Bjarne just paid off his dream car, a 2003 911 Convertible. However, now that he has some equity and a motorcycle for thrills, he is thinking of trading the Porsche for something more relaxed and better suited for long drives. What car should he buy?
(Welcome back to What Car Should You Buy? Where we give real people real advice about buying cars. )
Here is the scenario –
Hi. I have my dream car, and just paid it off. A 2003 996 convertible. I have babied it, and so has the previous owner. The interior still looks like new, despite it’s 115.000 miles. I have taken it on countless road trips, often 2000 miles in a week. It’s the perfect city car, really comfortable on long drives, and eats up twisties.
My daily driver is a motorcycle, and I feel I know I have two vehicles that are on the “demanding” side, whereas sometimes I want to chill. I love an engaging drive, and don’t really need anything more practical, as I rent a van on the very rear occasion I need something moved. I don’t have a family either, so the 2 seater configuration has worked well.
Since the 996 has increased in value, I have been playing with the idea of trading it in for something completely different. It can be a sports car, but I’d be ready to leave the stick behind. It could also be a 4×4, as I’m having plenty of fun on the bike. I also love wagons, and sleepers. The 911 replacement will mostly be used for longer drives and road trips since I use the bike around town
I can spend up to $25,000 on this next car. Any thoughts?
Budget: up to $25,000
Daily Driver: More of a longer drive car
Location: Los Angeles
Wants: Relaxed but also engaging, somewhat reliable
Doesn’t want: Something too sporty
Bjarne, since you have already gotten the European sports car experience, and you will still have your motorcycle for times where you want to really connect with the road, perhaps you should move in a different direction. Since this is primarily a long-distance car, you want something that eats up the miles comfortably, but can still be a bit of fun when you want.
I think it is time for the big V8 cruiser. The Dodge Challenger is not “engaging” in the same way a 911 or a motorcycle is, but there is some joy in letting that V8 roar when you have a section of open road. These big coupes will also eat up the miles while providing a comfortable ride that can seem relaxing when you just want to set the cruise control and chill out.
Finding a decent example with reasonable miles isn’t hard, and it will really come down to your color and options preferences. Also if you really prefer to row your own gears, sourcing manual examples are surprisingly easy. Here is a nice black one with red seats, retro wheels, and three pedals on the floor. It might be a little on the nose, but it’s definitely a different direction from the 911.
I sought out a comfortable tourer for you Bjarne, I really did. But when I saw this clean-looking, one-owner E46 M3 on Autotrader within your budget, well… who passes up an E46 M3? Not me, that’s who.
Anyway, a couple of things to note here, because no E46 anyone can reasonably afford these days doesn’t come without its share of caveats. For starters, this example has the sequential manual, not the conventional six-speed. Some people would tell you a multi-level marketing stint would be a more prudent investment, but those who have actually owned and driven them say it’s fine.
The more immediate worry is that this car has 91,000 miles on it, which is so close to the big six-digit mark that it suggests an intensive service is looming in the near future. Service sucks, especially service on a BMW. But this is an E46, god dammit. Comfort when you want it, and back road bliss when you don’t. I’d let it put me in debt.
Bjarne, I just want to preface this by saying you’re making a good choice and I need you to commit, buddy, you know what I mean? You went all-in on performance and status with your 911 and motorcycle, so now is the time to go all-in on comfort. Easy. Languid, billowing highway trips in real luxurious relaxation, from the only country that ever really understood the concept: America.
Well, maybe the French, too, but still.
That’s why you need a powerful La-Z-Boy on wheels experience, but with a bit of class. You need a Lincoln Continental coupé. Specifically, this minty 1982 Continental Mark VI right here.
This car is automotive relaxation, in every way. Did you see the interior? See what you’ll be not sitting on, but sitting into? Look at this:
Velour. Thick pile, near-shag-level carpet. Pillows on pillows. These seats aren’t designed to hold your ass in place as you take some Gs in the corners, because you’re not going to do that, because, duh, you’re relaxed.
A 911 exudes a fundamental demand of the driver to drive it hard and drive it right. All this Continental asks of you is to try not to fall into a beatific slumber as you glide down the highway at some high speed–the dash is digital, so you can easily tell without the labor of seeing where a needle is pointing, but you won’t care.
This is how you relax. This is a car designed to make everything easy. Everything is power operated, because what are you, an animal? The cavernous trunk even makes packing easy because you won’t have to plan or think about carefully packing; just rake your crap into a suitcase and yeet it into the carpeted cavern of that trunk. It’ll be fine.
This is the answer to your question. It’s $5,000 under your budget, in fantastic shape, parts and service are so plentiful and easy you don’t even have to think about it, and, best of all, it has an opera window and is the color of a big wad of caramel, smooth and sweet.
You want something different, undemanding? You want to chill? Here’s your answer. We’re done. Enjoy.
Because there’s something deeply wrong with me, my first instinct was to try and find a Fisker Karma for you. At the very least, you’d never lose it in a parking lot. But for some reason, people still want Big Money for Karmas. Way, way too much money. So it was back to the drawing board.
Since you already own a 911, I’m going to assume you like Porsches. But you want one that’s more comfortable. Probably more spacious. Even more practical. How about a Porsche Panamera?
This one is relatively close to you and actually fits your budget. Even better, it’s a Panamera S, not one of the base models. It won’t be as fun as your 911, but it’s still engaging to drive. Plus, there’s the 400 horsepower V8 engine. All for only $24,000.
On the practical side, the Panamera has a huge cargo area, a spacious rear seat, and all the luxury $100,000 could buy back in 2011. Those road trips you’re itching to take will be a breeze. Is it nice to look at? Not really. But you never said you were looking for something pretty.