Where Your Author Considers Many Impractical Used Car Suggestions (Part II)

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
where your author considers many impractical used car suggestions part ii

I’m back with more boring used car content, a topic some of you apparently despise with a passion. Caution: More used-car discussion ahead, get out while you still can if this is the case! For the rest of you, let’s review the impractical car suggestions you’ve made that earned a spot on the Yes, I Like list.

In alphabetical order, here’s the list of impractical cars that check all the requirements from the initial post a few weeks ago:

  • Cadillac ATS Coupe
  • Cadillac CTS Coupe
  • Cadillac XLR
  • Lexus IS 250 C / IS 350 C
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe
  • Mercedes-Benz SLK350
  • Volvo C70

Four coupes, three hardtop convertibles, and many variables lie within this list. I’ve been researching lately, so we’ll start with most likely contenders and head toward the outliers.

Lexus IS 250 C / IS 350 C

The IS convertible is the most likely option here. On sale from the 2010 to 2015 model years, earlier examples are in budget. They were expensive and not popular and are not exceedingly available in the convertible-avoiding Midwest, but I could grab one from elsewhere. I like the looks (darker exterior colors are preferable) and I like the quality. The hardtop look is also nice, as with the roof closed all windows can be lowered away. The 2.5-liter V6 250 C is much more available on the used market; the 350 C will likely be outside budget. That’s fine by me, I’ve owned cars with many fewer than 206 horses before. Challenges here include finding one without an accident history and finding interior colors other than black. Fortunately, cream, saddle, red, and light gray were offered. Nearly all examples have the Luxury Package, which included HiD lamps, semi-aniline leather, and navigation.

Cadillac ATS Coupe, XLR, CTS Coupe

Cadillac offers three models that suit my requirements. The ATS is one of the newer cars on this list (2015-2019), so I’d need to find an earlier example with around 70,000 miles or so to stay within budget. The vast majority have the 2.0 turbo rather than the 3.6, and most are equipped with all-wheel drive (which I don’t especially need). The ATS looks great in navy, pearl white, or even a darker red, and overall the styling is sharp too. The biggest issue I’ve noticed with the ATS in searches is the availability of interior colors other than black. Dealers ordered white, silver, or black, a black interior, and called it a day circa 2016.

The XLR comes second of the three Cadillac considerations. The oldest car here, XLR was produced alongside the Corvette from 2004 to 2009. The front end is a bit dated, but the car certainly stands out among other options here. The standard Northstar 4.6 version is near the top of the budget; the V-spec supercharged version is not affordable. The Northstar here is the later LH2 version used from 2004-2010 in various Cadillacs and does not seem to suffer from head gasket issues. However, cars built in 2004 had roof adhesive problems so that year is best avoided. Generally, these have covered relatively low miles and have been maintained by their owners. It is not difficult to find examples with tan or gray interiors. Downsides include the potential for expensive repair work to the completely unique folding metal roof and body panels, which I’m guessing jacks up the insurance rates, too. These are most commonly for sale in red, silver, or champagne. XLR is the only car on this list that’s a future classic.

Last for Cadillac is the CTS Coupe. Readily available within budget, this CTS was offered from 2011 through 2015 (a shorter time than I thought previously). Non-V examples used the common 3.6-liter GM V6, and it was available in RWD or AWD guise. Used examples seem a decent mix between rear- and all-wheel drive, but are often seen in ratty condition because of their age and prior depreciation. Interiors here are especially dated. Even in Performance trim, the CTS Coupe seems like a big hefty chunk of a car. I’m yet to drive one to see if it changes my mind.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe, E-Class Coupe, SLK350

There are also three Mercedes models that fit the bill, the first of which I mentioned last time. The W205 C-Class Coupe is the only model here still in production and has been around since 2017. It’s available in a wide range of nice exterior and interior colors, and overall it’s a looker. Affordable examples will be the C300, with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four. The majority seem to have 4MATIC. The issue here is availability, as to be within budget it would need to be a higher mileage example with around 75,000 on the clock.

