Making like James Bond in Spectre-ular Aston Martin cars in London

I WAS recently in a car that sold for 2.4 British pounds. Yes, around $5 million. I was in the seat of just one of 10 of the Aston Martin DB10s models that were handcrafted for the highest-grossing James Bond film ever, Spectre.

To say it was an overwhelming – if not nicely scary – experience is an understatement. But this IS an original James Bond car and who wouldn’t want to make like 007 for a day?

Driving the most recent Aston Martin, the handmade DB10 and driven by Daniel Craig in Spectre, the flick that has become just as popular as its predecessor films,was a total blast.

A gang of international media were invited for the privilege and bussed around an hour-and-a-half out of London to a highly-secured testing ground called Millbrook.

The “Proving Ground” is in Bedford and is one of those grounds that car and even bus companies use to test out new models.

In fact, so sensitive Millbrook is to the secrecy of any “new” cars on the block, we are ALL asked to stick security stickers on our phones and cameras so we don’t take ANY pics of potentially sensitive new cars that may be getting tested as we headed out to our driving zone.

Fortunately, when we reached our track for the day the security stickers could be removed as we, naturally, snapped away.

I mean, it’s not every day you get the chance to be like Bond . .

As most of us know, it is the mega car action in Bond films that really gets fans going.

Being able to be in Spectre’s DB10 equipped with a rig and pod on the top (that’s where the real driving happens) along with driver Rob Hunt was one of the biggest adrenalin rushes ever.

Sure, the ‘pod’ driver started kind of slowly — the driver feeling his, I mean, my way and sensing if there was any fear factor he had to worry about. None. Natch.

Go-pro cameras were dotted throughout the car so every reaction to every swerve, turn, stop, full throttle acceleration were recorded. And boy, I loved it.

For the first time, I was behind the wheel of the car that had been specially adapted for filming as we made our way around a track known as the ‘steering pad’.

It was an adrenalin junkie’s greatest fix. And it is not as easy as you may think.

As there has been a 50-year connection between Aston Martin and the James Bond movie franchise this really was one mighty memorable trip. But the next ride was just as enticing as Spectre stunt driver Mark Higgins took each of us for a number of laps at high speed around Millbrook.

He ripped us around and I came out of the seat shaking with excitement. Boy, it is a sexy beast of a car.


As well, we were also able to drive over Aston Martin models: the Vanquish, Vangaurd, DB9 GT Coupe and Rapid S. A veritable smorgasbord of chic, stylish and sexy cars.

In the greater scheme of car sales, Aston Matins don’t sell millions per year, but therein lies their appeal and total British charm.

For a car company around 103 years old, on average, it sells 80000 cars per year. What you do buy is total elegance and class. Oh and quite a bit of Bond action thrown in there too.

Interestingly one of the Bond DB10s sold from Spectre was recently sold at auction for £2,434,500. Gulp. yes that is $4.9 mil!

The DB10 sold was one of only two ‘show’ cars from the 10 that were made especially for the film, so it wasn’t used for filming duties.

Under the bonnet was signed by Daniel Craig and it well and truly smashed the reserve price of $2 million. The car has a 4.7-litre V8 petrol engine and a top speed of 190mph, but the catch? It can’t be driven on public roads.

But the very good news? Lots of the proceeds from the Christies ‘Spectre’ auction went to Doctors Without Borders.

So why all this brouhaha over some spectacular sets of wheels? Well, Spectre, which took in over US$850million worldwide, has just become available on Blu-ray™ & DVD from Wednesday so EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Fox Home Entertainment really wanted to amp up sales.

And by giving a handful of a privileged international media the chance to drive the sacred wheels, I reckon their job is well and truly done.

Melissa Hoyer was a guest of Fox Film Entertainment for the Spectre Blu-ray and DVD launch in London


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GUESS embrace 'smart denim' technology

GUESS, the global lifestyle brand famous for its iconic ad campaigns and trend setting denim is proud to introduce #SmartGUESS, a new collection of denim using the latest in denim technology. 

They have collaborated with Australia with home-grown hotties Elyse Knowles and Pia Muehlenbeck in the new digital campaign.

As a pioneer in the forever evolving denim market, GUESS is launching two new revolutionary technologies starting Autumn 2016, the Push Up and Shape Up denim. 

smartGUESS denim is available in-store and online at from today. 

Audi R8 V10 road test: supercar is a supermodel of the Australian road

MY head bounced from side to side like a bobble-head; my body convulsed as the brakes went on, but boy, what a 250km ride it was.

As an addition to the formal unveiling of their second generation of the Audi R8 (built only in V10 and V10 plus variations. Read: power-packed) Audi had me, yes me, that well-known fast-car enthusiast take it for a spin.

Usually, Uber or my trusty old Golf tootle me around the place, but not this day. No. This day the road was mine. All mine as I shared front seat with an Audi ‘sport legend’, Dindo Capello, the Italian former race driver who won the prestigious Le Mans 24-Hour race three times.

I’ll get to my driving experience with the re-imagined R8 soon, but as I drove with Dindo at one point (once my head regained control of its neck after one corner) I seem to recall looking over and seeing around 257km/h on the speedometer.

I hasten to add this was all being conducted under supremely controlled circumstances and at Sydney Motorsport Park (aka, the former Eastern Creek).

I did try to talk to Dindo in the car, but have you heard the roar of these things? They are relentless, ridiculously noisy and stressful, but sexy and kind of wildly invigorating all at the same time.

