What if you lived the glamorous life?
How do I define the "glamorous life" You probably watched the plethora of reality television shows, such as "The Real Housewives of [fill in your favorite upscale metropolitan area here]," "Love and Hip Hop [fill in your favorite Hip-Hop mecca here], and "Basketball Wives." Some of us love the fact that the bourgeois can be as real as everyone else, but with a more pretentious taste. Some of us get nauseated at this display of civility and breeding amongst the nouveau riche gone wrong.
Do participation in the glamorous life mean one has to balance the silver spoon with bad behavior? When has success become so ugly? Is being a member of the A-List mean being less than human in some relevant traits?
What does this have to do about automobiles? It goes back to the attempt to define "luxury" in both traditional and revisionist terms. Revisionist? Think about the latest round of consumers who infiltrated the entry-level premium market. The ones who thought that buying something more upscale will help their status in the world – even in the face of a global financial crisis and a recession.
Then again, there are those of us who are traditionalists. Hard earned work and money was put towards life's rewards. They want to celebrate this achievement with a vehicle that speaks to their arrival and their station in life. Luxury cars are supposed to reward the owner in the way they drive and treat them with delight.
Today's world – driven by reality television – is much more of a hybrid of both ideas about luxury. This mashup of the two may be a bit more complicated to parse out in this forum…but you may have your ideas of how this would manifest amongst luxury automobile owners.
Then again, I may be stuck in the 1970s. Hence why this My Favorites post came about. If I lived the glamorous life – what would I drive?
So, for Nene Leakes and any of you A-Gays, step away from my car! Here's a list of vehicles you would most likely see me pull up in.
2007-Current MASERATI GRAN TURISMO: Not all vehicles required for the glamorous life have to carry passengers. You don’t need an entourage or a posse to roll with. I prefer to ride alone. When I do, I'd like to make a statement upon arrival. Sometimes, I'd rather sneak in while the party is jumping. If I roll alone, I should have something that would take me there in style with plenty of firepower on board. I also like to feel comfortable upon arrival and calm after I leave. What better way to do so in an Italian 2+2! Since not everyone is enamored with a Maserati, it’s the perfect getaway machine. With a powerful V8 underneath its hood, there's enough thrust to keep me going. The Gran Turismo is also a very comfortable place to be with everything needed within reach. It's not perfect, but what is anymore? Besides, I would feel less of a [fill in your favorite anti-A-List expletive here] driving one. Seriously, would you hate anyone driving a Maserati?
2008-2017 LEXUS LS: Today's glamorous life is tinged with some guilt. As we push for a reversal of the damage humankind made upon this planet, the glamorous people show their wealth through being sustainable. Call it "green guilt." First, it was the Toyota Prius. But, why have a Prius when you can have the greenest flagship ever made: The LS 600h L. A flagship that reverses guilt, even Tony Hawk has one rolling on 22-inch rims. Under the hood is a 5.0-liter V8 connected to the Lexus Hybrid Drive – an electric motor with relative performance – with a combined output of 438 Horsepower. However, since it is over 2-1/2 tons, this limousine yields an average of 20MPG. But, is it too much? Why question whether this big sedan has too much of…everything. You simply arrive in it as glamorous as you can, throw up a peace sign and get your party on. But, if the LS 600h L is a bit too much, an LS 460 of this generation will do.
2014 MERCEDES-BENZ S 63 AMG 4MATIC: I'm being very specific here on this one. You see, if one car catapulted this work into a new trajectory, it would be this car. Why? Ask anyone who had seen it in my possession at the most interesting point in my career. I never expected to work with a Mercedes-Benz of this caliber. Yet, it delivered on multiple fronts that, yes, I can work with something on this level for the publications I write for. Consider what it offered: a handbuilt 577-horsepower 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8, AMG upgrades inside and out, and that three-pointed star on top of the grille. Not to mention a ride that broke necks and made new friends along the way.
2014-Current ROLLS-ROYCE WRAITH: Nothing says "the glamorous life" than a Rolls-Royce. You can ride in the back of a Phantom and dip your baguette into your jar of Grey Poupon. Or, you can drive yourself in a Ghost. Or, you can quicken your pulse (a tad) in the Wraith. It offers the best possible driving experience of any current Rolls-Royce model in the lineup. The two-door coupe is dramatic, precise, and elegant – all at the same time. What will put everyone in awe are the doors. The way they open outward from the front is worthy of a red carpet entrance. How do you shut the haters up? Pull up in a Rolls-Royce Wraith with no care to give.
2017-2019 PORSCHE 911: I could've picked any generation of this iconic sports car. I wound up with this one. The 991.2 might not be your favorite 911. However, it became mine. It might not have the drama the old air-cooled models of yore. However, it is a balanced ride with a Porsche performance on tap and grand touring luxury. Still, it is a Porsche. When you have a Porsche, you get respect. If you are looking for more than respect, you can get more performance – such as a Turbo S or a GT3 RS. No matter what, the fall back is the brand, the badge, and the iconic shape it wears.
2019-Current ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE: Don't get me wrong, I love me some James Bond magic. However, this modern sports car is far from a DB5 as you can get. It is perhaps the best driving machine I ever got behind the wheel of. That perfect center of gravity, along with excellent lateral control, is worth pulling up to the club in. But, why take it to the club when it is at home on a series of switchbacks in the mountains somewhere? The 505-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 brings the drama wherever it goes. With only two seats, there is no excuse for you to have some fun before you pop those bottles and get your swerve on.
All photos by Randy Stern