Looking for a Sports car. Help.

Fearless Leader

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Mar 21, 2006
2,360
0
Hoosiertown
Well i've been looking for a sports/sporty car and have come down to a couple and can't choose.

1. Fun to drive
2. Reliable
3. and well the safer the better.

Thats mainly what I'm looking for. My price range is anout to 26000 no more though (cheaper the better).

Could any of you put some input on these cars or recomend another.

Lexus Is 250 rwd manual. (I have a discount on this one to make it 26000 and it mine)
Mazada RX-8

A small part of the time I will have two other passengers but mainly just me. (which really sucks cause I test drove a Mazada Miata (2 seater) that thing was fun). So any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

Jay42

macrumors 65816
Jul 14, 2005
1,347
439
I have a subaru WRX, and I am pretty happy with it. The turbo boxer engine is a blast to drive and AWD gives it tons of grip in the corners. It is affordable, safe, and has been reliable. The interior is definitely not up to par with other more expensive sports cars, and there is some serious turbo lag to contend with but overall, I really like it. Plus it gets decent milage.
 
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mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,777
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
i say either the mazda rx-8, or the scion tC and save some money
The Scion tC seems like a very nice car overall but it seems much more in the balanced range than in the sports car range. I personally don't care for anything "sporty" that is too closely associated with Toyota, although that's just me. The IS250 doesn't honestly seem that bad, although I don't think it'd ever be my top pick in its segment.

The Mini is a very different kind of sporty -- the go kart sort of experience, but it's definitely very fun to drive, and as long as no one involved is too far over 6' tall, seating four is doable (I'm comfortable at 6' in the backseat of a Mini, as long as the person in front of me isn't pushed too far back... although I'm fairly thin also). I haven't been paying attention recently to see if they resolved their build quality issues or not. I also don't know if it's become over-saturated where you live.

The new version of the WRX sounds intriguing, although I have not driven it.

I'd consider the Miata the most fun of anything discussed in the thread so far, but understandably, it's out.

One thing to think about might be TCO also. The RX-8 gets rather poor fuel economy, and probably is fairly aggressively priced for insurance. There's another area where something like the Mini, or any of the other cars that are more sporty sedans or hatchbacks than "sports cars" might do better (not to mention that the Mini is cheaper to begin with). I rather imagine that anything with much more than 200 HP is going to get fairly high insurance premiums though.
 
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puckhead193

macrumors G3
May 25, 2004
9,246
473
NY
I'd say go with the IS. Can't be lexus reliably and service. Plus i always wanted an IS (espcially the new IS-F:D)
 
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mahashel

macrumors 6502
May 5, 2005
272
0
"the lab"
I'm in the same boat.. will be looking to replace my trusty ol' Jetta in the next 6-8 months. <30k range

--Took an RX-8 on a test drive. It was super fun, but had to keep the engine wrapped up more than I'm accustomed to. Also, the interior fit & finish is abysmal compared to a VW. (why is it that only europeans seem able to build a high-quality cabin experience?)
--Miata is a tad small, since I do have stuff to haul around from time to time (not really any more than 1 passenger). The deal-breaker is that my dealer didn't have any of the higher-performance old Mazdaspeed variety. That'd be the only way I'd buy that car.
--Drove the Mini Cooper S. Not as quick as I'd like (I'm high-altitude, so maybe that did it in?) and I thought it felt cheap. (ie: leaning hard on the door causes it to flex a bit.. eeeek!) Thing cornered like a dream and could stop on a dime though. :cool:
--WRX isn't really an option to me. They're fast, AWD makes for great handling even on slick roads, but the interior seems cheap and I think they're ugly as sin.
--Another option is a Mustang. They're fun cars, technically hold 4 people, and fairly reliable. They get rotten mileage and are death on a slick road though.
--Didn't occur to me to look into Lexus. Guess I just assumed I couldn't afford one. Same with the Honda S2000. :rolleyes:

Not much help, I know, since I've not finished my analysis on this yet. Will keep you posted as I drive more the cars in this category.
I guess I had boiled my options down to an RX-8 or a VW GTI.
 
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jayb2000

macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2003
748
0
RI -> CA -> ME
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mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,777
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
I'm assuming you are a female? :p
Have you ever driven one? With a manual transmission? It's a lot more fun than you give it credit for. Look at the Miata series' history in racing also. It's nothing to be ashamed of.

EDIT: ^^ speaking of my love for Mazda, I'm still sad that I never got any kind of variant of a Protege5, although I drove them pretty extensively. Such a wonderful car. I haven't been 100% satisfied with my Mazda6 -- in part because of some cost sacrifices while in grad school (I bought a used one, so I had to go back to steel wheels, to which I'd gotten unaccustomed, and also mine lacks ABS and ESP...sigh), but I still have a very large soft spot for the company overall.
 
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carlgo

macrumors 68000
Dec 29, 2006
1,806
17
Monterey CA
Lots of good choices mentioned here. This is really a golden age for choice. Almost every company makes good sporty cars in both two and four seat configurations. I really like the later style Is250/350. I borrowed one and broke my over-the-grade record without even trying. Very nice interior also. I am not so fond of the original IS model. Nothing beats Lexus for reliability, service and resale.

No new Alfas in the US now. I had a 69 Duetto that was fabulous and very reliable, thanks to me and not the dealer.

A used BMW is another option. The certified ones have a good warranty.

I am only a few hundred thou short of that new 622 hp front engine v12 Ferrari. Red only, please.
 
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twoodcc

macrumors P6
Feb 3, 2005
15,307
25
Right side of wrong
the new V6 toyota camry is a quick car now also. 0-60 in 6.1 seconds or whatever....and they don't look too bad either. just a thought.

and for those who love mazda, what about a 1995 rx-7?
 
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mahashel

macrumors 6502
May 5, 2005
272
0
"the lab"
I'm assuming you are a female? :p
LOL
Note I did not vouch for the Miata's "macho factor". :p
I really like the look of the Mazdaspeed Miatas with all the chrome trimmings and alloys. It *almost* looks like a guy's car.
((and I am male. Should I get some counseling for considering a Miata? Is there a "Male Miatas Anonymous"?)) :D

i notice how you left 'fast' off
A buddy of mine has a new Mustang GT. It's a really "quick" car. Doesn't seem to have the higher top speed of something like the RX8 or WRX, but it does have a ton of zip. (which he pays for at the pump every couple of days)

Oh, and I realized that I seem attached to the GTI, but didn't list my rationale. I have the 1.8T Jetta, which I love dearly, but it's more of a passenger car (hence the 4 doors). The ride is squishy and the turbo lag can get annoying. The GTI I've driven seemed to address most of these things. The ride was much stiffer and the turbo lag seemed a bit less annoying considering the new GTI is a lighter car with a slightly larger engine (2.0l). The VW interior is also a plus. :D
 
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iGav

macrumors G3
Mar 9, 2002
9,025
1
The GTI I've driven seemed to address most of these things.
The Golf GT (Twincharger) is a much more impressive car/engine combination IMHO.

Whilst lacking the outright performance of the GTi, day-to-day flexibility and performance is much more accessible. You'd have to really exercise the GTi to not look silly in comparison.
 
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