By on August 5, 2021

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]

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98 Comments on “Where Your Author Considers Many Impractical Used Car Suggestions (Part II)...”


  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    We’re polar opposites on one thing – I just don’t like the look of the Lexus hardtop convertibles. They look a little awkward with the top up and have a didn’t move at all and ate takeout during the pandemic lockdown-sized butt with the top down. But the interior is nice…

    I wouldn’t touch used Mercedes quality with a 10-foot pole, especially after the not-so-good VW relationship that you called off.

    But I really like that Volvo. It suffers less from the bubble-butt than other hardtop convertibles. The somewhat stark Swedish interior has aged very well, and the Volvos we’ve had in the family have been reliable, but a little expensive to fix when normal routine service is needed. It has probably aged the best of your choices there, and I still see a few of them driving around in and around my neighborhood daily and they still look good.

    I’d try to find one from a Sun Belt state and see what you can work out.

    • 0 avatar

      The Volvo is a little thin on the ground, and I would want one with lower-ish miles. I’m still not convinced they’re easy to maintain, as JMII points out below.

      • 0 avatar
        eng_alvarado90

        I rented a 2nd gen S60 T5 back in 2014 and I can say it was a sweet ride. Nice torquey little engine with a unique sound thanks to the I-5 configuration.
        What I don’t like is that this particular engine had a timing belt and unless you find records of it being recently replaced I’d stay away from it

    • 0 avatar
      SaabStory

      2nded on all counts. The 21st century Volvos are underrated cars. I would take one over an Audi Cabrio. The assembly quality is really apparent in person. Doors shut like bank vaults. There is little to no chassis flex. The seats are literally, the best. Leather is probably real.

      Though, Electronics are weak. Torque is good in the I5, but they are thirsty machines. Drivetrains overall are kind of a letdown, given their reputation. AWD is known to break. The mechanics are usually specialists, and parts are not that well stocked in North America. Most owners have maintained them well at least.

      My ’06 Saab convertible has been going strong for nearly 250k miles, fwiw. Parts are 99% GM-common, but the dealership-specific softwares and dongles are nearly extinct. Bad voltage controllers eat up lightbulbs and coil packs. Still, cheapest ownership of any car I’ve ever had, including my college Crown Vic Interceptor. If you feel mechanically-inclined I would rate an 11/10. Stay away from the final 2010-11 cars, you can practically smell the malort-scented tears of the doomed Trollhatten workers.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I met at a man at the PVGP with a very clean MY01 93/manual ‘vert who parked next to my C70 MK I. He told me he wanted to sell it because he barely drove it and it took up too much space. I didn’t ask for a price but I think mileage was 50 or 60K, it looked like something worth buying.

  • avatar
    JMII

    We test drove a MB300 and bought an Infiniti Q60 (G37) instead. The Benz was not impressive. It was slow and dull to drive. The controls and buttons were not user friendly and honestly the interior wasn’t that nice. I was downright shocked when my wife (kind of a brand snob) rejected it for the fancy Nissan.

    Volvo? If its anything like our C30, a rare bird nobody bought, I would steer well clear. As you have already guessed parts and service will be challenging. Our Volvo was the only vehicle I’ve traded in purely on the amount of time and money spent in a service bay… and I owned a B5 Passat.

    • 0 avatar

      Scaring me with B5 Passat talk like that.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “As you have already guessed parts and service will be challenging”

      What issues did you have?

    • 0 avatar
      ras815

      Parts on the C30 (and C70, V50, etc) are very easy to find since it is based on the Ford C1/Volvo P1 platform, and there is huge aftermarket support thanks to sites like FCP Euro and IPD.

      What were your problems on it specifically?

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        Maybe we got a lemon, but with so few of these cars on the road I had trouble getting much information on them. The problems I had were as follows:

        – The rear hatch handle snapped off in my hand one day and nobody carries this part in inventory, can’t find one from a pull-it-place either.

        – Washer covers in the bumpers fell off 3 times, each time we had to order the part, wait for it to arrive, get it painted, installed… repeat. Painting one small part was expensive.

        – Car went thru Xenon headlight bulbs at an alarming rate, about 2 per year failed.

        – Headlight lens cracked, cost $800 for a replacement, took weeks to even locate one.

        – Clutch went to the floor and never came back up, took an Euro specialist nearly 3 weeks of throwing parts at it, in the end the whole clutch system was replaced, he felt so bad he credited me back about 1/2 of the parts because he couldn’t honestly explain which part finally corrected the issue. This guy RACED Volvos & BMWs so he knew his stuff.

