QOTD: What Cars Would You Like to Set on Fire? (A New TTAC Series)

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Today we have a dual-function Question of the Day. The primary function will be informative; detailing an upcoming new series here at TTAC and explaining how it all works. The secondary function is to solicit ideas from you, our dear readers, for said new series.

By now you’re undoubtedly intrigued, so keep on reading.

The new series is entitled Buy/Drive/Burn, and it’s all very simple. This is the SFW automotive version of the NSFW game people play with the letters “FMK.” Each entry will pitch up three cars against one another. The competitors must have been available as new in the same model year, and will be close-ish in price and mission. The name of the game is to assign a fate to each car presented. The fates are:

  1. Buy. This is the car you purchase at the dealer, as new in the year from whence it came. You own this car, and are responsible for its maintenance for a number of years. For our purposes we will assume it’s a semi-primary vehicle.
  2. Drive. The vehicle which earns this pick is the one you can borrow and enjoy with some regularity without incurring the financial responsibility behind it. It’s not free, but let’s say the fee for borrowing it is mostly nominal and affordable for the class of car. It can never be yours, you’ll always have to give it back.
  3. Burn. One of the selected vehicles must die a fiery death at the hands of an uncaring arsonist. Purchased from the theoretical showroom as new, it is then immediately destroyed.

There’s a preview set of vehicles below — executive express Euro luxury sedans from the year 2000.

Audi A8

Audi’s largest sedan came in standard or long-wheelbase formats (sticking with the standard today), with a 4.2-liter V8 producing 310 horsepower and standard Quattro all-wheel drive. Aluminum-intensive construction kept the weight right at two tons. This modern option is yours for around $62,000.

Jaguar XJR

The slight pricing advantage of Jaguar’s flagship sedan means you get an upgrade to the sporting R version. Dated in tech but classically correct in styling, the XJR cost around $68,000 and weighs about the same as the Audi, but has 340 horsepower from its 4.0-liter V8.

BMW 740iA

Ah, we’re near the terminus of the best-looking 7 Series model. The 740iA sits as the entry level of the range, lacking a long wheelbase and the V12 engine. Its 4.0-liter V8 bests the Jaguar in displacement (4.4 liters), but is down on power at just 282 hp. But BMW has a history of making nice-driving sedans, and this one’s a looker.

It’s as simple as that — three choices and three assignments. As you’re thinking about which of this trio you’d set on fire, come up with your own ideas for Buy/Drive/Burn competitors. I’ll be waiting in the comments.

[Images: Daimler AG, Audi, Jaguar, BMW]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • B234R B234R on Dec 07, 2017

    I hope there will be more of this! Buy is easy: audi, because 4wd.. Drive: jaaaaaaag, because why not Burn: BMW left, and it doesn't bother me at all so this was actually quite easy :)

  • Carilloskis Carilloskis on Dec 07, 2017

    Buy the BMW Drive the Jag Burn the Audi.

  • Ajla Nice car.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Not at all.
  • Verbal Here's a little tale about long-term Tesla ownership.In 2017 my buddy bought a three year-old Model S for $68k, which was the going rate at the time. He kept it garaged and treated it with kid gloves. It looked and ran virtually like new. The only problem he ever had with it was some kind of recurring issue with the driver's door handle. He never had to replace the brakes.A couple months ago, at ten years of age, the original battery finally bricked. Tesla quoted him $17k to do a battery replacement. But! If he replaced the battery, they would give him $11k in trade on a new Tesla!!! You don't have to be a math genius to see that those are crooked numbers.Using aftermarket parts is a non starter. Rebuilt batteries can be sketch. And the cap that goes on the battery is a Tesla-only part.Most people don't have $17k burning a hole in their pocket for a car repair. What are you going to do? Ask your credit union for a $17k loan to put a new battery in your ten year-old car? Good luck with that.A local auto recycler quoted him $1000. The recycler said that if he replaced the battery, the car would have a resale value in the low $20k's. That wouldn't give him enough headroom to make it worth his while. He said there are 150,000 dead Teslas in the national inventory (don't know where he gets this figure). And there's no demand for used Tesla parts, since most Tesla owners seem to treat their cars well. So Teslas with dead batteries have marginal scrap value.Thus, my friend's Tesla, with 80k miles on the clock and in excellent condition, with a dead battery, was scrapped. During his ownership, the car depreciated by around $800 a month.He saved a lot of money by not paying for gas, oil changes, tune ups, and consumables. But in the end, all those saving were erased by huge depreciation.Welcome to long term Tesla ownership, folks.(Cue the wailing and rending of garments from the Tesla fanboyz.)
  • Aja8888 My BIL had one of these years ago. great car!
  • Wjtinfwb Job cuts and EV's... is that a winning strategy? You're locked in to substantial labor expense after the UAW agreement signed a few months ago. And EV's ain't exactly flying off the shelves en masse. Get the new Charger out already, it's been teased more than the Bronco and Supra were combined. Get a real Hybrid option out for the RAM trucks and big Jeeps that consumers will buy. Consider bringing back a Gen 3 Hemi with an aluminum block, direct injection and perhaps a Hybrid option to counter the Toyota debacle and get a jump on GM. Dump the Hornet and build Dodge a version of the Jeep Compass they can actually sell. A Dodge with Alfa bones isn't compelling to either brands fans. Fix the Durango's oil cooler problems to avoid alienating police departments nationwide. Do you want every cop in the US driving an Explorer? Freshen up the Pacifica and get Chrysler a cool sedan or wagon that can create a buzz like the 300 did more than a decade ago. And fix your dealers, they are by a large jackasses. Plenty of opportunity for improvement.
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