The differences between an economy car and a luxury car are fairly obvious. A luxury car has improved performance (larger engine, improved suspension, et c…), a refined interior (premium materials, high-end electronics, et c…), and a high price tag. But distinguishing luxury cars from ultra luxury cars isn’t always so easy. It’s tough to convince buyers to pay $30,000 more for extra horsepower they can’t (legally) get the most out of and marginally softer leather. Consequently, upscale brands end up including some pretty innovative (weird) features to help justify the price difference. But, they don’t always hit the mark, so we’ve made a list of some the worst luxury features available.
BMW: Gentleman Function
Yes, BMW has something called the “Gentleman Function.” It’s a name that’s unsettling for several reasons, the least serious of which being the fact that some women drive BMWs. The feature simply allows the driver to adjust the passenger seat. But it’s hard to think of situations in which that would necessary or welcome. Each official BMW Gentleman receives his own 7-Series monogrammed fedora.
Bentley/Mercedes-Benz: Don’t take luxury for granite
Recently, Bentley found an ingenious use for the great quantity of rocks lying around on this planet: they decided to stick them in the interior. Per Bentley’s marketing team, “This innovative interior finish utilises state-of-the-art stone veneer technology to make a luxurious, contemporary feature of a natural product formed over 200 million years.” If you can ignore the fact that Bentley is taking credit for the formation of the Earth, and that you could use the same argument to sell crusher dust, you won’t hesitate to drop a few hundred thousand dollars for a stone dashboard. But Bentley wasn’t the first automaker to see if people who pay more for some stone.
In 2005, Mercedes-Benz offered a Designo interior package with granite trim. Yeah, granite: like the countertop. Not only is granite notoriously heavy (a property reviled in automotive design), it also provokes a desire to chop carrots. Quite simply, there are a hundred materials I could list off the top of my head that convey a greater sense of sophistication, style, and class than granite.
Rolls Royce: For the Sake of Painstaking Paints
BMW: Gesture Controls
Steering wheel-mounted volume controls work perfectly and don’t require a driver to look down. That is crucial during a time in which distracted driving has become as dangerous as impaired driving. Adding weird air gestures also increase the likelihood of software malfunctions and the price of replacement parts. It also makes you look like you’re conducting the A/C Symphony.
Mercedes-Benz: Unnecessary Accessory
Mercedes-Benz is notorious for weird features to help justify their larger cars’ ridiculous price tags. Can I interest you in a $91 coat hanger or a $300 “coolbox” (cooler) for you S-Class Sedan? What about an $8,500 package that includes a refrigerated compartment, folding tables, and champagne flutes? I don’t think your average glass repair shop covers crystal decanter repairs, so be careful back there.
But perhaps the greatest offence perpetrated by Mercedes is the cabin fragrance atomizer with six distinctive scents. Because you can’t hang a pine tree from a thousand dollar rearview mirror, the system uses some sort of dark art to protect your cabin from the odour of the commonalty.You can choose from several scents (which need to be replaced at your local dealership) including Agarwood Mood, Pacific Mood, Nightlight Mood, Freeside Mood, Downtown Mood, and Sports Mood, which sounds like a behavioural disorder made up by a Montessori parent.
Bentley: What’s Your Time Worth?
For Bentley’s new Bentayga SUV, the luxury automaker partnered with watchmaker Breitling to create a custom piece. Instead of a wristwatch accessory, Bentley has placed the design in the dashboard as an analog clock. Traditionally, an analog clock adds a touch of class to a luxury vehicle. But, traditionally, that touch of class doesn’t cost an additional $150,000, the price of Breitling’s creation. Ignoring the fact that it doesn’t look very good, I wonder what depreciation will do to it. When you sell your Bentley, you may have to strip the clock out and set it on your nightstand.