Sentra Nismo. Was really looking forward to it since the concept debut in 2013. But, I work for Nissan and I watched the development of the car and when I saw just how different it was from the concept, I looked elsewhere. Thankfully the ES came along and though it was down on power from what I was looking for, you really can't do much (if any) better for the price.
Audi D4 S8 and Porsche 1st gen facelift Panamera Turbo. Then, after talking to my wife back and forth regarding going back to a manual transmission car, we looked at the BMW F10 M5 in MT. Didn't like how it felt. Test drove the Civic Type R for fun and that felt so much better but couldn't get over the ricer look. Same with the WRX STI and Evo. Ended up with the ES because "mature turbo" as the straight pipes folks call it.
It may be the slowest car I've owned in the past 20 years but it is fun and reliable. I haven't owned a car like this since my trusty Integra so it is refreshing to me. =D
I looked between a 2.5L Mazda 3 hatch, Mazda 6, nissan altima SR, Impreza (not WRX/STI), jetta, Golf, and a Ford Fusion (all 2017). Fusion, was way out of my price range, Impreza WRX/STI was too so getting a basic Impreza was undesirable, jetta and Golf were nice but seemed to lack something. Almost went with Nissan because they wanted to buy out my totaled sentra and put me back in a Nissan but I just felt like most Nissan interiors were lackluster. I really wanted the 6 but I would rather have the 2.5 in the hatch. Honestly, if I were more patient, I probably would have been in a 2.5 mazda 3 hatch rolling around with higher payments and completely stock. Im happy with the ES and how I've made it my own.
Haven't bought the ES yet, but was looking at a Civic Turbo, until I took one out and felt completely unimpressed. I used to own a 96 Ford Contour V6 5MT, same horsepower as the SI, but the civic felt like a dog.
Also looked at a Tucson 1.6T, it's still in the running a bit, but I'm pretty sure I'm going with the ES
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