Originally Posted by Jesterhole
I just went thru the same shopping experience a few months ago you are going thru now.
I wanted a car that had 4 doors (with useable backseats) and with at least 300HP and either RWD or AWD, I preferred manual but was not a necessity. I looked at new and up to 3 year old used.
Heres the list of what I looked at
Audi S4 & S6
BMW M3 & 335i
Caddy CTS-V and STS-V
Chrysler & Dodge SRT-8 sedans
Infiniti G37 & M
Pontiac G8 GT and GXP
I really liked the S6 and the new CTS-V but could not justify the $70k+ price tag even on a lease.
The S4 / 3 series / G37 / IS-F felt small
The Infiniti M was boring, almost felt like it could drive itself.
The SRT-8 sedans were fun in a straight line but did not feel very nimble and the looks were dime a dozen to me. Although the new SRT-392 might change the handling issue, but it looks like a large mouth bass.
So to make a long story short I went with the Pontiac G8 GXP with a 6-speed manual.
The good. It had what felt like the largest interior space. For a large sedan it handles very well (although I have added some pedders suspension mods to improve it a little) Since it has the Vette LS3 under the hood it has very good performance (415 HP at the crank) with a lot of aftermarket mod support. Another plus is the car is very rare in any trim level so you don't see them in every parking lot, they are even rarer in GXP trim, only 1900 were produced and less than half of those were manuals.
The bad was it did not have the same interior fit and finish and options as the Caddy, BMW, Audi, Lexus, Infinitis. It's a functional interior but thats it, and is missing things like backup camera, IPOD integration, NAV, cooled seats, pushbutton start. So if those are must haves you probably want to stay away from the G8. I did have a real hard time finding one with for a good deal with low miles, since they made so few most people are holding onto them and the ones that are for sale with low miles are priced a little to high IMO. They can be had had for low $30s with low miles you just have to shop around.
Hope this helps and good luck with your search