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Published May 13th 2012
Sometime back I had a voucher for a Luxury Car Hire Drive Day. It normally costs $400, but the deal clinched it for $189.
The Drive Day offer was to get behind the wheel of 4 luxury convertibles, including a Porsche, Mercedes, BMW and Lexus - for a full day luxury driving tour for 2 people with luxury car hire ($500 value).
And this was what we got:
4 luxury convertibles including a Lexus, Mercedes, BMW and Porsche for a full day adventure.
Swap cars at stopping points through the day – every driver gets to try every car. Tasty morning tea and gourmet lunch included. Driving through stunning coastal and inland environments. Fun, glamorous experience.
Enjoy picturesque and beautiful sights. Start in Willoughby at 9am and return at 5pm. Free on-site parking for our own car.
Fuel, GST and insurance included.
On paper it looked like real value for money. So off went the three of us, the wife me and Bogan Express. I could feel the BE was not too excited to go, a bit jealous maybe?
The traffic en-route to Willoughby was horrendous and we thought we would never make it. When it rains in Sydney, there are massive traffic jams everywhere and this was one of those mornings. My wife called Luxury Car Hire and they were very considerate and asked us to take our time and come safely. We thought that was excellent customer service.
When we finally got there, our bladders were bursting. After lightening up, I had to sign some papers, especially for the Porsche, which had higher excess charges. I reckon it was $4000. The wife was only going to be a co-passenger and there's nothing she enjoys more than that! There was one couple and two young men also participating in the Drive Day experience - so that made four drivers. The leader of the Drive Day, Anthony, familiarised us with the cars, especially the roof procedures for each year. All that info went over my head. I was in a hurry to start.
I chose a Mercedes E250. I wanted to keep the speedsters for inside routes where a bit of speeding and cornering could be done. It takes a while to acclimatise to a new car, and suddenly when you have to follow and keep up with traffic ,it gets a bit dodgy. The car was nice inside, but the engine felt like it had been done to death. Most of these cars are bought second hand from Melbourne. The engine had to be revved hard and it made a loud whining noise, but hey, the looks we got from other drivers were priceless.
I was not to excited about the "Merc", but at the first stop we shifted over to the Lexus. I like my sports cars to be a wee bit comfy. Back in the good old days when someone was paying my bills in NYC, I used to rent convertibles like crazy, and that's when I discovered that they were not the most comfortable drives. But, the Lexus IS250c was very comfy. It had a quieter engine and what the wife liked the most were the heated seats which made her feel cosy. The drive too was refined and the engine responded well to taps on the accelerator.
From Willoughby we drove towards the Hawkesbury, and crossed over on the ferry to Wisemans. When we de-boarded, the look on the faces of the people waiting to board was worth the $189 we paid. They stared at the convoy of sports convertibles alighting one by one, and waved at us, which is unheard in boorish Sydney. We felt a wee bit like celebrities, but I must admit that the "shy me" also enjoyed it. Ha ha, we felt rich!
Now it was lunch time at Wisemans Ferry and Anthony took out a huge Esky and boy oh boy, had he packed lunches or what! There were many types of gourmet sandwiches, all on wholemeal breads. There was ham & cheese, egg & avocado, BLT and chicken, mayo & lettuce. There were juices, Coke, Fanta and some yummy dessert too. I think I ate at least for sandwiches, even though my wife kept saying not to since I had to drive. Ah,I was so famished, I just turned into a glutton. The two other young men ate at least five sandwiches each and I'm not joking. Oh boy, that was good but not before fast driving, especially cornering.
Now, we were on the inside roads where cops were not expected, so we could speed at our own peril. I cornered the car on winding roads at about 65-70kms and it was fine. Over 70, I felt that it was slipping a bit. The wife loved the BMW ride and we said that we must get ourselves one some day. We were basically going uphill from the Wisemans Ferry and then returning back. At the next stop, I tried Anthony's pilot car which was a black Mercedes SLK320.
But it was one bloody jalopy! The only good part was that the roof was easy to take off. Throughout the drive it was drizzling, so the roof was on and off. The worst part was that all the cars had to be stopped to activate roof. That was a bummer.
The Porsche was fast and had that sweet grunt which gave me a high. It reminded of Michael Jackson's song 'Beat it", which had the lyrics "the fire in my ass". My ass was on fire and I wanted to floor it - but the wife reminded me of fines and liabilities. Even the 0-60km/h run came up in a few seconds, we didn't time it but when you see your behind disappearing, you know it's fast. The sound was what really excited me. We both felt one of the other participants were dodgy. They would stop and let everyone pass and then you wouldn't see them for a long time. The woman was jumping into driver's seat, whereas she was not allowed to drive.
Anyway, we crossed back and Anthony advised that all drivers would now try out all the cars once more and then we head back. Once that was done, we stopped for tea and after which we picked up the Lexus to head back to Willoughby. On the highway, all our co drivers were speeding, but I wasn't bothered. I had done my share of speeding on the Autobahn and the state park ways in the US. We got back and headed home in our luxurious BE. All in all, a nice drive day. Luxury Car Hire has the Drive Day for $400, which is worth it considering that you get to drive all these 5 convertibles and get a nice packed gourmet lunch. Anthony was really great as a guide. Try it out!