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In the post-Town Car era, limousine operators have plenty of choices for a successor vehicle. As of this year, there are more chauffeured vehicles to choose from on the market than at any other time in the history of the limousine industry.
Manufacturers are selling diverse vehicles at all price ranges with all sorts of technology and mechanical upgrades that boost performance and save a bit on fuel.
But where do you go if you want the same attributes and amenities that the longtime and officially retired Lincoln Town Car Executive L offered? The new industry reality is that if you want a traditional, roomy V-8 sedan with all the trappings, you will have to pay much more for it in the new chauffeured vehicle market.
With enhanced V-6 engines now considered the new V-8s, you have to go with a premium sedan for a genuine V-8, along the likes of a BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi or even a Jaguar. With BMW pricing incentives, the costs of the 2012 and 2013 750Li models will fall into the mid-to-upper $70,000s. The BMW 750Li provides most of the attributes of the Town Car Executive L, with the BMW engineering and performance, but costs about twice as much.
For operators with a strong premium sedan client base, the BMW 750Li is a fleet shoe-in. Just take it and drive. For operators with clients who want the Town Car experience and price, well, you’ll have to do some strenuous arithmetic to make it happen at competitive price levels (See accompanying chart).
One operator told me the BMW 750Li was the most comfortable rear seat of any vehicle he sampled during the 2012 International LCT Show in Las Vegas: “It meets all of the requirements of a chauffeured customer of the Town Car and what people expect. It’s big, comfortable, and has a boardroom feel.”
So let’s pretend we live in a perfect chauffeured world, where the BMW 750Li can work as a primary fleet vehicle; a world in which all clients are upper level executives or CEOs, clients routinely ask for and can afford a BMW, and the economy is back to Reagan/Clinton proportions with 4-5% average annual GDP growth and 4-5% unemployment. Driving the BMW 750Li makes you fancifully dream of how good things can be.
The luxury sedan engages and pleases on many chauffeured fronts: