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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there have been several of these, and I never thought I'd start one myself, but here I am.

I am looking to replace my DD. I bought a 2008 Audi A4 new-ish (demo car with <5k on the odo) in Nov. of 2008. This was of course the last year of its generation, and the economy (especially for cars) was shit. I stole it from the dealership for $26,500 when it retailed for $34,500. I thought that was a great deal, and it turns out it was. The car now has 43,000 miles on it, and I have absolutely LOVED this car. It drives well, and with an APR tune, really pulls pretty hard for a car that gets 35mpg on the highway. The best part is the price they are going for now. I have seen several cars just like mine sell for around 25k. That is on the high side, but mine is in absolutely perfect condition. I decided to list it at $23,900. It's a fair price and I don't feel too bad about losing $2,600 over the course of my 3 year ownership. I am only selling the car because of its good resale value right now. I want to get it out the door while it is still under warranty and worthy of the price I want to get out of it. Now comes the next question... what to get?

Requirements...
MUST HAVE: Less than $30,000. Less than 30,000 miles! <<very important>>
MUST HAVE: Manual transmission. I love driving, and every DD I've ever had has been a manual. I could go for an AT if the car was absolutely perfect in every way besides this, but in truth I really want a 6MT.
MUST HAVE: All wheel drive. I live in Utah. There is a lot of snow here in the winter, and very few cars I've driven have handled quite like the quattro does.
MUST HAVE: Decent power. I want something with the same or better performance than what I have now. (240hp/290ftlb turbo 4cyl.)
MUST HAVE: Decent gas mileage. This isn't hugely important, but I have to admit I loved getting off the freeway and seeing the trip computer above 35mpg. I could settle for mid-20's for a good car.
MUST HAVE: Nice interior. I love the interior of my A4. It is beautiful, functional, and comfortable. I hate cheap/plastic interiors.
MUST HAVE: Decent looks. Enough said.
SHOULD HAVE: Good Navigation. It's the only thing I wish I had in the A4, that I don't. Now if the car doesn't come with navigation, that's ok, I don't mind putting in an aftermarket, but keep in mind that installing nav into many modern german cars is nearly impossible. More on this later.
SHOULD HAVE: Good sound system. The a4 sounded great. I'm not a super-audiophile, but I definitely appreciate a well-balanced system. The audi delivered, and I can't go back to crap.

The candidates I've thought of...

I really like the look and power of the hatchback (2008->) Subaru STI's. I've driven a couple and they seem good as daily drivers. The good: priced under 30k, great power, ok gas mileage, good looks, easy to install nav/good sound system, good AWD system. The bad: The interior doesn't jazz me. I like the suede seats, but the dash/door panels are a little plastic-y.



The new (2009->) Audi A4's are great. I love the 2.0T engines in these cars. They really are fantastic. The car looks great, and drives great. Best of all, the interiors are just gorgeous. The good: good power/gas mileage, great interior, good looks, great navigation, great sound system, quattro is awesome in the snow. The bad: Price. I am looking a few thousand above 30k to get into something I really want. This isn't a huge deal. A bigger problem... I want a manual but I want navigation. I can't afford to order a new one for myself, and these options are almost NEVER seen together so finding used is extremely difficult. That kills it for me quite a bit.


My last car I've thought about. The Volkswagen GTI MK VI. I drove one just to know what it really was. I have to say, I was really very surprised. It was a FUN car. The good: Great 2.0T engine (similar/same as in the audi) with good power/gas mileage, good looks, manual transmissions are readily available, and at a fantastic price much cheaper than the last two. The bad: FWD is really a downer, the sound system isn't great, the interior is OK. Apparently the GTI has an 'autobahn' package that I just found out about. This helps the interior with leather, heated seats, and a better sound system. Now I'm a bit confused as to what this means as far as the nav system and sunroof options, so that will need to be cleared up. Maybe that is something to consider?

