Help me settle this raging debate in my head about [cars]!

1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
edited July 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm looking at a new car mid-year 2009. I'm building my down payment as we speak. Based on the announced prices/models/numbers/reviews, I've settled on a few cars that really get me going:

In order of importance:
1) Performance (hp/tq numbers)
2) Daily Driver (mpg/comfort)
3) Price (under $35k is ideal)
3) Styling

The choices:
2009 Dodge Challenger R/T (V8 RWD)
2008 Mazdaspeed 3 (I-4 Turbo FWD)
2009 BMW 135i (I-6 Twin Turbo RWD)
2009 VW GTI R32 (I-6 Turbo AWD)

The choices are ALL OVER the place; I love the styling of all of these cars, but the overall idea is something that is CLEAN and AGGRESSIVE.

My main issue is that I have only driven the Mazdaspeed and the BMW. The BMW is marginally faster (thanks to it's RWD and twin turbo V6!) but is less utilitarian. I haven't gotten in a new Challenger, but I have ridden in an 08 4-door GTI. I love the build quality on every car I've been in and the features are mostly besides the point; I'll be ticking all option boxes when it's bought.

What it comes down to is HELP ME DECIDE ARRG!

1ddqd on
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Posts

  • stawkstawk Registered User
    edited June 2008
    I would get the GTI, but if you like the mazda 3 check out the Toyota matrix.

    stawk on

    stawk.jpg
  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I would personally go with the GTI or the 135i. If you have the money the 135i is probably the best compact performace car on the market right now. I have not read one review that had anything bad to say about it.

    I don't think you're allowed to get a Challenger unless your name is Cooter. I went to college with a guy we nicknamed "MOPAR" and whenever he walked by we'd all go, "Heh heh, HEMI, heh heh, it's got a HEMI." This was way before those commercials. So if you're ok with becoming the guy who wears a trucker hat and talks about his HEMI, go for the Dodge. It also doesn't seem to fit on your list. Three compacts and...the Challenger?

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I'd take the Challenger out of the equation first. It looks like pure sex, but a first gen model is going to have it's flaws, and as good as it looks it's going to skimp on a lot of creature comforts, like the Mustang.

    The Beemer of V-dub are going to be the best bets because of the warranty, service, support, and quality, imo.

    If you can afford it, Beemer is the way to go. I think their maintenance even covers oil changes and tire rotation free for the first three years.

    amateurhour on

    Arch wrote: »

    I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat
  • UsagiUsagi Nah Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Have you priced insurance on any of these? If you are both male and under 25, that might price one or more of your options out of your range.

    That being said, I would second the GTI as they are awesomely fun to drive.

    Usagi on
  • CooterTKECooterTKE Registered User
    edited June 2008
    where do you live? AWD is nice but if you dont live where you need it often then I would shoot for the BMW. Might also check out the STI.

    CooterTKE on
  • WifflebatWifflebat Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    BMW. Alternately, G35.

    Wifflebat on
  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Wifflebat wrote: »
    BMW. Alternately, G35.

    I've got a friend that has the G35 and a friend that has the 350Z, and both of them agree the Z was the better choice.

    amateurhour on

    Arch wrote: »

    I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I will never ever own another Dodge/Chrysler/Mopar car again as long as I live.

    There's a reason domestic cars lose their value faster than imports.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • Durandal InfinityDurandal Infinity Registered User
    edited June 2008
    PONTIAC G8, or the 2009 Camero, ehhh Hyundai Genesis is also a v8 monster.
    As you can tell I'm a big GM fan the Pontiac G8 is drop dead gorgeous though.

    If you need smaller, Honda Civic Si all spoiled out is also beautiful. I hate german cars =/

    http://www.pontiac.com/g8/

    Durandal Infinity on
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    1ddqd: A few questions.

    In what climate do you live?
    How long is your commute? And how many miles per year do you put on the car?
    Are you going to do any of the service on the car yourself?
    Are you going to be modifying the car (performance or exterior)?
    Are you planning to have kids before you sell the car?
    What s your car replacement cycle (before warranty runs out, every 5-7 years, drive it til the wheels fall off)?

