When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Millions of women dream of being in Playboy but never act on that desire. Sometimes it takes the prodding of a friend or praise from a photographer or, say, the largest bankruptcy in America to bring them to us, and us to them. And now, after thousands of column inches and news reports heralding our latest project, we are proud to present our Women of Enron pictorial, photographed by Gen Nishino. Who knew a negative balance sheet could generate such tantalizing figures?
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), August 2002, volume 49, Number 8. Published monthly by Playboy. 680 North Lake shore drive, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: U.S., $29.97 for 12 Issues. Canada, $43.97 for 12 Issues. All other Foreign, $45 U.S. Currency only. For new and renewal orders and change of address, send to Playboy subscriptions, P.O. Box 2007, Harlan, Iowa 51637-4007. Please allow 6-8 weeks for processing. For change of address, send new and old addresses and allow 45 days for change. Postmaster: Send form 3579 to Playboy, P.O. Box 2007. Harlan, Iowa 51537-4007. Advertising: New York: 730 fifth avenue, New York 10019 (212-261-5000); Chicago: 680 North Lake shore drive, Chicago 60611 (312-751-8000); West Coast: Sd Media, 2001 Wilshire Boulevard. Suite 200, Santa Monica, Ca 90403 (310-264-7575); Southeast: Bentz & Maddock Inc., 5180 Roswell road, Suite 102, South Building, Atlanta, Ga 30342 (404-256-3800); For subscription inquiries. Call 800-999-4438.
Because he piqued my imagination: We met online. After a few cordial but flirty e-mails, we started instant-messaging and the conversation turned to sex: likes, dislikes, mishaps, adventures. The stories were relayed without bravado, more with humor. We enjoyed cracking wise and deploying sexual innuendo with impunity. After one exchange, he asked me for my number and I obliged. Our conversations mirrored our IM session until he made it personal. "This is what I'd do to you if I were there," he said, launching into a deliciously detailed description of how he would take me--and where. I came hard, visualizing every erotic word. The phone sex was so good, I wanted the real thing. "Come over," I whispered into the telephone. "Show, don't tell."--K.M., Chapel Hill, NC
Amy Weber has stirred up trouble this season as the conniving lifeguard Porcelain Bidet on FX' Son of the Beach. Weber, now 30, dropped out of college to move to Los Angeles and become an actress, first appearing in a slew of print ads and commercials. Now that she's conquered the art of filling out a bikini, Amy is taking voice lessons and hopes to record an R&B album someday. She also likes racing motorcycles and getting cozy with all kinds of critters. "I have always brought home stray animals--everything from squirrels to rabbits to foxes and turtles," she says on her fabulous website. "I thought that I could save them all." We hope she extends the same courtesy to house-trained Playboy readers.
Quick: Name a male movie star of the Fifties who's still a top box-office name at the dawn of the 21st century. Time's up--the answer is Paul Newman. The blue-eyed wonder and bona fide star appears opposite Tom Hanks in this summer's drama Road to Perdition.
Music hath charms, but music performers with charm to spare are carving new careers on film. There's nothing new about the idea: Al Jolson ushered in the era of sound in the late Twenties, Bing Crosby brought his crooning to the big screen in the Thirties and Elvis Presley and Doris Day topped box office and record charts in the Fifties.
CQ Jeremy Davies and supermodel Angela Lindvall star in Roman Coppola's debut feature, set in the world of European moviemaking in the late Sixties. The atmosphere is rich, and an homage to Barbarella is fun, but this meandering film has no sense of story. [rating]2 bunnies[/rating]
Emily Mortimer. Now on-screen: As the painfully vulnerable sister in Lovely and Amazing.Soon to be seen: Opposite Samuel L. Jackson in Formula 51.How did a classically trained British actress and oxford graduate wind up in scream 3? "Part of the reason it happened is that I went out to LA to visit my boyfriend. Within a week I was sent on an audition for Scream 3. It was absurd that a girl from Oxfordshire should audition for this true Americana slasher movie." Do you get to kick butt in formula 51? "Yes, a lot, and I was nervous about it because I' m not naturally a kicker of butts. In fact, I'm not naturally cool, and part demanded that I be both cool and butt-kicking. I arrived on set in black leather trousers and hair extensions and was given an enormous gun and put on a motorbike, and I thought I don't really know why I'm here. I want my mother to come and pick me up! But it was cathartic." What was it like to be both emotionally and physically naked in Lovely and Amazing?" It was frightening, but it's a perfect moment in the movie. I remember getting out of that bed to go stand naked in front of Dermot Mulroney and the crew--and what you see is the first and only time I did it. I thought, This had better be a good movie, because if it isn't, it could be humiliating on an international scale."
