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I've gotten to a point in my life (typical mid life crisis sports car age 39?) where we have the financial freedom to purchase a third car. I would like to purchase the late model sports car I've always wanted, but never had the means to justify purchasing.

In the past I've had a 2000 Sentra SE-R, 2001 S4, 2005 WRX, and finally a 2012 GTI as daily drivers. After encountering some reliability issues with the GTI, I've fully embraced Dad life and daily a leased 2018 Sonata. It does the job, but man, what an appliance. We have a 2016 4Runner which is paid off and intend on keeping forever, will probably end up being our oldest kids first car. Now that I've discovered the appeal of leasing, I plan on always leasing a family sedan.

I'm open to TFL comments, but with all the above being said, I'm seeking input on vehicles I should and shouldn't look into. I'm comfortable spending $25-30K, four seats would be nice(obviously not a deal breaker), must have Manuel, and something I could wrench on a little would be nice too. Would like to keep mileage low, shooting for 60k and under

Currently hunting 996's (seems like a early 997 is a possibility, but probably just out of my budget with my mileage constraint), Cayman S, E92's, and Z4 M coupes. Any advice, things I should look for, avoid etc...?

I'm all over the place, in no rush and easily swayed.

What would you be after with the same budget in mind?
 

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'18 BRZ
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Hard to say without knowing what you like and what your style is. You've owned a bunch of understeer in the past...is that a route that you want to continue going down? Or do you want to switch it up?

Which sports cars have you driven that you liked?

For me, the best sports car in that price range is a BRZ. That's why I own one. But I also drive on very tight, twisty roads, and prefer to spend as much time near redline as possible.

Out of what you mentioned, the E92 M3 and Z4M are too lazy and heavy for me. The 987, 996, and 997 are excellent cars, but you'll probably need a maintenance fund on the side; my 986 was cool but it seemed like I was always fixing stuff for two years (window regulators, MAF, cats, fuel pump, shifter box, and more). Porsches always seem to make your wallet ache, but you always forget it when you're behind the wheel.

S2000's are fantastic too, although values are rising.

But, it's hard to recommend unless you tell us what you like. Some dudes think a Mustang is their ideal sports car, and some people think it's a 1967 Datsun Roadster. Just depends on what you're looking for :thumbup:
 

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manual transmission 997s have hit the bottom of their depreciation curve and are going back up in value.

At your price point I'd go 2015 Mustang GT
This. The time is right to snatch up a 997. The fixed the ugly of the 996 and the last of the true Porsche before VW got in too deep.
 

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Out of what you mentioned, the E92 M3 and Z4M are too lazy and heavy for me.
Have you ever even driven a Z4M? I don't disagree that it's a heavy car for its size. But lazy, seriously??

Z4 M Coupe is a special car IMHO. I sold mine after 8 years of ownership and regretted it IMMEDIATELY. Took me a couple of years but I decided I had to have another and righted that mistake a year ago. I'm not parting with this one, ever. It's a special car, and a rare one at that.
 

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I’d consider a c6 z06 or an Elise (obviously very different character). Stretch budget a bit and you could get a 996 turbo. Something like an s550 mustang would be a relatively expensive 3rd car because those are still depreciating.
 

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For $27K play it safe, it might be a little less fun, but this also means a lot less headaches, especially since it's brand new.

 

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Unless the roads in your area are absolutely perfectly smooth, you might not want the Z4M. Very firm. Roadsters are still reasonably priced but coupes have been going up a bit.
 

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Have you ever even driven a Z4M? I don't disagree that it's a heavy car for its size. But lazy, seriously??

Z4 M Coupe is a special car IMHO. I sold mine after 8 years of ownership and regretted it IMMEDIATELY. Took me a couple of years but I decided I had to have another and righted that mistake a year ago. I'm not parting with this one, ever. It's a special car, and a rare one at that.
Well, first of all, I wrote "too lazy and heavy for me". Remember I drive a BRZ and usually advocate for Miatas or early 90's Hondas that weigh close to 2000lbs. On the other hand, I would say it's not too lazy and heavy for my buddy Sold Over Sticker who flogs his ~3700lb Chevy SS on the same roads I do :laugh:


And also, that's not an absolute designation--it's very relative.

The Z4 is 161", 86 is 167", and a 987 is 172". Yet, the weights are ~3250, ~2750, and and ~2850. Compared to something sharp and light, like an 86 or 987 (or 986 or Miata or Elise, etc), the Z4M is heavy and lazy.

