I recently got into an obnoxious argument the other day with a friend and former colleague about the validity of Infiniti. To be fair, it wasn’t exactly an “argument,” but more of an aggressive conversation.
It all took place on Facebook chat, which is the only place to have such a heated discourse, since its all recorded by Big Bro Facebook and can easily be held against you.
The conversation started when I made the mistake of asking this friend, let’s call him “Jürgen” for the sake of this post, what he’s driving these days. He informed me that he’s driving a Range Rover Sport, supercharged. Ok.
I can respect that. I have nothing against Range Rover. I don’t need to have anything against Range Rover. Their reputation for quality (ahem, lack of) does it for them. But to be fair, it is a pretty sweet looking truck. It’s that black leather interior with white piping trim that does it for me. The supercharged engine is nice and all, but I rely on I-95 for a majority of my transport, so a good set of brakes takes priority. Just sayin’.
But this is where I made the real error: “So what does your wife drive?” The answer: Mercedes-Benz ML350 because for a “mother of two, it’s the safest car out there.” Let’s just let this sink in for a moment.
Mercedes-Benz has some worthy saftey features, but if we’re going to be honest here, Ford makes some of the truly safest cars on the road. And not once during our entire conversation did Ford even come up. Furthermore, the 2011 Infiniti QX56, while it may not be appealing to everyone aesthetically, has some of the most innovative and cutting edge safety features available. To boot, the QX56 has Hydraulic Body Motion Control, allowing the vehicle to operate with less body lean than even a BMW 5-series sedan, which is downright incredible.
Then it got worse. Jürgen proceeded to tell me that he would never, under any circumstances buy an Infiniti. Shot through the heart! Like… oh my god. Why the hate?
I find it’s people that claim to be real “car buffs” that don’t know that much about cars. They decide they’d “never buy” some brand they deem inferior because it’s Japanese or because not everyone on their cul-de-sac has one. Or in the Fairfield County case: because it’s not German. The truth is that these same people would “never buy” an Infiniti because they don’t know anything about Infiniti, and they are intimidated by its sudden gain in popularity. It’s much easier to dismiss it as “just a Nissan” if you know no other facts about it.
Don’t get me wrong, you’ll never hear my try to claim that Infiniti is better than another brand. During my childhood, my parents had everything from Toyota Camrys to Porsche 911′s, to my mom’s antique 3-series, my grandmother’s boaty 7-series and even my own first car was a (now) vintage 3-series, all great cars. My goal is not to pose Infiniti as superior. My goal is to bring Infiniti to the forefront, where it damn well belongs. That’s why it’s so frustrating when these alleged “car experts” (living in Greenwich, CT and being able to distinguish a 3-series from a 5-series does not an expert make) try to degrade Infiniti.
Just for fun, I’d like to invite some facts to join in. The 2010 IIHS top safety pick for large cars (sedans) includes the 2011 Infiniti M37/M56 along with the Mercedes-Benz E-class and BMW 5-series. Neither BMW or Infiniti are listed in any other category for their top saftey picks, and the only other place Mercedes-Benz reappears is on the midsize list with the C-class (the anti-Benz that arguably killed Mercedes-Benz’s exclusivity). So the way I see it is that actually puts BMW and Infiniti on same level. Both brands are included and excluded in all of the same categories. Even the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is listed as a top pick in the midsize SUV category–no Mercedes ML, no BMW, no Infiniti. Along Jürgen’s line of reasoning that Mercedez-Benz is the best because it’s the safest car out there for a mother of two, this little tid-bit of data a. makes him wrong and b. suddenly in the market for a Grand Cherokee.
Oh wait, a Grand Cherokee is not sexy. So I guess this is where safety suddenly loses its appeal. Oh well. At least if a Mercedes-Benz ML350 is involved in a crash, it’ll be a sexy crash. This is where the logic completely deteriorates and I find my vision tunneling.
Perhaps I’m a bit sensitive. I love the competitive nature of automotive enthusiasm, but everytime it reverts back to the childish “my BMW (or Mercedes-Benz) is better than your Infiniti,” I find myself thinking: “Really? Are we really having this conversation again?”
I wouldn’t tell my mother that my golden retriever is better than her schnoodle just because I happen to have a golden retriever and only just recently learned what a schnoodle is. (For the record it’s a truly adorable, small, white poodle-schnauzer mix.)
Jürgen, what it comes down to is this: you like Mercedes-Benz. And that’s perfectly fair. As for me, well, I’d never, ever buy a Mercedes.If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!