I currently own and love a 2009 BMW 535 xDrive with 55k miles. I was it expecting I’d have a lot of maintenance to do but I thought I’d have the time to do it. Unfortunately that is not the case, and although the car has been reliable lately I’m getting anxious about it.

So I have started looking at replacements, and this time around my wife is completely on board with me having a manual transmission. (Hallelujah!) My intentions are something very fun to drive with room for kids car seats in the back and more reliable than the BMW.

I’ve been looking at WRX’s and STi’s. What your Oppo-pinion?

**___________________ Update ___________________**

I test drove an ‘09 STi last night and I forgot it would be a compact car. That and the six speed wasn’t all that fun. I think I’d prefer the 5 speed in the WRX better.

But either way, I think I’m leaning away from an STi, although I might try to test drive a new STi and see if that feels much better.

In regards to the suggestions that the interior quality is much worse in the STi, you are absolutely correct. But to be honest that doesn’t bother me. I like that it’s easier to just wipe down and keep clean. And although it was tough to find a great driving position, the seats were comfortable, even the head-rests that most people dislike. The backseat had decent space and would be fine for the kids car seats. The engine/transmission noise was much louder than the 5 series, which is to be expected, but I actually really liked that. The car sounded like the PO had installed unequal length headers, but the dealership had no idea what I was talking about. The rear tail lights certainly didnt look stock either, but I could be wrong.

The test drive told me that I dont think an STi is for me because it felt cramped going from the 5er and the power really seems to come on strong mid range and then disappear. Thanks for all the suggestions. I’d love to find a Forester XT for the winter, but trade my car in for the same 535 but with a manual. I know it doesn’t really resolve my conundrum, but I don’t think I could find much else that would really be an ok swap for the E60.