- Jul 31, 2013
The Best Cars For Your Midlife Crisis
Actor and director Danny DeVito recently announced he is splitting with long-time wife Rhea Pearlman. Shortly after, he was spotted in a Ferrari dealership. Buying a super-car is a time-worn symptom of a man going through a mid-life crisis, though DeVito is actually in his 60s.
Coined in 1965 by Elliott Jaques, the midlife crisis is a term used to describe a time when adults make significant changes to their lives upon realizing their own mortality. Though Wikipedia states that only about 10% of adults actually go through an age-related midlife crisis, we're quite certain that even though you may not have a serious psychological reaction to aging, getting older likely has you thinking about and evaluating your life.
This process can involve some difficult questions. Are you really where you want to be in life? Have you had any regrets? Is everything really going to plan? The honest answers to these questions can often be a tough pill to swallow.
Because of this, it is perfectly understandable that you would consider getting a new car. After all, you've thought about it and figured out who you want to be and where you want to go in the second part of your life, and that midsize sedan or CUV in the driveway certainly isn't going to help any of that happen. You need something new. Something bold, versatile, flashy and fun. Most importantly, you need it to come with the ability to reinvent you.
Each of our editors took some time last week to contemplate their lives in order to come with what we see as the perfect cars for people going through a midlife crisis. These vehicles, which are all available now, all have the ability to make a "new you," mostly without really breaking the bank.
Click on through to see what we came up with.
Pete Bigelow: Audi TTS
MSRP: $47,350 - $50,350
Invoice: $44,035 - $46,825
Fuel Economy: 23 mpg City, 31 mpg Highway
From an automotive perspective, there’s seems to be a singular approach to the mid-life crisis: Throw as much money as you can afford at the most ostentatious vehicle possible.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s face it: We all can’t afford the latest Bentley, Aston Martin or Bugatti. But you can still show the world you’re in the midst of some serious inner turmoil without breaking the bank.
The Audi TTS is the iconic sports car in the Volkswagen family. Its 265-horsepower isn't quite on par with some of the more serious sports cars, but this car will still be plenty fast and appear elegant while driving down the road. It's the perfect marriage of image and performance, and one within reach for the majority of mid lifers in the throes of an existential crisis.
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Scott Burgess: Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S
Fuel Economy: 12 mpg City, 19 mpg Highway
You only live once. That may be the the essence of a midlife crisis -- understanding your mortality and where we all end up eventually.
So why not treat yourself to a once in a lifetime experience? The 2013 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S is simply sex on wheels. It turns heads everywhere, and it's certainly something that anyone who looks at will instantly know is something special.
The mere rumble of its 440 horsepower V8 will make men jealous. It's long elegant Italian lines will make women swoon. And unlike some of the more ostentagious Maseratis such as Grancabrio -- a drop top racer that looks as if it were poured onto the road -- and the Granturismo Sport, that touts incredible performance, the Quattroporte provides the perfect combination of elegance, sportiness and capability. It has a comfortable second row for the kids, and a slew of high tech features to impress all of those new friends you need to make.
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David Kiley: Chrysler Town & Country
MSRP: $30,395 - $40,395
Invoice: $29,103 - $38,303
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 25 mpg Highway
I know. I know. Let the brickbats and catcalls be flung at me. This is a ridiculous choice. But here me out. I have chosen two mid-life crisis cars our grouping, and one of them is a minivan.
I could make jokes about how a man starting anew on the social scene might need a minivan to lay a mattress in the back (after all the the stow-and-go seating here makes both of rows of seats disappear into the floor), but I won't.
I only have one child, a son, and when he was born we bought a minivan. It turned out he is the only child we had, so a sedan would have been sufficient. But I love having a reliable minivan at my disposal. It works like a pickup for me, only its more versatile and whatever I'm carrying stays dry. It gets better fuel economy than most pickups, too.
What I am choosing here is the Chrysler Town & Country, in black, with black interior, UConnect connectivity with my smartphone, DVD player and power sunroof. I'm going to buy a set of Blizzak snow tires for winter, and I'm adding a tow package for when I might want to haul camping gear, Ski-Doos, or attach a bike rack.
Properly equipped, and trimmed out in black, a man comfortable with his own manhood, and sporting an active lifestyle, should be able to make this choice work in a speed-dating conversation or in an initial instant-messaging session online. "What do i drive? A very cool black over black minivan. Hello? Hello? Are you there?"
It might not go over as well as, say, an Audi A6, but it will sound better with many a lady than saying I drive a Corvette, Porsche or Ferrari, which they tend to associate with being insecure about…you know.
Yes, indeed. A black minivan equipped to do anything, go anywhere, haul anything is just the ticket for a secure man.
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David Kiley: MINI Cooper Convertible
Fuel Economy: 27 mpg City, 35 mpg Highway
I am just not the Ferrari kind of bloke. I confess to liking the Porsche 911 and Audi A7, but if I was in mid-life crisis, I think I'd be looking to have a fun new ride, while conserving some cash to travel.
That's why I like the idea of a MINI Cooper Convertible. I can trim out one of these babies for less than $30,000. However, what I am thinking is going upscale for the John Cooper Works version, which tips the wallet, after I trim it out in British Racing Green and add all the entertainment and connectivity doodads at, gulp, $42,439.