    Challenger but no Camaro? (edit: beated)

    Djeet on
  • KMFurDMKMFurDM Registered User, ClubPA
    edited June 2008
    I'd say the R32 (3.2 litre V6 BTW) because it will fall within your price range, be nicer on the inside, drive better than both the Dodge and the Mazda, and hold its value better.

    The 135i would be great but there is no way it will fall into your price range realistically. Put a couple of options on it and you are looking at a 40,000 dollar car.

    Funny enough I had this debate a while back (with a slightly different selection of cars) but I decided what my next car will be. It will be a 2003 - 2005 M3. You can get a good example for 30,000 or less. If it needs any work you will have that 5 grand. But that kind of money for what is a very special car doesn't seem at all crazy even though maintenance can be expensive which at the end of the day is the only problem with M3's.

    KMFurDM on
  • GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Buy a 5 year old M3.

    Gafoto on
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  • Durandal InfinityDurandal Infinity Registered User
    edited June 2008
    Durandal Infinity on
  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I thought about recommending something like the Solstice GXP, but from the list in the OP it looks like he wants a little more utility. Like, a back seat and a trunk :)

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • 1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Thanks for the suggestions, wasn't expecting a plethora of replies from when I got back from lunch.

    @ "Challenger is for rednecks" - I've always had a thing for Challengers...Cuda's, too, but there isn't a new model out, now, is there? :P

    @ "Solstice?" - I'd love one, but only as a "fun" car - competes (in my head) with the S2000 and the Miata

    @ "Civic" - even if I got the SI, I wouldn't forgive myself for buying something with sub 200 tq

    @ "M3" - even if I get lucky and find a 5 year old M3 that HASN'T been thrashed daily, it's a BMW and on principle, I will not own a BMW with over 50,000 miles I didn't put on it. Good idea, but that's why the 135i is on the list.

    @ "Demographics"
    I'll be 25 in November (buying next year, so insurance weeeee!) and live in Texas (currently). I'm 5'11, 145lbs. The reason I would consider AWD is because my future is uncertain and the missus and I would like to keep our options open when considering transferring to other parts of the country.

    Currently, I put about 20,000 miles on the car a year (a 2003 Chevy Cavalier, no trade-in btw). That's why Daily Driver is #2 - I don't want back-breakingly stiff suspension, but I don't want a Prius either.

    @ "STI or G35?" - while I have been in both (and driven a gen 4 STI) I have to say I didn't enjoy the STI as much as the Mazdaspeed 3 and it was smaller (elbow room, leg room, etc). The G35 was great, my friend with the GTI's mom has one (ticked all option boxes) and while I love it, it's not as performance-oriented as I'd like. Yes, I could get the 350z, but I would die from "cheap-plastic-dash-itis" and "here's-a-small-bump,-there-goes-your-spine-tion" :P

    I really am leaning towards the 135i and GTI more now... However, when comparing base (and top-end) prices, the Mazdaspeed sticks out as a bargain for the performance and the Challenger for it's eye-candy "bonus."

    Ok, let's eliminate the Challenger. Maybe next decade.

    1ddqd on
  • CooterTKECooterTKE Registered User
    edited June 2008
    I would get the 135i then if i was you. I believe they are coming out with the AWD 135xi so you might wait for that.

    CooterTKE on
  • zilozilo Registered User
    edited June 2008
    FYI, there won't be an '09 R32. They only make ~5000 of 'em every 4 years. So it's '08 or nuthin'.

    So, I have one. 1200 miles on it so far. It's fabulous. People view it as a too-expensive GTI when it's really a 4-seater Audi TT. I drive it 20 miles each way to work- it may lack in "paper performance" vs, say, the Evo X, but it buries the turbo I4s in things like 20-50 or 50-70 acceleration, the kinds of things you do on the interstate vs the kinds of things you do on a drag strip. And the sound... brilliant. I love this car.