        – Steering column locked making the car un-driveable, fix was expensive.

        – The embolizer system puked up errors, twice resulting in a no start condition, car had to be towed to the dealer on a flat bed, nobody I called would even touch this problem claiming programing from the mothership was required.

        – A rear toe link broke.

        – Front axle boots and seals failed.

        – Car got crappy mileage with the turbo 5, getting only around 18 city, while my V6 350Z was getting 19 on a similar loop.

        All told we dropped $8k into fixing the car over a 3 year period. At one point were averaging $400 a month in repairs. It just made no financial sense, despite my wife LOVING everything else about the car.

        Volvo only sold 300 of these cars a month, the car was rear-ended in a mirror accident and the body shop had never seen a single example of one, it might as well have been a homemade kit car to them. I know the C30 was popular in Europe and used Mazda and Ford parts, but in the US anytime I called regarding yet another problem or part I got the “its not in the computer, what is that model # again please”.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          That’s a rough ownership experience. I considered a C30 once, this story makes me glad I didn’t follow through. Although Volvos are common in my area, C30s are not. I can tolerate needing repairs, but not finding the expertise to do the repairs would drive me crazy.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Sorry to hear about all that, years ago I had a girl with a Focus coupe hatchback who got very close to pulling the trigger on one CPO (she ended up with a CPO Merc Milan, this was about mid to late 2012).

          I didn’t have nearly that many dumb problems but I had a few headaches putting my C70 back together which probably isn’t as rare but certainly not common either. Aside from dealer only tools for the roof, it didn’t have as much dealer FU baked into it as the P1/P2 and presumably P3 do.

          What is a “washer cover in the bumper”?

        • 0 avatar
          MeJ

          @JMII
          That is the craziest horror story I’ve read since the Shining!

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @JMII:

          So, despite being about as reliable as a crackhead, how was the car otherwise?

          (…reading this makes me glad I dumped off my A3 when I did…it wasn’t even a quarter this bad, but I got sick of worrying about what would go wrong next.)

          • 0 avatar
            JMII

            Washer covers are those pop up things that clean the headlights, very common on Euro cars (maybe required?). If you went to rinse the bugs off the windshield while at speed these little do-dads pop off the bumper… and fly away, gone forever. They are just plastic that clips (poorly) into place: https://store.voluparts.com/11-13-volvo-c30-headlight-washer-cover/ maybe the dealer was ripping me off but I always seem to need the $65 washer nozzle too when one went flying. After painting these you were $200 lighter in the wallet. Our car was a white pearl tri-coat type paint so maybe that was another reason. They were so small I bet 90% of the paint mixed was wasted.

            As a concept the C30 was great – small, sexy, quick, semi-luxury hot-hatch, minimalist interior, clean lines, user friendly, awesome seats that Volvo is famous for. It was the perfect car for my wife, she adored it. Worked great as a grocery getter that could seat 4 in a pinch, or with the seats flipped down, make a Costco run. Easy to load due to the big oval shaped hatch. It was basically an upscale GTI or very similar to the Audi S3 that was never sold here in the states.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @JMII

            Thanks, I’ve never seen those before and don’t see a need personally for headlight washer jets. I suppose its the new equivalent to the little wiper blades on the headlights of older Volvos and Mercedes. I haven’t disabled mine but I was told I should because they are plastic and break along with being pointless.

          • 0 avatar

            The final refresh C70 eliminated those little headlamp sprayers.

            I’ve seen some earlier ones for sale with black covers so that’s clearly a common problem.

            2011+ C70s for sale have all had a history on the Carfax of lots of bulb replacement and ECM reprogramming.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    If you go Lexus, stretch your budget for a 350 instead of a 250. You’ll appreciate the difference every time you press the accelerator pedal.

    The XLR has investment potential only if you plan to keep it long enough. (In the mid 1980s, I was offered a clean 1968 Jaguar XKE coupe for $10k. Since I had just bought an RX-7, I turned it down. Stupid!!!!!)

    Of the bunch, I’d choose the SLK350. Just beware of Mercedes maintenance costs.

  • avatar
    toronado

    Lexus. Run from all of the Mercedes, I like them but not out of warranty.I absolutely love the Volvo but would avoid for the same reason.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    After your VW experience I would expect that you would (should?) stay away from the MB.