So is there something I am forgetting? If you think you know a car that fits these criteria, please let me know! Also if you know more about the cars I've already listed, and how they might better meet my needs with certain packages, pricing, etc, let me know!
 

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Hmm, the must-have all-wheel drive makes it a tough one as it rules out 90% of the cars. If you reconsider (since you already listed a FWD car), you can add the Genesis Coupe to your list... it's RWD; the top-end model is under 30K and the lower end stars at 21K which makes it a great bargain for a brand new car. I wouldn't get a used Audi to replace your current Audi - there's not much of a point to that IMO. You could also consider a used Evo, but the whole boy-racer image is probably a turnoff (it is for me).
 

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You sound like you've been spoiled by that Audi, you don't want anything else! I believe an AWD 6 speed Infinity G35/37 sedan is still an option. I know it was a few years ago on the G35's.

Saab 93x?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hmm, the must-have all-wheel drive makes it a tough one as it rules out 90% of the cars. If you reconsider (since you already listed a FWD car), you can add the Genesis Coupe to your list... it's RWD; the top-end model is under 30K and the lower end stars at 21K which makes it a great bargain for a brand new car. I wouldn't get a used Audi to replace your current Audi - there's not much of a point to that IMO. You could also consider a used Evo, but the whole boy-racer image is probably a turnoff (it is for me).
I agree, AWD does make it hard. If the gti were AWD, I would very seriously consider it. Unfortunately only the R32 had AWD, but I hate the 3.2L engine in those, and I don't like the interior or exterior looks of the mark V. Bummer.
I am not a fan of Hyundai's or the genesis in particular, but thanks for the recommendation.
As for the evo, I drove an evo 9, thinking I would love it. Much to my surprise I absolutely hated it. It felt weak, and really tall. I know they're fast, and they look decent but sometimes cars just don't meet your expectations after a drive. I drove an 08 STI immediately after, and loved it. If only the interior was as nice as the audi's it would be a no brainer...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You sound like you've been spoiled by that Audi, you don't want anything else! I believe an AWD 6 speed Infinity G35/37 sedan is still an option. I know it was a few years ago on the G35's.

Saab 93x?
Unfortunately, I think you may be right. The new A4's are everything my car is, but with an even nicer interior. If a 6 speed with nav came my way for a decent price, I'd jump without hesitation.

Hmm, the G35/G37 I hadn't thought about. I wouldn't mind test-driving one of those. I'll have to research them a bit and see if I like them. Thanks for the help!
 

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I would go for the STI, but I'm not a luxury person. You'd have to forget everything you loved about the Audi interior.

Good luck with the G test drive, the AWD ones weren't that common, if I recall.
 

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If you're looking at late-model STIs, you should also be considering EVO Xs. Since you want a manual transmission, you'll easily find a GSR in your price range. And I believe the X is a lot more refined a vehicle than the EVO IX.

G37x was mentioned, I think it merits a test drive.

335xi/535xi may meet all your requirements

Acura TL can be had in manual+AWD

2010+ Subaru Legacy GT - subpar interior/nav/sound system relative to some of the more traditional luxury offerings but otherwise fulfills all your requirements and comes in well under budget
 

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Based on comfort and class.. the Audi all the way. Has a much more professional/mature look as a daily. I've driven the A4 and the S4 and both are nice cars with comfy/quiet rides for the most part. Personally, I feel like the A4 is a bit overpriced for the options you get/performance but if a manual is a must then it's really hard to beat in terms of a luxury sedan lol.

Maybe you have already but I was REALLY impressed with the new Evo X. Interior isn't as nice as the Audi but that would be a very fun daily, AWD, and looks amazing. I haven't got a chance to play around with the nav system in them but if you're wanting some features maybe hold out for one of those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I would go for the STI, but I'm not a luxury person. You'd have to forget everything you loved about the Audi interior.

Good luck with the G test drive, the AWD ones weren't that common, if I recall.
That's probably the biggest reason I started this thread. The STI comes closest to what I want. If I could plant the audi interior in the car, this would be a simple buying process. It's not that the STI interior is terrible, it's just not what the audi is.

