Autocar Optional mayhem

Discussion in 'News Feeds' started by Autocar, Monday 15th Oct, 2012.

  1. Autocar Valued Contributor ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

    458-Spider-options-list. How can the likes of Ferrari and McLaren justify their increasingly long, terrifyingly expensive options catalogues? Or is this actually what their customers want nowadays, in order to stand out from the crowd? While it’s hard to feel too much empathy for the kind of punter who orders a 200 grand Ferrari 458 Spider, or its new equivalent from McLaren, and then ends up spending a further £40k, £50k or sometimes £60k on optional extras, you do wonder whether the supercar manufacturers haven’t begun to take the you-know-what with their option catalogues nowadays.
    I’ve been lucky enough to drive examples of both such cars in the last two weeks – 458 Spider and MP4-12C Spider – and although the embargo system prevents me from telling you what the McLaren is like to drive, I can say the example I drove was fitted with a vaguely astonishing £49,500 of optional extras. Which is ridiculous.
    But that’s nothing compared with the Ferrari, whose list price of £198,936 rose to an eye-watering £262,265 thanks to the fitment of carbon fibre this, alcantara that, and heaven knows what else from the Maranello sales brochure.
    Looking down the list of exactly what was fitted to the 458 test car, the things that stand out as being especially amusing are; Ferrari iPod connection £580 (how can a tiny piece of metal that allows your phone to speak to the car’s stereo cost five hundred and eighty quid?), racing seats with stitched Cavallino on headrests £4961 (maybe I’ll have a four year old Honda Civic Type-R instead thanks), white rev counter £570 (no comment) and carbon fibre sport package £8277.
    You’d think that as part of the £8277 carbon fibre sport package you’d get, perhaps, a bit of carbon fibre to show for it here and there, but apparently not. Because if you want a carbon fibre rear diffuser it’ll cost a further £5168, while carbon fibre side sills cost another £5063. And then there are the £2171 worth of carbon fibre front wings and £1138 of carbon fibre exterior sill kick ins, not forgetting the carbon fibre B-pillar trim, yours for an extra £2112. Oh yes, and the carbon fibre wheel centre caps, which appear to be something of a bargain at £352, even though they’re no bigger than a five pence piece.
    The thing is, though, Ferrari’s customers can’t get enough of all this stuff. It allows them to customise their cars to their own, shall we say, unique tastes – and meanwhile Maranello’s bank balance continues to get fat. And everyone, amazingly, goes home happy.
    From the outside looking in on this world of optional mayhem, however, you can’t help thinking that the world itself has gone a little bit mad in this instance. To spend the equivalent of an entire BMW M5 adding stuff to a car that already costs £198,936 does, after all, seem a touch previous.
    Then again, if you’ve got it flaunt it, and enjoy the ride while it lasts. But don’t get offended when the rest of us have a good giggle at you from time to time, fair enough?