James Rup­pert

If you pay £1000 for a phone, make sure there’s a car at­tached

Autocar - - THIS WEEK -

Buy a phone, get a car thrown in

A phone is fast be­com­ing the clas­sic car must-have

Ihad planned to tell you what great cars you can treat your­self with for £5000, but then some­thing amazing hap­pened: a phone com­pany de­cided to charge £1k for one of its prod­ucts. Even more in­cred­i­bly, there are loads of peo­ple pre­pared to pay that price… for a phone. Good luck to them. It is a free world and I am sure the phone is fan­tas­tic. It’s just that it is still pos­si­ble to buy a phone with a car at­tached. In­deed, our BMW X5 has a Nokia plumbed into it. I don’t use it, but this got me think­ing about what sort of con­nected cars we can still buy for a few grand – or a cou­ple of iphone Xs, as my trade friends now call it.

The re­al­ity is that there are lots of cars from the 1990s and early 2000s with hand­sets at­tached. Sell­ers don’t want to tell you, or think it is ir­rel­e­vant. How­ever, the at­tached phone is fast be­com­ing the clas­sic car must-have, so buy one now before they get ripped out.

If a mo­bile phone be­longs any­where, it is in the cen­tre con­sole of a Mercedes-benz S-class 3.2. I found a 2001 ex­am­ple with just 119,000 miles and it had a full ser­vice his­tory too. Best of all, it had a Nokia 6090 in the rear arm­rest. All this, in­clud­ing Nappa leather up­hol­stery, for just £1695.

Most BMWS from that era have Busi­ness packs and you can at least find the prepa­ra­tion in place for a phone. Just as an ex­am­ple, another ve­hi­cle from the con­nected golden era of 2001 is a BMW 320d, which was stan­dard is­sue back then to the com­pany-car masses. At £1450 and 82,000 miles, with the prep ready for a Nokia 3110, it seemed tidy enough. How­ever, I much pre­ferred a 2002 330Ci with sim­i­lar miles and re­cently re­duced in price to £1600 that could also be con­nected to a Nokia.

Mean­while, E39 BMW 5 Se­ries prices are cer­tainly on the up and I came across a 2000 528i M Sport at a rather pricey £2950. It was looked after, had 18in al­loys and a Nokia sys­tem, but wasn’t a V8 model.

Oth­er­wise, the ma­jor­ity of phones with cars at­tached were E- and S-class Mercs. How­ever, my head was turned by a 2002 CL500 with an AMG bodykit and just a Blue­tooth phone cra­dle (which is progress but hardly the same), with 85,000 miles and at a tempt­ing £4250.

This is the thing about used-car buy­ing: a pe­cu­liar in­ter­est or even colour can get you look­ing at all sorts of things, al­though for me it has been the usual Ger­man-built busi­ness mo­biles. My only re­gret is not find­ing a fax ma­chine-equipped 7 Se­ries like the one I wrote about here years ago. There’s still time.

Hand­sets were all the rage in turn-ofthe-cen­tury Mercs

A plush Merc is all the car and phone you’ll ever need

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