If you're looking at late-model STIs, you should also be considering EVO Xs. Since you want a manual transmission, you'll easily find a GSR in your price range. And I believe the X is a lot more refined a vehicle than the EVO IX.

G37x was mentioned, I think it merits a test drive.

335xi/535xi may meet all your requirements

Acura TL can be had in manual+AWD

2010+ Subaru Legacy GT - subpar interior/nav/sound system relative to some of the more traditional luxury offerings but otherwise fulfills all your requirements and comes in well under budget
I love BMW's. They are wonderfully balanced cars that look great, and really do meet all of my requirements except one. They are very, very expensive for what you get. The 2.5 is gutless, so I'd need the twin-turbo'd engine but that easily moves me up into the 40k+ range. Yikes.

Acura TL hadn't crossed my mind! I will definitely look into one. Thanks for the recommendation.

I drove a Legacy GT before looking at the STI. Wow, I couldn't believe how much I didn't like that car. It felt HUGE. It felt pretty gutless, too. The nav and interior didn't wow me either. I like small, refined, quick cars, and this just didn't match it.

Based on comfort and class.. the Audi all the way. Has a much more professional/mature look as a daily. I've driven the A4 and the S4 and both are nice cars with comfy/quiet rides for the most part. Personally, I feel like the A4 is a bit overpriced for the options you get/performance but if a manual is a must then it's really hard to beat in terms of a luxury sedan lol.

Maybe you have already but I was REALLY impressed with the new Evo X. Interior isn't as nice as the Audi but that would be a very fun daily, AWD, and looks amazing. I haven't got a chance to play around with the nav system in them but if you're wanting some features maybe hold out for one of those.
Thanks for the input. I think you're right about the new A4 being a little overpriced. Like I said, a used one with low miles is within reach, but hard to get what I want. A new one I could order, but is well above my budget.

I will have to drive the evo X. I have had intentions to anyway, but I haven't taken the initiative because I'm not a fan of their looks. Hmm...
 

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That's probably the biggest reason I started this thread. The STI comes closest to what I want. If I could plant the audi interior in the car, this would be a simple buying process. It's not that the STI interior is terrible, it's just not what the audi is.
Go check out that Saab. It's built on the WRX chassis, if you didn't know. If you can handle the looks of the thing...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Go check out that Saab. It's built on the WRX chassis, if you didn't know. If you can handle the looks of the thing...
I can't handle the looks. As shallow as it sounds, the car has to look decent, and that saab really doesn't do it for me...
ninja edit: I didn't know it's built on the WRX chassis; that's very interesting. Thanks for the help again...
 

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BTW the Evo X looks better in person.. at least I think it does. When they first came out I thought they looked ridiculous but after I started seeing them around they really grew on me. One of my friends just bought a nice 2011 in white and has already done exhaust, drop, and tinted windows and I think it looks spectacular. The front end is really what does it for me but the back still seems like they could have spent more time on it lol.

oh and btw.. it's not exactly my style but the new Kia Optima's are really nice. I'm not sure if they come in a manual or not but they are very well equipped. I think its the SX that is the fully loaded one and they come with the Evo X motor so they're fairly peppy. One thing that I was impressed with was how quiet the ride was and how sporty it felt. 27k-30k for a fully loaded turbo one brand new with a 12y/r-120k mile warranty. Heat/Cooled seats in the front and heated back seats, panoramic sunroof, nav, usb/aux inputs for ipod, led tails, and a very nice looking nav interface.

Hyundai and Kia seem to have really stepped it up over the last couple years.
 

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I currently have a tl as a daily love but as it approaches 100k I want to sell it and get something else. I've always loved the Acura RL prob the 2008ish year mpg sucks but I could deal with it. Or I'm looking at picking up a one series BMW. Both opposite ends of the spectrum but who cares both would fit/ work in my Chicago lifestyle.

The newer generation awd tl is prob perfect for what your looking for.
 

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