Monterey Car Week is the enthusiast’s number-one destination to find the most exclusive classic cars. As conventional car shows fall out of favour, modern automakers are increasingly flocking to the Californian coastline to showcase special editions, coachbuilt cars and all-new electric concepts. As a result, the meeting is fast becoming the most prestigious motor show in the calendar. 

With more special-edition supercars and all-electric hypercars on offer each year, manufacturers are upping their game with limited runs of wacky performance-focused creations, and extravagant concepts. As seen at the recent, 2022 event, from the Bentley Mulliner Batur and Lincoln’s immense L100 concept, to McLaren’s Solus GT track-only single-seater and the revival of DeLorean, the competition to craft the ‘pinnacle of motoring luxury’ continues to evolve.

Seven key machines from Monterey Car Week 2022

1. Bentley Mulliner Batur

Bentley Mulliner Batur, one of the key cars showcased at Monterey Car Week 2022

Following on from the Barchetta-style Bentley Bacalar launched in 2021, the Batur is the second act from Bentley’s Mulliner coachbuilding division. More than just a styling exercise, the car is the first created under the stewardship of Bentley’s new design chief Andreas Mindt and showcases the marque’s new design direction as it embarks on its all-electric era from 2025.

‘It’s not apologetic,’ said Mindt at the car’s launch. ‘It’s not leaning backwards. No – it’s upright but at the same time, it is very aerodynamic.

Bentley Mulliner Batur interior

‘We’re not setting out to make it look like an electric car,’ Mindt continues. ‘We have to make it look like a Bentley – that comes first and everything else comes second.’ With what Mindt labels its ‘endless bonnet’ and ‘resting beast stance’, the Batur will be the most powerful Bentley in production when Mulliner starts crafting all 18 examples of the £1.65m-plus car later this year.

Despite revealing the look of Bentley’s future, the Batur keeps one foot in the past under the bonnet, taking the marque’s outgoing 6.0-litre W12 engine for one last blast before Bentley starts switching out its fabled engine for batteries. 

2. Aston Martin DBR22

Aston Martin DBR22, one of the highlights of Monterey Car Week

Built in the image of Aston Martin’s iconic Le Mans-winning DBR1, from 1956, and DB3S, from 1953, the DBR22 is technically a concept that the carmaker says will be a ‘production reality for select Q by Aston Martin customers’.

Equipped with a 5.2-litre, twin-turbo V12 that produces 705bhp, the DBR22 was built to celebrate ten years of Aston Martin’s bespoke Q division.

Aston Martin DBR22 interior

‘DBR22 is a hot-blooded, pure-bred Aston Martin sports car full of speed, agility and spirit, and a machine that we think will be the basis of many of tomorrow’s icons,’ said chief creative officer Marek Reichman at the car’s Monterey Car Week unveiling.

With projects like the mighty one-off Victor and Vulcan under its belt, Aston’s Q division has created some of the marque’s most expensive and exclusive cars over the years. Following the same coachbuilt path as Bentley, the British marque best-known for its James Bond affiliation looks set to produce a handful of the speedster-style two-seaters, reserved for its most discerning customers and collectors.  

3. McLaren Solus GT

McLaren Solus GT car seen from above

In sharp contrast to the tailored and crafted bodies of the Aston Martin and Bentley, racing and road car company McLaren pulled the covers off its track-only racer, the Solus GT, during Monterey Car Week.

Until now, the Solus GT only existed in the virtual world – originally created as a special for Grand Turismo video game series in 2017 – but, five years on, McLaren has made it a reality.

McLaren Solus GT interior

‘The McLaren Solus GT is the realisation of a radical McLaren concept vehicle originally created for the world of virtual racing,’ said Michael Leiters, chief executive officer, McLaren Automotive. ‘Engineered free of any restrictions from road or race regulations, but with the full spectrum of McLaren’s expertise to bring it to reality, it epitomises our pioneering spirit.’ Extolling the marque’s sporting pedigree, the McLaren Solus GT is aimed squarely at affluent racing enthusiasts with all 25 of the V10-powered cars priced at over £2.5 million each. 

4. Bugatti W16 Mistral

Bugatti W16 Mistral on road beside water

An all-new convertible, the Bugatti Mistral is the first new car to appear from the French automaker since it came under the control of Croatian hypercar manufacturer Rimac in 2021.

Just 99 examples of the Mistral – named after the cold, north-westerly wind that blows through the Rhône valley and southern France – will be made, all of which are already claimed, says Bugatti.

Bugatti W16 Mistral car interior

‘For the final roadgoing appearance of Bugatti’s legendary W16 engine, we knew we had to create a roadster,’ said Bugatti Rimac CEO Mate Rimac. ‘Well over 40 per cent of all Bugatti vehicles ever created have been open-top in design, establishing a long lineage of performance icons that – to this day – are revered the world over.’

Despite its new electric connections, the Mistral takes the legendary 8.0-litre W16 engine for a final spin before Bugatti goes increasingly electric. 

5. Lucid Air Sapphire Edition

Lucid Air Sapphire Edition

California-based Lucid brought its first car to market – the Air – last year and already, it’s launched its more upmarket performance division, named Sapphire and seen at Monterey Car Week.

Lucid’s ’pedestrian’ version of the Air wasn’t exactly lacking in pace, with up to 1111hp; however, the new sportier version has 1200hp at its disposal.  

Lucid Air Sapphire Edition

‘Sapphire is the embodiment of what ultra-high-performance luxury means to Lucid,’ said Derek Jenkins, Lucid’s design chief at the car’s launch. ‘What we see today with Lucid Air Sapphire is just the beginning for the Sapphire brand.’

Promising more models and even more performance, Lucid is one of the youngest car companies to make it to market. Bucking the trend by surviving the crippling levels of investment and engineering needed to compete with the automotive establishment since it started in 2007, the future looks bright for the Californian carmaker, which is aiming for Tesla’s crown. 

6. Lincoln Model L100 Concept

Lincoln Model L100 Concept with open doors

Harking back to the days when American cars cruised along like chrome-embroidered barges, the Lincoln L100 concept was made to celebrate the marque’s centenary this year (which we marked with a look back at 1970s Lincoln Designer Series). 

Complete with recycled suede fabric interior, huge, reversed hinged doors and sleek exterior styling, the L100 is a future-thinking concept for an age of autonomous driving. 

Lincoln Model L100 Concept interior

‘We are at a special moment in our history,’ said Lincoln president Joy Falotico. ‘With the Model L100 Concept, we reimagine what the Lincoln sanctuary might look like for our clients of tomorrow, moving us forward to define the next chapter of the Lincoln story.’

7. DeLorean Alpha5

DeLorean Alpha5 car, a highlight of Monterey Car Week 2022

Some cars seem destined to make a comeback and, despite the demise of DeLorean in 1982, the brand has been revived with the new Alpha5 leading the charge. Penned by Italdesign – the same firm, led by Giorgetto Giugiaro, that designed the original car – the new, electric DeLorean.

With its gullwing doors and rear louvre, you don’t have to look too hard to find design cues from the original car.

DeLorean Alpha5

Equipped with a 100KWh battery, the car will cover over 300 miles on one charge and have a top speed of 155mph, according to DeLorean – now owned by Texas-based company that supplies replacement parts to original DeLorean cars. §