    There was a comparison last year in Car and Driver- R32 vs WRX STi vs Mitsu Evo X. It was pretty illuminating, I'll try to dig up the link later (spoiler alert- R32 came in 2nd). Ditto for a Top Gear video review of the R32 vs the BMW 130 hatchback. They loved one of them and hated the other, you can probably guess which is which. Also it's worth mentioning that the R32 beat the Audi S4 around their track.

    Here's the best news. You can find huge, huge discounts on R32s right now. I got mine for $4600 off MSRP at 3.9% financing. There's only one option (sat nav, which I didn't get) so it's not like they're down to selling the stripped cars that nobody wants.

    edit: It's probably also worth mentioning that you really wouldn't want to drive a 135i priced under 35k. It has basically nothing on it.

    zilo on
  • KMFurDMKMFurDM Registered User, ClubPA
    edited June 2008
    4600 off MSRP? Jesus. They must be having a hard time moving them. Sad. I was going to consider buying one also to replace my 02 GTi 1.8T. Then I saw that a DSG was the only option. Call me a purist or old fashioned, but if I can't buy it with a manual, I'm not buying it. I was sad.

    Then I considered the 135i. Until I spec'd it out how I would want it. 40 grand. No thanks. Not when a 335 similarly spec'd is a few grand more.

    KMFurDM on
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Of your choices: the 1-series. Though I'd probably opt for a base 330 coupe or something to avoid possible 1st year of new model issues.

    A $33K rabbit? :P

    That 'speed 3 is likely your most flexible bet, the lower entry point means a little less pain if you have to sell it quick. Insurance ought to be cheaper as well. I don't think it really compares to the other 3 though.

    Have you checked out the mini cooper S?

    Djeet on
  • zilozilo Registered User
    edited June 2008
    Yeah, not a good time to be selling new cars. Oh well, their loss is my gain.

    FWIW I've been driving manual transmissions for 10 years but I just couldn't handle it in Los Angeles traffic. The DSG is the best possible compromise- no torque converter, no throttle lag, flappy-paddle shifting for when I want to do the work, and putting it in "S" mode makes it shift faster than I could ever manage.

    If you're interested I suggest you drive one and see how you like it. It's pretty fun.

    zilo on
  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Is 35k your max on the budget? If so that 135i has already reached it. Tax, title, fees, etc and you're pushing 40k. Also I very highly recommend you get the extended maintenance package if you choose a BMW which is going to push your price even higher. My brother has a 330xi and you are a complete fool if you don't get that maintenance package.

    Shogun on
  • KMFurDMKMFurDM Registered User, ClubPA
    edited June 2008
    Driven a DSG and it was very nice. I can't fault it, and I can accept that it will be faster than me, but I dont live in LA. ;) 30 minutes west of Philly where empty, country roads are plentiful. Especially in my township.

    I guess I just really enjoy being as connected as possible to the act of driving.

    Anyway...sorry for going off on a tangent...

    Edit...I am losing my ability to type...

    KMFurDM on
  • zilozilo Registered User
    edited June 2008
    I'm not gonna lie and say I don't miss rowing the gears myself but I gotta make some compromise to save my left leg in rush hour ;-)

    So here's that C&D comparo, and the Top Gear video:

    Top Gear is awesome

    zilo on
  • Durandal InfinityDurandal Infinity Registered User
    edited June 2008
    Oh man do I have clutch leg. I hear no ills about the G8 =]

    Durandal Infinity on
  • KMFurDMKMFurDM Registered User, ClubPA
    edited June 2008
    Oh man do I have clutch leg. I hear no ills about the G8 =]

    *cough*It's a*cough*Pontiac*cough*

    Actually it's a Holden, but who's checking.

