I’ve gotten the “What’s Next?” question from a lot of friends and blog readers since sharing that I’ve sold my beautiful and beloved S4…so rather than saying “I really don’t know yet” over and over, I thought I’d start a post which has my top contenders. I will be updating this post throughout my car buying process with notes/impressions, as well as removing or adding cars based on further research…so stay tuned for regular updates if you’re really that interested. I imagine the finalists will get their own posts and/or mini-reviews, so if you really don’t care about the blow-by-blow then no need to revisit here. Likewise, I’d love suggestions/recommendations from anyone who reads this, so we’ll start with my criteria.
Next Car Wish list:
My goal is to have a very fun, sporty car that can do double duty as daily driver + track toy. I might keep this car as little as 1-2 years, or as long as 4 years. Because of this, it is important the car won’t take a massive depreciation hit in the first 1-2 years, which is why I’m ruling out most if not all new cars unless I can get an attractive 3 year or lower lease. I don’t even need room for a car seat, in fact I want something fairly impractical to enjoy while I still can…
- 2 door coupe (may also consider hi-po wagons, but no sedans, SUVs, or trucks)
- Must be either RWD or AWD
- Must be either manual or DSG (strongly prefer manual though)
- NO convertibles – must be fixed roof. Bonus points for sunroof delete.
- Probably used, or at least something that won’t have massive first year depreciation
- Performance-oriented car, but needs to be a decent daily driver too
- Around $40k budget (give or take, ideally under rather than over)
- Doesn’t need to be perfect, as I plan to modify & work on it myself, but no salvage titles or total project cars (must run & drive)
- Lower mileage (ideally <50k miles, but older cars can be okay)
- It’d be cool to stay within Audi, but open to all Makes (German, American, Japanese, you name it)
- Bonus points if it already has some tasteful mods (coilovers, high end wheels, good sounding exhaust, tune)
Top Contenders (From High to Low):
Based on the above, here are my top contenders in order from “most likely to actually buy” to “kinda nuts, but I at least want to test drive.”
- 2012-2013 (MK2) Audi TTRS: super fast & sounds amazing, great brakes. Some understeer and small backseat otherwise perfect. Tune adds insane power.
- 2005-2008 (997) Porsche Carrera 2(S?): review here but overall super smooth car and great value.
- 1965-1967 Ford Mustang Fastback: super impractical for a daily driver but can’t beat the cool factor
- 2008-2015 Cadillac CTS-V Sedan or Wagon
- 1998-2002 BMW M Coupe
- 2000-2007 Dodge Viper
- 2001-2002 B5 Audi S4 Avant with RS Conversion
Here are some cars I’ve considered, but already ruled out along with a brief explanation of why:
- 2013-2017 Audi S3: review here but overall love it just not really sure I want a sedan next.
- 987.1 Porsche Cayman S: if I go P-car, it will be a 911
- 2008-2013 (E92) BMW M3: really impressed with the speed, these are FAST! Big back seat too. Steering somewhat numb, ride floaty…and not very unique.
- 2015+ Shelby GT500: interior is awful, and car impacted by Takata recall
- 2017 Focus RS – couldn’t even get a test drive, $15k dealer markup, Ford quality. No thanks!
- 2007-2014 Mercedes C63 – no manual option 🙁
- 2014 (C7) Corvette – amazing performance but can’t get over the “old man” stigma and don’t love the styling
- 2013+ Audi RS5 – still a bit too expensive, no manual option, kinda heavy
- B8 (V6 Supercharged) S5 – underpowered, last year of current body style so feels/looks dated
- Miata: too small for a daily, no fixed roof
- Jaguar F-Type: still too expensive (~60k) and will be taking a massive depreciation hit
- Series I-II Jaguar E-Type: too unreliable for daily driving
- 1994-1997 Land Rover Defender 90: won’t fit in garage, not sporty enough
- Toyota Land Cruiser: love these, but want to get a 2 door next then something bigger once if/when the family situation dictates I need it
- 2007-2008 Audi RS4: I’ve already had two B7s, so it’s time to get something different
- Golf R: Awesome car, but feels like a step down from Audi and might be better family car in the future because hatchback
- BMW 1M: Love it, but a bit too expensive IMO
I bought the TT-RS. More on that here: https://www.nickscarblog.com/cars/introduction-my-2012-audi-tt-rs