Where Your Author Eliminates a Couple of Coupes

where your author eliminates a couple of coupes

In an introductory post last week, I detailed a couple of cars I was considering as a replacement to my decade-old Infiniti M. The comments (some filled with unusual anger) prodded me to add another car to the list.

A week later, I can tell you that two of those former options are absolutely out of the question.

The first coupe cancellation was the E350. On Friday, I went to check out a 2017 E400 at a nearby dealer. It was too new and out of my price range, but I wanted to have a look and see if the model was worth pursuing further. After a few minutes of unattended poking around an unlocked car, I had my answer: No.

Doors felt nice and heavy, solid. But upon entering the coupe, the lack of headroom was very apparent for even my six-foot self. Hard leather (or maybe it was synthetic) resided underneath me. Climate control buttons made cheap click-clack sounds when pressed. In the back, the dashboard-type material around the covered cup holder was cracked at two corners. Entirely put off by this quality in a 2017 Mercedes-Benz, I left.

The next day I sampled the Mazda MX-5 (an RF one) which was raised unanimously as the best answer for all questions. I found it loud and buzzy, with accurate steering and a jerky transmission. While the interior was fine from a price point perspective, sloppy seals here and there were required to accommodate the RF’s metal roof. Over my left shoulder, the exposed hinges of the roof were arranged like a metal origami display. At 70 miles an hour, the wind and road noise in the closed cabin was shockingly high. I expected more, and it delivered less. The MX-5 was not for me.

Running out of Saturday afternoon hours, I was on my way to drive a local GS350 when I had another thought — a thought of Infiniti. It dawned on me that I’d driven the high-zoot Red Sport 400 Q60 (too expensive), as well as the economy level 2.0t (bad), but never the standard 3.0t in the middle of the range.

A half hour later, I was looking at the white one shown here. I wouldn’t buy this particular one — it had some bad paint match because of an accident history, and was equipped with unnecessary all-wheel drive. It also lacked the Premium Plus package for navigation (a must have). It was engaging enough to drive, had the sort of quiet isolation I desire, and felt well-made. In person, the looks impressed, as did the power coming from the smooth twin-turbo 3.0-liter. Used market Q60 options will be unfortunately limited by a rear-drive requirement, the navigation which should be standard, and the light colored interior. But the miles and price are right in line.

As of now, just one coupe and one sedan remain as options. The next task will be the test drive of a local GS350. It’s another white, all-wheel drive example (Ohio drivers have a type). Maybe I won’t hate it.

[Images: sellers]

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  • Cpthaddock Cpthaddock on Mar 09, 2019

    OK - since search didn't turn up references and it's all a bit TL;DR this morning I'll be the one to do it. Many of your target vehicles appear to strike directly at the heart of pre-owned Model S territory. Purchased from the big T directly, these strike me as some of the biggest bargains out there considering models with less than 50k on then carry a new 4yr /50k warranty plus the balance of the 8 yr unlimited mile powertrain warranty. Some can be had in the $30k range which could leave you enough spare cash for a used Miata as a toy as well. Get into the $40k region and you can get into an 85D with 4.2 second 0-60 and "emissions testing mode".

  • PandaBear PandaBear on May 13, 2019

    I think you should just stick with a GS based on what you describe.

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
  • Car65688392 thankyou for the information
  • Car65688392 Thankyou for your valuable information
  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.
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