By on March 21, 2019

Recently, I’ve shared musings about selling my old Infiniti, as well as the coupe or sedan options pegged to replace it. You readers had your helpful hearts in the right place, with funny suggestions of Challenger, Charger, and Mustang. A couple of weeks have elapsed since then, and there have been developments. Let’s chat.

The initial expectation was that the M35x would take some time to sell. It was very clean and had low miles, but was also a decade old and forgotten by everyone who’s not a Nissan VQ35 enthusiast. I threw a listing on the local Craigslist in the last week of February, with no real urgency to sell. After a couple of disinterested “Will you take five grand?” phone calls, a more serious buyer came forward. We arranged a time to meet the morning of March 2nd. Said buyer showed up on time and with cash in hand.

A test drive and an hour later, the Infiniti’s title was notarized to a happy new owner. After just over five years and with 14,000 miles added to the odometer, I received back 53.9 percent of what I paid for the M. Not too shabby, right?

Image: 2012 Subaru Outback, image © Corey Lewis

The green Outback has enjoyed some garage time the last couple of weeks, but it’s banishment back to the driveway is imminent. Only this weekend did I get some time (and decent enough weather) to check out the one option I hadn’t drive: the GS 350. I’d narrowed it down to the Infiniti Q60 or the Lexus. Both are available for similar money and with similar miles and fulfill the desired criteria. They were roughly equal, or so I thought.

The wind changed on Saturday. I went to a local dealer to drive an overpriced black-on-black GS 350 AWD. Not the specification or color I wanted, but all examples in a reasonable radius had all-wheel drive. The busy salesman let me loose with the GS on my own, and what I found was pleasantly surprising. Notable at first blush was the delta in quality from the Q60 to the Lexus.

“Oh,” you’ll say, “these cars aren’t comparable!” But I say they are. There’s considerable price overlap between them, and they have the same luxury pretensions, V6-type power, and rear-drive basis. The GS felt better sorted and engineered, and its materials were about two or three steps above the Q60 with regard to quality. The superbly padded doors and fine dash materials did not go unnoticed, nor did the actual metal knobs on the stereo. Underway, the ride felt more composed, the cabin notably more quiet. Even at the extra-legal speeds of interstate traffic, the interior was hushed (apart from the slightest wind noise). The steering was too light, but felt precise. Seats were comfortable, just like the second-generation GS430 I had long ago. The infotainment system was overly complicated, and the mouse control would be much better if replaced by a more traditional dial. The sun visors felt a bit flimsy for this level of car. And in this particular example, there was a slight whine from something transmission-related when accelerating from a standstill. I was unsure whether to peg that to all-wheel drive related noise, or something funky in the gearbox itself. Either way, I’d obtained the information I needed to make a decision. Vastly superior in most ways to the Q60, GS was the answer.

Spreadsheet ready, I started the search for the right GS late on Saturday, via AutoTrader and eBay. Requirements are as follows:

  • 2015 model
  • No black exterior or interior
  • Rear-drive
  • Under 50,000 miles
  • Heated seats
  • Under $25,000
  • Clean history

So far, the black exterior and interior restrictions have taken the largest number of cars out of the running. I’m fine with literally any other interior color. Many for sale have shown past damage on the history report. I’d accept an F-Sport version if the red leather were present, though I’ve given up on finding any examples with the Mark Levinson audio or Luxury package. Seems those two options weren’t too popular. The spreadsheet currently contains four potential cars that passed all the hurdles. It’s all sort of a time sink, but of the enjoyable kind for me.

The next entry in this story will be after a purchase is made.

[Images: Corey Lewis/TTAC, Lexus, seller]

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32 Comments on “Where Your Author Sells an Infiniti Quickly, Then Starts a Search...”


  • avatar
    gtem

    “After just over five years and with 14,000 miles added to the odometer, I received back 53.9 percent of what I paid for the M. Not too shabby, right?”

    On a cents-per-mile basis, that sounds horrible! Not sure if I missed the ‘/s’ via the internet.

    Good luck on the GS search, I highly approve of course. Seems like the majority of them are silver AWD models with black interiors.

    • 0 avatar
      jh26036

      Was going to mention the same thing, without hard numbers, that 53% metric is useless.

