Thought I would post up my 3 year long hunt for a V8! I first registered here 3 years ago!
Within my sights were the usual suspects:
1. E92 M3
2. Lexus ISF
3. Audi RS4.
So after reading and watching tons of reviews, I was convinced that the M3 was the one to go for, due to the usual stuff - how exciting it is, that it's the best car on track, that it's the fastest. Also to me it was the best looking. Slightly cliched , but I loved the coupe in white with black Competition pack alloys, and I was set on getting one in manual. As I was 100% determined not to have an automatic.
So cue test drives on the manual V8 M3, now it may well have been the examples I drove but I found them a bit uninspiring and also very unsettled. The car didn't get going til higher up in the rev range (but I am used to VTEC, as have owned virtually all of the Type R models.) I also was not blown away by the sound either, and how it sounds is very important to me. Maybe I had too high an expectation, as I somehow thought all V8's would sound like a Ferrari V8.
During this time, I on and off looked at ISFs. And actually bought other cars such as the Z4MC, E46 M3, S2000. My first test drive with the ISF left me disappointed, it was at a Lexus Main Dealer but the example was poor and slow. (No Sports mode, or in to manual) The auto kick downs when i put my foot down was really slow in that particular example. Anyway, I gave up with the ISF for a bit and started to look at RS4s.
RS4s sound great, but there was something that I couldn't put my finger on, I had this feeling that I would get bored with it very quickly, coupled with the fact that maintenance costs were eye watering. DRC = Talking £3k upwards, unless you go Bilsteins. Carbon Clean and Stage 2 map = £2.5k. Clutch change = Over £1k. Everything just costs an astronomical amount of money for the car. And then there was the theft factor which put me off buying it altogther, it was a magnet for break ins - due to the desirable recaros, which I actually didn't get on with: gave me back ache. So I thought it was back to the M3's then, maybe get a DCT one. everyone raved on about how good they were, and I've warmed to automatics ever since my back injury about 1.5 years ago, and driving them in USA - hmm actually pretty good in traffic.
In the mean time I bought a 335i in manual. And this cemented it. The ergonomics of the car made me realise the M3 is not for me. I just hated the small footwell space in that cabin. So now it was back to the ISF, but in the mean time another contender had entered the fray the C63 AMG had dropped massively and was within my budget. However the hunt had been long, and I was set on the ISF.
Positives: Looks great with comp alloys and in certain colours. Thrilling in high rev range. Sound better with modded exhaust, otherwise doesn't sound like a V8 IMO. Manual was poor. (probably me spoilt by Honda gear boxes) Maintenance not too bad apart from rod actuator, usual cost on brakes and tyres.
Negatives: People do moan about the MPG. I couldn't get this car because I didn't like the noise or the ergonomics of it in the main, and didn't like how the back end can squirm quite easily. Also, too many M3s about.
Positives: Sounds really good. I like the way it looks too. More comfortable than the M3. Felt planted with the quattro system. Nicer manual than the M3. Quite fast.
Negatives: I was struck by how many Audi A4s look just like the RS4 (not so much in sprint blue, but black ones, meh they all look the same, especially with the alloys speced up.) Maintenance costs was silly and really put me off. Lastly was the theft thing, I couldn't get over this poor chap on the M3cutter forum (only last year) bought a RS4 within a week it was off his drive and into a container somewhere.
I was tired from looking at cars by this stage, and was fed up with driving my wife's Mazda 6 (even though I do quite like it) So even though a test drive on the Merc might have swayed me but in the end reading up on them - MPG/Tyres and people shifting them on quite quickly made me forget about looking at a C63.
Getting older and deciding on an automatic.
Comfort and ergonomics.
Still fast! :)
Made me decide on the ISF.
And after driving it some more on Friday! It was the right decision!