Yesterday, I sold my house. OK - maybe not REALLY a house, but to me it felt big enough (and drove like one).

The QX56 is no more.

So now I find myself somewhat in the market - not in a critical need for a vehicle, but not going to drive the hand-me-down Pacifica forever, either. I did not aspire to be a MiniBus (our moniker for it) driver.

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That led me through a number of different thought processes, first to attempt a near direct replacement for the '07 Civic Si sedan I previously owned, to be compared against its competitors, Focus ST and Mazdaspeed3. BRZ was considered as well. But, I may go a little more upscale, and probably used.

All of which brings me to my question of the day: is there a Japanese manufacturer of sports cars? Mazda's the best chance, as I'll describe below.

I have basically centered on E46 or E90 M3, or 996 Porsche 911. My primary requirement is four seats (OK, the 911 is a tough sell in that respect), and manual transmission. By that definition, there aren't currently too many choices.

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BTW, comments are my own, and I'm almost certainly talking out the wrong end on some of these, so feel free to correct my assessments... as I'm sure this community will anyway.

European:

  • BMW - I think most of their lineup is fairly sporty.
  • Porsche - obviously
  • Mercedes - Luxury over sport, except AMG is crazy... but no stick shift
  • Audi - The S series could be sporty, but IMHO, the 2.0L turbo they put in everything just doesn't have it.
  • VW - See Audi, but without the S series

American:

  • Ford - Has the sport aspect, in the Focus ST and Mustang
  • Chevy - Camaro, maybe, but I'm looking for smaller than that
  • Dodge - Challenger... but again, too big
  • Chrysler - Nope. Trying to be luxury, but I don't think the 300 gets there.
  • Buick - Maybe the Regal GS might be sporty, but I'm not sure based on the reviews I've seen.
  • Lincoln - Chortle. Are they still around?

Korean:

  • Hyundai - Trying oh so hard to move into luxury, and into sports at the same time, both with the Genesis IIRC. I'm not sure they hit it with either. Maybe the Genesis Coupe might be an answer for me, but not a great one from what I've seen.
  • Kia - It's Hyundai, but tarted down a little

Japanese:

  • Honda - Civic Si has lost the 'frantic' feel that I loved in mine. I'll pass.
  • Acura - ILX would have a chance, but why do they insist in making the sporty, manual option mutually exclusive with the technology stuff?
  • Mazda - This is the best chance for a Japanese sports car manufacturer. I like the Mazdaspeed3, personally. That may still happen.
  • Toyota - FR-S (like BRZ) is small. Other than that... nothing really sporty.
  • Lexus - The IS250 I believe is dead; that was their only manual offering, and wasn't remotely quick.
  • Nissan - CVT's! CVT's for EVERYONE!!!!
  • Infiniti - The old G37's had a 6MT option; the new Q serieses are automatic only.
  • Subaru - WRX and STI, as well as BRZ. WRX and STI didn't impress me that much, unfortunately.

So, I'm finding it impossible to identify a Japanese sports car with four seats and manual transmission that would work for me.

Used RX-8 might work. Or does anyone make a stretch 4-seat NSX? (That was a joke - don't hunt me down, please.) But if I go with used, it'll probably be something "special", hence M3 or 911.

Sorry for the train of thought rambling.