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Top marques keep back-seat in mind despite many bosses taking the wheel themselves

Pampered passengers who prefer to outsource driving are treated to plenty of fancy features in these super-sized offerings from leading luxury brands

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 December, 2016, 6:46pm
UPDATED : Friday, 16 December, 2016, 8:48pm

Hong Kong’s “bossmobile” niche has expanded over the past two years as business leaders increasingly drive themselves to work in luxury SUVs, grand-touring coupés and the big sedans. However, top marques are improving the back-seat comfort and connectivity of their executive limousines in order to create well-styled work and meeting spaces. These five models are ideal for a CEO and spouse on local commutes, and help them stay productive and relaxed on cross-border business trips.

The latest BMW 7 Series lacks the marque’s remote-control parking function in Hong Kong but the four-seater is still arguably the smartest bossmobile in town. BMW’s 5.24-metre showcase has a big glass roof and a rear console with a seven-inch touchscreen. The 7 Series also has two 10-inch tablets on the back of the front seats; and trend-setting gesture controls for navigation, entertainment and communication functions on the dashboard screen. The car’s Connected Drive system enables passengers to make phone calls, send emails and access information. There is also a 1,400-watt Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround-sound system and new voice-control electronics.

The marque has improved the rear VIP seat’s comfort and legroom and also provides a folding table and choice of eight back-seat massage functions. BMW has also devised a range of eight fragrances, and a dimmable light system that can change the cabin’s mood in six colours.

Local dealer BMW Concessionaires stocks a basic 258 horsepower, two-litre BMW 730LiA (HK$1.18 million), but the 326hp, three-litre 740LiA (HK$1.57 million) seems popular in Central and tonnes in 5.6 seconds. Its fuel efficiency ranges from 9.1 litres per 100km in town to 7 litres per 100km on combined runs, and about 164g/km of CO2 emissions.

Many local corporations still prefer the more sedate-looking Mercedes-Benz S-Class saloons for chauffeured trips, and the 272hp, three-litre V6 S320 (HK$1.27 million) seems best-suited for grand entrances in tiny Hong Kong. However, the Mercedes-Benz S500 Coupe (HK$2.19 million) looks more dashing, with an eye-catching grille and assertive LED headlights. Its stylish cabin is airy without a B-pillar and loaded with the marque’s latest electronics. It also belts out up to 455hp and reaches 100km/h in 4.6 seconds through a 9G-TRONIC PLUS gearbox. That’s about half a second slower than the range-topping V12 Mercedes-AMG S65 (HK$4 million).

The S500 Coupé tops at 250km/h, but consumes about 11.7 litres per 100km in town, and for 204g/km of CO2.

Its interior comforts include a panoramic roof, Mercedes me connectivity and smartphone-controlled vehicle settings, with options such as a 1,520 watt, 24-speaker 3D Burmester surround sound system. The marque can even install a fragrance generator in the glovebox. The 5.03-metre coupé also offers parking cameras and assistance electronics; and Magic Body Control, an active hydraulic suspension system that “almost completely” absorbs the vehicle’s roll and pitch, the marque says.

The 350hp Maserati Quattroporte (HK$1.4 million) is probably the most beautifully styled CEO’s car on Gloucester Road. A celebrity favourite, the 5.26-metre four-seater has a three-litre twin-turbo V6 engine and an eight-speed automatic gearbox with a manual mode that can whisk a fashionista to 100km/h in 5.6 seconds and top at 267km/h.

The model’s interior highlights are the Poltrona Frau leather upholstery, ergonomic switches, subtle interior chrome, and a Trident-badged steering wheel that begs for drives on the chauffeur’s day off. The car’s electronics include a seven-inch multifunction display, an 8.4-inch Maserati Touch Control unit, and a 10-speaker Haman Kardon audio system.

This basic Quattroporte’s fuel consumption ranges from 13.1 litres per 100km in town to 6.8 litres per 100km on combined runs, while its CO2 emissions range from 167g/km on highways to 321g/km in town. The marque also produces the 410hp Quattroporte S and a 3.8-litre V8 GTS that tops at 310km/h.

British Motors’ Jaguar XJ LWB Premium Luxury has a three-litre, 340ps supercharged V6 (HK$1.4 million) that clocks 100km/h in 5.9 seconds and tops at 250km/h via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The 5.25-metre bossmobile has plenty of stretch with four-zone climate control, a panoramic glass roof and phosphor blue interior mood lighting. The electric rear-window power sunblind and rear side window blinds offer privacy in traffic while chauffeurs might be grateful for the Big Cat’s intelligent stop-start, pedestrian contact sensor and parking-camera electronics.

The XJ also looks well-equipped for long journeys, with a three-setting dynamic stability control, three driving modes and automatic Xenon headlamps.

Its fuel-efficiency is competitive at 9.6 litres per 100km on combined runs. The XJ also has a soft-door-close mechanism, illuminated rear vanity mirrors and a generous boot for shopping trips. A two-litre turbocharged version costs HK$1.23 million.

The new Volvo S90 is worth a look if corporate headquarters slash bossmobile budgets. Dealer Volvo Cars Hong Kong offers the 254hp turbocharged T5 inscription (HK$569,800) and the 320hp supercharged and turbocharged T6 Inscription AWD (HK$799,800).

The 4.96m T5 seems more Hong Kong-friendly, as it tonnes in 6.9 seconds and consumes about 6.5 litres per 100km on combined runs via an eight-speed Geartronic gearbox. The T6 tonnes in 5.9 seconds and consumes about 7.2 litres of fuel per 100km. Both models offer lots of luxury and reflect the marque’s advances in connectivity, interior design and City Safety – which detects and reacts to objects in its path.

The S90 also has an interior motion security alarm; tempered glass in the side and rear windows, and full LED headlights with automatic bending technology.