When Gulfstream launched its G650 in 2012, it became the overnight object of envy for the jet-set crowd (or at least that part of the crowd that does its jetting privately). Its 7,000 nautical mile range allows it to take on essentially any itinerary, nonstop, at a speedy Mach 0.85, and its dimensions – a cabin both wider and taller than its predecessors – gives the phrase ‘free to move about the cabin’ a whole new meaning. For prospective customers and Gulfstream enthusiasts, the G650’s roominess had appeal, but for those doing shorter hauls, say between New York and Aspen or London and Davos, it had more muscle than those customer would need (and would need to pay for).
To meet this market demand, the company will be rolling out two new models: the G500 and G600, to be released in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Like the G550 and G650, the new models accommodate 19 passengers, sleeping between eight and ten, depending on the model and layout. Whereas the G650 comes with a maximum range of 7,000 nautical miles (7,500 for the 'Extended Range' model), the G600 will max out at 6,200, still enough to zip nonstop between New York and Tokyo.
To check in on the design progress, Wallpaper* climbed aboard a G550 and flew to Gulfstream’s headquarters in Savannah, Georgia. Company executives there concede that there isn’t much left to do in terms of pushing the plane’s range performance. ‘We would just start circling back around the globe,’ says Gulfstream vice president Steve Cass.
With this in mind, Gulfstream sees its next focus on innovation to be on the interior design of the cabins themselves. Customers work with the company’s ‘completion executives’ through a 40-week process to customise layouts and finishes. From big decisions, like whether to include a bedroom or where to place the kitchen, down to the details, like the hand-stitching of a leather seat, everything is bespoke. ‘I’ve overseen a lot of completions,’ reflects interior design director Tray Crow, ‘and each one has its own personality.’