WRITER: Ziad Taha
The idea is simple enough: take a bestselling product and add to its capabilities to better satisfy the growing requirements of customers. The result? Extraordinary.
With the recently unveiled Challenger 350, Bombardier has once again separated its class-leading super-midsize jet from any potential pretender. “The Challenger 300 has been very successful for us, “says Annie Cossette, the Canadian aircraft manufacturer’s senior communications advisor, “and we know that with the 350, we have to do even better.”
Some of the major upgrades include new engines, which enable the 350 to climb faster and fly further, new avionics that make it even easier to pilot, aerodynamic improvements that help reduce fuel consumption and for the grand finale, an overhauled interior.
“Our engineers have worked hard to craft the interior into something that’s fitting for both work and relaxation,” Cosette adds. There are now larger windows, authentic metal trim accents (a first in the aviation world), a completely modular galley and best of all, the ability to convert effortlessly from an office set-up to an environment more conducive to rest.
It might just be the technological advancements that excite customers the most though because in this regard, the new Challenger has an ace up its sleeve in the form of state-of-the-art connectivity. Not only does this allow for a purpose-built and intuitive HD cabin management system, it also makes it child’s play to stream your favourite film straight to your personal device of choice.
“Another great thing about the Challenger 350 is that it has what we like to call a ‘no fine-print-range’,” she continues. “We’ve said it’ll fly 3,200 nautical miles and that’s exactly what it’ll do. It’s a true ‘seats full, tanks full’ jet.” In concrete terms, this means you can take off from Dubai and reach such far-off destinations as Stockholm or Beijing with both pilots and eight passengers aboard and still have industry standard fuel reserves in hand.
This is precisely why we’ve elected a super-midsize jet for our Ultimate award this year. Considering that it can fly almost as far as any large executive jet but for a fraction of the price, Cosette certainly has a point when she says that “there’s simply no substitute for a Challenger”.
For prospective owners, some patience is still required. The first craft won’t be delivered until the second quarter of 2014 but already the region’s authorised Bombardier service facility, ExecuJet Middle East, is gearing up in anticipation.
“Every single person who has worked on this aircraft shares a deep sense of pride and accomplishment that we took the world’s best-selling super-midsize business jet and have made it even better,” concludes Cosette. “That’s no small feat, by any means.”
WHAT Bombardier Challenger 350
PRICE 25.8 million USD
SPECS Maximum cruise altitude of 43,000 feet and a range of nearly 6,000km
WHY A host of improvements including Synthetic vision, which allows pilots to see through the weather, makes the Challenger 350 the best price-to-performance plane on the market today.