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Bentley best bet for holding a charge

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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, etc. I need a vehicle that can sit for three weeks and still start when I come back. 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. – 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 figure anyone who owns a Bentley probably has several cars and assume that the Bentley might not be driven every day.

RAY: Right. You might want to drive your ’72 Fiat when you’re going to see your ex-wife’s lawyer about her alimony request.

TOM: So, the Flying Spur has two batteries: one for the car’s electronics, the other dedicated to starting the car.

RAY: Plus, the car has its own built-in trickle charger. A trickle charger keeps a trickle of current running to the battery to keep it fully charged.

TOM: You can buy your own trickle charger at Sears, but it’s so inconvenient to have to open the hood to hook it up, isn’t it?

RAY: So the Flying Spur has a built-in outlet next to the rear license plate. All you have to do is connect the cord to an outlet before you leave for Monte Carlo, and when you return, 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.

Got a question about cars? Email Click and Clack by visiting the Car Talk website at cartalk.com.

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