Ask Bark Brief: Midlife Crisis Sedan?

Ask Bark Brief: Midlife Crisis Sedan?

Mattias writes:

I’m doing my responsible midlife crisis thing, and I’m wanting a V8 sedan. My budget is around $40,000, and I’m looking at used examples of the Lexus IS-F, Cadillac CTS-V, and Chevy SS.

I’ve looked at ’15/’16 Chevy SS models (auto) because they have more room in the back for my family. I thought about the ’14s, but the ’15s have Brembos all around and MagneRide suspension, which seems to be a good choice for someone who wants to try HPDE. Unless there’s a killer deal to be had on ’14 and I can use the savings on upgrades, the ’15/’16 seems to be the better choice. There are few good deals available in California, but lots of cars with appeal and a good prices in the east.

How much work/hassle is it to buy from a dealer sight unseen? What if the car has factory warranty left? Is that generally a less risky proposition?

I’d love to find a gently used ’15 for around $30,000, but I’m not sure it can be done. Most are around $36,000, and I’ve seen a few new ’16s for $40,000. I’m not sure I want to save a few dollars and lose a year, and the ’16s have the “bi-modal” exhaust, which sounds like fun.

Congrats on your mildly responsible decision! Is there any chance that I could talk you into a Mustang instead? No? Okay, fine. Let’s discuss your viable options.

First of all, is there a reason you’re only considering the autotragic SS? I’ve driven the SS with the auto, and I think you might end up being slightly disappointed if you don’t go stick. Also, contrary to most vehicles on the road, I think there’s reason to believe a manual SS will hold its value better than an automatic.

But if you must go automatic, then I’d still look at the 2015+ models simply because of the upgraded suspension. I understand the desire to potentially save money on an older model and upgrade, but I trust GM to modify the suspension more than I trust you or your mechanic unless you or they are wizards of upgrades. The magnetic suspension is likely worlds better than you’d be able to do with any upgrades.

Now when it comes to SS deals, don’t worry about that buying used business. I think you’ll find plenty of dealers willing to take compelling offers on new models, especially now that GM has officially discontinued the SS.

A quick search on Cars.com found several 2015s still on the lot, many of which have been discounted $10,000 or more. Hell, there are still new ’14 models for sale in some places! I think you can do even better if you call up the dealer and do a little negotiation. If the car’s been there since the 2015 model year, I’m guessing the dealer would like it gone — that thing has racked up a helluva lot of taxes and floorplan interest. And if you’re buying new out-of-state, it’s even easier and better than buying used out of state. Just use your American Express for a deposit and go pick it up! Done.

As for the other two models you suggested, there’s nothing wrong with either of them, but I think a new, deeply discounted SS represents a much better value for the dollar. The IS-F hold residual value like crazy, to the point where eight-year-old examples with 100,000 miles still sell for well over $20k. If you’re really wanting to buy something and hop it up, a first gen CTS-V could be a lot of fun, but would also represent a significant amount of time and effort on your part to make it as livable as a new SS.

So what would Bark do? I’d haggle like hell on a ’15 stick shift SS. Actually, forget that. I’d buy a Mustang GT, and so should you. WTF do you need the extra two doors for, anyway? Go full on midlife crisis beastmode. Get a Grabber Blue Mustang with a black stripe. You’re only halfway to death once, after all!

[Image: General Motors]

Bark M. is a happy man because he always buys impractical cars in bright colors. If you’d like advice on doing the same, send him emails at [email protected], or follow him on the Twitters and Instagrams.

3 thoughts on “Ask Bark Brief: Midlife Crisis Sedan?”

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