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Old 01-18-2017, 01:52 PM   #1
cgaites
Scooby Newbie
 
Member#: 340457
Join Date: Dec 2012
Vehicle:
2015 STI
Lightning Red

Default What car is most like a "grown-up" STI

I'm in my late 30's, and drive a lighting red STI with the big wing and a loud aftermarket exhaust. While I personally love the car (it's my 3rd turbo Subaru), I'm feeling social pressure to get something that coveys a more adult/responsible image. I have a well paying job, a nearly paid off house, and solid savings and could comfortably afford something more upmarket. However, I can't seem to figure out what the car(s) could fill the role of a "grown-up" STI.

Except for the lack of a hatch (my previous two Subarus were both 5 doors and I really miss the practicality) and previously mentioned image problem, the STI fits my needs really well. I'm fortunate to be able to walk to work, so most ~75% of my driving is on twisty mountain roads on route to a ski area or trailhead. Often these drives involve dealing with snow and other inclement weather, and/or dirt roads. The other 25% of my driving is dropping my 3 kids off at preschool/daycare/play dates, or going out with the wife and friends. I also do a bit of autocross and maybe 1 or 2 track days per year. In total I put about 5K miles per year on my cars.

What I'm looking for in a car, in priority order are:
- Manual transmission
- Seating for 5 adults (or two adults and 3 kids in car seats) - so at least the same interior/rear seat dimensions as the STI
- Sporty enough to make spirited driving enjoyable, and robust enough to hold up to the occasional track day without extensive modification
- Rear biased AWD or RWD with a well balance chassis
- No serious design flaws (e.g. E90 generation M3 V8 rod bearings) that will result in catastrophic repair bills
- A significantly better interior than the STI - gadgets are not important, but would like nice leather, heated seats & steering wheel, and an upscale feel
- Better ride quality than the STI - something with adaptive dampers would be awesome
- Strong preference for hatchback or wagon
- Prefer something built after 2010 or their abouts
- Budget is up to $60K out the door

I feel like an x-Drive 3 series wagon with the M-sport and Track packages would be perfect, except for the lack of 3 pedals. That is unfortunately a deal breaker for me. Considering seeking out an older, manual 3-series, A4/S4, or Legacy GT wagon and then just dropping several $K into "restoring" it to like new condition. Somewhat willing to consider sedans if they fit all other criteria, but not super excited about another 4 door car. Maybe my best bet is just to pick up wingless, DGM STI with a quiet exhaust and buy some high-end adjustable coilovers to improve the ride? Any suggestions I haven't thought of?
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