The only way to travel when you’re stateside.
All the comforts of driving an Audi when you’re in the US of A soaking up some local culture.
26 November, 2019
Baseball is a beautiful game. The green grass expands outwards, the dirt diamond and the crips white lines create a striking canvas for the sport to play out on.
It’s even more breathtaking in an old ground, such as Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium, where you can sit high in the stands and watch the sunset over the San Gabriel Mountains of the Angeles National Forest.
Unfortunately, not many Australians really understand baseball, so it’s hard to appreciate the game and its beauty. Despite being more than 150 years old, the game has never found a solid footing in Australia, primarily because we have too many other sports, including cricket; which shares some of its ancient D.N.A. with baseball.
One of the reasons the game has survived and thrived is because of its ability to both respect tradition whilst also adapting with changing times and tastes.
It’s that same kind of combination of tradition and evolution that has made Audi so successful during its lifetime. And a recent baseball pilgrimage to Los Angeles gave me an opportunity to experience another way Audi is changing the automotive world.
Silvercar by Audi is a car rental company with a difference. As the name suggests, it’s actually owned directly by Audi instead of a third party rental company. So naturally the only cars you can rent are Audis; and, you guessed it, they’re all silver.
Unfortunately, not many Australians really understand baseball, so it’s hard to appreciate the game and its beauty
Silvercar has centres in all major cities including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Miami and Dallas
The company operates a fleet of A4 sedan, A5 Cabriolet, Q5 and Q7 SUVs that allow you to drive in style even when you’re out of town. Unlike a conventional car rental agency that says you’ll get a “mid-size sedan or equivalent” with Silvercar, when you book an A4 you’ll have an A4 waiting for you when you arrive.
At the moment Silvercar is only located in the United States but it has centres in all major cities. Locations include, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Miami and Dallas.
The aforementioned baseball pilgrimage to Los Angeles gave me an opportunity to experience Silvercar first-hand. It’s not just nicer cars they offer, but the idea behind the business was to create a faster and easier way for people to hire a car.
Let’s be honest, we’ve all spent too much time waiting in busy rental car offices, filling out paperwork only to end up with a tired, worn out car at the end (which wasn’t what you booked in the first place).
Not at Silvercar. You can book online or via a smartphone app, which means the entire handover procedure can be done digitally. If you’re flying in from out-of-town you only need to contact the company’s local office and they will arrange for a transfer to their location.
Arriving at Silvercar’s Los Angeles base only a few minutes from LAX, there is a fleet of shiny silver Audis all line-up and ready to go.
Instead of having to spend time in an office arranging the car, Silvercar does everything via the app. There’s a QR code sticker on the windscreen which you scan, an employee only has to sight and verify your driver’s licence and credit card, and you’re away. It means there’s no queuing up, no awkward handover procedure. The whole process takes a matter of minutes.
I drove away in a pristine A4 2.0 TFSI quattro that made for the ideal transport for my week in LA. In a big, bustling city like Los Angeles, the A4’s quiet and luxurious cabin plus its onboard navigation system and built-in wifi hotspot made it very easy to live with.
After a week touring the sights of Southern California, including the iconic Hollywood sign and a road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway, my journey ended at the hallowed turf of Dodger Stadium.
After a week of touring Southern California, my journey ended at the hallowed turf of Dodger Stadium
The Silvercar team will also arrange for a transfer to the airport if you need it
My A4 helped guide me through the traffic to baseball’s third oldest ballpark, behind Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Opened in 1962 as part of baseball’s western expansion it became the new home of the team formerly based in Brooklyn, New York.
So, with the game played and the baseball fix taken care of for now, it was time to wrap things up and head back home. Not surprisingly, the return process for Silvercar is just as simple as the collection. When I needed to head to the airport I simply returned the A4, driving straight into the lot where a Silvercar employee immediately appeared to scan the QR code to check the car back into its system. An electronic receipt is generated and sent directly to your email – so there’s no paperwork at either end of the process.
The Silvercar team will also arrange for a transfer to the airport if you need it, ensuring the experience is the smoothest I’ve ever encountered renting a car.
Next time you head to the US for baseball, or anything else you’re passionate about, the Silvercar service is the next best thing to actually having your Audi to hand when you arrive. No worn out rentals, but the familiarity of an Audi while you’re on your travels.
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