Style in a car is all about that first impression. You admire what you see. It is subtly appealing to the eye but is neither brash nor loud. It is understated, enduring, timeless, but has commanding presence. Throw ‘sophistication’ in and you have a combination of understated beauty, timeless styling, and an air of quality. When the engine sparks into life, it will attract the attention of the most passive and disinterested observer with its deep, powerful grunt. To be driver or rear seat passenger of this car you’ll be fairly well-to-do and wear designer clothing. You are not a show-off, just someone of bespoke taste, someone others might quite like to get to know… You see, you drive a Maserati Quattroporte V8, with Zegna leather interior, a brand that just happens to be the maker of your clothing.
Alternatively, you could be more traditional by nature, one who believes in craftsmanship and quality, maybe with a fine sexy touch. If the finest leather, an engineering masterpiece of a V12, thick pile carpets and a little ‘drivers’ car’ panache is what you’re looking for, then you will be the pilot of the new Bentley Continental GT. You see, in this case it matters that your car is expensive; it matters that the name ‘Bentley’ opens doors, gives you status, and denotes you are a person of standing.
Yet when wealth is aligned to a zest for living, the thrill of speed, respect for pedigree, and sheer passion; when the car you drive looks seductive, sexy, and sounds extremely powerful; when it’s a car you must have loads of money to afford… it has to be a Ferrari. Yet the key to this style and sophistication will not be in just any Ferrari, but how about this Ferrari Daytona 365GTB4 or the 275 GTB 4 – now selling in the region of £700,000 for the Daytona and circa £2.5 million for a good 275.
Britain has its own brand of style and sophistication. It’s called Aston Martin. Most of the Aston owners I know speak more of the ‘perception’ appeal of the brand than the car itself. In contemporary terms the new Aston Vantage cuts a dash, but the more traditional Aston style of the ‘Bond’ DB5 may appeal most in the sophistication stakes. It’s your call – either way it is a car that you’d feel guilty driving in your trackies and t-shirt.
That is if you are driving, of course. If you’re being chauffeured no one does it better than the crème de la crème of quality – which is still Rolls-Royce. The new Rolls-Royce Phantom is an incredible statement of craftsmanship, quality and presence. It is quite frankly a phenomenal driving/driven-in experience, and every drive is an occasion. The Phantom is serene, its elegance profound, its beauty deep, its engineering beyond superb. When you turn up anywhere in this icon, people notice. It remains the understated king or queen of elegance.