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Smartphone apps have simplified the car rental process, with services like Silvercar taking the hassle out of reserving a ride at an airport or even downtown. Audi’s own version, called on demand, is only available in San Francisco (for now). You can rent one of 10 Audi models for up to 28 days anywhere within 49 miles of the center of the city with a few taps on your smartphone.
But don’t worry – your ride won’t vaporize at the border. Audi delivers and retrieves the vehicle within San Francisco, but you can drive anywhere you want. (You’re limited to 200 free miles per day when renting an Audi RS 5, S7, A8, S8, R8 Coupe or R8 Spyder, with additional miles available for a fee.)
While Silvercar allows you to easily reserve, unlock, drive, and then return an Audi A4 to one of nine airport locations, Audi on demand gives you a choice of models—and price. The least expensive options are the A4 at $155 per day or the allroad® station wagon at $165 per day, with several other models at mid-range around $200-$300 per day, all the way up to the convertible R8 Spyder luxury sports car, at $1,285 per day.
You can download the app (iOS only, sorry Android users) and browse models but when you are ready to make a reservation you must request to be added to the waitlist. Once you’re in, you sign up to become a beta member and go through the registration steps, which includes entering insurance information. Insurance is included in the cost, and customers who already have standard Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI) can get a discount if they enter their policy info. Collision Damage Waivers (CDW) provided through a credit card, such as the American Express Platinum card, may offer additional coverage, depending on the card issuer’s MSRP limits.
With as little as two hours notice, you can reserve an Audi and have it delivered to the location of your choice (again, only within San Francisco, though you can drive it anywhere you want, keeping in mind that 200-mile cap for certain models). And when you’re finished, the Audi concierge will pick the vehicle up (again, anywhere within city limits). After you’ve used the service at least once, you don’t even need to interact with a human: if you have a private driveway, just have the Audi waiting for you and unlock it with your smartphone, just like you can do with Silvercar. (Unless you’ve rented an R8 – then you need to hand over the keys.)
While there are always extra costs with renting a vehicle that are not included in the listed price—Silvercar’s insurance for “just the car” cost an extra $28 a day, and there will likely be extras you’ll want if you rent a $150,000 Spyder—this quick and easy rental option for a luxury vehicle is one that is sure to interest tech-minded travelers who are ready for something new. They might already be bored with the same old silver A4.
Who’s ready to order up a luxury Audi for delivery?
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