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Cars for the haves and the have-yachts 

Technically-speaking, the most expensive cars on Kenyan roads today will not be found in the forecourts of our showrooms.

Expensive cars

The ostentatiously rich individuals are showy but the truly wealthy are humble and discreet.

They will be seen cruising in bespoke Bentleys and Ferraris.

Some will glide around in rare brands like Aston Martins and those with real class will even have a hand built classic from the 1950s.

When you are wealthy, you are beyond rich.

You do not need to be affirmed.

You have everything you need because you have worked hard to afford what you want. The ten most expensive cars on Kenyan roads today are not only a study in luxury and refinement but also make a social statement about their owners.

The new array of vehicle models on the roads is evidence that not only are motorists going for convenience, but also for safety, beauty and class.

The vehicles range from the fashionable to the frivolous, bespoke to boring.

Their luxurious features could equate them to yachts on wheels

While you are able to further customize these models, here is a sample of some of the more expensive cars in the Kenya showrooms:

1. Range Rover  (Sh20.75 million)

Former Leeds goalkeeper John Lukic once described Monaco, an idyllic billionaires’ playground as a “place for the haves and the have-yachts.”

Substitute Monaco with Nairobi, and the Range Rover is for the “have-yachts”.

At Sh20.7 million apiece for the 5.0L V8 Supercharged model, one can buy… hold your breath… 34 Toyota Probox cars.  So what makes this car so expensive? The Range Rover is a covetable piece of machinery both for its luxury features as well as its performance. It combines off-road and on-road capability in an unparalleled combination.

The inside of the vehicle is a study in opulence, with each knob, lever and leather stitching delineating the attention to detail that justifies the price tag.

It can accelerate from zero to 100kph in 6.2 seconds flat and reach a top speed of 220kph, which means that one can travel from, say, Nairobi to Nakuru in under an hour, speed limits allowing.

Other attributes that separate the Range Rover from other pretenders to the throne are a terrain response system — which literally turns every novice driver into an expert — and a dual-view touch screen, which allows the driver and front seat passenger to view two different images simultaneously.

Weighing three-tonnes, this car returns 6.7 kilometres per litre. You will need an MP’s credit card to run it.

2.  Jaguar XJ Super Comfort Premium Luxury (Sh19 million)

Another brand under the CMC stable, the XJ could easily create the impression that the ‘M’ in CMC stands for ‘money’. It is Jaguar’s answer to the Mercedes S Class and BMW 7 Series.

The other two variants of the XJ (3.0L and 5.0L Premium Luxury) are as pricey as a used Cessna plane, at Sh15.5 million and 16.6 million respectively.

 Besides the generous sprinkling of interior bells and whistles, what clearly distinguishes the Jaguars from other vehicles in the Kenyan market is its gear lever. It’s in the form of a dial, which you turn to select the automatic gearing.

The XJ’s exterior design is simply stunning. Its sweeping roofline arches to the back and melts into the rear lights whose linear design was reportedly inspired by a cat’s claws.

Behind the steering wheel, this car is simply a marvel. The 5.0L V8 engine purrs away from street lights with exacting abandon, and we have not even talked about the thunderous roar from the tailpipes that has been known to make its admirers screaming with ecstasy.

3.  Jaguar XKR (Sh18.8 million)

People who drive such cars do not dress like, well, the average John. On the day I stepped into the deluxe Jaguar/Land Rover showroom on Lusaka Road to ask about the price, I was dressed in a Canali knock-off suit. The sales people gave me a look that said: “We have no vacancies for janitors”.

 The exalted few who buy such coupes wear the finest Louis Vuitton, own condos at English Point Marina in Mombasa, a Rembrandt (or Matisse) artwork and a rare collection of Dom Romane Conti fine wine.

They have everything else they need in life.

This being the only real sports car you can buy off a showroom in Kenya, it is in the same league as a Mercedes SL63AMG and Porsche 911 Turbo. Its 5.0L V8 supercharged engine has an output of 375kW and a blistering pace of 0-100kph in only 4.6 seconds.
Add-ons include a heated steering wheel and seats, an iPod interface and much, much more.

