I have a 22.5" Silver, a 22.5 Performer, and a 26.5", so here are my thoughts...
Since you said you have the money, that is not a huge deal, but here is why I think the 26.5" is a better choice...
It is bigger of course, and it doesn't sound much bigger, but it is. The great thing though is that if you are cooking for just a few and don't need all that space, it isn't really a waste. All you do is not fill up the whole dang thing with charcoal, just put all your charcoal off to one side and grill over that. It really doesn't use any more charcoal since you are talking about direct grilling. And if you decide to try some indirect cooking on it, the extra space is even better so you can get the food a bit further from the heat and have some extra cooking space.
It also has a very nice lid holder, which some people will complain about on the 22.5" Performers because it leaves the lid kind of angled and in your way, but not so on the 26.5", it goes straight vertical and out of the way on mine.
This may just be because it has more metal, but my 26.5" seems to be a heavier metal than my 22.5" grills, and better constructed.
Anyways, if I had to choose between those, I would get the 26.5". Now if you threw a 22.5" Performer Platinum against the 26.5", the race will get very interesting!
XL Big Green Egg, Weber kettles, WSM 22.5" and Pellet Pro adapter