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?
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]