So, I am at a crossroad in my life: Obtained gainful employment, now what car to buy?

So the story goes: I graduated college last year, found employment, and moved up to Madison, Wisconsin to start my new job. The pay is nice, and I figure I can comfortably spend 25k on a car. I am currently driving a 1996 Jeep Cherokee with about 200k miles on it; I am thoroughly convinced that it is indestructible, and so far has handled anything the Wisconsin winter has thrown at it. I will keep this as a winter/backup vehicle.

Now, I drive to work each day, so I would like to have something that can reliably get me there, and doesn't get absolute shit gas mileage. Simultaneously, I want something that I can have fun and enjoy driving. So here is where I stand.

So, I also "own" a 2004 RX8 (its under mother's name at the moment, for insurance), however
1) It is back home, in WV, with my mom. So getting it here requires a flight home + gas for the 800 mile drive.
2) It has 45k miles on it, not the sweetest spot for a rotary, though I have done the required oil changes/adding.
3) Has a CEL at the moment, was trying to figure it out when I left for my new job, I believe it may be a solenoid, which would be a ~$100 fix.
4) Has a nice gash in the hood/bumper from where a truck's mudflap flew off (didn't get plate #)
5) MPG......
6) The rotary does not like the cold.
Don't get me wrong, I love the 8, just not too sure if it would make sense, given the situation. Also, I think I would like having a convertible.

So as for what I am looking at, of course MIATA! Specifically a fairly new NC. There is a 2010 Grand Touring PRHT for sale near me; 18,000 miles, $18,000. Took it for a test drive, and, yes I think I do want a convertible. While the bells and whistles on the Grand Touring are nice, I'm not sure if I want the PRHT, though it could make more sense for the winter. Also, it's black in color, which is sharp, but kinda boring. I'm not too sure what I can get a brand new soft top Club for, but it seems like I could get one for a few grand under 25k, and get the joy of knowing that I'm the first person to own it. So new could be a possibility.

Advertisement

That all being said, I am 6'3". I fit in an NC Miata, but I wouldn't say its the most luxurious experience.

Next up I started looking around for some BMWs, and it turns out there is a 2007 Z4 3.0i (20k miles, 20k price). My knowledge of BMWs is a bit more limited compared to the Mazdas, so I'm not sure if this is a good price or not. I have yet to go see this one, (I'll head over there later this week), But I would imagine it would be a bit more comfortable, and the long hood on the Z4 is GOD-DAMN SEXY. I would guess that the maintenance costs on the Z4 are higher also. I do have this concern that I would be trading fun for comfort, and I also sometimes forget that a 2007 is still a 7 year old car. Also, its in boring silver.

Advertisement

I have taken a look at a BRZ/FRS, Genesis, and Mustang, but none of them really did it for me; Boxsters still tend to be a bit expensive (and probably much more on maintenance); and a friend of mine has an s2k, and I fell it would be a bit bland to have the same car.

On top of all this, the Mazda-Romeo may be out in a year or two, but I'm not sure if I want to wait that long.

Advertisement

So, Keep RX8? New Miata? Used Miata? Used Z4? Other?

I'm interested in hearing the opinions of some who may have had experiences with these, or preferably more than one. I will likely have a better personal insight after test-driving the BMW.