4. Mercedes Benz S-Class  (Sh18 million)

Sold by DT Dobie, this Mercedes flagship of Daimler.

It is not a car for the fainthearted or people on the way up. It is designed for those that reached a long time ago. It is the car for Presidents and Prime Ministers.The Mercedes S-class is so superior it is only outclassed by the Maybach brand from the same manufacturer. In the “Wabenzi Community”, one enters the inner circle of the Council of Elders only if one drives the S-Class.

This car is not for the company director but the chief executive.

There are various engine ranges, starting with the economical S250, S350L V6, and all the way to the 6.0L V12. The good thing about ordering the S Class directly from Germany is that one can have it customised to one’s taste, from the colour right down to inscriptions on the leather seats. Mercedes publicists boast that the S-Class “foretells what other automobiles might someday be”.

5. Range Rover Sport  (Sh17.45 million)

If you like chicken, then let’s engage in some lily-livered math.

For Sh17.5 million, you can buy a full chicken at KFC every day for 28 years! or this brutal, supercharged behemoth. The keys or the chicken?

The Range Rover Sport is the tattooed, mohawked version of the Range Rover. It bespeaks of excitement that comes with new money. I once drove this car at 220kph and it felt like a Boeing 747 on a runaway. It has the same levels of luxury as the Range Rover (above).

 6.  Toyota Land Cruiser VX 200 Series  (Sh17 million)

Readers might be surprised to find the venerated VX at the list of pricey machines. But Toyota is not known for emphasising cash-draining technology. Not to say, however, that the 4.5L, twin turbo V8 is a pushover.

It will run over many SUVs both on the tar and in the mud. At 3.3 tonnes, the VX is the obese champion among the big SUVs. (The Range Rover weighs 2.48 tonnes).

Thanks to its humongous bulbous rear and front lights, it looks even bigger. Its engine has an output of 173kW power.

7. BMW X6 35i  (Sh14.9 million)

This car reminds me of an animal. Not quite sure which one but its fat tyres, snoopy C-pillar and dorsum-like grille has a resonance with Discovery Channel. The X6 35i moves like a Tasmanian devil at the sight of bees.

The dearest X6 at Bavaria Motors is the tasman-coloured 5.0 litre that comes with two turbo chargers. You can, however, get the 35i at 108,456 Euros or Sh10.8 million. It also has a twin turbos.A basic 3.0L inline-six engine, mated to a six-speed auto gearbox brings things down to earth. This is a true driver’s car, as the F1-like paddle shifts put the 400Nm and 225kW literally at your fingertips.  The X6 sits only four, meaning it’s not an ideal family car.

8.  Mercedes Benz CLS-Class  (Sh14.6 million)

This second generation CLS-Class made its global debut at the Paris Motorshow in September last year. It was described as “sexy”, quite a befitting platitude in the city of romance.

A coupe for the style-conscious executive, this car looks good and drives even better. It has a 3.5L V6 engine with an output of 350Nm torque and 200kW of power. It has a top speed of 250Kph and stand still to 100kph takes seven seconds.

9.  BMW X5 30d  (Sh14.4 million)

 Another bubbly Bavarian renowned for its athleticism, the X5 features a straight-six diesel engine with Variable Twin Turbo Technology. It is the “mature” version of the X6… both in design and seating capacity. Unlike the X6, it can comfortably carry five adults. Its 3.0 litre diesel engine delivers a pretty punch - 580Nm and 210kW of power. It also returns an impressive 12 kilometres per litre.

10. Mercedes GL 350CDi  (Sh13.5 million)

When Mercedes produced its first SUV — the GL — in 1979, the motoring world responded with derisory laughter that was heard across the boardroom at Daimler AG.

The company was hitherto known as a maker of premium saloons. Who were they to compete with Land Rover, Jeep… the likes! But as one would expect, people who have been making cars since 1886 have confidence that borders on arrogance.

They didn’t steer away and 32 years later, they have four very successful model ranges of SUVs. While today’s SUVs feature dropping window lines and curves, the GL has flat, square sides and an upright D-pillar.

And at Sh13.5 million, it closes the chapter on the top ten most expensive motor vehicles on Kenyan roads.

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