Luxury cars pimped to perfection

A touch of Africa: Esther Mahlangu, 81, creating artwork for the BMW 7 Series. Her Ndebele art adorns the interior of the BMW. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Speed and performance aside, there are small, fine car upgrades that can align with your unique personality.

I recently spent a few days driving a BMW with a perfectly balanced twin power 35i engine. This six-engine sounded amazing and went like the wind, thanks to its turbo charged 225kW and 400Nm of torque.

Speed and performance aside, there are small, fine car upgrades that can align with your unique personality.

While the nouveau riche may tick every box of life’s small pleasures list just to impress their peers, the well-heeled with old money are more conservative. They will often opt for the more discreet version of a premium vehicle brand.

When money is not a limiting factor, you deserve to reward yourself with a great personalised vehicle. The very top end of the market has customisable vehicles like Rolls Royce, Bentley and Mercedes Maybach.

You might even opt for the incomparable Bugatti Chiron, sporty Aston Martin or a less practical but desirable Italian marque like the Ferrari.

If you still want to enjoy the trappings of a handcrafted vehicle but prefer to blend in, these two German brands can deliver that exclusive individualism that only very keen people will notice.

BMW Individual

As the name suggests, it comes with personalised treatment. It is available across the entire BMW range, including the 3, 4, 5, 6 Series, as well as the X5 and X6 range and high performance M range with exception of the M2.

The 2017 BMW 7 Series Individual is aesthetically perfect from every angle. But the inside is where the real story is. The hand-braided seats are made from fine grain ‘Merino’ leather that comes from the best grade of cattle, bred on a special diet.

This soft supple feel is not available in your standard BMW and you can choose from six colours.

The wood trim resembles of a grand piano, a billionaire’s yacht or a fine dining table. At the back seat you can have a cooling box for your vintage beverage. You can order this with special flutes for your champagne.

You can also go for the Individual Manufactory (Manufacktur). This allows you to choose beyond the limitation of only six colours, to a wider band of over 100 exciting hues from the sporty to elegant, including fire orange and speed yellow.

The 750Li xDrive Solitaire Edition that was limited to only six pieces, is not only BMW Manufacktur’s most impressive masterpiece to date, but also one of the most expensive ever built.

Entry is via a diamond key set. The roof is lined in Alcantara, floor mats are soft lamb skin and you get leather covered boxes for your tissue in both rear doors. Like at home, you get extra cushions embroidered with the Solitaire logo.

In case you forget, a silver plaque with the words ‘One of 6’ takes pride of place on the centre rear armrest.

And there is more. You have five, one-carat diamonds set in the interior trim of the dashboard and doors.

Mercedes designo

My choice from Mercedes will be SL designo Edition because it is not as bulky as its four-door siblings. I do not intend to carry any passengers in my super personalised vehicle. It would pointless to have another limousine. Right?

A designo is an option that gives you an exclusive and distinctively Mercedes Benz. The exterior finish uses a highly sophisticated multi-layered process of nano-technology that has an ultra durable clear coat embedded with ceramic particles.

It’s like a bespoke suit. You don’t have to fit in, it fits into your personal style. You can order this with most models. In the SL, you can have eight different choices of leather including sand, classic red, white, siena brown or the light brown.


These can be matched to four exterior coats. The interior trim could be natural bamboo or a choice black or white piano lacquer.

On the inside, you have a choice of ribbed sports seats in Nappa leather in either solid or duo tone motifs.

The hides are carefully-selected to upholster the vehicle and matched by the artisan for uniformity of grain and colour tone.

One thing they will not do though is embroider your initials on the headrests or anywhere else for that matter. You will have to settle for the designo or AMG logo.

The floor mats are thick, fluffy and feet-loving with elegant handstitched leather borders, very classy indeed.

The joy of this vehicle is you will want to let your hair down and cruise down every available by-pass with the top tucked away in the boot.

In the chill of July, you will enjoy the AIRSCARF that gives you neck-level heating. If you have no hair to let down and are often stressed by your wealth or fear of losing it, you will get a free massage from the multi-contour seat package.

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.