MINI Coopers' are tons of fun to drive and get great gas mileage. And let's face it…they have personality.
On my own, a Cooper Convertible on a cool trip would make me pretty happy. Pull up to the house of a lady, and she's gotta think, "fun guy." She will also want to drive it. But she'd better know how to drive a stick.
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Adam Morath: Chevrolet Camaro Coupe
MSRP: $23,345 - $59,545
Invoice: $22,411 - $57,163
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 28 mpg Highway
What is a mid-life crisis if not an attempt at recapturing one's youth? In my early days of driving I was cruising the streets of my college town in the finest automobile a couple grand could buy: a used '97 Chevy Camaro RS. If, like me, you were lucky enough to have a car that made you proud in your teens, but embarrassed beyond your early-20s, prepare to hear its call once again as you inch closer toward the peak of the hill.
Thankfully, while I was busy growing up, so was Chevy's Camaro. After an 8 year hiatus the Camaro came roaring back in 2010 with a modern design, full-featured interior and more base power than ever before. Back in the early 2000s my V6 RS may have looked the part, but a Camaro wasn't truly a Camaro unless it was packing 8-cylinders. But now, even the entry-level 1LS Coupe makes 323 horses from its 3.6L V6—that's more than the late-90s Z28 I yearned after. And, if you're looking to temper your crisis with a bit of practicality, the $23,000 MSRP makes Chevy's Camaro one of the most sensible options on our list.
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Sharon Silke Carty: BMW Z4
MSRP: $47,350 - $64,200
Invoice: $43,560 - $59,065
Fuel Economy: 22 mpg City, 34 mpg Highway
Dads call it a mid-life crisis. Moms call it getting our groove back.
After years of wrangling strollers, diaper backs, then backpacks and school lunches and carpools and hockey sticks and all sorts of things that just weigh us down, when a mom reaches a certain age (actually, when her kids become old enough to become much more independent) her car options open up. I am looking forward to that day, when I can drive around a car that can barely fit me and my purse.
When I get my groove back, I'm eyeing the BMW Z4. It's so darn small. The hardtop convertible retracts into the trunk, leaving barely enough room for a bag of groceries. I'd drive that baby around on cool fall days, with the roof down, windows up and seat warmers on as high as they'll go. Yes, there are a lot of hard top convertibles on the market that could do the same thing, but the Z4 is fun. The driver sits low in the front seat, with the long hood visible as you drive, making it kind of feel like you're in a video game. And the car isn't all just muscle — BMW traded in some performance attributes to make the ride more comfortable, meaning you won't feel your kidneys rattle when you hit a bump in the road.
And the nice thing about gender stereotypes is that while men driving around in convertibles often get called unsavory names or people start wondering about certain appendage sizes, a woman in a convertibles is something else. With a good pair of sunglasses and the right color car, you should feel pretty damn good behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, I still have kids to haul around, so this $50,000 car will remain a dream for at least a few years.
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Sharon Silke Carty: Jeep Wrangler
MSRP: $22,195 - $30,595
Invoice: $21,622 - $28,822
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 21 mpg Highway
Part of having mid-life crisis is realizing your life has gotten too hum-drum. You wake up, shower, shave, get in the car, drive to work, sit in meetings, drive home and curse the traffic, eat, watch TV, bed. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
When you want a vehicle that's all about the fun, get a Jeep Wrangler. No, it's not fun commuting in a Wrangler. The truck is made to be taken off road, in the mud, climbing giant rocks. If you've never done it, it's totally worth the time and effort to give it a try. The Jeep Wrangler, especially the Rubicon edition, is the ultimate in off roading vehicles.
On the flip side, watching people off road is like watching paint dry. It's like watching someone play a video game. No fun at all. Take, for example, this video. We here at AOL Autos love off roading, so we think this is awesome (especially at 5:20, those bumps look like a blast!) But it's only fun when you're behind the wheel.
If you want a car that's going to make you love life again, get a Wrangler and take it off road ASAP. You won't regret it. Just prepare to get muddy.
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Michael Zak: Tesla Model S
MSRP: $57,400 - $105,400
Fuel Economy: NA
I'm fairly certain that when my mid-life crisis occurs, it will be less about recapturing the glory days of carefree youth and more about kicking myself for all of the things I should have done a better job of handling.
I think one of my main regrets will be not having been as environmentally conscious as I should have been. Taking a long look at all of the times I simply threw away glass bottles instead of recycling, all of the times I neglected to bring my own reusable bags to the grocery, all of the times I drove somewhere when I could have walked will almost certainly culminate in a decision to buy a zero emissions vehicle to "make up" for the bit of destruction that I have caused.
If you're going to go for an electric vehicle like I likely will, you'll be well-served to getting in a Tesla Model S. Coming with three different batteries depending on the trim level, the Model S can go between 160 and 300 miles on a single charge, which, by today's standards, is very, very far. Additionally, driving dynamics are fantastic and luxury features abound. One of the coolest things this car has is a 17-inch capacitive touch screen that operates pretty much everything.
The Model S also just looks awesome and is sure to make a statement wherever you're headed. With 21-inch alloy wheels, carbon fiber accents and Nappa leather on some of the higher trims, this car should fulfill everything you need in your midlife crisis, even if you're not worried about your carbon footprint.
Having it all comes at a price, though. MSRP for the Model S is $57,400 - $105,400.
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