Hertz lets car renters indulge their inner billionaires

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Courtesy of Forbes

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

If you’re feeling flush, you can now have an Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari or Lamborghini waiting for you at the airport and drive to the meeting dressed to impress.

Clearly the business has come a long way from the days when renting a car meant being saddled with a sad and Spartan econobox posing as a midsize model, or a tired Town Car hired to tote the entire marketing department to the hotel. Occasionally an adventurous traveler might take advantage of the occasional Jeep Wrangler or Ford Mustang to break the monotony, but most models were of the mundane variety.

In recent years a few rental companies – most notably Avis, Budget and Hertz – began offering more-interesting rides, usually in “special collections” of modestly upscale luxury and sporty cars, but these still tend to be restrictive in terms of location and selection. Alternately, one could turn to a number of rental agencies in big cities and major tourist locations that offer truly top-shelf luxury sedans and even exotic sports cars for those who really want to make an impression on clients (or the former homecoming queen at a class reunion), but these tend to be inconveniently located for business travelers.

Bentley Continental GT

Bentley Continental GT

Hertz seems to be the first national rental car chain to have finally put two-and-two together and is in the process of rolling out its new Hertz Dream Cars service that offer travelers the opportunity to avail themselves of some of the finest cars in the world in 35 markets across the U.S. (The service was previously test-marketed in nine Florida locations.) These range from some of the largest cities like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, to emerging business hubs like Milwaukee, San Antonio and Charlotte and vacation destinations like Miami and Las Vegas.

Deep-pocketed auto aficionados will have access to such coveted models as the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Audi R8, Bentley Continental GT, Ferrari California, Lamborghini Gallardo, SRT Viper and Tesla Model S as daily rentals. The accompanying slideshow features 15 of the absolute coolest cars Hertz is offering in the Dream Car program.

In Pictures: The Sexiest Rental Cars Ever

Lamborghini Gallardo

Lamborghini Gallardo

What’s more, the company is offering Dream Car renters premium concierge service at no extra cost with a company representative delivering the car to a customer at the airport terminal and giving him or her a walk-around orientation before handing over the keys. Cars can be accessed via the www.HertzDreamCars.com microsite or through standard Hertz rental channels.

For better or worse, availability of specific models will vary by location. According to Hertz spokesperson Paula Riviera, this will be determined according to “consumer survey responses and vehicle registrations, with the ability to re-allocate cars to different regions as needed.” What’s more, Riviera says there will be “some seasonal shifts with the fleet,” meaning you’d be more likely to find a 4WD Land Rover Range Rover Sport or Mercedes-Benz G550 SUV in Chicago in the dead of snow-socked winter than you will a red-hot rear-drive Porsche 911 or Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG sports coupe.

Mercedes-Benz SL550

Mercedes-Benz SL550

And while renting a car for the day that’s otherwise priced deep into six figures is far more affordable than buying one, this is not exactly a budget-priced affair. Riviera says that with 75 miles included the daily charge to rent a Dream Car will run from around $350 a day for a Porsche 911 or Boxster (with $0.49 per additional mile), to $1,000 a day for an Aston Martin V8 Vantage or Audi R8 and $1,500 a day for the upper crust rides such as Bentleys, Ferraris and Lamborghinis (with a whopping $3.00 charged per additional mile driven).

Still that’s the most affordable way to indulge one’s vehicular fantasies and drive like a billionaire, at least for a day.

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