Hello: I previously owned an Infiniti G35x and really liked it. I am now thinking about the Hyundai Genesis as a replacement. It seems to have similar features and functionality, but at a more economic price point. What do you think? – Tom in Edmonton
Vaughan: Tommy, you ask what seems to be a simple question – this car or that – but in fact it is a complex matter involving technology, temperament and timing. I would go so far as to say you present a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. That's why Cato and I get paid the big bucks to solve such dilemmas.
Cato: So you start with vague observations, then pile on a cliché. Nice work.
Let's answer Tom directly: No, the Genesis is not a true replacement for your all-wheel-drive G. Sure, the pricing is similar – $39,999 for the base Genesis and $43,950 for the last of the G37x sedans, base. Factor in discounting and the transaction is similar.
But the G is smaller, has all-wheel-drive and handles like a dream. The Genesis is bigger, only rear-drive with decent but not spectacular handling. And it's sold under a weaker brand.
Now a warning: the G is a goner. The new G is a Q50 coming later this year. That's why I found at least $4,000 in discounts on the G37x.
Vaughan: The G is dead. Elementary, my dear Cato. In its place we're seeing a new car – the Q50 – from a renewed Infiniti. The latest Infiniti revival is being led by a South African who used to run Audi in the United States and who is now running Infiniti out of Hong Kong.
Cato: To be honest, I'm not entirely sure who's running Infiniti right now. One of Nissan's top honchos, Andy Palmer, just told me that by 2017, the goal is to jump-start Infiniti sales to 500,000 worldwide. Palmer is the Englishman who sits on Nissan's management board in charge of Infiniti, product development and 10 or 12 other things. A big, big shot.
Then, last week in Automotive News, I read something a little different. The South African Johan de Nysschen, the president of Infiniti who reports to Palmer, was hedging on that 500,000 goal: "I'm under absolutely no illusion – 500,000 cars by 2017 is an inordinately ambitious challenge," said de Nysschen. "We really do have to get our heads around how we can bring the brand in that direction."
I'll say this about that: when the technology-laden Q50 hits showrooms, we'll instantly know how realistic the Infiniti plan is. If buyers find a great car and buyers flock into Infiniti showrooms, Palmer gets his wish. If not, de Nysschen has covered his ...
Vaughan: Cato, the Q50 is going to be as close to a BMW 3-Series as they can make it, but it's going to look and be sold like an Audi. They're a clever bunch in Hong Kong.
In the meantime, Tom should look at those killer deals on the outgoing G37x, which is an even better car than the G35x which Tommy enjoyed so much. So it's timing versus technology. Naturally, I say save the dough and jump now for the G37x.
Cato: I am inclined to agree. Inclined, but not committed. I want Tom to test drive the Audi A4. Another terrific car from the Bavarians – the ones in Ingolstadt, up the road from BMW's headquarters in Munich. The A4 is a delight to drive. The AWD system is impeccable.
I only hesitate on a full endorsement because the A4's 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder – at 211 horsepower – is wimpy compared to the 328-hp V-6 in the G37x and the 333-hp V-6 in the V-6 Genesis. Of course, the only sub-$40,000 3-Series, the 320i xDrive, is sadder still at 181-hp from its 2.0-litre turbo four.
Vaughan: Of course I want deals and I like those cars, so perhaps Tommy should save a couple of grand by going with a front-drive A4. Now we're delving into the deeper question of Tom's identity. What is his temperament? What is his driving style?
He's been in an AWD Infiniti, after all. So what makes Tommy tick? If we could just give him a quick and dirty Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment we could sort out his rational and irrational for him and send him on his way.
Cato: Or not. I say get the last of the Gs and the best of them is the G37x. Done. And scratch the Genesis off the list.
Vaughan: Correct you are Cato. The Genesis looks like a Korean Buick and more like the Buicks of 10 years ago. Yet from an engineering point of view, it is superb. But it has no resemblance to Tommy's G35x. And it would require such a change in driving style, even Carl Jung couldn't explain it.
Cato: Freud, Jung, Adler... All of them together couldn't explain you. But at least we agree on the G37x.
Vaughan: I think we've earned our fat fee. Our work here is done.
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HOW THEY COMPARE
|2013 Infiniti G37x Luxury all-wheel drive sedan||2013 Audi A4 2.0T quattro sedan||2013 BMW 320i xDrive sedan|
Track, front (mm)
|3.7-litre V-6||2.0-litre four-cylinder, turbocharged||2.0-litre four-cylinder, turbocharged|
|328/269 lb-ft||211/258 lb-ft||181/184 lb-ft|
|All-wheel drive||All-wheel drive||All-wheel drive|
|Seven-speed automatic||Six-speed manual||Eight-speed automatic|
Curb weight (kg)
Fuel economy (litres/100 km)
|11.7 city/7.8 highway||9.5 city/6.5 highway||NA|
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.
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