Next time you buy a new car, make sure to browse through the options: you may be pleasantly surprised at what you may find.
Page through a new car options list and you may be forgiven for nodding off after the first few lines. At first glance it seems as if all the fun and excitement has been sucked out of the buying process with such unappealing items as 'partial leather seat' and 'rubberized floor mats.' But dig a little deeper and you may happen upon some weird and wonderful options that range from the laughably pointless to the rather quite useful and even desirable.
Kia Soul The Kia Soul is a funky little subcompact crossover. There are plenty of engine, transmission and convenience items on offer but the one that stands out is the lime green paint option titled Alien 2. Kia isn't the only ones to go a bit nutty on its pant color descriptions though. Dodge offers Yellow Jacket, White Knuckle, Destroyer Grey and Pitch Black among its colorfully named exterior paint options. Its rather unorthodox naming system also extends to the types of cars it offers too.
Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Plenty has been written about the mental 840-hp Demon. It is so fast that it will pop a wheelie off the line and nothing else on the road will touch it to 60mph. What you may not know is that the front passenger seat is a $1 optional extra. If you would like to take additional passengers along, fitting a set of rear seats will cost you an additional $1. Clearly Dodge does not want you to add any additional weight to your car, although even if all you plan to do is remove those seats and use them in your garage, they are worth the money.
Volvo XC90 The XC90 is a properly advanced piece of kit. The top T8 model features a turbo and supercharged engine as well as electric assistance. That means 400 hp from just a 2.0-liter capacity. There are a number of great options such as real wood trim and plush leather upholstery to choose from but the one that stands out is the Excellence trim. This transforms the interior of the spacious XC90 from a stylish 7-seater family SUV into a super luxurious 4-seater executive express.
This trim can only be chosen in conjunction with that top 400-hp engine so you will be paying almost twice the asking price of the base XC90 for it, but few other cars offer this level of opulence.
BMW M6 The new M5 has just broken cover and it is a fine machine but one thing it does not offer is the manual transmission option that is still available on the M6 Gran Coupe and Convertible. That's right, this rarely ticked option was available on the US-spec M5 as well until its replacement and it could make for a very rare and interesting car. If you are worried that your M6 will be down on power then the Competition Package can remedy that with a 40-hp power bump and the addition of a sports exhaust and suspension setup.
BMW M3 The current M3 and M4 are also available with a manual transmission but one interesting option is the no-cost standard suspension setup. If you are not going to be frequenting race tracks then it could be the ideal choice.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class Mercedes-Benz are generally at the forefront technologically and while the Airscarf is not exactly its latest tech offering, it can make all the difference in a convertible. It basically comprises of a vent built into the backrest that blows warm air on to your neck, an indispensable option on a cold day. Heating and cooling are a big deal at Mercedes apparently as you can get heated cupholders and armrests too.
Something a bit more futuristic is the MAGIC Sky Control feature which can gradually tint the glass roof portion. There is also more MAGIC (Mercedes insist on the capitals) in the Body Control feature. This system uses a camera to scan the road ahead to prep the suspension for upcoming bumps. Slightly less magical but still useful is the MAGIC vision control windshield washer. This system incorporates the washer jets into the wiper blades, which promise to increase visibility.
Porsche 911 GT3 The GT3 has long been the track-focused 911 in the range and a lot of development time goes into getting the suspension and chassis balance just right. The naturally-aspirated motor is powerful but cannot match its turbocharged equivalents for outright power. That's not what it's about though. The GT3 delivers a driving experience instead of just chasing headline numbers. It was unsurprising then that when Porsche dropped the manual transmission in the 991.1 version for a quicker dual-clutch system the core fans were unimpressed.
The good news for traditionalists is the no-cost Touring Pack that has been introduced for the updated 991.2 GT3. This option removes the large rear wing and replaces the PDK transmission with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Limited edition 911 R owners must surely be panicking right about now.
Bentley Bentayga The Bentayga is a big 600-hp SUV that offers a level of luxury that has yet to be surpassed in this class of vehicle. Of course, there is that ludicrously priced Breitling dashboard clock that costs a cough inducing $160,000, the same as the entire car, but you can also opt for a fly-fishing equipment pack and a fully kitted drinks cabinet complete with crystal glasses. These two packages are considerably more affordable, although at this level that term is relative.
Tesla Model S Tesla's Model S has been at the forefront of electric car design for years. It has the ability to carry up to seven passengers, accelerate to 60 mph quicker than a supercar and, if you choose the Premium Upgrades Package, fend off a bioweapon attack. Just what you need on the school run. The ventilation system claims to be able to prevent viruses and bacteria from entering the cabin as well as well as filter out unwanted odors and fumes. That may actually come in handy when you are stuck in traffic.
Not everyone will want a Falconry kit or ultra-luxurious set of rear seats but it is good to know that such items are out there. It means that there is still a place in the motoring world for something a little bit out of the ordinary. What we also found was that a number of interesting and sometimes quite desirable options are available across various makes and models and in some cases they tend to be a no-cost addition too. So, the next time you are getting ready to buy a new car take a bit of time to browse through the options and extras section as you may be pleasantly surprised at what you may find.