Over the past two centuries, the automobile has changed drastically. What used to be a simple carriage on wheels has drastically transformed into the high-end vehicles we see today. Cars today have rear-view cameras, heated seats, air conditioning, automatic windows, and more. In addition to the interior of vehicles transforming, so have their designs.
Every year the world sees the advent of new technologies and features that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Some of these features are helpful and make the roads safer, like blind-spot detectors, while some are out of this world and unimaginable. Here are ten crazy features only high-end luxury vehicles boast.
One of the most extravagant and useless features found in high-end luxury cars is the proximity key. A proximity key makes unlocking a car much easier than it already is. What can be easier than pushing a button? By allowing the user to unlock the car by tapping the handle and allowing for keyless ignition.
A proximity key is a typical key fob with an array of antennae within. When within a certain range of the vehicle, the key fob makes a connection with the car. A simple touch of the driver's hand on the side of the car will cause it to unlock.
Next up is the advanced cruise control. This feature, only found in high-end cars such as Teslas, uses traditional cruise control with a twist. A series of cameras installed around the car constantly look out for hazards and detect road signs automatically and can adjust the speed of the vehicle accordingly.
For example, if cruise control is activated on the highway, the car can automatically slow down when it detects traffic slowing down ahead. In the same way, if driving down an urban road on cruise control, sensors and cameras can detect speed limits or hazards up ahead.
Following advanced cruise control is a feature known as Starlight Headliners. Many cars today are sold with a skylight or sunroof, which enables the driver and passengers to either look up at the night sky or let the sunshine in. They can also be opened to let in the fresh air.
However, if you are ultra-wealthy and want to look at the stars without opening a skylight, there is always the option of a Starlight Headliner. The Starlight Headliner is found in the Rolls-Royce Wraith and includes a bundle of fiber-optic cables woven into the ceiling of the car, in a specific pattern to display a constellation. It sounds pretty simple but comes with a price tag of $12,925.
Next up is the perfume dispenser found in the BMW 7 series. A typical driver would normally drive down to the nearest superstore and buy an air-freshener to keep their car smelling sweet. In the BMW 7 series, however, there is no need. In the glove box of the 7 series is a small notch for a perfume cartridge.
Once inserted, the perfume is automatically diffused into the vehicle to keep it smelling clean and fresh. This feature is included with 7 series cars and is also found in some Mercedes-Benz's such as the Benz S-class. It is important to note, however, that the refills for the cartridges typically retail for $50.
Next up is another feature found in the BMW 7 series called the gentleman function. While it sounds like something out of a Bond movie, it is, in fact, a very simple feature that serves a ridiculous purpose. This feature allows the driver of the car to adjust the passenger seat.
The idea is to ensure the driver can make their passenger comfortable. Supposedly, the gentleman function was designed so that a driver could pick up a date and adjust their seat for them, making them seem chivalrous and gallant.
Something a bit more useful is the Rolls-Royce anti-theft system. Although this feature cannot be controlled by the driver, many Rolls-Royce models come equipped with this unusual anti-theft system. Unlike the traditional family car such as a Honda or a Ford, luxury vehicles such as Rolls-Royce's come with ornaments on the hood, and these ornaments garner much attention from spectators and thieves.
With thievery of these ornaments becoming an issue, Rolls-Royce cars now come with an anti-theft system specifically designed to prevent the theft of the embellishments. When the decoration senses pressure, it retracts into the hood within a fraction of a second.
Next up is a feature so extravagant it can only be available in high-end luxury cars. Some high-end cars such as the Mercedes S600 come equipped with silver-plated champagne flutes.
While most cars come with a traditional three-person rear seat, the Mercedes S600 comes with an optional feature that rids itself of the three seats and replaces it with a two-seat rear cabin separated by a center console. Within this console are two fold-out tables, a refrigerator and two champagne flutes that are silver plated and have holders to grip the bottle and prevent leakage.
Following the back-seat refrigerator is the anti-paparazzi curtain. Obviously tailored for the uber-wealthy and ultra-popular in order to protect the privacy of their clients, typically celebrities, companies such as Bentley and Rolls-Royce offer anti-paparazzi privacy curtains.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom and the Bentley Mulsanne come equipped with these power-operated curtains which, with the push of a button, immediately pull out and block outsiders from peering into the vehicle. In addition to these curtains, these vehicles are also equipped with a partition between the front and rear cabin that can be put up with the push of a button. The curtain isn't cheap, however, as the anti-paparazzi package costs up to $15,969.
Adding to this list of crazy and extravagant features is the Bentley infotainment package. The infotainment package comes with two tablets (either iPads or Androids depending on the buyer's choice), a 12-inch screen that drops down and 15 GB for the buyer's personal music library.
While this seems like a simple enough system, the cost for this package is a whopping $32,000. The system itself is standard with most luxury cars, which come equipped with entertainment systems and even television screens in some cases. However, the Bentley infotainment system's price classifies it as an unnecessary and extravagant purchase.
Finally, this Bentley feature is the epitome of a high-end luxury. The Bentley Bentayga can come with an optional watch upgrade, and uber-wealthy users can opt to buy the Mulliner Tourbillon by Breitling mechanical, a watch equipped with a high-precision winding mechanism and a motor.
This watch comes in either rose gold or solid white and buying it can nearly double the cost of the car itself, which retails for about $200,000. The cost of the watch? $187,000. This watch's high price is derived from its rarity, as only a handful of units are produced each year, and its sophistication, complication, and precise mechanism are second to none.