Decision Making ,
So my wife and I were driving from point A to point B last Saturday. Just a regular day running errands and spending time with each other.
Honest to God, no kidding, I have not been thinking at all about getting a new car . . . though I have to confess that I never loved the Camry Hybrid we have been driving and always felt like I made a mistake selling the Acura TL. Anyway, I say to my wife, “Do you ever think about getting a new car?” Gloriosity, she has!
There is an Audi dealer about five blocks from where we are so we go and poke around and drive an A5 coupe. Stunning to look at and very nice but pricey given the performance level. The one with all the goodies costs as much as a small town. There aren’t any used ones.
Very much out of character, we leave without buying one (as it turns out, this is the third time in the past ten years that we went to look at an Audi and bought something else which is weird and too bad because I really like Audis and would very much like to be like Jason Stratham). Instead, we wind up home looking at everything we can think of on the web.
It turns out we actually have some decision criteria . . .
- Coupe: We think that means two doors and an emphatic statement that we are now a) Empty nesters for sure, and b) Too cool for school.
- All wheel drive: Well you never know, it might rain in Seattle, and it is always possible that after a 30 year hiatus, we might just decide to head to the snow and do some skiing. It could happen.
- High fun factor: Antithesis of the Camry Hybrid.
- Good economics: We don’t need to do this so there needs to be something compelling (like free money).
- Good story value: If there isn’t a good story in here, what’s the point?
Basically something more fun that a four door hybrid (a very low bar to step over I might add).
There aren’t that many coupes out there at all if you think about it.
BMW 3 or 6 series
Cadillac CTS (coming soon)
There are probably some others (Bently comes to mind) and there are some four door coupes as well (we’ll get to that in a minute), but that’s what we looked at on our dueling iPads.
A bunch of those you can just cross right off the list for cost reasons. This is a car, after all, not a vacation home. The Ford, Dodge, and Chevrolet never made the list. Too retro, too boy racer, too much. I didn’t want another Corvette or anything in that category either. Cars like that are a hoot to drive three or four times a month for several miles without a break. We also looked at other AWD cars not in two doors, kind of. Never for a second did we think about a SUV.
Basically it was looking like a two horse race between the A5 and the G37x.
There are almost as many Infinity dealers in the US as there are BMW motorbike dealers and they are slightly less convenient. We motored up to the one in Kirkland and low and behold they had a nice collection of G37x’s right out front. Very nice car it is.
For those not in the know it is a two door coupe with a stupidly powerful V6 engine, all wheel drive, and enough computing power and navigational gear to launch a first strike. I think there is a Predator Drone option as well. Various buff books have called it the best this and the most that. It’s a fine, fine ride. In a pinch you can put your pet gerbils in the back assuming your luggage needs don’t exceed a laptop, credit card, and toothbrush.
We drove one. We looked at all of them in detail. I really wanted to love it but I didn’t. Not really sure why. Just like I really wanted to love the A5 (a beautiful car with abusively priced options). In the end, the dream of the racy coupe with two gigantic hard-to-egress doors and go-fast ergonomics got trumped by my creaking bones and sybaritic tendencies.
Meanwhile, I kept looking over at the G37 sedans . . . essentially the same car with two more doors, lots more headroom, and the possibility of transporting two more bipeds in relative comfort. By this time my wife was talking with the sales guy about a Coupe with a particular interior color she fancied and I finally suggested that we go over to the sedans because they had a couple just like that.
For about the fifth time, one in the lineup kept whispering to me: A G37x in Lakeshore Slate with Stone interior, all wheel drive, Navigation package, and upgraded wheels and tires that come up to my waist. Our sainted car salesman (Ken, who just this week sold his 1000 Infiniti working at this dealer which is something indeed) tossed us yet another set of keys and off we went. We barely made it out of the lot and kind of looked at each other and it was done. The car had us at 2500 rpm.
Being a well known expert at decision-making I would give this about a six on a scale of one – 10. We had a decently clear idea about our preferences. We had a solid frame on the problem. We gave ourselves interesting choices. We did some research. The fact that we changed one of the major preferences at the last minute (expanding coupe to include the four door variety) brought other cars into play that we didn’t then go test drive, but what the hell. Ken made us an offer that was not insulting (remember we’re trading in a Camry Hybrid, the 2010 Torts Award Silver Medalist, tossed from the top step by British Petroleum). Robert, the F&I guy made us a smoking deal on stuff to keep the paint and interior spiffy and then papered the whole thing in about twelve minutes. Bye-bye Camry, and hello rocket ship.
One day of ownership later, I can say with complete confidence the following:
The people at Kirkland Infinity were just superb, led by Ken. It’s all part of the brand, but the difference in customer experience shopping for a luxury car and anything else is stunning. Ken has been at this same dealer for eight years which is even more remarkable than the thought of Sarah Palin shooting a moose. This sort of thing just doesn’t happen.
Ken, and people not named Ken, continually make an effort to a) communicate that “you’re family now” (in a really good way), and b) are constantly trying to figure out how to do something helpful. I was only sorry I hadn’t brought our laundry to be done. I know I’m going to get a survey but let me cut to the chase and say that the folks at Kirkland Infinity get a 10.
Infiniti has ridiculously cheap money these days (there was a free option actually). It’s like I couldn’t afford not to.
The car is all kinds of fun to look at, sit in, and drive. I. Must. Drive. Slow.