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IF YOU haven’t had a chance to read CAP’s special report – Are you buying your business cars effectively? – then I suggest you do. There’s some extremely good guidance in this special report.

Mark Norman, something of used car price guru at CAP, suggests business car managers should look for the correct model derivative rather than adding options before you buy any new business car. It will provide better residual value when it comes to selling the car on, say three years later.

Of course, the same should apply if you’re getting the car on contract hire – the monthly lease rental should be lower on the correct model, rather than loading one up with options.

The question of getting the right car in the right spec is something that always concerns me: after all, you as a business owner – or your company car driver – is going to live with the car for at least three years. Get it wrong and the excitement of a new car can be tainted.

A friend of mine has had his enjoyment of a Jaguar X-Type estate tainted by the fact he specified the wrong sat-nav system, despite his pleasure with the rest of the package.

But these days there are so many tempting options, and ‘packs’ that getting the right car can be very difficult.

So what does Mark Norman mean? Well, let’s take Audi’s A4 Technik: this provides a really good additional luxury business package of Milano leather, DVD satellite navigation, Audi Music Interface (AMI) and Audi parking system plus. All this for £915 above the price of the SE.

Get the new BMW 1 Series Coupe, which in addition to new eye-catching 17 inch alloy wheels, gives you some £1,170 worth of extra kit over the corresponding ES model.

One option that you should never overlook, however: if you’re thinking of a Mercedes C-Class (or any Mercedes that doesn’t have this as standard), make sure you specify the COMAND multimedia system. It might be a thumpingly expensive £2315 upgrade, but without it your Mercedes driving enjoyment will be diminished.

Which is probably why Mark Norman would tell you to choose the Executive SE model: it comes as standard.

Editor’s Blog on choosing the right business car

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