Paul Schrader wrote Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, both directed by Martin Scorsese. Not bad for a former Calvinist who saw his first film at the age of 16. Director Schrader's disc library contains an eclectic collection of masterpieces (American Gigolo, Affliction, Auto Focus). His American short list includes Vertigo. The Lady Eve, The Searchers ("John Ford and John Wayne's best"), Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch and Orson Welles' ("overlooked") Touch of Evil. "Among my foreign favorites," says Schrader, "are The Rules of the Game, Pickpocket, The Conformist, Tokyo Story and Masculin-Féminin."
Anyone who is harboring a fond notion about the increasingly anachronistic Olympic ideal should dip into Tokyo Olympiad (Criterion Collection, $40), director Kon Ichikawa's legendary chronicle of the 1964 Summer Games. The nearly three-hour Japanese documentary has long been available on VHS, but this new version benefits immeasurably from a high-definition digital transfer that preserves the film's original 2.35:1 wide-screen aspect ratio and that has been enhanced for 16x9 TVs. Marshaling a battery of cameramen--164, by some accounts--Yojimbo cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa captures a breathtaking parade of images. Ichikawa assembles these into a series of stories that climax in a vignette on the marathon that soars without cliché. ... Constantin Costa-Gavras' 1969 thriller Z has also just arrived on DVD (Fox Lorber, $30) with its power to shock intact. The Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film was the most searing political thriller of its time. Its action sequences can't keep pace with contemporary equivalents but it's hard to beat the tale (investigator Jean-Louis Trintignant uncovers government complicity in a politician's murder) and razor-sharp storytelling.
The Italian giallo (yellow) cinema of the Seventies--named for the color of a line of pulp fiction detective novels--combined the gory effects of slasher movies with the paranoid thrills of twisted whodunits, then added seedy sex to the mix. The result was usually a disturbing frightfest, set to propulsive rock music. Anchor Bay has released four delicious hard-to-find giallo goodies on DVD--Aldo Lado's The Short Night of the Glass Dolls (1971) and Who Saw Her Die? (1972), Giuliano Carnimeo's The Case of the Bloody Iris (1972) and Antonio Bido's The Bloodstained Shadow (1978)--all in livid widescreen, with icky bonus features and in ghastly living color. Buona notte!
Once an actress has reached a certain status--or age--she finds the means to keep her promise to her mother and "never do nude." In other words, kiss these tits goodbye. We always hold out hope that a script will arrive in which nudity is "necessary for the story." Otherwise, the following breasts are mere fondly fondled memories.
There's plenty to love on Ozzy Osbourne's Down to Earth (Epic). His extraordinary voice still sounds, like Roy Orbison's or even Axl Rose's, extraterrestrial. Even the album's less than stellar tracks, such as the embarrassing environmentalist ballad Dreamer, are testaments to his staying power.
Hot Slots Department: Ray Charles has helped Bally develop slots for visually impaired people and will promote them at casinos. Reeling and Rocking: Natalie Imbruglia co-starts with John Malkovich in the James Bond spoof, Johnny English....Jimi Hendirx' first U.S. TV appearance, on the Dick Cavett Show, is now on DVD. Newsbreaks: Roundabout Theater will stage The Look of Love, a musical using the songs of Hal David and Burt Bacharach.... Madonna recorded a new album in London this summer during her run in the play Up for Grabs....Aerosmith's Joe Perry has put out a new line of hot sauce called Rock Your World, which bears a flaming-skull logo.... A musical based on Stevie Wonder's songs, starring Chaka Khan, is opening in Las Vegas.... Surf music aficionados are lobbying the Grammy committee for a category. Polka has one.... A study of Israeli drivers by newscientist.com indicates that the combination of fast cars and fast music can be hazardous. Those who listen to up-tempo tunes have twice as may accidents as those who listen to slower ones.
