Prestige puts drivers behind the wheel of an exotic automobile


For those who dream of getting behind the wheel of a Lamborghini, Porsche, Ferrari or Maserati but lack the bankroll to make the dream a reality, there’s a new company just for them.

“We’re giving people the opportunity to ride cars they’ve only dreamed of driving,” said Sandrine Danglard, vice president of San Diego Prestige, a new business she co-owns along with husband Franck. It’s headquartered in the former Phoneware building at 5605 La Jolla Blvd. in Bird Rock.

The Danglards rent high-end vehicles by the minute, the hour, the day or the week, offering a number of ridership packages. One, called Arrive and Drive, takes place at regularly scheduled events at Qualcomm Stadium on a closed, skilled course in the company of an instructor. Another option lets riders drive on scenic tours to places like Rancho Santa Fe and Julian.

The charge for test driving Prestige’s vehicles on a closed course at Qualcomm Stadium’s parking lot ranges from $40 for 5 minutes, $70 for 10 minutes and $95 for 15 minutes for a Porsche Boxster S or Lotus Elise, up to $75 for 5 minutes, $125 for 10 minutes and $160 for 15 minutes for a Ferrari 360 Modena F1 and a Lamborghini Gallardo. Other exotic rental cars available at San Diego Prestige include a Mercedes SL 55, a Porsche 997 S Carrera, a Maserati GT, a 355 Spyder, a Dodge Viper, an Aston Martin DB7 Vantage and a Bentley Arnage.

Each vehicle offers contrasting driving experiences.

“The tour is a regular traffic experience, so it’s different than the closed course where they can go fast, but it’s not racing,” said Franck Danglard. “They give you all different feelings. The Ferrari is so good for the sound. The Porsche is very good to drive, for the type of people who enjoy that.”

The cost of renting these cars for a short amount of time seems steep at first blush, but Sandrine Danglard said it’s worth it for the sheer joy of the incomparable driving experience.

“Fifteen minutes on a closed course is really a long time,” she said. “You get pretty burned out.”

Yet a third ridership option furnishes chaperone service provided by San Diego Prestige in Bentleys or Rolls Royces to a destination of the client’s choice.

“If you want to get someone to the airport,” said Sandrine Danglard, “or take your wife out to the opera or even just rent a car, you can use us.”

Scenic tours of one- to three-hour drives are in exotic cars accompanied by an attendant. The one-hour tour is on scenic roads beginning and ending in La Jolla. The Rancho Santa Fe tour is two hours in the morning. An afternoon, three-hour tour goes to Julian.

Scenic tours offer something besides beautiful scenery.

“You get to really push the car,” said Sandrine Danglard. “We make sure you’re not stuck in traffic.”

There are also customized tours offered. Scenic tour prices include instructor, gas and mileage and start at $120 and go up from there. There is a $20 one-time membership fee, drivers must be at least 25 years of age, have a valid drivers license and proof of insurance and a $500 deposit are required.

La Jollan Troy Allport has done both the Arrive and Drive and the Rancho Santa Fe tour. He praised the experiences.

“The real appeal to me was being able to go ahead and drive, in one day, a couple of the most exotic and expensive cars