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July 13, 2014

Car Talk

Bentley is best bet for car that will start after inactivity

Syndicated columnists

Dear Tom and Ray:
I want to lease either a Mercedes-Benz S65, Bentley Flying Spur or Audi S8. I'm concerned about quiescent current drain when the car is locked and parked in a garage. I'm talking about the current that gets used for the clock, the alarm system and whatever else. I need a vehicle that can sit for three weeks and still start when I come back to it. I don't want to bother with a trickle charger. I'm hoping that one of these vehicles will tolerate three weeks of inactivity and then start reliably. Please advise. Thanks for the amazing amount of knowledge and help you have provided to so many for all these years. — Steve

Ray: If you let most modern cars sit for two or three weeks — certainly for a month — they won't start when you come back.

Tom:
Aside from the clock and alarm systems, there's often a keyless-entry system that requires power, an emissions-monitoring system and, on some cars, even ventilation systems that perform functions when the car is off.

Ray:
And after spending six figures on a car, it certainly is undignified to be standing around with the hood up, holding a set of jumper cables when you get back from your three-week glamping trip to Botswana.

Tom:
So I think you want the Bentley, Steve. They've figured out that anyone who owns a Bentley probably has several cars. And they assume that the Bentley might not be driven every day.

Ray:
Right. You might want to drive your Aston Martin convertible on a sunny day. Or your '72 Fiat when you're going to see your ex-wife's lawyer about her request for more alimony.

Tom:
According to Bentley, the Flying Spur has two batteries: One is for all the car's electronics, and the other is dedicated to starting the car.

Ray:
Plus, the car has its own built-in trickle charger. A trickle charger, as the name implies, keeps a trickle of current running to the battery to keep it fully charged.
Tom: And while you can buy your own trickle charger at Sears, it's so inconvenient and undignified to have to open the hood and hook it up, isn't it?

Ray:
So the Flying Spur has a built-in outlet right next to the rear license plate. All you have to do is connect the cord to the outlet before you leave for Monte Carlo, and when you get back, your Bentley will start right up, no matter how long you were gone.

Tom:
Just remember to unplug the electrical cord before you drive off, since it's also undignified to be dragging an outlet, a bunch of wires and a chunk of sheetrock behind your Bentley. Enjoy the new car, Steve.

(Car Talk is a nationally syndicated column by automotive experts (and brothers) Tom and Ray Magliozzi. Write to them at the Car Talk website.)

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