    The Volvo experience could be even worse?

    The XLR is what I would recommend if you had extra ‘just in case’ money, if something does go wrong.

    The Lexus does indeed seem like the safest bet.

    • 0 avatar

      Certainly the safest, as with most everything ya can pick from that brand.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Safe bets are for girls. Let him suffer, it’ll make for great stories.

      Useless trivia; The very last cars with Cassette Players are Lexus. Obviously cassette players were absolutely reliable by then and easy to figure out the controls (if owners still played tapes).

      That same year my new XL F-150 (STX) came with an indash CD changer and no tape deck available.

  • avatar
    Socrates77

    I think a Fiat 124 spyder would be more fun. Being a miata it’ll be cheaper to maintain.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I know what you’re doing but just buy the IS. The SLK, C70, and E350 all have the same problem of being rare niche items requiring specialty service. The CTS coupe’s rear is horrid in person, you know better than the ATS and I don’t know why you keep injecting XLR into this series but that’s a non starter.

    Oh and on the C70, the 11-13s are headed for the moon in the most ridiculous asks I have ever seen and whomever bites is in for a world of hurt in a few years from a resale perspective. Servicing I wouldn’t be too worried because like the MK1, the heart of MK II is based on a plebian model (P1 S40) produced during Ford’s reign of failure. Door and specialty roof parts may be an issue, but Volvo historically has a decent aftermarket. The issue with nearly every FWD Volvo ’99+ is they become more dealer centric with age, unless you have a good indy its not much different than owning Zee Germans (may be a bit cheaper but similar).

    • 0 avatar

      I might argue E350 is not niche, as everything in it is just from the E-Class.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      A couple of weeks ago I did a quick search of Volvo C70’s. You can still find decent 1st generation ones in the $4-5k range but the 2nd generation are in the $15-18k range up from $10-14k a year or two ago. The super in the building next to me bought a nice sliver 2nd generation one in Florida last year from some retiree for around $6k which was a steal. He says it’s been trouble free with no roof issues and he’s been keeping up with the normal maintenance including the timing belt.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Unless someone wants to come be my Padawan Learner on the C70 MK I its not something I would recommend without receipts or a good Volvo indy. Wholesale was always abysmal on those, its not a bad car but its a very finicky model though fortunately the drivetrain and firewall/dash being generic P80 components (S70/V70/850) its not too bad to keep running. I keep saying it thinks its a Jaguar, even though it was designed before Ford bought Volvo. Perhaps its a Trans-Jaguar?

        Good buy for the super on the C70 MKII, that’s about what those are really worth depending on condition. Well in 2019 B.C. at least.

  • avatar
    ajla

    0. The 2.5L Lexus V6 is direct injection only and suffers from VW-level carbon issues. I’d research and decide if you think that will be trouble for you.
    1. I do not think you will like the quality or aesthetics of the ATS’s interior.
    2. The roof is scary but otherwise I like it.
    3. I can’t abide by the huge a$$ on the CTS coupe and like you said the interior isn’t exactly stellar. I’d say ATS coupe > CTS coupe in your price range.
    4. I do not anticipate you liking the 4-cylinder Mercedes of those years.
    5. Seems fine. Maybe a little low on the excitement scale though when you already have the GS.
    6. I know basically nothing about SLKs.
    7. Seems like too much of a unicorn for what you get.

    • 0 avatar

      0. Interesting did not know that.
      1. Perhaps on the quality, the aesthetics I’m just okay with.
      2. 28CL for some reason is all down on XLR.
      3. Yep
      4. I believe that 2.0 is the same as in the Q60 I drove once, and once was plenty. So you’re correct there. Probably strike 4.
      5. Really like the looks, though I know it won’t be thrilling to drive.
      6. The top is much less complicated than the SL because it’s only two pieces. From what I’ve seen in vids, the quality appears very solid.
      7. Yep. Probably strike 7 from the list too.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “28CL for some reason is all down on XLR.”

        In theory that should be a great pickup, but on its not for reasons I don’t understand so apox on it. Generically speaking take the same too much money and put it into the SC430 or the like (yes I know you don’t like those, I’m speaking generally).

