The best gift of all may well be love, but surely a million-dollar supercar or a lavish yacht can't be too far behind on the list. It's in this vein that each year we look back at the most excessive, exorbitant and often absurd examples of luxury living that we've stumbled across over the past 12 months. Here's what you're almost certainly not getting for Christmas in 2018.
The battery-powered Batmobile
Flatly outrageous. That's how we described plans for the Alieno Arcanum RP5 hypercar when they first surfaced in July. In hindsight, we may have understated things. Just take a seat and soak up these specs: 5,221-horsepower, 8,880 Nm of torque, a top speed of 303-mph (488 km/h), 180 kWh of battery, a range up to 1,020 km (634 mi), a zero to 100 percent charging time of four minutes, 17 cameras, one LiDAR, eight radars, a total of 24 axial flux electric motors (six in each wheel), a rear end modeled on Darth Vader's helmet and the option of a dragster-style parachute.
If you've never heard of Bulgarian company responsible for this all-electric, €1,500,000 (US$1.761 million) monstrosity, you're not alone, but if they manage to come good on their promises and actually create one, that will definitely change. Until that happens – and we're hoping like hell it does – it remains unbelievable, and unattainable.
A night in Aquaman's pad
Lapping up the luxury on an island resort sounds like the perfect way to relax and unwind, and lapping you will get if you book a stay at the Muraka hotel villa. Part of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort, this exclusive accommodation features a one-bedroom master suite that sits some 5 m (16.4 ft) beneath the waves. With more than 75 percent of wall and ceiling surfaces made of clear acrylic, the domed structure has been designed to maximize your subaquatic surroundings – you can even commune with the fishes from the comfort of your commode. The bad news – a night at the Muraka will lighten your bank balance to the tune of US$50,000.
Furrion is described as a lifestyle technology company, but neither the lifestyle nor the technology on display in this concept is for the masses. Shown at CES in January, the company's Limitless "land yacht" is essentially a penthouse apartment on wheels – think remote-control multi-zone audio system, 40-inch electric LED fireplace with temperature and flame-color control, restaurant-level kitchen with full height side-by-side refrigerator (and a dedicated 48-bottle wine fridge), digital taps, and no fewer than three TVs, including a 58-inch number in the outdoor entertainment area that we assume is exclusively for showing David Attenborough docos.
Suffice to say, when it comers to getting out of the city in style, the Limitless puts pretty much everything we've seen in the shade, with the possible exception of its stablemate the Furrion Elysium, which shoehorns in a height-adjustable rooftop helipad and hot tub.
How much for all of this great outdoors excess you ask? Unfortunately this one's off the menu even for the uber-rich, as both the Limitless and Elysium remain concepts only.
A yacht that almost flies
If you're one of those moneyed folk who likes to look down on us peasants, the Foiler can make that a literal reality. Created by UAE-based Enata Marine, this luxury yacht rises above the others when traveling at speeds of over 17 knots (31 km/h, 19 mph) thanks to a retractable hydrofoil system. Its hybrid propulsion system combines two 300-hp diesel engines and two of Enata's electric torpedo engines to elevate you and eight of your closest well-heeled friends to speeds of up to 40 knots (74 km/h, 46 mph). When we covered the Foiler in March no pricing had been announced, but the company is now taking orders for €990,000 (US$1.12 million).
Mark Twain is credited with saying "buy land, they're not making it anymore" – but he didn't live long enough to see Dubai put paid to that. If Twain was alive today he might recommend investing in dinosaur fossils instead. This almost complete skeleton of a carnivorous dinosaur that is believed to be a new species of Allosaurid was discovered in 2013 in Wyoming. It measures 8.7 m (28.5 ft) long and stands 2.6 m (8.5 ft) high and ended up selling for €2,019,680 (US$2.29 million) when it went up for auction earlier this year. Now it's presumably serving as a unique conversation starter in the foyer of some Russian oligarch or the lair of an aspiring supervillain.
An F1-inspired watch
For those whose croquet game is being hampered by humungous horological apparatus like the aircraft-inspired HM9 Flow weighing down their arms, the Richard Mille RM 50-03 McLaren F1 might be worth considering. Taking inspiration from the world of Formula 1, where reducing weight is a major focus, the RM 50-03 is crafted from materials such as titanium and carbon fiber and tips the scales at just 38 g (1.34 oz) – strap included – leading Richard Mille to claim it's the lightest tourbillon split-second chronograph ever developed. The price tag of $980,000 is a little heftier, with only 75 examples are being built – but each one comes with a 1:5 scale model of the 2018 McLaren-Honda F1 car, making this an absolute bargain.
You would expect to pay a premium for a luxury Manhattan apartment overlooking Central Park, and this Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill masterpiece certainly lives up to expectations. Currently under construction, Central Park Tower will soar to 1,550 feet (472 m) when completed to become the world's tallest residential tower, though that claim is slightly misleading because it doesn't take mixed-use towers like the almighty Burj Khalifa into account. Still, why quibble over height records when you can soak in the spectacular views from the 1,000-ft-high outdoor terrace, or the living room of your six-bedroom, $100-million residence.
Coffee flavored sneakers
A hip set of sneakers made from recycled coffee and plastic bottles, what could be more down to earth than that? Unfortunately, at €390 (about US$445) a pair, these shoes from Germany's eco-lux footwear brand nat-2 might be out of reach for the average eco-warrior. With around 50 percent of the material used in the upper coming from recycled coffee grinds, coffee beans and coffee plants, and recycled PET bottles, cork and animal-free glue thrown into the mix, these hand-made, vegan-friendly stompers would certainly be a talking point, though. And they even smell faintly of coffee – before other odors make their way to the fore anyway.
A serious case of the blues
Take one Harley Softail Slim S, add 360 diamonds, two LED-lit armored glass-dome safes, as many gold-plated screws as you need, silver plating, six color coatings and some carefully placed rotating Dizzler rings and you get the Harley-Davidson Blue Edition. Commissioned by Swiss watch retailer Bucherer and created by custom house Bünderbike, this beautiful piece of head-scratching extravagance costs $1.9 million, making it the world's most expensive motorcycle. Oh, but you get TWO free watches and a diamond ring thrown in.
A deep diver for deep wallets
You'd need the bank balance of a Beatle if you wanted to visit an octopus's garden in this beast. The Triton 36000/2 Hadal Exploration System is designed to carry two passengers to the ocean depths – in fact, the deepest spot in the ocean, the 36,000-ft-deep (11,000-m) Challenger Deep, where they can enjoy the view from the comfort of ergonomically-designed leather seats. Triton claims the vessel can handle dives lasting up to 16 hours, with life support for 96 hours if things go awry. Although it's targeted primarily at governments, philanthropic organizations and research institutes, if you can drum up the requisite $48 million it would be a welcome addition to any superyacht – but you'll have to paint it yellow yourself. The rest of us may have to make do with strapping on a $5 snorkel to enjoy the underwater sights.
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