      If you bought it for $4k and got back $2k, sure, great job!
      If you paid $12k and got back $6k, that’s just whatever even after 5 years.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Yeah, I was going to say 46% loss on 14,000 miles driven plus $100 bill air filters and oil changes is some expensive depreciation per mile.

      The Edmund’s 2013 Lexus GS Fsport in their longterm test had $63K MSRP and loss 1/3rd of its value in 18 months. You should definitely find one that has about 60% depreciation from 2015, unwanted RWD.

    • 0 avatar

      Well more that I got over half my money back on a decade-old car. I paid $14850.

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      Some people simply don’t have to drive that much, and for them, the per-mile depreciation metric would hardly ever be favorable.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Yay, keep the GS alive! I love my 2000 GS400. But for it’s rusting roof, due to a bad windshield replacement I suspect, I’d drive it another 10-years. I will warn you though, GS drivers always have to answer the question, ‘why didn’t you get a BMW?’ Well, for me the answer is, I want to drive a really nice, luxurious, powerful car for a long time and not have a bunch of stuff break down. More than reliable, I find RWD Lexus durable, an underappreciated value in this world. Question about your Infiniti, did you ever have the driver’s seat track break? I’m thinking about an M37X as a second car and see a lot of posts about seat tracks.

    • 0 avatar

      I heard and read about the seat tracks, but i didnt have that issue.

      I rarely moved the seat thoigh, and I’m not a heavy person. I think those are probably factors.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Love the GS, its a good car and I agree that it is a more than suitable replacement for the Infiniti. Driving dynamics are great and performance is more than acceptable. The infotainment system will start off by annoying you and work its way to being intolerable in short order though. I dont know anyone who is a fan of the Lexus infotainment systems. I would opt for the RWD version if snow is not a concern though.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’d rate the Infiniti as more fun to drive, but you won’t go wrong with the GS.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Last week I went to my local Lexus dealer and said “Gimme an IS300,” shortly after drove off in a 2019 in white with black/red interior. My lease with the Buick ends soon (yeah, I have two lease paymetns for a couple months) and Lexus has an offer this month for $339/mo for the base AWD. I didn’t care about the color combination so like 70% of all Lexus owners, it seems, I wound up with white.
    I’ve driven a lot of cars in the last couple months and all of them had a lot going for them. For me it came down to the IS or 392 Charger. Yes, I was cross shopping a 260hp Lexus and a 420hp Dodge.
    I never did get behind the wheel of a GS, but I admired them from afar.
    The IS350 I test drove recently also had a noticeable whine. I thought it might be electrical in nature, alternator noise. But that plus the fact that there was a tremendous amount of road noise and the gauges didn’t move like they were supposed to when you put it in Sport had me walking briskly away from it. So I wonder if there is a knew issue with the 300hp 3.5s causing the whine.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      What was the cap cost reduction on the IS, if I may ask?

      I’ve never driven the 300, but I hear it’s a major improvement over the 250 (which was a dog). I liked the 350 a lot, but it was more than I wanted to spend.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        To be honest, I’m not sure. I’ll wind up having paid $22k when time comes to turn it in.

        The 300 is supposedly similar to 60 and has worse mpg than the 250. It is… not fast. It makes decent noise to about 4,000 when the VTEC kicks in (yo) and it gets going. I figured for the kind of driving I do, mostly mildly congested suburban streets, I’d rather have comfort to power. The 350 was out of my price willingness as well. I looked at used but the one I mentioned above pointed me to the new market.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @ FreedMike, IS250 owner here. Bought mine CPO. I have either a multi-stoplight commute from parking garage to parking garage or western D.C. burbs to downtown D.C. slog. Neither commute requires moaahr power. Leather seats and playing a new wave mix cd helps alot. Other than power, what didn’t you like about the 250?

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      That is Regal TourX 2.0T with torque vectoring AWD lease money! Plus GM will eat your last 3-months of payments or more of your old car. With releasing from GM there is a hidden $500.00 in wear-n-tear covered. That worked in our favor once with a stone chipped/spider cracked windshield that we didn’t have to replace.