        I also know its not in your buying profile, you want to spend X budget on the secondary car for maxiumum enjoyment with as little additional cost as possible. Its the same profile as your Lexus which I assume is your primary, and for my primary I always wanted the same providing my lesser budget (hence 3800 W-body in 2010 as primary). Where we differ is in our secondary and beyond choices, I tend to go a little more oddball and am open to a lot more. You still retain the same mentality, budget X, what can I get for my budget that I like and is newish and causes the least headache.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I’d say round 1 to test is IS-C, XLR, and E350.
        If none of those do it for you go SLK, ATS, and (maybe) C70.

        Beyond that, I guess wait and see if anything ages into your budget. No need to rush.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    From your list I’d go ATS, I was lucky enough to test drive a manual 2.0t sedan. Handled as well as my old e46zhp(which the ATS targeted) but with a nicer interior/new tech.It can be happy on 87 octane which is nice too.
    The Volvo is a wet noodle chassis, as is the Lexus.
    The E coupe , is a proper touring car with a much better interior and a smoother drivetrain than any C class . I don’t think an E class coupe with the NA V6 would be unreliable or any more maintenance intensive from my ML350 experience with this powertrain.

    • 0 avatar

      How was your ML on things breaking?

      • 0 avatar
        cimarron typeR

        none, its a heavy pig so tires and brakes wore quickly. Motor mounts on the v6 wear a little bit prematurely I read, but at 100k before I sold it,I never had any issues. It still had original plugs.Never used any oil.
        The MB auto is robust but make sure fluid was changed at least once before 60k miles. I think big 6 cyl were a strong point and its sad they started putting 2.0ts in everything.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    A bureaucratic approach like this can ONLY lead to the RAV4 of the category… which is the IS250. Mazel tov.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    @Corey; Sir, real-world 2009 IS250 owner here. 75K (or so)miles. I bought mine coming in off a lease. I’m either driving on the D.C. beltway, far western D.C. suburbs, and do a couple of high-speed runs back to Indiana a year, and 4-5 trips to South Carolina beaches. The long-distance runs take care of the carbon build-up and it never hurts to drive it hard every so often. The only issue I had was the trunk release button was getting sticky and would leave residue on my fingertip. All of you, please feel free to laugh. Be warned that various Lexus group sites can go straight to “fanboyism” in a heartbeat. It’s a luxury vehicle with F-150 maintenance issues/costs. Kinda like a ” go to” pair of penny loafers.

  • avatar
    ras815

    Good to see the ’11-’13 C70 on the list this time around – I think between either the C70 and IS250/350, you’ll have made a solid choice.

    I happen to prefer the exterior design and interior comfort of the C70, but I imagine the Lexus wins out in reliability and has a few more features due to the slightly newer platform (e.g. ventilated seats, more sophisticated audio stack, etc).

    As for concerns about parts availability on the C70, there are certain components that are no doubt going to be increasingly hard to find (power top related stuff, mostly), but keep in mind the car is based on the Ford C1/Volvo P1 platform so there are tons of shared, aftermarket-supported parts from places like FCP Euro. And look into the Polestar software upgrade, it’s supposedly good for a nice 20-40 HP boost without sacrificing any MPG.

    Good luck!

  • avatar
    eng_alvarado90

    I’ll stick to my guns and say ATS coupe. I believe it offers the best mix of looks, impracticality, performance, age and reliability.

    From your list it’s either that one or the C-Class coupe (whose style IMO is the best of the bunch), which I never thought it’d be within budget because of the MY. But I’d be wary about its reliability and be on the lookout for something pre-owned with an extended warranty or having the heck of it inspected and own it for no more than 3 years.

    Which pretty much takes us back to the IS which is a very sensible and predictable choice, but I’m not into convertibles so it was never on my list of recommendations.

    • 0 avatar

      If I could find a properly colored ATS I’d go check it out for sure.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The ATS is alright. Brand new in 2018 they were a bit pricey but used they are probably fine as long as you don’t go for one with 4 owners.

        2.0T vs 3.6L kind of comes down to preference. Both fall into the “acceptable” range of acceleration. I liked the sound and power delivery of the V6 more but I’m not a guy that goes out to “run the twisties” either which is where the lighter I4 might have an advantage.

        I still think it’ll be a no from you because of the interior materials and ergonomics though. If it was barely up to ajla standards when new I don’t see how it will meet Corey standards when used.

