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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm finally getting to the point where I want to be. I've got a new job on the way, I'm getting more into the field that I've been studying for, and I've got a couple of careers opening in front of me. Moving onto greener pastures and bigger paychecks. Looks like in a few months I'll be making more than twice what I make now. After I get a few things paid off, it's REALLY time for a new car.

Right now, I'm driving a '04 Tiburon GT. I love that car to death, and it has served its purpose well. I'm wanting to move up to something more practical and quite a bit classier. This is gonna be a longtime investment, and I want it to be driveable in all conditions. My 3 criteria are that it MUST have a manual transmission, AWD, and leather seats (cuz I got spoiled with leather with my Tib). I haven't decided whether to go with the more cargo capacity of a wagon or the better gas mileage with a sedan, but right now I'm leaning more towards the sedan. The ones I'm choosing from are:

If I go sedan:
Audi A4 2.0T Quattro
Volvo S40 T5 AWD

If I go wagon:
Audi A4 Avant 2.0T Quattro
Volvo V50 T5 AWD
Saab 9-2X Aero AWD

Opinions?
 

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I've always liked the look of a Audi, but have you considered VWs? I think Jettas meet all that criteria, and are cheaper.
 

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Suburau WRX is a fast little bugger. AWD and some giddyup to boot. :D

I've heard not so good things about the Audis and warranty work. One from a friend that owns one and one that owned and sold his, and worked at an Audi dealership.

Volvos seem to run forever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Haven't looked at the VWs yet. Didn't know they made AWD sedans in the $30k bracket. I also got a tip on another forum to check out Infiniti. Apparently, there's a G35 sedan that can be had in AWD. It just happened to be a site devoted to the Tib that I've been driving, and I got a few of the typical votes for the Subaru STi and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. Maybe things have changed a bit, but the last time I sat in either of those cars, they didn't seem to have quite the fit and finish of the european competition (but then again, they're built for a different purpose). One person also mentioned the Subaru Legacy, which looks good on paper, but I'm going to have to sit in it to tell. I might be adding a G35 and a Legacy to my list, depending on how they feel to me.

A buddy of mine actually as the Audi that I want. After work one time, we compared cars. He loves his Audi, and I developed a soft spot for them as well after being in it for a drive. That was one nicely built car. Of course, he put quite a few fancy options on his, which I won't bother with. He hasn't had any problems with his yet, though.
 

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check out the Subaru Forester with the turbo. AWD and faster than the Porche SUV. Boxer engine = great handeling.

The problem with European cars is they break down about as often as Detroit iron. Also, when they do need repairing better hope your mechanic knows how to put a European car back together - otherwise they never run or drive the same.

Good luck!! :)
 

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Can't believe I am saying this, but German engineering has fallen past our tech, as has their quality control.

Only a few meet your requirements, and have to squeeze a little on one. The Mitsubishi Lancer RS, Lexus IS and the Bu as in Subaru. I would think the Lex should have the greatest QC and resale/dependability, the others the most fun. Several more will fall into the scope if you relax your need for a manual.
 

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The Saab 9-2X Aero AWD is a Subaru Impreza/WRX. Same car. Mitsubishi's Evo is a rocket, with the quality of a Yugo. :(^ The G35 is a great car, although so far I think it's only available in AWD as the sedan. The G35 coupe is a gorgeous car, and the one I'd buy, but no AWD yet. The Acura RL is AWD, has gotten rave reviews, and it should be as bulletproof as any Honda.

http://www.automobilemag.com/reviews/
 

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I don't know if they come in AWD,but take a look the the Nissan Altima. Classy looking,with gears and lots of bells & whistles.

HWD
 

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My information is a little bit out of date, but may help.

My daily driver is a '98 Audi A4 2.8 that I bought new. I'm coming up on the 8th year of driving it and it has 137,000 miles. There has been more maintenance lately but I still love the car. I take good care of it and some people when they get in think it is new. Audi has changed the exterior twice now since my model and I don't like either of the newer ones as much as mine. But I love the car.

