How would you like to replace your humdrum daily driver with a Lamborghini, McLaren or Ferrari for a day? Sounds like fun, right? It’s entirely possible.
Exotic car rental services aren’t exactly new, but the Internet has made them much easier to find. If you can’t afford a supercar, or just have no desire for something so impractical on a daily basis, you can still indulge in the extraordinary driving experience these machines offer. Or can you?
Renting a high-end car isn’t the same as owning one, and there are some important things to know before you put down that deposit. By the way, it’s a big deposit.
The Price of Excess
Supercars are expensive, so you’re probably not surprised by the fact that these cars can run upwards of $2,000 for a single weekend. Prices will vary, depending on where you choose to rent. Some of the rental companies you see at the airport have luxury fleets that include Corvettes and Porsches.
To access truly exclusive cars, you’ll probably choose to rent from an outfit like Gotham Dream Cars. You’ll need to provide a valid driver’s license and show a clean driving record, and you’ll also need to plop down a credit card deposit in case of any damage to the car. This could be more than double the projected rental price, upwards of $6,000.
The rental company will likely require your insurance to cover damage to the car — no waivers here, like when you go through a company such as Alamo. And be prepared to pay extra if you exceed the mileage limit: Typically, you’re on the clock past about 200 miles. So renting an exotic isn’t exactly difficult, but it is pricey.
What to Look Forward to
There are some perks to indulging in luxury car rental. For one, you don’t have to settle for whatever “equivalent” vehicle is there on the day you arrive. You’ll be presented a selection of sports cars from around the globe to select from, and you’ll probably drive the exact car you pick out. The company will typically deliver the vehicle and return it, as well.
What If Something Goes Wrong?
Ah, yes. There’s always the chance that you get a little carried away behind the wheel, or, more likely, a fellow road-goer chooses to do something stupid during your happy time in a rented Ferrari.
You will be fully responsible for damages to the car, and repairs to exotics can be costly. For this reason, you should consider what you want. If you’re looking for a party on wheels, choose a limousine rental and bring your pals along. Mixing strong drink and rented supercars is poor form, and has been shown to lead to very, very bad things. If you’re looking just for luxury and a fun night, get a limo and let a pro drive. If you’ll all about the driving experience, get a supercar. Make sure you know the reason you want to rent first.
Don’t be intimidated by the fact that the cars are fast. It’s not 1973 anymore. You don’t have to be a contortionist to get into the latest and greatest Sant ‘Agata Bolognese has to offer. Yes, these cars are powerful, but they also offer superb handling and stopping performance, and they’re very driveable.
If you can swing it, step up and pick out the car of your dreams to test for a weekend. Just don’t come expecting to find anything with a stick — they’re all paddle shift now. But then, you weren’t expecting a rental company to be that foolish, were you?
Scott Huntington is a writer and car fanatic from Harrisburg, PA. Check out his site offthethrottle.com or follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.