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.