My girlfriend has a 2004 Volvo V40 wagon. This was the last model before the V50. She got a great deal on it since the V50 was right around the corner. Anyway, her car was not offered in a manual transmission. From what I remember, most Volvo's did not have that option, or else she would have chosen it. You might want to check on that. The S40 probably has it, but the V50 might not. We took a trip from VA to WI and got 33 MPG on the highway using cruise control. That's pretty good! We like that car a lot, and with DC/VA traffic, we have learned to like the auto tranny.

The Saab 9-2 is a Subaru WRX (or Legacy) with Saab sheetmetal on the outside. I don't know much more about it than that. I wanted to consider it as my next car, but I want more gas mileage than what they advertise, since I don't expect the advertised numbers to be the real world numbers.

If you choose any of those three, I bet you'll be happy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah, I know it's hard to find all 4 things I really want in one car, but I'd kick myself if I got a car for the long haul that didn't have them (#4, as I pointed out on the car forum was NO BIG-A$$ WING ON THE BACK *cough*EvoSTi*cough*). I told the guys on the car forum that if one more person said Evo or STi, I'd bite the head off a small woodland creature.

I checked out Lexus way back when I checked out the German cars. No AWD sedan. Here in MO, we have these strange phenomena known as snow and ice storms. My folks have a Ford Exploder with 4WD, and it is a ray of sunshine when the weather goes south. The G35 sedan can be had in either a manual or AWD, but not both. That's too bad, because I would have made up my mind once and for all. That was a slick piece of machinery. If I was to give some slack on the manual tranny, I'd be taking home that G35. It's up for debate, anyway. I'm going to have to check out the Legacy, because it's looking like everything I could ever want so far...... on paper, anyway. My buddy loves his Audi, so I know of several that aren't being problematic at all. At least I've got plenty of time to check them out before I part with the money. Thanks for the input so far. It's much more helpful than that car forum!

-edit- checked out a suggestion and found that BMW makes a 3-series sedan with a 6-speed and AWD. It's a thousand or so more than the others, but that doesn't discourage me as long as I get suitable bang to go with that buck. It's actually cheaper than a similarly-equipped G35 sedan, from the look of it. This brings my list to a well-rounded 5 cars (my lucky number). I've got plenty of time to check them all out before I'm ready to pony up the cash for it. Thanks for the input so far, fellas.
 

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I recently found myself in a similar position. I did some research and here is what I came up with:
Infiniti: pros- lots of power, decent fit and finish, timing chain instead of timing belt. Cons-decent fit and finish, doesn't hold value as well, personally don't like the looks.

Bmw- It's a BMW, which in itself is a Pro. Cons: High maintenance costs, reliability issues on some models, higher insurance.

Audi : I fell in love with this car. Interior is beautiful, has plenty of power, tiptronic transmission, handles like it's on rails but still has a nice smooth ride. Cons: a little high priced for my budget. Reliability issues with the 1.8T, rumors of horrible warranty support. But then I discovered that I could get one for thousands less with all the same bells and whistles, same 30 valve v6, same handling, everything but the audi emblem and pricetag. It's called a VW Passat. It's the EXACT SAME CAR, made in the same factory. It's available in either a wagon or sedan, available with AWD, and after 2 trips to the dealer to address minor issues I was pleasantly surprised with the prompt, competent and courteous service.
I'd stay away from the Jetta (made in Mexico) and any car with the 1.8 turbo, as there have been issues with the oil pick-up failing and destroying the engine.
Anyway, I've been driving a 2001 Passat for about 6 months now and couldn't be happier. And people are always mistaking it for the Audi :)
 

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I have a 2004 Audi S4. It has been a great car for me and it can now be yours! It is grey with a silver leather interior and every option except navigation. It has 33,000 miles and I'll sell it for $36,000. Installed are Milltek downpipes (~$2,000), Milltek cat-back exhaust (~$1,300), GIAC software with Flashloader (~$1,000), Stratmosphere intake (~$350) and Stratmosphere shifter (~$250). The car retailed for $54,000 one year ago. It is still covered my factory warranty until 50,000 miles or 11/2008 including all maintenance.