More affordable but slightly less sexy is the E-Class Coupe, the C207 offered from 2010 to 2017. Within budget, it would likely be model year 2010-2014. Offered in E350 and E550 models outside the AMG range, the one to get seems to be the 3.5-liter (the V8 had some issues). It’s the most developed engine with the longest and most widespread use at Mercedes. Various exterior and interior colors work for me, and the upgraded equipment of the Designo package is desirable. Of note, it’s a real live hardtop coupe, no B-pillar in the way. Combined with the panoramic roof, it’s as near to convertible as you get without a folding roof. Most examples near the Midwest have 4MATIC. A CarFax history of consistent servicing at a Mercedes dealer is common. Concerns here are the maintenance of a 10-year-old Mercedes, even one that’s among the “more reliable” offerings from the brand.

The SLK350 is also on my radar. I’m only interested in the looks of the third-gen R172 model, which was sold from 2011 to 2020 and changed its name to SLC at the end. Two versions were initially offered, a 250 with a 1.8-liter turbocharged four, and the 350 with the 3.5 V6 straight from the E-Class above. Model years for the 350 were between 2011 and 2015. It’s affordable with reasonable miles, around 55,000 or so. The vast majority have an acrylic panoramic roof panel, though very few were equipped with pricy Magic Roof glass. Others with the base solid roof panel experienced delamination issues, and Mercedes replaced the solid panels with panoramic ones. I like several of the exterior colors, and tan, brown, and red are available inside. Availability is the main constraint with SLK.

Volvo C70

A single Volvo stands alone, and it’s an outlier. The second-gen C70 ran from 2006 to 2013, with a big update for 2011 to bring styling in line with modern offerings. I’m only interested in a 2011-2013 example. A folding metal convertible, it has the same hardtop look as in the IS above with the windows down and the roof up. The C70 has a wide range of pricing for similar cars, and availability is an issue. Many have light interiors but said interiors look rather spartan: Lots of plain black materials. I’ve also concerns about dwindling Volvo parts (after all, they’re about to stop making gasoline- and hybrid-powered cars entirely), and this is the sort of car that will require a specialist mechanic.

There’s the Yes, I Like list. America, Germany, Japan, and Sweden all make something to satisfy my impractical car desires. Now to narrow it a bit and find the right one for me.

[Images: Cadillac, Lexus, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz]

Join the conversation
14 of 98 comments
  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Aug 06, 2021

    OK, I got Part III. This dealer has both an MY10 Lex IS250 (ok miles, kinda high) and an MY13 C70 with no miles but really high (as all of the 11-13s are now). Messed up thing is that C70 probably wholesales 17-18+ because of the low miles so if one is going to choose and lose on these, that's probably not a bad example to do so on. https://www.germanautohouse.com/convertibles-for-sale-B100010

    • See 8 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Aug 07, 2021

      @theflyersfan That Tom Gray place has lots of C70s there! It keeps coming up on my Autotrader saved search. (I've got saved searches for the list above, within 200 mile radius. That captures several major cities that are well within driving distance to go check out a car.)

  • Undead Zed Undead Zed on Aug 06, 2021

    Wow, that "saddle" is a lot more vibrant than I would have thought. This is the closest example I could find with a good title within budget. https://www.carfax.com/vehicle/JTHFF2C21C2526498

    • See 2 previous
    • Eng_alvarado90 Eng_alvarado90 on Aug 09, 2021

      Those seats look tasty, but something inside doesn't look cohesive. Maybe it's a touchscreen short of perfect?

  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)
  • AMcA Phoenix. Awful. The roads are huge and wide, with dedicated lanes for turning, always. Requires no attention to what you're doing. The roads are idiot proofed, so all the idiots drive - they have no choice, because everything is so spread out.