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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (General Motors)
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (General Motors)

Best of the Lot

Best of the Lot: Big spender looking for a sensible sports car Add to ...

I have a Chrysler 300C, which I think is absolutely a great car. My wife drives a Chrysler minivan, which she needs for her two dogs and horse equipment, as she is an equestrian. She spends the winter in Florida and I fly down every 10 days or so. I need a personal car for Florida and I like the new Corvette and the new Jaguar F-Type, but they do not have all-wheel-drive. I’m used to that feature and I feel if I don’t take the car south and drive it in Canada during the winter I would like AWD. My question: Can you suggest a sports car with all-wheel-drive? I like the Infiniti G37, but read that a completely new model is in the works. The car would have to be available no later than November. – Harvey in Mississauga, Ont.

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Vaughan: Cato, life’s tough for some people. Decisions, decisions: Will I have a new Jag or a ’Vette for Florida. Old Harvey must be up all night worrying.

Cato: Worry or tallying the vast sums in his bank accounts. Look, Harv, you cannot go wrong here. You can only make a good decision. Your money can buy you peace of mind and enough joy to tickle the grumpiest of old men.

First, the seventh-generation 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Staggering. At $52,745 to start in Canada, Chevy is selling itself short with this 460-horsepower super sports car. As Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter told me, “It’s a track weapon with huge bandwidth.”

I love the design and performance of the F-Type, but at more than $100,000, it’s twice as much. The Jag is not a bad way to go, but it’ll hit your bank balance. Pick either one, put snows on it, and go live the dream.

Vaughan: I don’t think dough is the issue. That Corvette is the best one ever, performance-wise. But it looks like a generic Japanese sports coupe in the rear. Harvey should splurge on the Jag. The new F-Type is the most beautiful Jag since the E-Type in the early 1960s. Money be damned. This is the classy choice that will turn heads among his wife’s horsey friends.

Cato: It turned my head. With all the regulations car companies need to abide by, it’s a stunning achievement to design a car like this – to be able to package airbags and electronic stability control with pedestrian safety at the front end and rollover protection on top. Bravo, Jaguar.

I think Harv’s heart is in a sports car, but he’s dithering over this decision. The bold choice is the ’Vette, the classic one the Jag. However, he could also opt for something sensible, for a four-seasons coupe and we need to go down that road.

Vaughan: So a high-end coupe with all-wheel-drive, correct? Is that what you’re trying to say, Cato?

BMW 3-Series Coupe
 

Cato: The Infiniti G37 coupe with all-wheel-drive is an option, and at $49,300 minus discounts, it lands in the ’Vette’s $50,000 wheelhouse. Yes, an all-new version – likely called the Q50 coupe – is expected next year to match the sedan being launched right now. On the other hand, the current car is good and strikingly affordable. Did I mention that Infiniti has the best resale values of any luxury brand?

Two other options: BMW’s 328i or even the 335i coupe with xDrive AWD. The former comes in at $46,800, but BMW has slapped on some fat discounts in the $4,000-plus range, so the real price is less. The 328’s 3.0-litre inline-six is beautifully balanced and rated at 230 hp.

Finally, the Audi A5 with quattro coupe. Go for the $47,700 Premium model if you take this road. Eye-catching design, yes, but the 2.0-litre turbo is an engine brands in the VW Group seem to put in every model imaginable.

Vaughan: You do love your lists, Cato. Someone more generous than I might even call you comprehensive. However, you left something out: If Harvey wants to go German, there’s the Mercedes C350 coupe. It’s a 4Matic, which is Benz-talk for AWD, and lists for $51,400. But you’ll get a big discount off the list price.

Jaguar F-Type V-8 S
 

Cato: I’ve seen at least a $2,500 discount which, if you’re counting, makes this coupe and the others about half the price of the Jag. But that takes me back to the Corvette, also half the price of the Jag.

I say Corvette. Harv, you so clearly want to take the plunge here. And you should. It’ll change your life for the better. Get snow tires or leave the car in Florida.

Vaughan: Cato, you just don’t understand the horsey crowd. Show up in the Jaguar F-Type and you’re a star. Show up in a racy Chevrolet? It’s just not done.

Cato: Of course, if Harv must saddle up a more practical coupe, it must be the Bimmer.

 

2013 BMW 328i xDrive coupe

2014 Jaguar F-Type V8 S

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray coupe

Wheelbase (mm):

2760

2622

2710

Length (mm):

4620

4470

4493

Width (mm):

1782

1923

1877

Height (mm)

1395

1319

1240

Engine:

3.0-litre six-cylinder

5.0-ltre supercharged V-8

6.2-litre V-8

Output (horsepower/torque)

230/200 lb-ft

495/460 lb-ft

460/465 lb-ft

Drive system:

all-wheel drive

rear-wheel drive

rear-wheel drive

Transmission

six-speed manual

eight-speed automatic

seven-speed manual

Curb weight (kg)

1625

1665

1496

Fuel economy (litres/100 km)

12.4 city/7.6 highway

13.4 city/8.6 highway

12.0 city/6.9 highway

Base price

$46,800

$100,900

$52,745

Source: car manufacturers

Jeremy Cato and Michael Vaughan are co-hosts of Car/Business, which appears Fridays at 8 p.m. on Business News Network and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on CTV

Send your automotive questions to globedrive@globeandmail.com

 

Follow on Twitter: @catocarguy

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