    KMFurDM on
  • Durandal InfinityDurandal Infinity Registered User
    edited June 2008
    Hey I don't discriminate my current is a 2002 Firebird Trans-AM WS6

    Durandal Infinity on
  • GdiguyGdiguy San Diego, CARegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I got a Mazda(non-speed) 3 hatch last summer, and love it so very very much... compared to the others I'd assume the major advantage is price, though having a hatch is very nice if you happen to need to lug something around (or if you're like me and wind up liking the look better anyway.. :))

    if you have speed3-related questions, i've found the people at http://www.mazda3forums.com/index.php to be pretty helpful about random stuff

    Gdiguy on
  • 1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    @ "35k limit?" $35k is my MSRP line-in-the-sand. TT&L is all expected, so the 35k limit is MSRP.

    @ "BMW 135i vs. 3 Series" - yes, for more, I could get a 3 series. But that's more. I would rather have a fully optioned BMW (and I realize that goes past my $35k line, but I can rationalize it) than a semi-optioned 3 series. Plus, the engine in the 1 series is the same as the 3 series, and the 1 series is lighter.

    @ "G8" - sorry, I sat in one at the auto show and was discouraged by how cheap the interior looked.

    @ "Mini Cooper S" - love it, but it is WAY too small. I've gotta be able to get a 45lb Husky in the back seat and the only way to do that is folding down the rear. Bouncy folded seats + dog = bad joojoo

    Honestly, the 135i would be awesome in manual; I could opt for the DSG, but then - fully optioned - it really does break the bank. My spec for whichever car I go with is going to stop at transmission (manual).

    Now, if the R32 comes in under 35k and I can afford the DSG, I may consider it at that point. I have hp/tq figures in graph form for each car. Interesting curve comparisons...

    (at work, cannot post now)

    1ddqd on
  • zilozilo Registered User
    edited June 2008
    If you get a similar discount to what I got the R32 should come in at under 29k, and DSG is standard. Really, there are no options on the R32 except sat nav, which I don't recommend, and swapping summer tires for all-weather tires for no cost.

    Really though, you should test drive as many as you can. There's a lot about a car that doesn't come through on paper. You can look at quarter-mile times, skidpad numbers, and power curves until your eyes fall out and it won't do anything to inform you about how much you'll like driving it.

    zilo on
  • wmelonwmelon Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    1ddqd wrote: »
    @ "35k limit?" $35k is my MSRP line-in-the-sand. TT&L is all expected, so the 35k limit is MSRP.

    @ "Mini Cooper S" - love it, but it is WAY too small. I've gotta be able to get a 45lb Husky in the back seat and the only way to do that is folding down the rear. Bouncy folded seats + dog = bad joojoo

    Have you checked out the Mini Cooper Clubman S? As a 6'1" 200lb guy, I was able to sit comfortably in the back seat.

    Does it need to be brand new? If not I'd also recommend looking into an 07 Volvo S60R. You should be able to find with low miles for under your price limit.

    The Mazda RX-8 is pretty nice as well, but you wouldn't be able to fit a husky in the back seat. Its not a super performer on paper, but I'd say it's one of the best balanced cars in its segment.

    wmelon on
  • Durandal InfinityDurandal Infinity Registered User
    edited June 2008
    Cadillac CTS? New they start at 34 but a year old you can grab one in the mid 20s

    Durandal Infinity on
  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    You need to get a dog in the back seat and you're going to buy a BMW 1 series? Are we talking about the same car? That is not a car where you want your dog in the backseat. Hell if I had an x5 I wouldn't want my dogs in there. Animals and nice car's especially said nice car's leather seats do not mix.

    Shogun on
  • zilozilo Registered User
    edited June 2008
    That's not necessarily true if the dog is well-behaved. Our old golden retriever would happy lay down on the back seats of my dad's Cherokee and the seats were never any worse for wear. Just gotta keep the dog's claws trimmed and it shouldn't be a problem.

    Getting one in and out of a 2-door could be problematic though, especially a big dog.

    zilo on
  • Durandal InfinityDurandal Infinity Registered User
    edited June 2008
    Actually for practicality sake you could get a Honda Accord v6 NEW for around that price, leather interior and the works I believe.

    Durandal Infinity on
  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    zilo wrote: »
    That's not necessarily true if the dog is well-behaved. Our old golden retriever would happy lay down on the back seats of my dad's Cherokee and the seats were never any worse for wear. Just gotta keep the dog's claws trimmed and it shouldn't be a problem.