      • 0 avatar
        eng_alvarado90

        There you go: 2016 ATS Coupe, 1 owner, 54K miles, Dark Blue with light gray interior and Luxury Package, $20K :
        https://www.edmunds.com/cadillac/ats-coupe/2016/vin/1G6AH1RX5G0155207/?radius=200

        • 0 avatar
          eng_alvarado90

          Then there is this 2017 in Red with a Kona brown interior but it’s a bit over your budget at $24K.
          I believe both cars I shared here are close enough.
          https://www.edmunds.com/cadillac/ats-coupe/2017/vin/1G6AH1RX5H0203824/?radius=200

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Always thought the ATS coupe was a looker. And – surprisingly enough – I preferred the 2.0T to the 3.6. It felt lighter on its’ feet.

      My objection would be CUE. It sucks to use, and the scuttlebutt I get is that cracked screens are an issue and cost a gazillion dollars to fix. Just bad news all around.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Per historic GM policy, the ATS coupe is what should have been introduced in 2013 and GM has finally “fixed things” for the final product cycle before discontinuing the model.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    @Corey Lewis

    Dunno if this has yet been answered but why a convertible? I’ve had two and neither was/is a handling car. Also, here in Alberta, Canadia, when it’s hot enough to lower the top it’s too hot to lower the top: I’d drop the roof; cruise for ten minutes; then end up raising said roof and set the A/C to ‘KILL’.

  • avatar
    Socrates77

    Don’t get a Cadillac, my buddy has an ats and the paint is already peeling. Cadillacs are not luxury cars, just a shiny chevy. And Chevy are already overpriced for what you get.

    • 0 avatar

      What ATS has in common with any Chevy? Just fact checking.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The 2.0L motor, not sure about anything else.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I believe the 3.6 engine is also from Chevy. Also, it shares a platform with the current Camaro (which isn’t a bad thing).

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        Interestingly [to me], the starter motor is the same for a 2016 Cadillac ATS 2.0L L4 Turbocharged and a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro 2.0L L4 Turbocharged, but the alternator can be different depending on whether the Cadillac has the KL9 Stop/Start Engine Control System.

        The Cadillac wiper motor is different from the Chevrolet wiper motor. (While rarely featured in commercials, the wiper motor is the heart of the vehicle.)

        [Oh and by the way, 2.0L L4 qualifies these vehicles as Not a Real Cadillac and Not a Real Camaro.]

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Everyone bags on 2.0T engines around here, but there are any number of good ones on the market – BMW and Audi make excellent ones. So I don’t necessarily think that having one on a Caddy was a deadly sin. Having one that is straight out of a Malibu, though, IS a deadly sin. They should have used the basic design and reworked it into something “bespoke” for the brand. Same for the 3.6.

          And the 2.5 on the ATS was a next-level deadly sin.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “Oh and by the way, 2.0L L4 qualifies these vehicles as Not a Real Cadillac and Not a Real Camaro.”

          That’s what my rubber stamp right here says.

      • 0 avatar
        Socrates77

        Same materials, cheap materials like same paint.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    @Corey:

    Ah, so the MB is still in the running, despite your previous protestations?

    Here’s my argument: if you are willing to consider the wallet pain of a used Mercedes C-class, buy an A5 instead. Why? At your budget, you’re looking at the base engine, and in that configuration, the Benz is no fun to drive; the Audi is.

    Put differently: if you’re OK with taking on the pain of a used German car, take the one that drives the best.

    Yes, I know you won’t buy an Audi, but there you have it.

    But this is academic, because you’re not going to buy the Benz either – I think you’re aiming for the IS, and that’s a good move. But I’d hold out for the 350 – I’ve driven the 250, and man, is it a dog. I’d get tired of it pretty quickly.

    I’d spend the extra dough and have something really cool. Get the 350.

  • avatar

    The IS is the only smart choice here. You do not want to own a used European luxury car that’s out of warranty, particularly a convertible, unless you are really looking for future article fodder on TTAC. The Cadillacs are just meh.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “You do not want to own a used European luxury car that’s out of warranty”

      I think you need an asterisk after “European luxury car”. I have two, one being a ‘vert, neither has or will break the bank but both are off the beaten path of “European luxury car” ownership. I may say “You do not want to own a used European luxury car from Zee Germans” but then technically I could prove that wrong too but it would be with an antique Panzerwagon.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    Well outside the Lexus, your options make for a good series of what a ignorant automobile enthusiast you are.

    We gave you safe exciting options like a Mustang GT or HEMI powered Challengers, and you are choosing vehicles that have trouble written all over them and are really just image vehicles for non savvy auto enthusiasts and general public.

