Hey guys: I drive a 2004 BMW 330ci convertible and I'm due for a change. I've looked at a gently used 2012 BMW 335xi coupe (last model year) and I am also considering a 2013 Golf R. Both cars appeal to me. The BMW seems more luxurious, the R sportier. Other than the all-wheel-drive feature, I have no other practical considerations, other than the R will be $10,000 less expensive, of course. Any advice for an undecided driver? – JP in Calgary
Vaughan: Poor old JP. He's in that expensive German car rut. It's time for him to break out.
He needs the courage to move into that fantastic AWD Lexus coupe. Or the powerful Cadillac ATS coupe. Terrific. Or that sporty new Lincoln two-door …
Cato: Whoa! I am swimming in your sarcasm.
You know very well there is no Lexus coupe to rival the 335xi coupe. Cadillac may one day create an ATS coupe – though I won't hold my breath – but the sedan is all it has now. A Lincoln coupe? The Mark VIII had two doors, but was the size of the Queen Mary. And it sank with the whole Mark series line, the one that ended in 1998 ... 1998!!!
So you jest. No, you mock. You mock Lexus, Caddy and Lincoln. You kick sand on them because that's exactly what those muscular Teutonic car makers have been doing for years. You're piling on, Vaughan. Bully.
The Germans seemingly offer something for everyone, including JP. They take premium cars seriously. I mean, BMW offers 55 different models in Canada, if you include Mini. The Japanese and Detroit? Nothing like that.
Except Infiniti. That G37x coupe is as good as anything from Bavaria or Stuttgart and, at $49,300, is a killer deal even before the inevitable discounting that comes with news that a replacement is on the way – the Q50 we saw in Detroit. But for the money, you won't get more car right now than the G37x.
Vaughan: Are you done?
Yes, I think Infiniti comes closest, yet it still lacks the snob appeal that I am sure put JP in a Bimmer in the first place. I think it's the phony name that holds Infiniti/Infinity back, but that's just a theory.
Now, as for the Golf R ($39,675), well, JP got that one right. It is definitely sportier than the Bimmer coupe. Maybe too sporty.
The car is billed as the ultimate Golf and comes loaded to the gills with performance options – including a turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine that cranks 256 horsepower tied to a six-speed manual transmission and VW's 4Motion all-wheel-drive. Wow.
Only 500, all identically equipped, were brought to Canada last year and sold out fast. If he can find a good used one, I'd be surprised because I'm sure most buyers drove the hell out them because the car is so much fun.
Cato: Sure, built for speed, but that G37x gets its 330 horsepower from a sweet V-6. No forced induction there and that's one reason to like it so much. Spot-on handling, too. I've had plenty – and I mean plenty – of fun on the track in a G.
That Golf R is a gem, but such a pocket rocket is a bit too boy-racer for JP. I just don't see it. He's been a Bimmer guy.
If not Infiniti, he should think about moving from BMW to the other Bavarian car maker – Audi. If the S5 quattro coupe were a woman, I'd marry it. That's really saying something; the people who know me best know that, for me, once was more than enough.
We are talking about a fast car, sure, but the S5 is just so livable. Loveable, too. Adorable. But you can live with this coupe. This ride will carve any corner, yet in the day-to-day it won't punish you. I was sorry to see the 2012 version with its lusty 4.2-litre V-8 go away, but the supercharged 3.0-litre V-6 spins up a healthy 333 hp.
The S5 flies under the radar with its tame-ish styling. Don't be fooled. By day, it's Bruce Wayne; by night, Batman without any of the psychological issues. Yes, $60,700 isn't cheap. It's merely what you pay for a delicious-looking brute and a complete all-around car. Time for JP to move to another German brand; this is it.
Vaughan: Audi is dangerous. What has it done wrong? Nothing, for about a decade. The S5 gets full marks, but that price tag might scare off JP. It would scare me off, but I'm just a poor-but-honest journalist.
However, it could be that JP is in reduced circumstances; he's now shopping used. In that case, I think he'd be happiest if he can find a Golf R used, but not abused.
Cato: A used Golf? Nah.
Go marry … er, buy an S5.
HOW THEY COMPARE
|2013 Audi S5 3.0T Premium quattro coupe||2013 Golf R AWD hatchback||2013 Infiniti G37x Premium AWD coupe|
Track, front (mm)
|3.6-litre V-6, supercharged||2.0-litre four-cylinder, turbocharged||3.7-litre V-6|
|333/325 lb-ft||256/243 lb-ft||330/270 lb-ft|
|All-wheel drive||All-wheel drive||All-wheel drive|
|Six-speed manual||Six-speed manual||Seven-speed automatic|
Curb weight (kg)
Fuel economy (litres/100 km)
|13.8 city/8.3 highway||10.9 city/7.5 highway||11.7 city/7.8 highway|
Base price (MSRP)
Source: car manufacturers
Jeremy Cato and Michael Vaughan are co-hosts of Car/Business, which airs Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on Business News Network and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on CTV.
Correction: Due to an editing error, the prices of the vehicles in the above chart were incorrect. This error has been fixed.