With a 993TT Andial 3.8 (1996, 165,000 miles) spending 2 weeks in the shop waiting for a replacement oil cooler, it's 3rd tow-in, this year, I was relegated to my wife's 2002 Lexus SC430. Gorgeous! However!!!! She requires an automatic transmission car because of health issues. Our Lexus dealer rolls out the red carpet for her and she barely notices that the repair bills and service bills, more than offset being treated like the landed aristocracy. But, she loves Lexus. So we drove an IS F. Wonderful car. Enough isolation from the road to please her, enough straight line go and sufficient handling for a geezer like me. And, a wonderful dealership in Cerritos was prepared to take $3,000 off sticker! But first, having owned an M3 from the last 2 generations, I just had to test the DMG M3. Since it will be her car (if she can pry my hands off of it!) she drove it in comfort luxury settings, and that was good enough for her, and just a drive around the block, feeling the steering feedback and chasis control with feedback instead of isolation, was enough for me! I put aside thoughts of the IS F, or the very affordable Mazdaspeed3, which I love as the poor man's practical mad machine, and I will slowly, and carefully, explore the many combinations of transmission and handling in a civilized 4 door M3, color and interior selected by my better half (Jerez Black and some shade of tan). Reading the owner's manual to understand the computers will probably take me a year, but a drive around the block was enough this time. By the way, take the driver's course in Greenville, S.C., and enjoy she-crab soup. We loved it in 2002.
The Lexus SC430, with only 38,000 miles on it, in perfect condition, but worth only $18,000 to the dealer, will have a wonderful caring home, complete with Obama sticker, in Marin County, where it will learn to carry golf clubs, and where the token rear seat can accommodate a 6 and 11 year old for the next few years, at least.
After Lin was so kind to indulge my driving fantasies, we went sushi-mad at Ginzaya, and after the sake, I felt no pain. In the last 3 days we had looked at a Nissan GT-R, Honda Fit and Civic SI and Accord, Mazdaspeed3, Mazda 6, Chrysler Town and Country, Honda S2000, Lexus IS F, and I had almost lost it all over a Porsche Cayman S. Until the BMW, it was good, clean, inexpensive fun.
But, I'm a very happy guy with a wonderful wife. I'll learn to live with a beige or tan or whatever interior. I'll explain it to the Harley crowd, somehow, and I'll be eating a lot more sushi!