So I had a whole post typed up and my computer crapped out and I lost it all on a restart...
Base of my article is this: went to my Ford dealer yesterday to tell them I was interested in the ST (they've known for about a year now) and that I can't afford it. Highest I'll go is $300 a month, and I figured it was impossible (hint, it is).
They sat down, looked through their inventory, presented me with three levels of packages (base, 201, 202) and said I should take one for a spin. So, my third ever MT driving experience (after 6 other test drives as a passenger or in auto equivalent) was the ST...and it was great. The vehicle is comfortable, smooth, and forgiving. I didn't stall (when I probably should have), I was able to push it a little within my own limits and felt like something I could learn on, have fun with, and continue to enjoy even as I got better. The European influence is certainly there.
So my issue is this: the $25-30k range for the three options. I don't need the top one, could survive with the base, but really like the 201 package. I got them to about $4000 (I was told, reaching out today for confirmation) off sticker so we can say $22-26k. I didn't give them my full out of pocket expense budget (they're assuming I can do $3500 for down payment and tax) so the quoted rates can be less.
I'm sure I can afford this, particularly because I may sell my motorcycle this year. Any ST owners in Oppo-land? Any thoughts from you guys at all? I've appreciated the input I have received in my search so far and love hearing points of view and opinions from those more experienced (both in cars and in years) than I. A preemptive "Thanks!" to anyone who posts.