 567 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, an amazing amount of thrust that is expertly managed by the vehicle’s all-wheel drive system and six-speed automatic transmission. The mechanically-gifted Continental GT can surge to 60-mph in a very quick 4.4-seconds before topping out just shy of its 200-mph top speed.10. 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe
The 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe takes a different route to raising the hair on the back of the neck. Not all flagship luxury two-doors are intended to get the adrenaline flowing, and the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe’s uber-imposing road presence and classic interior design transport driver and passengers into a different era of motoring that seems to combine both the classic elements of the past with the high tech aspects of the future. Throw in rear-hinged doors and an overwhelming level of equipment and features, and its easy to understand why the Phantom Coupe belongs at the top of the premium car pyramid.
The 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe might not count race-ready performance as one of its calling cards, but that doesn’t make it a slouch in the power department. The Phantom Coupe’s 6.7-liter V-12 engine is rated at 453 horsepower and 531 lb-ft of torque, which is enough to accelerate the two-door’s bulk to 60 mph in a pleasing 5.6-seconds. A six-speed automatic transmission is paired with the twelve-cylinder model in order to ensure the smoothest possible gear changes.