Take one luxury car 3 times every hour. You’ll feel better soon.
I felt like a million dollars. Well, $1,255,695 to be exact.
Imagine yourself at a swanky event – say, the Met Gala for the Costume exhibit, or the after party for the Academy Awards, and you get to re-enter every 20 minutes in a new designer gown. That’s how I felt at the International Motor Press Association’s annual “Spring Brake,” where writers could drive any new car around Bear Mountain.
I wanted to live like a one percenter for the day, so I gravitated towards the most expensive cars on the lot.
Why go off the rack if couture is an option?
After a while, the soft leather touches, massaging seats, exotic woods and 36 speaker premium audio systems can start to blend into each other, but there is a thrill in piloting the most luxurious automobiles, if just for a short spin.
Start at the top
How many times have you ridden in a Rolls-Royce? Or even seen one? I got to slip behind the wheel of this bespoke machine, which cost a cool $295,000. That’s right, over $70K more than the median house price in the United States.
But oh, what an experience. The Ghost just glided over the road, while I luxuriated in hand-stitched leather seats, lambswool floor mats and a ceiling glowing with thousands of little stars.
The Jaguar F-Type S Convertible fit like a glove – or a jacket. the bright red interior matched my coat and handbag as if we were destined to be together. This $92K beauty enveloped me in leather and luxury, with heated seats and steering wheel so you could enjoy the top down in all kinds of weather. Scotty Reiss is an advocate of a cream interior, but that red with the red exterior was both striking and energizing.
For a little less money – OK, about 40% less, the BMW M2 Coupe made you work for the ‘bargain.’ The $52K convertible is a manual, which is what real drivers what; indeed, my brother just bought one. The coupe has a premium Harman Karman audio system so you both look and sound good.
Bring the kids? Maybe not in these SUVs
I hopped into a couple of luxury SUVs that would be ideal family cars if your children never threw up or played outside. I think I would be a nut case if you took my children in the Lexus LX 570, which is $92,000, or the Range Rover HSE Td6, at $93,950. Both seemed like captains of industry machines, powerful and bold, and the panoramic sunroof in the Range Rover might eliminate the possibility of anyone getting car sick. With giant wheels, four wheel drive and a terrain response system for snow, mud, and sand, I could conquer the world -and get 25 miles per gallon. The Lexus had that same in control feel, but gets just 15 miles per gallon.
Then I took the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS550 for a spin. This SUV, not yet released, slides in for a touch under $100,000 and also has a panoramic sunroof. It has a rear entertainment system, sunshades, and easy entry into the 3rd row, so you are expected to load the kiddies in the back; then again, it costs more than my first New York City apartment. If you took this on a family vacation, forget about going camping or pulling up to a Best Western; it would be Ritz Carlton or the Four Seasons every time (not that that’s a bad thing…)
The Lexus GS F, at $87,000, delivered a more respectable 19 miles per gallon and had a huge moonroof, paddle shifters so you could pretend you were shifting and a lovely color heads up display that let me keep my eyes on the road. The 8 cylinder sedan delivered more power than you need driving to the mall, but maybe you still want that sports car.
The Cadillac CT6 Platinum AWD felt more sedate, a dowager compared to the dot com guy who can spend $88,460 on a sedan. The V-6 may not have had as much growl in the tank, but it also gets well over 20 miles per gallon, and the soft leather touches, interior roominess and OnStar connectivity gave the car a regal feel.
For my money – OK, really someone else’s – the Jaguar XF S AWD provided just as luxurious an experience, with the smoothest ride of all, at (a mere) $66,695. This sedan had just as much soft leather, a moonroof, fuel economy of 23 miles per gallon, a heads up display and all the top notch safety features of other top of the line luxury sedans. There are paddle shifters, a 10.2 inch touchscreen and soft close doors to protect little fingers and manicured nails.
By the time I drove the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4matic and the C300 4matic Coupe I was on luxury overload. Yes, it really is a syndrome. I think, ahem, I need to spend, oh, a week or so tooling around in these $60,000 cars to get a better sense of them.
A few more, just because
Volkswagen’s Beetle Dune Convertible wins the most adorable of the day. The cute little bug was there in a blue denim color with white piping; if you wear selvedge jeans, this is the convertible for you. At only $26K, it still had heated seats but they were cloth.
I rode back to the city in the Buick Cascada Premium, a $36,000 convertible in baby blue. The heated leather seats were comfortable and even with the top down, the car was quiet enough for conversation. Imagine Paul Newman sitting behind the wheel in this car, the exterior paint color matched by his eyes.
Yes, I could get used to this.