Luxury cars are designed for convenience and comfort. We want everything right at our fingertips. We don’t want to reach farther than necessary. We don’t ever want to be too hot or too cold — whether that involves the face, the feet, or even the backside.
Because of these expectations, luxury cars are often known for their impressive features. The little things that make life easier and more refined. Often times, once we get beyond the quieter ride and more comfortable seats, flashy features are the most eye-catching differentiator from one car to the next.
With that said, some luxury cars have features that are strange, ridiculously extravagant, and downright bizarre. Let’s take a look at a few of the most notable:
1. Jaguar’s Retractable Gear Knob
Ever get into your car and think, “Man, that pesky gear knob is in the way when the car is off. I just wish it would only come out when the car was actually on”?
No, you’ve never thought that? Me neither.
But apparently that didn’t stop Jaguar from thinking that’s what we wanted. In fact, they outfitted their cars with exactly that feature — a gear knob that remained hidden from view when the car was off and that raised up when the car was started.
Confused? Don’t worry, so is everyone else.
2. Perfume Dispensers
Versions of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the BMW 7-Series have taken the “new car smell” to a whole new level. Instead of just buying an air freshener or keeping the car clean, many luxury carmakers install air fresheners in the car with cartridges containing their own personally designed scents.
Kind of amazing, but also completely ridiculous.
3. Motorized Cup Holders
Again, we’re seeing a common theme here: motorizing things that have no business having motors in them. A cup holder is a perfectly low-tech feature; all you really need is for it to stay still and exist so you can place your cup in it. That’s all.
Cadillac’s 2014 CTS disagreed. Cadillac thought, in fact, that you needed that cup holder to have a motor to serve as a reminder that you indeed were behind the wheel of a true luxury vehicle.
Check out this baffled Cadillac owner having a full-blown existential crisis trying to make heads or tails of his auto cup holder:
4. Porsche’s Leather Air Vents
When I take a seat in a luxury car, I expect—on some level—leather everywhere. That is, until I discovered Porsche’s leather vents, and I realized that there were in fact limits to where I expected—or even wanted—leather in my luxury car.
That’s right: Porsche took the “wrapped in leather” concept so far that the air conditioning vents are actually made with leather.
Perhaps on some level, Porsche is sending the message that air that passes over plastic before reaching your skin is beneath you, but is that really worth an extra $2,500? You be the judge.
5) Pop-Up Speakers
A good sound system is crucial to any car, let alone a luxury vehicle. But do the speakers really have to pop up to greet you with beautiful vibrations?
Apparently Audi thought so with their A7 because it features pop-up tweeters. Observe:
I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s just one extra thing that could stop working. It would be a million times easier to just have them there all the time. Plus, putting motors on every single feature in the vehicle amounts to a lot of added weight.
The more luxury cars there are, the harder it is for a vehicle to differentiate itself. That’s one of the reasons why we see so many extravagant luxury features. They get our attention, they feel expensive, and they make us feel like we’re driving something truly special. That’s how it’s supposed to work in theory, anyway. In practice, sometimes they just don’t always hit the mark.