But an E82 135i is 172" and weighs ~3400lbs; the E92 M3 is 185" and weighs ~3600lbs; and the current Mustang GT is 188" and ~3700lbs. Compared to those beefy cars, I would not consider the Z4M to be lazy or heavy.


Another example is that I prefer the V8 Vantage over the V12 Vantage (or DB9). It just feels lighter. But, the aforementioned SOS prefers the V12, because the extra degree of lightness is not as important to him as the V12 sound and power.
 

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You can buy a whole lot of NC3 Miata plus mods for your budget. Give it a look, they're a blast to drive and will not break your wallet.
 

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Have you considered a Camaro SS w/ 1LE Package or V6 1LE?

Not sure if you're into track stuff, but those two options will be faster than basically everything in that list.
 

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I hope I'm not putting my foot in my mouth here. I have NO experience with any of these cars, and I'll openly admit that. The only thing that I'll say is that, given your list and what you say you want, the m3 sounds like a compromise car. Thats kinda its shtick. Its the hot sedan/coupe that you can daily drive. That doesn't sound like sports car to me. Since I have no experience with these cars I cant recommend one in particular per say, but I'd say look for a c6 grand sport to check out. I've heard great things about them.

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The best sports car ever made; Cayman/Boxster. For that coin you can find a 987.2 - 981 gen, if you like to rev happy get the smaller 2.9/2.7 base motors, if you want larger brakes and a little more oompf get an S model. They do it all; and most importantly deliver on every single point of what defines enjoyable motoring. You can argue it isn't a 911, but then you can also argue it isn't a 911. Everything is documented, everything is available and you can't drive 100 miles without hitting some sort of club/support for the car. It's driving bliss.

I'm going to respectfully disagree with the FRS/BRZ/GT86 and any of the 'hot' stuff, too; SI, 1LE, R, SRT, Saleen, Abarth, M, etc. All great cars - but for your 3RD CAR, for simple motoring pleasure, I'd make it something both special and beautiful.

Other recommendations;
S2000 since they are inexpensive given your budget, interesting and high quality cars
911 (for the 2+2) any year you can afford; 996 is a great buy, 997 is at the bottom of the curve and an even better car, SC/3.2 are it for aircooled
Kit-Cobra because life is short and a C5Z just isn't crazy enough

Going too extreme; Alfa 4C, Elise, Morgan 4/4 you may find your day off to enjoy the open road ruined by a key that isn't starting anything and/or a car in a shop or on jackstands waiting for parts! :mad:
 

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This. The time is right to snatch up a 997. The fixed the ugly of the 996 and the last of the true Porsche before VW got in too deep.
The rear 3/4 of the 996 is gorgeous though.

I own one and understand the headlights might be gross but otherwise I love the lines. I have a turbo though not a narrow body car.

I would recommend a 996 turbo as they are awesome. Also would consider flat 6 revvy cayman. Cayman S for the win. I was looking for one of those until I stumbled across my 996

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TFL suggestion: something you can get your money back out of and keep the party going
 

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Well, first of all, I wrote "too lazy and heavy for me". Remember I drive a BRZ and usually advocate for Miatas or early 90's Hondas that weigh close to 2000lbs. On the other hand, I would say it's not too lazy and heavy for my buddy Sold Over Sticker who flogs his ~3700lb Chevy SS on the same roads I do :laugh:


And also, that's not an absolute designation--it's very relative.

The Z4 is 161", 86 is 167", and a 987 is 172". Yet, the weights are ~3250, ~2750, and and ~2850. Compared to something sharp and light, like an 86 or 987 (or 986 or Miata or Elise, etc), the Z4M is heavy and lazy.

But an E82 135i is 172" and weighs ~3400lbs; the E92 M3 is 185" and weighs ~3600lbs; and the current Mustang GT is 188" and ~3700lbs. Compared to those beefy cars, I would not consider the Z4M to be lazy or heavy.


Another example is that I prefer the V8 Vantage over the V12 Vantage (or DB9). It just feels lighter. But, the aforementioned SOS prefers the V12, because the extra degree of lightness is not as important to him as the V12 sound and power.
Have you actually driven one or are you just going off the weight?

Yes it’s heavy for its length, but I have never once seen one described as “lazy”.
 

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TFL suggestion: something you can get your money back out of and keep the party going
So a 997 then :D

or JL! :laugh: (don't knock it, convertible, RWD, manual, great resale, etc, etc.)

I've owned some version of a few of the cars mentioned in here, and I think the sentiment that implied you shouldn't get something "normal" is spot on. 981 cayman would be great, but boxster would be better, cuz convertible an 3rd car.

Similarly, Z4MR > Z4MC in this case.
 
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