My only point was OP can have something smaller, edgier and lighter without completely giving up straight line oomph via something like a BRZ/RX-8. There seems to be this idea that "drivers car" = no torque which I find kind of annoying.
I have a lightly modded 2019 GLI Autobahn (APR stage 2 tune, APR DP & FMIC, APR intake/TIP/turbo muffler delete, AWE CBE, DSG tune) and it is a fast and fun family sedan. I like the interior design on the GLI more than the GTI though the materials are cheaper, and Beats audio is awful compared to GTI Fender - but it gets cooled seats, much more comfy/less aggressive seats than the GTI, and the digital dash- though it is annoyingly nerfed (does not display nav in the center, cannot display performance gauges in the center).
It replaced a 2018 WRX for me - getting low 30s on the highway. With the 7 speed DSG it spins 2000rpm @ 75mph. The LSD is terrific - it's why i got it over a Accord Sport or similar - i will not do open-diff FWD cars again.
You can get better deals than i did right now since there are stronger incentives, but I paid around $28.5 for my DSG's Autobahn with the service pack (1st 3x services included) and the usual monster-mat ever dealer tosses on cars.
Stock tires suck but that's life. I am going to wear them out and mount winters on the OEM 18s and get a light set of 17s with quality rubber for the summers.
Even if you want to lightly mod, APR has a warrantied tune - just do a GLI with their warranty'd tune (essentially a low-torque stage 1) and have fun. I test drove a manual GLI and the manual was very good - at least substantially better than my 2018 WRX with the STI shifter. I wanted a DSG this time, but that was a pleasant car.
Comfy, roomy, pleasant. Great affordable package with a strong warranty even after the reduction from the 19s (which is why i got a 19 and not a 20). As a plus now, i think active dampers is standard on the autobahn alongside a wireless charging pad.
Last edited by Lawrider; 04-08-2020 at 11:17 AM.
Full force wallet weight reduction, my Miata build:
A GLI is a great all-rounder if it's your only car, but as a 3rd sports car, it's just not dynamically sporty enough IMO. CTK's suggestion of an E89 Z4 was very interesting -- the turbo's torque might work well for the OP while still feeling more special than a Focus or Jetta or something.
124 Abarth has that turbo torque feeling with a manual and within budget, so I recommend test driving that one. E89 Z4 35i (0-60 in 4.7) if a 124 is not fast enough.
2018 Fiat 500e
2008 Audi TT 3.2 quattro manual
2006 Lotus Exige
The RX8 idea is interesting, I think I'd enjoy that more than the twins and I've always loved the look of the R3 especially. But didn't the Renesys engine need replacement every 60-80k, and lots of oil consumption or fuel issues?
Looking for something reliable - which is why the older M3s and Porsche's scare me a bit.
I came across a 135i today that piqued my interest - these are lighter than the Q and still have that torquey turbo motor. Also tons of aftermarket support to keep things interesting if I do want to mod.
How would 135i maintenance and reliability compare to something like the 987 Boxster?
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More to read here if you're interested: http://www.rx8club.com/new-member-fo...54/?styleid=22
Last edited by Elite_Deforce; 04-07-2020 at 10:12 PM.
If you have reliable transportation, then get something that will make you feel something. Not directly comparable, but my old BMW is an absolute joy. My wife, daughter and I took it into the wilds two days ago to take a bit of a hike. The drive there and back was the kind of memory-making stuff that can't be replicated in a GLI. We had the Smiths playing on cassette, my daughter was laughing away in the backseat as we crested the rises in the road, and my wife smiled because the old car bridged the time between us being poor students driving old cars listening to music and now when things have kind of all come together. Old cars are time machines and make you feel something that a GLI never could. The intangible old car experience isn't just about the way they drive, but the way they make you remember.
Last edited by CostcoPizza; 04-08-2020 at 08:38 AM.
I recommend a 996. Similar to you, I got it as a second/third car that I drive on the weekends and take to work once or twice per week. I can take 1 or 2 of my kids to practice in a pinch, because of the back seats.
I got mine for slightly above your budget, and it has the IMS / clutch upgrade done by the previous owner.
From a reliability perspective, it has needed nothing other than ordinary maintenance since I bought it (little over 2 years ago). About $400/year so far. Besides wanting to check off that 911 bucket list, I wanted something that was at or near the bottom of its depreciation curve.
Some of the suggestions people are throwing out here make it seem like people aren't even reading the OP... they just see "car suggestion needed" in the title and start value signaling or choice confirming.
I 1000% admit to doing the same but I at least factor OP's parameters into my response. And I agree that he should live a little and get something older and interesting. Cheap N/A German performance cars are a dying breed; we have all the time in the world to get turbo 4 banger FWD economy cars. Soon that might be all that's left
I am struggling to identify a fun car for myself - currently considering a NC3 Miata, a BRZ, a 128i, a early Cayman, and a C6 Corvette. Practicality is important even for a fun car - and i thinking about how much more useful a Vette or BRZ would be on a roadtrip with a wife/GF than the Miata. Can't fault someone that wants even their 3rd car to be something the family can still pile into.
Last edited by Lawrider; 04-08-2020 at 11:41 AM. Reason: moar