Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Don't Read the Car Reviews

Here's something I stumbled on while browsing the New York Times website, which kind of just made me groan:

TESTED 2009 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG

Mercedes and AMG have taken the V-8 version of the SL luxury sports car in a more aggressive direction.

HOW MUCH? $138,475 including the $2,600 gas guzzler tax, which is a third more than the basic SL550 ($99,375) or about half the price of an SL65 AMG Black Series ($299,000).

WHAT MAKES IT RUN? 6.2-liter V-8; 7-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode.

The E.P.A. thinks so, rating its consumption at 12 m.p.g. in town and 19 on the highway.

THERE is good news for anyone who has $135,000 to spend on a sporty luxury car. First of all, you’re rich, so congratulations on that. Second, it’s hard to find a bad car for $135,000.

Perhaps your tastes run toward an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, an Audi R8 or a Maserati GranTurismo. Or maybe you’re more of a Porsche 911 Turbo person. For $135,000, you could surely find the keys to a gently used Bentley Continental. In any case, you’d have a fast, flashy testament to your personal success (or at least, that of your ancestors).

But there’s another car in this price class that is aimed at the quietly wealthy, the kind of people who can spend a lot on a toy but don’t much care if every valet at Chez Pretentious can rattle off the sticker price. The Mercedes SL63 AMG, oddly enough, is a 518-horsepower retractable-roof two-seater for people who don’t need to show off....

The writer at least seems to have a healthy sense of irony about people's motivations for buying such vehicles.
It's hard for me to imagine spending $138k on a car, even if I did have money to burn. Expensive things like this often make me wish I could just try them out once, though. Cars, wine, food, etc-- up to a point, it's understandable that you get what you pay for, but after a point, does it really make a difference? $40k or $50k will buy you a very nice car, so how much better is one that costs $138k? Or more to the point, perhaps, how will you manage to enjoy what's so much better about it without getting speeding tickets all the time?

1 comment:

H said...

I live in NYC, I don't own a car, and in fact, I hate driving. But I secretly covet nice cars. They look so beautiful. And the rides are so much smoother.