Best fun car in the $20-$25k range

puma1552

Suspended
Original poster
Nov 20, 2008
5,559
1,945
When I go back to America in another year or so, I'll need a car and figure $20k-$25k is realistic.

What are my needs? None, really but below are what I personally want/require.

It must be two doors and performance oriented, or at least classy.

It can be used or new, but I prefer higher-end cars so used is more likely.

It needs to be a daily driver.

It needs to be rear wheel drive.

Convertibles are always a nice option.

2 seats are also just fine.

Under 50k miles would be nice, but I could go ever so slightly higher for the right car at the right price with perfect maintenance records.



I've wanted a Z4 for as long as I can remember, so that's a definite option. I hadn't realized how far down E46 M3s had come in price, so that's also an option.

Other avenues would include

s2000
350Z
maybe 370Z by then
G35 coupe
non-M 3-series coupe
E36 M3 (...)
Audi TT

etc etc.

What route would you take?
 

sammich

macrumors 601
Sep 26, 2006
4,289
218
Sarcasmville.
Before I saw the list I was going to suggest the 350Z. I have no idea what they resell for in the US. But a second hand 20-5k should be you a decent set of wheels (gauging that 25K is about 35-40K in aussie dollars).

The Z4 is a nice ride, but not really in my taste (not the most masculine car around).
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,173
1,216
NYC
Is this range before or after taxes? Are you looking to buy straight off used or "certified pre-owned" ?
 

puma1552

Suspended
Original poster
Nov 20, 2008
5,559
1,945
Is this range before or after taxes? Are you looking to buy straight off used or "certified pre-owned" ?
before...if it was $25k id work it to be $25k out the door or else I'd walk on it.

certified from a dealer would always be preferred, but a nice ride from a private seller whos taken care of it (seems to be the case with cars in that price range) would not disturb me too much if I had the dealer do an inspection on it.
 

Simgar988

macrumors 65816
Jul 22, 2009
1,084
7
UYBAATC
Honda s2000. Take one for a test spin. I have a 2001 black one (back they red lined at 9000 rpms. I drive for hours around on a nice day with the top down. Not to mention tons of looks from bystanders and passing cars. I got one used for 18000 and I've had it for 6 years with no problems. It's a Honda for gods sake.

Do it for yourself and take one for a spin!

Ps. You will make traffic your bitch. When you have to top down, you can see exactly how much room you have and with the size and speed and manuverability of that thing, it'll feel like there's no traffic there:)
 

sysiphus

macrumors 6502a
May 7, 2006
816
1
Get a top-notch used BMW Z3 with a removable hard top for it. Much cheaper to maintain than a Z4, easier to work on, and looks a hell of a lot better.
 

Capt Crunch

macrumors 6502
Aug 26, 2001
485
12
Washington, D.C.
Don't get an audi unless massive understeer is appealing to you. If you get an S2000, make sure it's a newer one... the revised suspension gets rid of a lot of the snap oversteer.

350z, 370z are both good choices. I wouldn't get a BMW because of the maintenance out of warranty.

Here's a shot from left field: Pontiac G8.

EDIT: not 2 doors, I can't read :(
 

quagmire

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2004
6,375
1,298
Don't get an audi unless massive understeer is appealing to you. If you get an S2000, make sure it's a newer one... the revised suspension gets rid of a lot of the snap oversteer.

350z, 370z are both good choices. I wouldn't get a BMW because of the maintenance out of warranty.

Here's a shot from left field: Pontiac G8.

EDIT: not 2 doors, I can't read :(
Easy solution. Pontiac GTO. :p
 

SactoGuy18

macrumors 68030
Sep 11, 2006
2,758
250
Sacramento, CA USA
If you're willing pay a tad over US$25,000, I'd recommend either the MazdaSpeed3 or the Volkswagen GTI, both of which are available in five-door hatchbacks.
 

Ann P

macrumors 68020
Jun 29, 2009
2,311
9
California
Umm..... he said fun car. A Civic is not fun......
Who said? My first car out of high school was a Civic hatchback and it was plenty fun. :eek: Just kidding. How about an Acura TL? I know its not a coupe but it's a fun driver. You can maybe find an 06-07 within the price range.
 

nonocei

macrumors member
Oct 3, 2009
77
0
Los Angeles, CA
The new civic si's are pretty fun!

How about a subaru wrx? If you're into the new hatchback look and awd. Or maybe check out the previous gen model.

I know from experience though that the s2000 is a very "raw" car. It's pretty much just you and the road. Space might be an issue as well with that car, if it's your DD...
 

iGav

macrumors G3
Mar 9, 2002
9,025
1
Don't get an audi unless massive understeer is appealing to you.
Unless you can source an original, unmolested pre-recall TT of course... few cars have slung their unsuspecting drivers backwards into a hedge in so much style. :D

That sort of budget here would get you a relatively tidy Lotus Elise... and that pretty much trumps everything on your list, or indeed posted so far in this thread. ;)
 

63dot

macrumors 603
Jun 12, 2006
5,269
339
norcal
Obviously, with taxes, shipping, some extras, etc, I would like a mazda speed 3. That would be about 25K.

The pontiac G5, GT version, seems like a nice car, too and a little cheaper than the mazda speed 3. Stripped down with appropriate taxes and fees, I think I could find a pontiac G6.
 

js81

macrumors 65816
Dec 31, 2008
1,199
16
KY
For about $22k, you can get a brand new VW Jetta Wolfsburg Ed. (basically an incognito GLI)

Great car, and a bit of a sleeper - its great showing tail lights to larger engined "sports cars" in my wife's little red 4-cylinder sedan. (0-60 in the low 6's, so not bad) :D

BTW, I drive a truck, so I can't really play this game... but it IS supercharged! :)
 

chstr

macrumors 6502a
Mar 25, 2009
672
0
When I go back to America in another year or so, I'll need a car and figure $20k-$25k is realistic.

What are my needs? None, really but below are what I personally want/require.

It must be two doors and performance oriented, or at least classy.

It can be used or new, but I prefer higher-end cars so used is more likely.

It needs to be a daily driver.

It needs to be rear wheel drive.

Convertibles are always a nice option.

2 seats are also just fine.

Under 50k miles would be nice, but I could go ever so slightly higher for the right car at the right price with perfect maintenance records.



I've wanted a Z4 for as long as I can remember, so that's a definite option. I hadn't realized how far down E46 M3s had come in price, so that's also an option.

Other avenues would include

s2000
350Z
maybe 370Z by then
G35 coupe
non-M 3-series coupe
E36 M3 (...)
Audi TT

etc etc.

What route would you take?
you could get a really nice used low-mile benz slk or maybe a little older sl500 for that money. Best cars ever
 

jzuena

macrumors 65816
Feb 21, 2007
1,038
65
I love love love my 350z!
I can't bear the thought of parting with my 300ZX (Z32 model) and there is no room in my driveway for a fourth car, so I've not really looked at the 350/370Z much. But the 300ZX is starting to show its age (it is now 20 years old) and repairs to keep it running well are starting to cost more. We have no good Z-car specialty shops here in Massachusetts that can help me restore it to its original state. I might have to test drive the 370Z I pass in the showroom every time I bring my 300ZX in... they don't exactly fly off the shelves this time of year here in the Northeast.

To the OP: where in the US will you be? If in the northern half and you will be here during the winter, you might want to rethink having only a rear wheel drive high performance car. My 300ZX goes in the garage around the time of US Thanksgiving (last Thursday in November for the non-US readers) and doesn't come out again until I see the street sweepers cleaning the sand that had been put down all winter during snowstorms. This usually happens in early to mid April.
 
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