New Or Used?: South Of The Border Edition

Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang
by Sajeev Mehta and Steve Lang
new or used south of the border edition

TTAC contributor jrominski writes:

My close relative is professional engineer, leaving his posting in the rust belt at a soon-to-closed, Tier 1, UAW supplier factory. Not wanting to move to Detroit, he accepts a promotion out of the quickly settling debris implosion, to run engineering in a component plant in Saltillo. Which was formerly the Athens of Mexico, but is now the Detroit of Mexico. So he stays employed. But wait, it gets better: a car allowance, 45k USD. He loves RWD and AWD in that order. Had plenty of FWD. He is an AWD drivetrain engineer. Taste runs to BMW and Audi.

What to buy? Cars there are 30% more than in US for comparable. Not quite the same lineup. Below are his first thoughts and my responses.

Him: Passat CC AWD and slushbox?

Me: Warned him against kidnapping danger. And slushbox? Reminded him that he hates em.

Him: BMW 125?

Me: I suggest low (hah!) hp with RWD is good. He can drive full throttle and have fun and not go too fast.

Him: Audi S3? Nice, but it is $500 over his limit.

Me: I suggest pay the extra. Or get A4 2.0t 6m and tell me how good it really is.

Him: Cadillac XLR but its way over budget.

Me: Awkward silence. I think this is a Cadillac Corvette. Why not just buy Corvette. But in Mexico? And it’s still over budget. I am pretty ignorant of Mexico but foresee run-down roadways, even worse than snow belt US, and slow moving multi-color wrecks everywhere. Refer to kidnapping above.

Me: I suggest brand new Nissan B13. Send to Japan for SR20VET power plant and maybe 1991 AWD rally setup. Have his prototype shop do the conversion for beer money and you tube photo ops. He laughs this off.

Me: I suggest he might need to maximize his suspension and tire structural integrity to maximize hooning around. Ford Raptor. No, he has work trucks to bash around in.

What does TTAC think?

Steve Lang replies:

I happen to do be a bilingual auctioneer. But when it comes to los coches de Mexico, my knowledge amounts to Jacko Squato. So I can only comment on the US versions.

Let’s stick with late model vehicles since virtually all of the new near-luxury cars are headlong into depreciation hell within two years these days. If he buys a year old model his discout will be about 20% to 35%. Two year old models will give him all the features and performance he would want out of any car with discounts of up to 50%. That level of savings buys you an awful lot of car and perhaps a bodyguard fluent in return fire.

If your friend is scared of being kidnapped I would steer clear of any status symbol. BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Cadillac all espouse the wealth of the bourgeois and none of the ones in his price range are bomb or bulletproof. So what to do?

I would consider an Infiniti. Huh? Yeah. I believe it was Ricardo Montalban who made the off-hand remark that Infiniti’s are built for axe-hoes (to put it in engineering terms). But a 2009 G37 AWD would run right at that price range and with that you would get a body that is twice as nice looking as a GT-R without the snobbery of a German luxury ride.

Another possibility is a Lexus IS-F. It doesn’t appear to be a car from a luxury maker from the exterior. But it drives like a damned demon from hell… or Germany. Yeah, I know it’s not AWD but with the way that thing goes your friend probably won’t even care.

By the way you can also go for a late model Eos, Tiguan, or Phaeton if you must align yourself with the Axis power. Those all came with AWD but they’re not cars that I can endorse from personal experience since I’m Jewish. Actually, VW is a passing thought here, but the G37 and IS-F are true rockets with the performance and handling your friend will desire. I would put them on the short list.

Sajeev Mehta writes:

Ricardo Montalban said WHAT? Oh, but that’s so not the point. A Pontiac G8 is the only choice for a close relative en Mexico. GXP or GT at a minimum, since there’s no replacement for displacement. It goes like stink, drives the correct wheels, handles good for its size and comes with an obscure badge on the grille. Most importantly, it’s so damn boring (or is that BORA?) that kidnappers won’t give it a second look. And the interior is totally VW worthy, in an oversized Golf kinda way.

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2 of 36 comments
  • Gimmeamanual Gimmeamanual on Mar 28, 2010

    Your best sleeper is anything low-key with a big-ass turbo or S/C bolted on.

  • Vvk Vvk on Mar 29, 2010

    VW Bug, what else?! Where else, if not in Mexico?! It is RWD, too! No kidnapping risk whatsoever! For the budget he could buy three of them, just in case.

  • Kat Laneaux What's the benefits of this as opposed to the Ford or Nissan. Will the mileage be better than the 19 city, 24 hwy? Will it cost less than the average of $60,000? Will it be a hybrid?
  • Johnster Minor quibble. The down-sized full-sized 1980-only Continental (which was available with Town Car and Town Coupe trims) gave up its name in 1981 and became the Town Car. The name "Town Coupe" was never used after the 1980 model year. The 1981 Lincoln Town Car was available with a 2-door body style, but the 2-door Lincoln Town Car was discontinued and not offered for the 1982 model year and never returned to the Lincoln lineup.
  • Zipper69 Some discreet dwebadging and this will pass for a $95k Lucid Air...
  • Zipper69 Does it REALLY have to be a four door?Surely a truly compact vehicle could stick with the half-door access with jump seats for short term passengers.
  • ToolGuy See kids, you can keep your old car in good condition.