The recession is over, at least apparently. So what should the prosperous businessman do? Buy a new limousine, of course, which is why we have brought these three super-saloons together for a boardroom battle that is big in more ways than one. However, in line with the carefully optimistic sentiments of Singaporeans, we have been careful not to “overspend” when deciding on the models from their respective dealerships. So it’s the $356k Lexus LS460L instead of the $391k LS600hL, the $325k Mercedes S350L instead of the $418k S500L, and the $338k BMW 740Li, not the $428k 750Li. In other words, we saved over $200,000 – sort of.
The cheapest car here, relatively of course, is the S-Class. Recently updated, the greatest carriage in Cycle & Carriage (after the mysterious Maybach) now sports trendy LED exterior lights and even more equipment, from the frivolous to the fabulous. As usual, a long list of optional factory-fitted features are available to bump up that base price and possibly boost the buyer’s ego. Big ticket items include exclusive leather upholstery called Passion that costs $21k, 20-inch AMG alloy wheels for $16k and Active Body Control for $12k. But $3,400 for a fold-down table behind the driver’s seat is a bit much.
BMW is less forthcoming about the retail prices of 7 Series accessories, but they probably won’t undercut those of the S-Class, especially the high-tech options like Lane Departure Warning, Night Vision with pedestrian recognition, and Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go. The 740Li is the upper mid-range model of BMW’s flagship line-up and therefore already well equipped for the Central Business District, so ticking the extra boxes on that booking form is quite unnecessary. The standard package, by the way, includes three years’ non-transferable membership in the unique privileges programme for new 7 Series owners.
The Lexus LS460L doesn’t offer the BMW’s lifestyle benefits or the Mercedes’ level of customisation, preferring a simpler approach, which is to throw in everything but the kitchen sink. What you see is what you get, and you might get the kitchen sink too if you ask politely. New niceties added to the latest LS include three-mode air suspension, USB plug-and-play for your MP3 player, anti-whiplash front headrests and a sophisticated but complicated self-parking system. The interior has also been improved, while the exterior has been lightly facelifted and now looks a little less bland than before. Three new paint finishes – Sleek Ecru, Deep Peridot and Lapis Lazuli – have also been introduced. In non-Greek, these shades are respectively golden beige, jade green and purplish blue.
Okay, all you towkays reading this epic must be getting restless by now, so let’s move on to the main event…