Dear Tom and Ray:
Guys -- you probably have been asked this before, but here it goes anyway. I am 46 years old, divorced for two years, recovered financially, and I am ready to purchase a new car. This purchase would not be out of spite to show I have recovered from the divorce (maybe a little), but I am now looking for a new or certified pre-owned car that would be a great "midlife crisis car." It should be sporty, interesting to the opposite sex and show some level of status and sophistication (I don't have a hairy chest, don't own a big gold chain and don't like unbuttoned Hawaiian shirts). However, I still want to maintain some sanity and don't want to break the bank, have crazy insurance payments or spend every month in the repair shop in hock to someone named "Claus." Here are the cars I'm thinking about:
1. 2006 Lexus SC 430
2. 2008 BMW 335i
3. 2008 Infiniti G37 coupe
4. 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T
Please give me your opinion. Thanks.
Ray: OK, Matt. Let's take your choices one at a time. We'll use the process of elimination.
Tom: The first one we can eliminate is the Dodge Challenger. The idea of a midlife crisis is to turn back the clock 15 or 20 years -- to when you were free and unencumbered, and you still had hair. But you don't want to turn the clock back so far that you end up with zits. Driving this car suggests that you want to be a teenager again and hang out in parking lots.
Ray: You want your ex-wife and her friends to be impressed with you. You don't want them laughing at you, and assuming you went for the hair plugs and calf inserts, too. So cross the Challenger off your list.
Tom: Next, I'd eliminate the Lexus SC 430. It's a nice car, but, in my estimation, it's a geezer car. It's rounded and soft. Save that one for 30 years from now, when you're in your end-of-life crisis, not your midlife crisis.
Ray: So that leaves the BMW and the Infiniti. Those are both good choices. So if you really have the hots for one or the other of those, you have our blessing.
Tom: I think I'd take the BMW. I love how BMWs drive.
Ray: I'd take the Infiniti. It'll probably be more reliable, and that's more important to me.
Tom: I think they both meet all of your criteria, Matt. The BMW is a little more common, and the Infiniti is a little more interesting and unusual. So buy whichever one makes you smile more when you drive it. And regardless, see if you can find one that comes with an eHarmony package.
(Car Talk is a nationally syndicated column by automotive experts (and brothers) Tom and Ray Magliozzi. Write to them at the Car Talk Web site.)