Top speed for the race car that Dindo had me in was approximately 250km/h down the main straight on the track and while I had read up about how seriously fast these drivers go, I couldn’t quite fathom the speed until I experienced it.
I literally thought my head was going to come off. A bit like one of those bobble-headed dolls as we took to corners and swerved around one very fast track. I was also sure that once the brakes were slammed really, really hard, I thought my chest cavity may find its way out of its home and onto the windshield.

But never fear, I was shooting with a big gun of racing here and he had it totally under control. No. Seriously.
What Dindo and I experienced was what is called a ‘hot lap’ experience: “It’s the experience we offer at the end of some our Audi Driving Experience days,’’ said the car-maker’s Shaun Cleary.
“Having a race driver of Dindo’s calibre to drive for the hot laps was a special privilege for you and certainly us.”

All of this was a ‘treat’ to a small group who were invited to test drive (OK, fang) the newest Audi R8. Yup. The new R8 in V10 and V10 Plus is a sports car that goes like a rocket and can get up to 100km/h in 3.2 seconds. While other Audi guests have been dining at invite-only NOMA nights, I was chosen to don racing attire. and loved every minute. Hey, you only live once.

While my PB getting to 100km/h was 4.2 secs (which kind of pleased me considering it was the first time in this particular new model and where else are you even allowed to go that fast?) the car does positively sizzle.

The new R8 model — which will set you back $354,900 and $389,900 respectively (now you can start choking) is a bloody sensation and it being positioned somewhere above the Mercedes-AMG GT S and below the Lamborghini Huracan and Porsche 911 Turbo.

Driving it and writing about it from a mere layperson’s perspective, I’m not going to go into car psycho babble, talk torque, revs, throttle or power.

So, here are 10 reasons why I loved my experience of the new R8:

  • The R8 goes fast. Very fast, and can get up to 100km/h in just 3.2 seconds.
  • I loved the driving mode ‘buttons’ and laser headlights that made it feel ever more sports car than normal
  • It has a seven-speed, dual clutch automatic or you can just put it in ‘D’ and away you go forever
  • The interior is HOT. I mean really hot with a cockpit kind of feel, air vents that aren’t overpowering and one thing some girls look out for (it’s true!) a great rear vision mirror that doubles as your touch-up, lipstick mirror
  • This car encourages you to lose weight, such is the angle you need to get into in order to slide into the seat.
  • Audi must be doing something right with their pricey R8 as they sold 404 of them since 2007
  • I seriously think you could pick up driving this car around town especially with the Bang & Olufsen belting out a bit of Run To Paradise.
  • The word out there on car street in that there is no other production car that is closer to a legit racing car than the R8.
  • When you turn a corner (and we are talking on a legit Motorsport Park track here, not your suburban street) it’s not necessary to plant your foot on the brake hard, but instead, rev it up a bit more — it’s like the wheels literally stick to the road. Serious hot wheels indeed.
  • The car just always seemed so safe whether we had it in wet, dry, snow modes and to be honest, I was happy with it to be in one mode the entire time.

The Verdict: catch me if you can …


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Rihanna & PUMA unveil latest trainers

Global Sports Brand PUMA and Creative Director, Rihanna, release THE TRAINER under Rihanna’s FENTY label, a sneaker that combines innovative performance technology with game-changing style.

Debuted at the PUMA by Rihanna fashion show on February 12th, THE TRAINER is Rihanna’s take on a traditional work out sneaker with a fashion-forward and futuristic flair. An all-new PUMA silhouette, THE TRAINER is a fearless, bad-ass sneaker with exaggerated proportions and massive sex appeal.

Along with its good looks, THE TRAINER also exudes in performance features. Its upper is constructed from Ariaprene, an advanced form of neoprene for a secure yet breathable fit. Feel extra levels of support with its high tongue height and TPU Kurim cage with fully reflective underlay.

THE TRAINER is flexible as ever with a pivot that allows for 360-degree movement. Full length flex groove, additional heel thickness on medial and lateral sides support fast and dynamic multi-directional movement. Solid rubber outsole pods providing full ground contact and traction without weighing you down.

Rihanna paid just as much attention to unique textures and materials as she did to fit, technical details and colors to bring to market that is a true fusion of sport and fashion. She selected three bold colors to introduce this new silhouette – Black, White and Red.

THE TRAINER is an extension of Rihanna’s risk-taking attitude and sure to elevate one from the street and the gym. Dropping globally at PUMA stores, and select sneaker boutiques on 26th February.


The word 'upgrade' has a certain ring to it: thanks Etihad!

Have just headed to London to check out the James Bond ‘Bond In Motion’ exhibition (and also to drive some of the infamous Aston Martins that have featured in the films over many decades.) Not a bad gig, thank you 20th Century Fox.

But this business trip got off to a great start when the upgrade fairy came calling when I checked in at Sydney airport to fly Etihad to London, via Abu Dhabi.

So, I just thought I’d give you a taste of just a few of the ‘moments’ on the flight.

Best part: when I arrived in Abu Dhabi, I was escorted to the VVIP, roped off area, where I was given absolute super duper treatment.

I mean, maybe they thought I was somehow related Nicole Kidman afterall she did star in the recent Etihad ‘reimagined’ advertising campaign.

Maybe I’m just imagining, ok, dreaming, to live a flying life like this.

Yes, you only live once, but this experience – all last 18 hours of it so far – have been seriously sensational!

*Follow Melissa on Instagram & Twitter @melissahoyer