Ever wonder what adult stars do when the camera isn't rolling? Are they able to have relationships? Raise families? Does sex lose its appeal, or does it get hotter? What is considered infidelity when sex is your job? These and other personal issues are explored on Playboy TV shows such as Adult Stars Close Up (Tuesdays, 10 P.M. EDT), a peek into the home lives of your favorite porn stars, and Sex Under Hot Lights (check playboytv.com for air-times), which goes behind the scenes on adult movie sets. We caught up with two starlets at different stages in their careers and asked them about life in the industry. Holly Hollywood is a 27-year-old Playboy TV vet who has done lots of girl--girl scenes in adult movies and appeared in the mainstream Boogie Nights. Holly and her boyfriend have a young daughter. Tawny Roberts, 23, got into the business just months ago with the intention of filming only with her boyfriend, Rick. Now she has a successful porn career.
Aubrie Lemon, 22. Birthplace: Santa Rosa, California. Discovered at a bikini contest on St. Croix. Self-described Renaissance woman. Typical day: work out, eat breakfast, run errands, study, play Minesweeper, roller-skate, make dinner with boyfriend, rent a movie. Musical talent: plays the harp. Next big purchase: a car with air-conditioning. Ideal romantic evening: "Just the two of us on a deserted beach." Career goal: "To ride the modeling train as long as I can." Family motto: "Our last name is Lemon, but we're sweet!" For more Aubrie, go to cyber.playboy.com.
What constitutes our male genetic inheritance, and how does that inheritance contribute to the ways men behave or misbehave today? I encountered some ideas about that subject based on new genetic research recently, and they're worth examining.
My friends and I were the last guest at a party. Everyone was a little drunk. Someone posed a question to the group: "What's the oddest thing you've masturbated to?" One girl said NFL football, a guy said receptionists (not a particular receptionist, but the idea)and another guy said women who smoke calabash-type pipes. All of these answers passed without comment. Then I said, "Cartoon women"--notably Holli Would from the movie Cool World, Julia Chang from the video game Tekken 3 and Rogue from X-Men comics. My friends all laughed hysterically. Am I as fucked up as they claim?--S.J., New Orleans, Louisiana
In January 2001 The Playboy Forum interviewed Michael Bellesiles, author of Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture. We recognized a classic agent provocateur, a historian who had the nerve to challenge a cherished myth, to ask novel questions and to assemble a wealth of supportive evidence.
"A person or organization shall not, with the intent to harm or intimidate, sell, trade, give, publish, distribute or otherwise release the residential address, residential telephone number, birthdate or Social Security number of any law enforcement--related, corrections officer--related or court-related employee or volunteer, or someone with a similar name, and categorize them as such, without the express written permission of the employee or volunteer."
Do you fantasize about sex with co-workers? Do you flirt? Have you had sex in the office? Your desk or hers? After the Christmas party? On a business trip? Did you get caught? Heard any good gossip lately? How did it turn out? What are the real-life rules for nine-to-five sex?
This fall former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss plans to self-publish a coffee-table scrapbook that chronicles her career. Pandering joins a crowded field of memoirs and autobiographical fiction by strippers, prostitutes, dominatrixes and other sex pros. We gathered as many of their books as we could and noticed immediately that each one followed the same formula, chapter by chapter. Is there a Famous Hookers Writing School that we don't know about? See for yourself:
Harrison Ford has just returned from New Jersey, where he had been practicing take-offs and landings in his de Havilland Beaver airplane. Now back at his New York City apartment, Ford is hungry. Although he gets $25 million to act in a movie, the former master carpenter makes breakfast--eggs, cheese, bacon and buttered English muffins, and you're having some, too. Ford may get arguments from Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise or Tom Hanks about who is currently the biggest star, but it's doubtful that any of those guys has the skills to fly a plane, build a house and cook a meal.
According to the cops, Leyla Ismayilova was a high-class callgirl, though she refused to admit it even if her life depended on it. Leyla was a 28-year-old, nearly six-foot-tall Ukrainian goddess. She had huge dark eyes, high cheek-bones, higher heels and couture by Versace. How else, they figured, would she know that the victim, Lyudmyla Petushenko, another beautiful young Ukrainian, had been beaten and then executed in her Studio City apartment? Having been in the U.S., illegally, for only three months, the leonine, blonde Lyudmyla had been making more than $10,000 a month as a callgirl. She was also recruiting new girls from the Ukraine to join her stable. Ambitious and driven, Lyudmyla was moving fast. Too fast, the cops surmised. Speed kills, especially in what was becoming known as the whore wars, the battle among ruthless Russians to take over the big-buck sex turf left vacant by the incarceration of Heidi Fleiss.
