What makes one car a prestige motor and another an ordinary vehicle? Is it just a badge? Or is there more to the Mercedes star and Jaguar cat than we realise?
Many of my motoring colleagues will argue that all that is needed to make a good chauffeur vehicle is a leather interior and air conditioning, so money spent on expensive models is a mere extravagance.
Well, I know for a fact that this is simply not true. I have been lucky enough to drive – and to have been a passenger in – most of the mainstream luxury cars. I have also had the misfortune to drive and travel in the cheaper rivals. So let me assure you: there is definitely a difference.
If you don’t believe me, just take the door panels off a Mercedes. (On second thoughts, don’t do that! Just ask a car mechanic for details or take my word for it.) In a Mercedes door panel, there are more fixings than in an ordinary car, so it is less likely to squeak. Inside there is extra foam padding and soundproofing, which cuts out unnecessary vibrations as well as treating the driver and passengers to a much quieter and comfortable journey. Furthermore, there is extra sealant to prevent water or rust, which not only spoils the appearance of the car, but also its mechanisms.
So, with luxury cars it’s not what you see, it’s what you don’t see. Or, indeed, hear.
Cheaper cars are, in the long term, a false economy. That’s why Airport Lynx runs a fleet of Mercedes and other quality cars: these seemingly small differences make the biggest impact on customer comfort and financial management.by