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      12-28-2011, 08:05 PM   #74
Lieutenant Colonel

Drives: '08 128i Coupe SGM 6MT
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Toronto

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Here's one no one has mentioned so far: try researching a gently used Acura TSX 6MT /w the 2.4L K24 engine and if it looks good call it a day. Okay I've never owned one personally but from everything I've read about it it seems like its not an overcomplicated piece of German engineering that is going to cost you big $$ in maintenance or repairs. Plus you can probably get it reliably serviced outside of an Acura dealership saving you more money. Japanese is the way to go here if you want to really save money and the TSX is a good jack-of-all-trades BMW 128i/328i alternative and is certainly more practical on a day-to-day basis than an S2000 or a 350Z.

Pros: great transmission (heard its almost as slick as the S2000), fuel efficient and reasonably powered engine, great double wishbone suspension with superb handling, Honda reliability (TSX is one of the few Honda's still built in Japan!), can carry four-five persons and a decent amount of stuff in the trunk

Cons: less torque than a GTI (but still more than an S2000 and some other cars mentioned here!), heard the wheel lock is terrible (forget doing a nice U-turn), FWD

There's a V6 version but it only came in the car starting 2010 and I believe is automatic transmission only so I'm not sure you'll get it in your price range plus its more gas and supposedly ruins the front/rear weight balance and consequently may have a negative impact on the car's handling.
Appreciate 0