When 1990 Playmate of the Year Reneé Tenison reminded us she had a twin sister, we experienced minor heart palpitations. When she said her twin, Rosie, wanted to shoot a pictorial with her, we called for the EMTs. Cuba--steamy, idyllic, vaguely illicit--promised to be a suitably special location. The twins' modeling jobs are usually for one or the other, so they're known to play games. "One time we got busted," says Rosie. "But in the end the clients just said, 'We don't care which sister you are, one of you has to be here tomorrow.'" No danger of us being conned--this pictorial is recorded in stereo. (Should you care, that's Reneé, above, on the right.) The Cuba shoot proved to be its own adventure. The twins and some of the crew were diverted from Havana on their connection from Mexico and were sent to a remote airstrip hours away from the capital, where photographer Stephen Wayda's plane landed as planned. Making a long story short is never easy, particularly in a communist country. Let's just say that eventually--after some questioning that smacked of interrogation--the twins hooked up with Wayda in Havana. What a town! The grand old buildings have fallen into disrepair, but the spiral staircases and chipped paint add their own charm. The clubs are packed, the girls are hot. Look at the cars outside and you'd think it was 1957. And talk about hospitality. The group kept being invited into homes for meals. Of course, the invitations probably had little to do with the crew and a lot to do with Reneé and Rosie.
With little or no public debate, surveillance cameras have colonized public spaces in America. Sometimes in plain sight, sometimes hidden, these unblinking eyes are ubiquitous, and it's almost impossible to leave home without being taped. In stores, banks, offices, parking garages and the Statue of Liberty and on the Golden Gate Bridge, they are watching you. Some are controlled by a remote operator with a joystick. Others run automatically, recording loop after loop of film, which virtually no one ever sees. Never before has an entire population been under such observation constantly, not even in the heyday of Stasi, the notorious East German secret police. It's as if the entire U.S. were a casino or a prison, where constant visual surveillance has long been customary. Still, there is relatively little complaint about all the snooping. The cameras are part of the physical and cultural landscapes of 21st century America.
There's good news this year. Designers are talking about elegance. That's a code word--to nondesigners, it means value. When they talk about a return to elegance, what they're really saying is business wasn't so hot at the end of last year so they aren't taking any chances this year. The result? Clothing that will stand the test of time--nothing so daring that it won't last beyond the season. Of course, contemporary clothes have enough detail to be noticed. But this stuff will still look sharp for the next few years. So this is a good time to replenish your wardrobe. One other thing: We know you have a head for fashion. Now's the time to put a hat on it.
Moscow: October 13, 1998, 10:17 A.M. Sam Waterman spent the morning of his 45th birthday a hostage to his profession, stuffed rudely onto the rear floorboard of one of the consulate's Ziv sedans, the drive shaft hump wedged against his kidneys, his long legs tucked fetal, his body hidden under a damp blanket. Even though he knew he couldn't be seen through the tinted windows, he still held his breath as the car clunked over the antiterrorist barriers at the Russian police check-point outside the garage gate. He exhaled slowly when the driveshaft whined as the car merged into the late morning traffic.
Because you watched Fox' Girl Next Door: The Search for a Playboy Centerfold, you know that Christina Santiago was one of three finalists. "I wasn't a sore loser when I lost to Lauren Anderson, but I was disappointed because I didn't understand what Playboy was looking for in a Playmate," she says. "When I got the phone call saying I was going to be Miss August, I had to eat my words." The 20-year-old Chicago native's striking features helped her become a professional model, but she doesn't think she had an advantage over the other 11 women. "I'd never done nude modeling before," she says. "I didn't feel uncomfortable, because I'm content with my body, and I'm not afraid to show it." She was even less shy around the cameramen recording her every move for two weeks--much of the footage was deemed too hot for television. "We couldn't talk to the crew at all," she says. "The only thing that we could do when the cameramen left the room, which was probably mean on our part, was to purposely do something outrageous so they'd run back to the room trying to get to their cameras. I made out with this girl on the show, but I don't think you see that on network TV." So all signs point to the contestants' getting along, right? "Everyone thought there would be catfights. But the contract specifically said, 'No pulling hair, no spitting, no biting,'" she says. "I was laughing so hard!"
