Australians Guilty Of Being ‘Cheap’ When Buying Luxury Cars

We call it 'peasant trim': a subtle detail that makes all the difference when buying a luxury car.

Red Porsche

When it comes to buying a new car, there’s often a huge gulf between the recommended drive-away price and what you actually end up shelling out, with many car brands making a sport out of nickel-and-diming you for ‘optional extras’. But there are some optional extras that really aren’t optional.

Floor mats? That’s pretty essential. A reversing camera? Some people need it more than others, but we can understand stumping up for one. Okay, what about an in-car espresso machine? (That’s not a joke by the way: both Audi and Fiat have experimented with these over the years.) Maybe if you really love coffee…

The penny-pinching is often particularly outrageous with luxury car brands, where some extras or options packages can set you back hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Ferrari will charge you over $8,000 for Apple CarPlay in some of their models, for example – you could buy another car for that! Needless to say, the temptation to skimp on some options is understandable.

But if you’re going to all the effort to buy a luxury car, there’s one extra you really can’t skip: getting rid of that ‘peasant trim’. Indeed, we’d argue it’s even more essential than a spare tyre.

Orange Jaguar F Type
The Jaguar F-Type with and without its ‘black exterior pack’ – makes a big difference. This F-Type package will set you back $1,530, which is on the higher end as far as these things go. The equivalent package on a Porsche 911 costs $990, for example.

What do we mean by ‘peasant trim’? Well, most luxury/performance cars have steel or chrome trim highlights as standard (well, it’s usually just plastic, but you get the picture). Most manufacturers will also let you black those trims out (at an extra cost), or even colour-match the trim with the rest of the car. Leave it as bare steel? That’s peasant trim.

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So what’s the big deal? Well, leaving that peasant trim intact makes your car look worse. It seems trivial, but it makes a huge difference to the way your car looks, especially on cars with a prominent glass canopy, as the trim’s really noticeable around windows. Just look at the difference it makes on a Jaguar F-Type above.

More to the point, it’s a surefire way to spot that someone’s trying to live the luxury car lifestyle on the cheap. Balling on a budget is fine as long as you don’t actually look like you’re balling on a budget. It’s like, why spend all that money on a high-end automobile if you’re not going to do it properly? It’s a glaring omission that suggests a lack of taste.

Speaking of doing it properly, check out the most luxurious car from the king of optional extras, RollsRoyce – a bespoke, collaborative Phantom with a Hermès interior.

Is this DMARGE finally hitting peak petty? Perhaps. At the same time, you’d have to agree that blacked-out trim looks really amazing on luxury cars, particularly sporty ones. It even solves BMW’s big grille problem.

On a more practical level, it’s the sort of optional extra that buyers really look for, and will help you do better in the resale/depreciation stakes.

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But really, you just owe it to yourself to get rid of that peasant trim. Just tick that box and save money elsewhere, like on the transmission. Black trim, manual gearbox. It’s not rocket science.