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10 August 2018

Here's what it's like to hit 180km/h in an Aussie expat Bufori in Malaysia

By James LisleJames Lisle
Buforis might look a bit whacky, but the once-Australian company offers a level of customisation that rivals Rolls-Royce.

When talking about luxury cars, many would argue Rolls-Royce is the epitome of personalised luxury and opulence. And I’d agree with them.

But what if you wanted something with a bit more... exclusivity?

Enter Bufori: the luxury car manufacturer that was born in Sydney, grew up in Malaysia, and has since been on-and-off the automotive radar more times that we can count.

While Bufori is typically known for making the two-door ‘La Joya’ (originally known as the Madison in Australia) in the late ‘80s and beyond, Oversteer was given a private ride in the newer, four-door Geneva model during the Evo Enduro 2018.

  • The styling is divisive. But I think it looks pretty distinctive. The styling is divisive. But I think it looks pretty distinctive.
  • According to the spec sheet, that little ‘B’ emblem on the bonnet can be plated in 99% pure 24 karat gold. According to the spec sheet, that little ‘B’ emblem on the bonnet can be plated in 99% pure 24 karat gold.
  • No matter where we went, the Geneva attracted attention. No matter where we went, the Geneva attracted attention.
  • That's one hell of a boot! Perfect for mobsters. That's one hell of a boot! Perfect for mobsters.
  • When was the last time you ever saw a toolbox like this? When was the last time you ever saw a toolbox like this?

Hopping in at the start line, we took off for a drive with Felix Haller, Bufori’s general manager of marketing and international business development.

The first thing we noticed about the Geneva was, of course, it’s size. It’s a bloody cruise ship! Needless to say, our videographer, who had to record all of his footage from the rear seat, was enjoying the limitless amount of legroom immensely.

I never took the wheel, but I could still feel the car’s length as we slowly helmed our way through Kuala Lumpur’s endless 90-degree turns. The car's agility probably leaves much to be desired, but from a passenger’s perspective – and that’s the one that matters – it was pretty damn serene.

Even out on the highway, the engine noise never really grew to anything other than a mild rumble - 110km/h, 140km/h, 170km/h - it doesn’t really matter.

When provoked, however, the classic HEMI engine can wake up an entire town.

Unsurprisingly from a handmade, low-volume production car, power is generated by an outsourced unit. A 6.4-litre Chrysler HEMI V8 generates the thunder, punching out 350kW/640Nm to the rear wheels through an eight-speed ZF-sourced transmission.

Chosen for its durability, reliability, and refinement, the optional Chrysler V8 is the preferred engine choice for drivers who like to press on. There is a 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 available, but c’mon…

But while the V8’s mighty outputs are imposing – particularly for a 2.4-tonne car (despite a carbon-fibre/kevlar body) - it’s the Geneva’s level of detail that makes it noteworthy.

  • 0-100km/h is done in less than 5.5 seconds. 0-100km/h is done in less than 5.5 seconds.
  • The air suspension features three settings for the dampers (auto, sport, and track) and are automatically self-leveling. The air suspension features three settings for the dampers (auto, sport, and track) and are automatically self-leveling.
  • Like the Chrysler 300, the engine features cylinder deactivation to save fuel. Like the Chrysler 300, the engine features cylinder deactivation to save fuel.
  • There are bits and pieces of FCA switchgear, which does ruin the ambience a bit. There are bits and pieces of FCA switchgear, which does ruin the ambience a bit.
  • See those outlets down by the footwell? That's a powerpoint for... well, anything! See those outlets down by the footwell? That's a powerpoint for... well, anything!
  • Other Geneva features include rear-seat entertainment system, a cigar humidor with utensils, and a miniature safe. Other Geneva features include rear-seat entertainment system, a cigar humidor with utensils, and a miniature safe.

Bufori's managing director Gerry Khouri tells me that everything is customisable and made to spec. Everything!

We aren’t just talking about the paint here. No, no, no. If you want a speedometer, a coffee machine, or an integrated drinks cabinet for the rear seat, nothing will stop Bufori from doing it. 

You want a personalised tune for the in-house suspension, or even a night-vision system in the instrument cluster? Done. A supercharger for the V8? Sorted.

Bufori will even measure your personal frame to make sure the seats fit you juuust right. This is a level of detail pretty much unseen since pre-war coachbuilding.

Put simply: Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin will let you change your cake’s icing. But Bufori lets you change the milk/egg ratio, the amount of butter and sugar, and even the temperature of the oven. It’s that in-depth.

While a Burfori Geneva and Rolls-Royce Ghost take a similar time to commission and build – roughly, six to eight months - the Roller will cost around RM $ 2.6 million (Malaysian Ringitts) before options, while a Bufori Geneva comes in at just RM 1.5-1.6 million (AUD $495,000). Bargain!

For more of our content from the Evo Enduro 2018, check out our stories here:

We've just smashed 1000km+ across Malaysia and Thailand in the Evo Enduro rally

Five things to know about cars in Malaysia

This is why a Toyota HiLux costs the same as a Honda City in Malaysia

Would you save the extra dosh and pick a Bufori Geneva? Tell us in the comments below.