“Move the dial.” It’s an expression that implies someone or something is making a significant difference in a certain field. “The dial” can also refer to a needle, which is where the saying most likely comes from (the needle being an old analog meter that was used to measure audio recordings). But to consign the saying to motorsports seems only fitting. These vehicles were built to make some noise. Even with little expertise, you and I both know when something’s pushing things forward in a big way. It’s a feeling. Just one peek and—voilà! Call it the innovator’s je ne sais quois. The multimillion-dollar Bugattis that paraded through Downtown Saratoga Springs this past September? Each one moved the dial in its time—some by an inch, others by a mile. So far forward, in some cases, we haven’t even caught up to them yet.
That’s exactly what this list is: a glimpse at the future of luxury automobiles, yachts and motorcycles—the dial-movers that threaten to topple our very idea of what makes a car a car, a bike a bike, and so on. Is that an oversell? Maybe. After all, the future is rarely certain. But with the rise of electric motors, smart interfaces and modern styling, one thing is certain: These vehicles are moving the dial—and fast.
Aston Martin Valkyrie
In Norse mythology, a Valkyrie was one of the god Odin’s 12 handmaidens, who would usher in slain warriors of her choice from the battlefield to the magnificent palace of Valhalla. The name is fitting for Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing’s hypercar because of its almost mythic quality. Though it may not look like it, this two-door coupe is indeed a road car that is gunning for the title of fastest street-legal car in the world. Get this: Of the 150 that will ever be built, each driver’s seat will be designed specifically to accommodate a unique owner’s body shape through 3-D scanning. Look out for the even more aggressive styling apparent on the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro—or the track version of the sports car. Only 25 units will ever be produced, and they’re already sold out. Rumor has it that both will debut in 2019.
Kicking off the Newport Boat Show last year, Hinckley’s Dasher is far from old news. What some have taken to describing as the “Tesla of the Sea,” the Dasher is the world’s first fully electric luxury yacht. The 29-foot boat is made of epoxy carbon and artisanal teak, with accents of 3-D-printed titanium hardware. She sports matching 80-horsepower electric motors driven by “marinized” lithium ion batteries, with a top hop in excess of 23 knots. The best part, though? Its unbridled, completely silent speed.
Indian FTR 1200 Motorcycle
Inspired by flat-track racing, the FTR 1200 is slated to go on sale in 2019. The announcement comes in response to months of speculation and demand for a street version of the wildly successful FTR 750—a purpose-built flat-track racer that has dominated the American Flat Track professional racing series since its introduction in 2017. Though it will take inspiration, design and performance cues from the FTR 750 and the FTR 1200 Custom—a one-off concept that toured globally this past year—according to Indian Motorcycle’s Senior Industrial Designer, Rich Christoph, the FTR will maintain a look and style all its own and just might take American V-twin motorcycles into brand new territory.
Watch out Elon Musk. Porsche has made its plans to disrupt the electric car industry known, stepping into the ring against the Tesla Model S with one of its own. The Porsche Taycan (the name means “lively young horse” in Turkish, a reference to the German marque’s crest) is athletic and performance-oriented, and more than a little is riding on it: If the vehicle impresses the market, Porsche will become one of the first legacy automakers to offer a completely electric car with zero compromises. The company has announced plans to transition to a 50 percent electrified fleet no later than 2025. But interested Taycan owners won’t have to wait nearly as long: The sedan will be making its debut next year.
Baltic 175 Pink Gin
It’s hard not to have a sharp reaction when first seeing the Baltic 175 Pink Gin. Wherever your taste lands, everyone seems to have the same reaction: “Whoa…that sail is pink.” But don’t let it distract you for too long. The 177-foot Pink Gin is the world’s largest carbon-fiber sloop, winning Sailing Yacht of the Year honors at the recent prestigious World Superyacht Awards. Aside from that carbon-fiber composite hull, innovations include two opening balconies set into the topsides, which let in light and salty air, should the guests desire. Speaking of guests, accommodations allow for ten of them—plus an owner—in ultra-luxe cabins. A desire to be seen is a necessity to what is, unequivocally, a head-turner of the high seas.
Husqvarna Svartpilen 701
Sleek, stylish and gripping, the Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 has been confirmed for a production release in 2019. The flat-track-style Svartpilen, which translates to “black arrow” in Swedish, is all kinds of badassery tooled into a single bike. Reduced to the bare functional essentials, the concept is finally getting its production-line push, and not a moment too soon. I can easily see Lisbeth Salander (i.e., the titular “girl with the dragon tattoo”) of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy zipping around Stockholm in this pared down, modern design, with its lightweight, narrow body. Minimalist styling and exceptional urban motorcycling performance? Count me in.
Count her as the largest superyacht ever built in Asia. Making her debut at the Monaco Yacht Show this year, the Illusion Plus departed the yard of Chinese manufacturer Pride Mega Yachts on what would be her maiden voyage. With lines inspired by Rolls-Royce motor cars—with a vertical bow and gently sloping transom—the Illusion features a steel hull and aluminum superstructure with six decks. Kitted out with a helicopter landing pad; dedicated spa with sauna, steam room and massage room; two jacuzzi tubs (one with a waterfall feature); a cinema screen; and an elevator that will connect four of the six decks, she is a bold step for Chinese yacht builders.
BMW Vision iNEXT
There’s a lot to like about BMW’s recently unveiled, fully electric concept SUV, the Vision iNEXT, which is slated to enter the market in 2021. BMW is touting the Vision as a highly automated, fully connected and completely emissions-free SUV of the future, and it has some decidedly Minority Report features. Those include its Intelligent Personal Assistant, an integrated digital interface linked to a smart device that responds to voice commands given by the driver. If that sounds passé nowadays, consider this: Intelligent Materials Solutions allows the car to respond to various hand or touch gestures that a passenger makes upon the seats with their fingers, as if they were inputs. Finally, there’s Intelligent Beam, a projection light that beams images, moving content or interactive video graphics at the simple command of the driver or passenger (!). Yeah, it’s that impressive. iNEXT drivers can also choose between “Boost” mode, to drive themselves, or “Ease” mode, to be driven by the car’s own technology. (According to BMW, “Boost” mode is a virtually silent driving experience that exerts zero emissions from the car.) Consider the genre of science fiction to be fiction no longer.