    No wonder the brave and exciting drivers on our roads drive HEMI Challenger and Chargers and Mustang GTs. And you Are not amongst them.

    • 0 avatar
      ras815

      Both the Mustang and Challenger are soft top convertibles and therefore not as practical. I think he ruled them out during an earlier round of this series.

      Also, the high school maturity level of “you aren’t a ‘real’ auto enthusiast” is a further vote against whatever you might suggest here.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’d circle back and challenge that assertion. I think he only has one garage space where he parks his primary, so he like most doesn’t want to keep a soft top outside in the elements. However Corey also defined his holding period as short, and his buying preferences seem to be newest possible within budget with as little additional cost and hassle as can be managed. Therefore a newer soft top ‘vert would actually fit the prerequisites, the only complaint I could see him having would be to clean heavy snow off of the roof X times a winter. My response would be to build an inexpensive car port, but well that’s another story.

    • 0 avatar

      Good thing I don’t define what -I- like and buy according to the Internet Auto Enthusiast Guide book huh?

      Try formulating arguments without ad hominem attacks and assumptions, they’ll come off a lot more mature.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Did you miss the impractical part? This is replacing a VW so the Mustang and Challenger are in the more practical dept and thus out of the picture.

  • avatar
    AK

    This is a sincerely depressing list of cars. Genuine waste-of-money turds, all of them.

    That said, ATS Coupe with the 3.6 would at least feel decent to drive so that’s the clear choice.

  • avatar
    Socrates77

    2005 ford Thunderbird

  • avatar
    texasjack

    Buy a SC430 and quit worrying about things.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    What are the problems with the Mercedes V8?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    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

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      …or if you want to join the cool kids:

      https://www.edmunds.com/volvo/c70/2004/vin/YV1NC63D34J061738/?radius=6000

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Oh.

        tomgrayautosales.com/vdp/17846425/Used-
        2006-Jaguar-XJ-4dr-Sdn-XJ8-for-sale-in-
        Louisville-KY-40204

        Carfax shows right side damage report though.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I like how you’re thinking and supposedly the X350 after 2004 is kind of good, but for $10K ah no. Plus much like newer Volvo, one needs the dealer or indy backing for a lot of its servicing. Because Premier Auto Group says FU.

          If I ever got the space, I would go MY01-03 X308 (XJ) but probably not X350 unless the price differential were the same. You gain some niceties with X350 inc the alum body but for my purposes and limited use of it, I’d rather have the post Nikasil X308 or mayyybbee early X300 with the “fixed” I6. I may consider a Nikasil period X308 provided I could verify the plaque was there stating engine replacement under warranty. Jaguar probably has a database of which VINs do and don’t have it.

          • 0 avatar

            Alex Dykes told me about all the issues he had with his X350, which were too much for him, a man more well-heeled than I.

            “It was on a flatbed more than it was in the driveway.”

        • 0 avatar
          toronado

          Great V8 and ZF automatic. Sold them for years and cannot recall much in the way of issues with either of those, but the air suspension *can* go out and be an expensive fix. Not on the order of Land Rover but not uncommon either. Compared to the German options its less risky IMO because everything is not so overengineered. And the drive is fantastic and the style unique.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I researched X350 in late 2019 as an MY04 was in the offing but I didn’t pull the trigger. There is a four wheel coil spring conversion set for a grand and I think the air shocks are 500/apiece so with labor I figure that’s 1,500 to just eliminate it. But then there were all these other little things which added up, one was the “lurch” which supposedly had something to do with the accelerator pedal sensor and a tranny reflash. For the right money, they are probably worth messing with to “fix” and enjoy. I found a YT channel where someone DD’d theirs and racked up huge mileage with it without catastrophic failure but also did complete servicing.

            The X308 lacked the aluminum body but also the factory air ride, used a similar drivetrain and AFAIK has fewer gotchas toward the end of the platform run.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I wouldn’t expect any Jaguar to be a Lexus (or even a Lincoln) and I am #blessed enough to deal with an occasional repair that drifts into 4-figures. However I’m not interested in owning something that’s always broken or has a tendency to brick itself.

      • 0 avatar
        theflyersfan

        811 East Broadway in Louisville. I know of that dealer – they tend to have nicer European cars. I wouldn’t carry large wads of cash a couple of blocks from there.

        (This is the Volvo)

        • 0 avatar

          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.)

  • avatar
    Undead Zed

    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

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