 

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mdboatbum,

I agree the Passat is a real deal and nice car, but it's not the same as an A4. The handling of the Passat will not be the same as what you liked in the A4.

What is the same is the engine and transmission combo, and the AWD. Audi calls it "quattro" and VW calls it "4Motion". The Passat gets those pieces from the A4. The interior, body, and suspension are all VW, though. Not bad, just different.

The Passat has a little more interior room. This is most noticable as leg room for back seat passengers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
TexasTon said:
Dang, musta missed that one.

That's definately a nice ride, smitty. The color is one of the acceptable ones to me, too. Anything but white or red, and I'd rather not do the black again.

Really, any car can have some sort of issue. I've heard everything on each and every one of those cars, ranging from "hell could be frozen over and it would still start" to "piece of crap, that one". Keep in mind this is also from people I know and the car forum I've been at for years. So basically, it puts me back at square one. Of the 5, I'm probably just gonna end up driving each one and picking the one I like, just like I figured I would. The info has been very helpful so far, so thanks guys!

I like the looks of the G35, and it looks good on paper, but I'm still not ready to give up my stick yet. The Legacy looks good on paper, but I'd have to see if the fit and finish match up to the Audi (which I'm most familiar with). The BMW has what looks like the sharpest interior and everything else, but the price tag goes up a bit once a few bells and whistles get added. I like how the interior of the Volvo looks from the website, but a picture can only show so much. So far, I think the Audi is squeezing out a small lead.
 

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K4b00m said:
TexasTon said:
Dang, musta missed that one.

That's definately a nice ride, smitty. The color is one of the acceptable ones to me, too. Anything but white or red, and I'd rather not do the black again.

Really, any car can have some sort of issue. I've heard everything on each and every one of those cars, ranging from "hell could be frozen over and it would still start" to "piece of crap, that one". Keep in mind this is also from people I know and the car forum I've been at for years. So basically, it puts me back at square one. Of the 5, I'm probably just gonna end up driving each one and picking the one I like, just like I figured I would. The info has been very helpful so far, so thanks guys!

I like the looks of the G35, and it looks good on paper, but I'm still not ready to give up my stick yet. The Legacy looks good on paper, but I'd have to see if the fit and finish match up to the Audi (which I'm most familiar with). The BMW has what looks like the sharpest interior and everything else, but the price tag goes up a bit once a few bells and whistles get added. I like how the interior of the Volvo looks from the website, but a picture can only show so much. So far, I think the Audi is squeezing out a small lead.
You'll find that the IS250 is painfully slow. I have had several BMWs in the past few years and have one in the garage right now. The price can get out of hand when you start to add options. I owned a 325xi sedan and have a 325xiT currently. The AWD BMWs are great cars and I would highly recommend them provided you accept that they are not that much fun to hustle down a twisty road or track.

My wife and I looked long and hard at the Volvos, but there were a few things we couldn't get past. Namely the interior and engine noise.

The G35 is well-built vehicle and represents a good value, however you will find that it is less than inspiring to drive.

We also looked at the Legacy GT. I am 6'2" and did not fit too well in the seats and they lacked the adjustments necessary to make me comfortable. There were some weird things that I didn't like such as the lack of auto-up on all the windows and only auto-down on the driver's window. The storage compartment at the top of the dash has a cover with a chrome strip along the bottom. In all other cars, I would expect to press on the strip and have the door open automatically. Not so in the Legacy - it is just a chrome strip and you have to lift the door from the bottom to open it.

For what it's worth, here are the cars I've had in the past few years:

1993 BMW 325is
1999 BMW M3
2001 BMW 325xi
2001 Audi S4
2002 BMW M3
2002 MINI Cooper S
2003 MINI Cooper S
2003 Mitsubishi Evo
2004 Audi S4
2005 MINI Cooper S Convertible
2005 BMW 325xiT

If you have any questions about any of them, I'll be happy to answer them.
 

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My wife has an '05 S-40 Volvo and it appears to be a very good car. I know it's fast, good looking and handles great.
 
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