When I first started writing on Oppo, my very first post was about finding my next daily driver. Well somehow the train of common sense hit a derailment and I bought a 85 7 series BMW which proceeded to have the transmission shit the bed 3000 miles later.

SO... its looking very good that I'll get a full time position at my current source of employment, and if that happens I'll be able to (with a little saving) afford something that wasn't dragged out of the woods after a 6 year slumber. I am budgeting around 15 grand but I might be able to stretch to 17 if I wait a short bit longer and find the right something. Problem is at 17 grand I'm in 03-04 cobra price territory and I'd naturally want to defect there, so I don't want to go that high if I can help it.

Here is what I'm looking at right now....

06-07 Volvo S60R 6spd Manual

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The volvo is a 300hp/tq turbo inline 5 with a 6spd manual and Haldex AWD system. Its the newest car I'm looking at. The benefit of this car being AWD is I can drive it in the snow and don't have to rely on my truck.

I test drove an 04 with the manual back in 2012 and I found that it was a joy to drive. The seats are some of the best seats I've ever planted my ass into, it had good power and the car bolted off the line with that AWD. I did find that I had to really work the shifter to get it to shift and the clutch is like an 0n/off switch,but it was fine otherwise.

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The problems with this car usually come down to the AWD system. The angle gear, which is responsible for the rear wheels having power, can have the input shaft strip and cause a very expensive replacement if it gets that far. As far as I've seen the engines are generally reliable if you don't try to crank up the boost to much. To much power (over 400 iirc) and the block can split.

00-03 BMW M5

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It didn't dawn on me how cheap some of these cars got until a friend bought a 00 M5 last month. The M5 has a 5.0L V8 making 394hp and something like 368tq. Its regarded as being the last true drivers M5, as well as the last M5 you can easily work on yourself.

The problems with these cars, well its a BMW so its self explanatory. Cars of these era had anything from dying dash pixels to VANOS issues. I've even read a few stories of complete engine failure. Out of the 3, this would be the most finicky when it comes to reliability, but I still see a lot of people on m5board who DD these cars. I've seen plenty past 130k miles to.

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05-06 Pontiac GTO

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Yeah this kind of came out of left field last night. I'm not 100% sure if this would work but it seems to make sense so far.

The 05/06 GTO has a 6.0L LS2 making 400hp. Its a very big and roomy two door with a interior that puts any other GM product of the era to shame. I actually drove a 04 LS1 with the 4L80E auto and thought it was fantastic to drive. The sound system is great, it rode well, the seats are really comfortable and it moved out well.

Problems with these cars seem to be in the realm of alternator issues, ignition cylinder issues (hello cobalts, can you hear me?), HVAC issues and sometimes suspension bushing issues. The ignition cylinder is the biggest one to me but it seems that GM has a revised one that they came out with years ago. I'll have to read into that more.

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So these are the three I'm looking at which are all in the same ballpark of prices. Should I look into the S60R and hope that with maintenance and finding the right car I won't blow the AWD out? Should I learn from the mistakes of my BMW and get back to "American" cars with the GTO? Or should I try to find a nice M5, throw reliability and common sense out the window and just deal with it?

You could always humor me and suggest something else in the comments. I have weird standards in cars so don't get offended if I say no!