    Getting one in and out of a 2-door could be problematic though, especially a big dog.

    Laying in a Cherokee is possible. Laying down in the backseat of a 1 series is completely different. I drive a coupe with tiny backseats and my dog isn't small enough to lay back there so he rides shotgun. Sadly my seats are cloth and he has taken his toll. Those are cloth seats though so I care less. If they were nice leather it would kill me every time I have to take him with me.

    Shogun on
  • 1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    @ "Dogs & Leather" I have a setup for dogs in back seats, I'm not worried about the damage. It's mainly for emergency cases when I don't have the Cavalier available (beater!).

    @ "Cadillac CTS" I would only consider the V, and even then, it's a Cadillac. I can't help but snub my nose at Cadillacs, Buicks, Saabs, and Oldsmobiles (even though Olds are out of the picture lol)

    @ "Clubman" Thanks, but no thanks. I want something "clean" and "aggressive" and "Clubman" isn't exactly aggressive. God, the engine though, eh?

    @ "RX-8" Not a lot of utility, although if I were considering it as a fun car, it would go up against the S2000, MX-5, and Solstice for consideration. Rotaries have a special place in my heart :)

    Let's get crazy. I'll throw the STI into the consideration pool; mainly HP and acceleration figures. The STI looks mean, but not clean, that's mainly why it's a reluctant contender. I'm a big fan of sleepers and the STI just doesn't fit. I would, however, be happy with one.

    Current order of preference:

    1) BMW 135i
    2) VW R32
    3) Subaru WRX STI
    4) Mazdaspeed 3

    The Mazdaspeed hangs on due to the low entry price and the potential for immediate modification with the cheaper price.

    1ddqd on
  • zilozilo Registered User
    edited June 2008
    I strongly suggest you go drive a WRX STi before you even consider buying one. It's not a car for everyone; a friend of mine who has one likens it to a "single purpose go-kart". Rides like crap and it's really not even that fast unless you thrash the hell out of it.

    I used to drive a Subaru Impreza back before the WRX came to the states. I found the interior appointments damn near unacceptable, even for a 20k car. They haven't done much to upgrade it now that it's a 30k car.

    zilo on
  • GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    1ddqd wrote: »
    @ "M3" - even if I get lucky and find a 5 year old M3 that HASN'T been thrashed daily, it's a BMW and on principle, I will not own a BMW with over 50,000 miles I didn't put on it. Good idea, but that's why the 135i is on the list.

    What's wrong with driving a car that has miles that you didn't put on it? It's always a partial risk buying a used car but M3 vs. 1 series isn't even a fair comparison to me.

    Gafoto on
    sierracrest.jpg
  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Gafoto wrote: »
    1ddqd wrote: »
    @ "M3" - even if I get lucky and find a 5 year old M3 that HASN'T been thrashed daily, it's a BMW and on principle, I will not own a BMW with over 50,000 miles I didn't put on it. Good idea, but that's why the 135i is on the list.

    What's wrong with driving a car that has miles that you didn't put on it? It's always a partial risk buying a used car but M3 vs. 1 series isn't even a fair comparison to me.

    You buy an M3 to thrash it mate. I wouldn't want to buy a car knowing it had been thrashed by someone other than me. Unless you have detailed records (on a properly taken care of M3 you honestly should) you've no idea what that car has been through. And 5 years even for an M3 is pushing it. In terms of german cars I really don't think anyone should spend the money unless they can afford a really nice car + maintenance package. For the same amount of money you spend on the cheapest BMW you can get so much more car from a different make. And it would still be a fantastic car.

    Shogun on
  • Durandal InfinityDurandal Infinity Registered User
    edited July 2008
    the 2009 model of this will have a 4.5l Duramax Diesel engine and get 30mpg highway. I am considering buying one of these or a Black on Chrome Tahoe http://www.chevrolet.com/avalanche/

    Durandal Infinity on
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