      The IS is good chassis according to Motor Trend and Jack B. Not so sure of Lexus 2.0T though.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        Turning in the Buick will be interesting. The guy I took it over from banged it up pretty well living in the city and someone used the right rear door as a parking aid a few weeks ago. I supposedly have excess wear coverage but I have a feeling they are going to give me a hard time with it when I try to make a claim since I’m not the one who took the coverage at the start. But I’ve certainly been paying for it.
        My Regal GS payment is $339/mo now, and I had been looking at the TourX. But I just cannot accept mandated start/stop. It seems silly, but I don’t like it and I don’t want it. I already have a turbo AWD wagon in the fleet so I can do without it.

        The current IS300 AWD has the same 3.5 V6 as the 350, but it’s de-tuned to 260 hp. A large part of my getting it was due to the NA V6, which is a dying breed.
        I got a nearly base model. My only options are the premium package and heated steering wheel. It lacks some surprising features, like backup sensors, remote start (it has an app) and nav (in my eyes, for the price). But I’m happy with the comfort of the 17″ wheels and the black and red trim looks classy and the seats are fantastic.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Ive driven both, the IS is appealing as a package, but its nowhere near as comfortable, fast or usable as the Charger. The infotainment in the Charger is a thousand times better too. The Charger 392 is on the short list for my next summer car.

  • avatar
    GS 455

    My friend has a 2017 Lexus GS 350 AWD (up here in the Great White North) and absolutely loves it. He leased a BMW 3 series prior to the Lexus and raves about the GS 350 ride, comfort, quietness and is happy with its handling.

  • avatar

    Hope you can find a Flaxen interior with either Meteor Blue/Riviera Red/Fire Agate exterior.

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      Those would be my color choices as well. I’m sure there are plenty in that lot right over there…right next to the unicorn stable ;-)

      Finding a desirable color combo (especially in a used car) was one of the most frustrating parts of my recent car search. I got half-lucky. Beautiful metallic red exterior…ebony interior. Ah well.

      • 0 avatar
        Secret Hi5

        ^What Blackcloud says.
        I ended up paying a little more to get the exact (rare) color combo. Very important to me because I’ll be looking at it every-single-day.

        • 0 avatar
          Tele Vision

          @ Secret Hi5

          I did the the same when looking for my V. I had to spend an extra $2000 and six months to get the black on tan but that’s what I wanted.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Corey…it’s not too late! Spring is right around the corner! You know you’re tempted:
    https://www.jakesweeneymazda.com/new/Mazda/2019-Mazda-Mazda+MX-5+Miata+RF-4108b5670a0e0a6b2860088fba10d6ed.htm
    You can have a hell of a lot of fun driving it out to the Hocking Hills and scrubbing a few thousand miles of tread off of the tires. Can’t do that in a GS!
    Of course your needs and wants might vary from mine :-)

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Good luck with the search, my guess is you will have all of 5 cars to choose from unless your ok with white and white. It seems unique colors are a very rare thing for most cars. I saw a deep green GTI yesterday, a great color. I know Lexus has a pine wish green in their stable no idea if the GS can be had in it.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Good luck! There are more options out on the west coast- likely where I would look. When my kids take over the Accord in a few years, the GS is on list after using a dealer loaner. I liked it a lot, but I kind of want a stick-shift Accord Sport.

    Our 2016 GX460 (with 24k miles) has a similar whine, checked out okay when I had it in last week for airbag recall. The GX is great for truck duties but I prefer a sedan and being able to pass more than a couple Sinclair stations.

  • avatar

    I bought a new 2013 GS350 F-Sport in mid-2012, RWD, Starfire Pearl (white, my preferred color in sunny Tucson), Flaxen interior, and Mark Levinson. I had a shock absorber blow in the first year (replaced under warranty) and a defective cruise control switch (replaced on my dime, actually many dimes) a few months ago. My mechanic tells me I have over 50% of each brake pad remaining after 30,000 miles. Original tires still have plenty of tread. The GS is now seven years old, and I have no plans to replace it, although I keep drooling over the LC. Oh yes, and I have averaged 26 MPG.

  • avatar
    Manic

    6-series BMW, 2 or 4-door would be something I’d check.

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    Congrats on finding your next dream car. I’m still searching for mine. A Lexus GS, not in black, is definitely on my short list. I prefer the ultra white or either of the darker greys on that particular car.


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