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On vacation in Marbella, it is practically a rite of passage to drive a high performance Supercar along Marbella’s Golden Mile, a favourite pastime for the location. Therefore not inclined to break with tradition, many of my friends and collegues decide to rent a Ferrari in Marbella, in the pleasure of upholding this great automotive ritual. Driving a Ferrari is often a long held dream, but my friends occasionally admit, that they booked their car not without some trepidation. Aside from the fear of dying in debt, should they ever as much as put a scratch on their wheeled Fabergé egg, the car’s grander proportions and exhilarating speeds start to appear intimidating, rather than exciting. As dedicated car enthusiasts, these friends are determined to live this dream through to the end, they just don’t seem quite sure how to overcome these anxieties.
If driving a powerful supercar is a dream of yours as well, but you share the same hesitations, read on, as these are some useful tips to overcome your fear driving a luxury car.
As a general rule, while luxury car rental proprietors do like to rent out their cars, you may notice they also tend to like getting them back in the same condition. If ensuring that means a prep session before you go, more often than not they will happily agree to the request. A preparatory session will not only point out the mechanical differences of driving a supercar from a standard car, it will also calm your nerves as it builds your confidence. Really anyone with a driver’s license can drive a luxury car, but being eased into it certainly helps.
How many years ago did you first get your license, has there been even a day since then that you have not driven a car? That’s right, you know how to drive a car - don’t forget that. Perhaps the most important aspect to driving a luxury car, is to be confident. Like driving any regular car this means knowing how to turn it on before you get in, identify a destination before you head off and determine the route that you will take to get there. Accidents often happen because of unpredictable behaviour, such as not putting on your indicators, or putting them on way too long in advance, stopping unpredictably or making unsafe maneuvers.
For at least your first time out on the road, this may sound painful to hear but 1. put down your phone 2. turn down the volume of the stereo player and if you have to 3. tell your friends to keep it quiet. It is essential that when driving a luxury car you are entirely focused on the task at hand. It’s important that you are paying attention to what is going on around you, you need to be anticipating what other drivers may do and watching out for any potential hazards, so that you will be able to react fast enough to avoid them. While being alert might not make you the life of the party, look at it this way, it will keep you and other passengers safe, it will keep the car intact and your insurance premiums at an all time low.
Although this should be obvious, your luxury car experience should always be about the pure pleasure of the drive, not about throwing your weight around, trying to prove yourself to your friends or as a platform to gain self respect. Don’t drive like you’re the Beverly Hillbillies but then don’t drive like 50 Cent either. If something goes wrong you don’t need to get angry, start spewing foul language or get aggressive. It’s a calm self-control that you’re after, think of yourself as royalty as you drive. As in, if royalty wouldn't think it, do it or say it, you shouldn’t either. Besides there really is so much to enjoy with a luxury car rental, that it would be a total shame to throw away the experience getting angry with someone else.
Ok, so with the theory lessons over, here are some tips for when you are getting into the luxury car for the first time. While driving a supercar, does seem basic enough, once you are behind the wheel you begin to realise that they are wired slightly differently. Our drive was with the Ferrari California, which made for the ideal role model.
First of all make sure that you are comfortable. The seat can be adjusted with a few nodules located on the exterior side of the seat. Car functions like rolling down the windows are on the center console and are easily adjustable. If you feel like you want to adjust the position of the steering wheel so that it is better aligned for your height, simply reach towards the far left under side of the steering wheel where there is a small stick. Nudging it towards you will extend the steering wheel and vice versa nudging it back will retract the steering wheel further into the console. To open the convertible roof cover, the button is located also on the center console. You need to push it back and hold it in position until the roof is fully retracted into the boot of the car. To fold it over again, push the button forward and hold it there until the roof is firmly back into position.
Now, start your engines! Before you head off make sure that the parking brake is off, the automatic mode is on, ideally in comfort mode, and of course seat belts are buckled in! There is no key for the Ferrari California, so to start the engine you need to put your foot on the break and press the start engine button located on the steering wheel. The on-screen display will then read number 1 and automatic mode. Put your foot on the accelerator and you're off!
At this stage you are on the road and feeling nothing short of totally awesome, you may well be surprised by how incredibly smooth the drive is. There is no gear stick in the California, rather the gears are located on the center console in the form of button interfaces, with three buttons available: Automatic Drive, Reverse and Park, which activates the car’s parking sensors.
To step the drama up a notch you need to adjust the paddle shift. Already driving, you do that by keeping your foot on the accelerator and tapping both paddles together towards you at the same time. Each click of the paddle shift transitions the car’s gears allowing it to facilitate the increase in speed. One last tap will finally put the car into double neutral which will eventually bring the supercar back into a relaxed mode.
And that pretty much is all there is to it. My friend's Ferrari California drive in Marbella was absolutely a fantastic experience. While I think he was sorry to hand it back over, at least he was able to do so all in one piece, nerves fully intact.
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