Make Your Mark

by Amy Marie Slocum

“After I completed some music, one of the first thing I wanted to do is to listen to the song in a car which is a totally private environment. People who drive spend as much time listening to music in their cars as they do anywhere else. Remember, Prince used to say that he never finished his music until he listened to them in his car,” said Mark Ronson on the top level of the private Cap Ventura Villa perched on top of the hills with a panoramic view of Eivissa’s old town with the famous elevated castle walls and the old church built on top of an older mosque from the time Spain was under Moors of Arab and Berber rule as the sun was setting on the blue sea horizon.

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About an hour before in the makeshift editing suites in the adjoining guest house at the Villa, Ronson showed me how to operate the Launchpad operating board on the iPad connected to a master monitor that contained the edited short video captured by two cameras inside the new Lexus LC 500h coupe that I drove earlier in the afternoon on a beautiful hill side road from San Josep de sa Talaia descending towards the southern coastline that ended at the magnificient beach surrounded by rocky hills at Cala Carbó. These dashboards cams were not the only cameras that followed my drive that was packed full of surprises along the route.

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The drive began on the hillside just past the town of San Josep where houses dotted the lush green hillside. Prior to given the key to the LC 500h which is the hybrid version of the coupe, I was greeted by a surprise wedding party then sent of by two flamenco dancers. At one of the roadside construction stop, a ‘cop’ asked me for the car’s papers. A technician had handed them to me before and I could not figure out then why I would need them. Out of the sudden the construction crew became a dance troupe with music blasting as they surrounded the car. Next I was welcomed with a beach party as I arrived at Cala Carbó beach. These roadside show stops supplied additional attraction to the short video now readied for some music.

On the drive, the LC 500h is surprisingly quiet as with all hybrid cars but the calm was more pronounced as this is a sport car not a crossover and is equipped with a multi stage hybrid system that enhances performance at each range of engine speed. The car handled the very curvy roads very well and as a sports car it’s easy to feel the sharp turn. The previous day I had done the two things I have never done before. One is to drive a sports car and the other is to drive on the right hand side. It sure was a changed of perspective as I got into a yellow V-8 LC 500 automatic transmission with an option of a manual override. After settling into the plush leather seats that sinks me further to the road level, I realized that I have to now look left instead of right and adjust the left mirror to see the curbside and to orientate the car to the road. On the two lane highway going in the direction of the airport, I pushed to LC500 into a manual mode at about 130kph and with the window rolled down, the loud noise of the engine roaring can be heard especially when entering a short tunnel. I told the technician who was seated on the passenger seat I had to test out the engine at a higher speed.

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“You can select different levels of percussions and drums by just choosing each particular diagram,” Ronson said and with his with his left hand showed me how to move along the 8x8 grids key notes in different colors ranging from purple, red, yellow and blue. For example, for the video segment of the stop area with the police and the dance troupe, I chose a faster rhythm and louder drums.

“I remember my first Lexus hard top convertible a while back. What is really fascinating about the design of these cars is that while there is so much new technology incorporated in each of the vehicle, the look and the mechanic retained many classic elements in a way of making a car really modern but at the same time feels like a very classic car,” Ronson said about the aims of Lexus design and engineering. For the LC 500, there is a shiny metallic curve frame above the door along the sunroof that looked like a thin sword blade and the brake light in the back has a mirror that resembled an infinity mirror of red lights.

For today’s consumers, luxury is about an enhanced personal experience rather than the purchase of specific products like shoes or handbags. These consumers are more like to fly business class on a top foreign airlines and check into a five star hotel rather than spend money on the latest accessories gadgets. They are likely to rent a summer home to get away from the city during those hot months. Makers of luxury products are in tune with these changes in consumption behavior and are adjusting their products to fit into the lifestyle choices of a constantly evolving segment of critical consumers.

Nowadays, cars are luxury experiences more than just actual products.

Written by Long Nguyen