Women are easy. It's men who make things tough. Meeting women and getting laid is simple. It requires one part charm, one part looks, one part money and 97 parts balls of steel. Sometimes, though, formulas and lists and advice on pickup lines fall flat on the page. Sometimes you aren't convinced. Sometimes extraordinary measures are necessary to get lucky.
Before the 20th century began, doctors debated whether the human body could survive speeds greater than 60 mph. Motorcycles, first designed as pace vehicles for bicycle race or as labor-saving devices (no peddling up hills), quickly settled that question. In 1904 Glenn Curtiss took a five-horsepower Hercules bike up to 67.4 mph. Soon, commentators were writing about the motorcycle's ability to annihilate distances. Three years later, Curtiss put a 40 hp V8 engine into a two-wheeled frame and years went136.4 mph, a record that stood until 1930. At the time, the motorcycle wasn't just the fastest bike on the planet, it was the fastest thing. To quench his thirst for speed, Curtiss moved on to airplanes. By the Twenties, speed was recognized as a dangerous sin. An expert on the moral breakdown of youth in 1934 blamed electric lights, lurid movies, automobiles, jazz and nightclubs, literature tinted with pornography, the theater, cheap magazines with fabricated tales of true love, the growing cults of nudism and open confession, the prebvalence of economic uncertainty--and speed. Of all these temptations, speed is the purest and the most involving. Speed is a modern invention, a mortal sin, a (concluded on page 142)Fistful of Fast.(continued from page 107) basic need and/or the perfect use of discretionary income. It still generates headlines, if not moral concern Last summer a Chicago citizen on Honda was clocked doing 165 down Lake Shore Drive. The cop who wrote the ticket was impressed and thought the violation might be some sort of record (Well, if count only those who were caught, maybe.) The rider had to put the bike up for sale on eBay, then tried to cash in by asking for a job as a factory rider. The manufacturer declined.
No, it was terrible. He was my boyfriend of two years. In retrospect, he had a cocktail weenie, but I thought at the time it was gargantuan--this big, ugly thing coming at me. I thought it would never go inside me. We tried and tried, but it just didn't fit. I mean, we needed a shoehorn. After two or three attempts it finally worked. But it still wasn't fun--I guess because we didn't know what we were doing. It really wasn't on my agenda. I was having too much fun being a cheerleader. I was real peppy and flirty.
Standing at the checkout counter of Clark's Pump 'n Shop in Westwood, Kentucky, David Edwards decided to forgo his usual lottery ritual. Instead of picking numbers by family birth dates, he closed his eyes and went with the first thing that came to mind: 8, 17, 22, 42, 47, 21. Half a dozen numbers, locked and loaded, like a thousand fruitless times before.
Born and raised in New York, Amanda Peet attended a private Quaker school until she was seven, when her family moved to London. Upon the Peets' return four years later, she completed her Quaker schooling, then attended Columbia University, from which she graduated with a major in American history. Interested in acting throughout school, Peet was accepted into theater coach Uta Hagen's class while in her junior year at college. Over the next few years, Peet auditioned for roles, winning a Skittles commercial, doing off-Broadway, small parts on Seinfeld, Law and Order and Spin City, and acting in a load of forgettable, low-budget independent films such as Grind, with Billy Crudup. In the mix were a few mainstream movies, like One Fine Day, starring George Clooney, and Edward Burns' comedy She's the One, where she gained attention playing Jennifer Aniston's sister. Peet stole scenes and gathered momentum in the underappreciated Simply Irresistible, Body Shots and Isn't She Great, with Bette Midler and Nathan Lane. The WB network took notice and signed her to star in Jack and Jill, in which the former tomboy played Jacqueline "Jack" Barrett. The series had a two-season run. Her breakout film role arrived in The Whole Nine Yards, opposite Bruce Willis, in which she shows off her comedic talent shooting two guys while nude. She followed with Whipped, co-starring her now ex-boyfriend Brian Van Holt, and Saving Silverman, playing a bitchy psychologist opposite Jason Biggs and Jack Black. This year, Peet had three major-studio films: Changing Lanes, with Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson, High Crimes, costarring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman, and Igby Goes Down, playing Jeff Goldblum's heroin-addicted mistress.
Some of the country's trendiest nightspots have raised the bar on cocktails. You may feel like raising the bar, too, after you toss back a concoction of alcohol and energy drink. These babies pack a wallop--think of them as liquid power boosters. The canned or bottled kicks boast brands such as Red Bull, Magic Recovery and Rockst*r. Flavors range from the light and creamy Merlins to the sweet strawberry taste of Power Horse. Bomba comes in four varieties--champagne blast (it tastes like candied bubble gum), mint raspberry, orange fire and black magic (currants)--each bottled in a hand grenade-shaped glass container. By the way, don't pack one in your carry-on. Some drinks have enough carbonation to pop the lid off a martini shaker. Handle with care when mixing, or you may end up wearing your cocktail. Many drinks contain B complex vitamins--niacin (B3) and pyridoxine (B6)--and herbs such as caffeine-rich guarana and ginseng (said to increase sexual prowess), plus taurine (supposedly reduces stress). The cocktail on the right is the Star F**ker--that's the way it's spelled on the menu at Lola's, the West Hollywood hot spot that originated it. According to Loren Dunsworth, owner of Lola's, "Customers order the drink just so they can say 'Star Fucker' to their dates." As the number of energy drinks grows, so does the number of cocktails you can make with them. Here are a few to get you started--then experiment with your own.(concluded on page 116)
Extravagant, driven, daring, reckless--in many ways, Enron mirrors its hometown of Houston. Like oil-well gushers on the prairie, both rose from nowhere, the former to become a $100 billion Fortune 500 favorite and the latter the nation's fourth-largest city. Here, if you could dream it, you could make it happen. That's what made the collapse of the company so hard to believe. Last December, 5000 souls lost their jobs, not to mention their life savings and homes, as Enron's stock dropped from $90-plus a share to pennies. Then the unthinkable unfolded: Enron declared bankruptcy--the biggest in U.S. history. Hundreds of lawsuits followed, accusing the energy giant of off-the-books accounting, insider trading and bilking shareholders and employees. "Enron was a hall of mirrors inside a house of cards--reporting hundreds of millions of dollars of phony profits each year, while concealing billions of dollars of debt that should have been on its balance sheet," read one suit, filed by the board of regents of the University of California, one of many institutions to be affected nationwide. "Enron has turned into an enormous Ponzi scheme--the largest in history." Though the dream has dried up for the former energy firm, whose execs pleaded the fifth as paper shredders worked overtime, its most gorgeous employees have found that full disclosure is the way to go. They happily lost their shirts in what has come to be known as our pink-slip pictorial. "I've had a couple of tough breaks," said Carey Lorenzo, a former New York City sales rep, who echoed the sentiments of our other models. "What happened to Enron was a valley in my life, but Playboy is definitely a peak. I do believe in the adage 'What goes around, comes around,' and it's definitely my time to get a little bit back. If you surround yourself with goodness, it'll come. I'm going to ride this 15 minutes of fame and try to make it a million hours." The same boldness that drew Lorenzo and another nine of Enron's most lovely to Enron has led them to shed, not shred, for Playboy.
Below is a list of retailers and manufacturers you can contact for information on where to find this month's merchandise. To buy the apparel and equipment shown on pages 19--24, 30, 32, 41--42, 80--83, 106--107, 114--116 and 159, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
We're still not sure which was more fun--getting to stay at Skibo Castle, Andrew Carnegie's luxurious highland home, or flogging a new four-wheel-drive Range Rover up and down Scottish terrain. A baptism in a stream that was almost door-handle high capped one day of testing. This is Land Rover's third-generation Range Rover and it shares few components with previous models. In the States, we'll see the Range Rover fitted with a 4.4 liter V8 similar to the one BMW uses in its X5 SUV (BMW owned Rover for a short time, remember?), and Land Rover's current owner, Ford, saw no reason to scrap it. But what distinguishes this Range Rover from its predecessors is an alphabet soup of electronic goodies that includes Dynamic Stability Control and Hill Descent Control. The latter is especially impressive because it allows you to descend steep slopes with your foot off the brake. Land Rover says designer yachts and high-end stereos were the inspiration for the car's luxurious interior. If you want to take this $70,000 SUV off-road, fear not. Its electronic automatic gearbox and Steptronic two-speed gearbox with Torsen center differential should get you through anything short of a La Brea tar pit. Air suspension with three settings (access, standard and off-road) provides 11 inches of ground clearance when you're driving in low (or off-road) range. The accelerator in low is also less sensitive than when you are motoring in high, to give you greater control in rough terrain.