Good looking, good handling, but somewhat lacking in straight-line performance
The previous owner of my car must have beat the heck out of it, because within a couple of weeks, the engine made a quiet clicking sound that got louder as time went on. The body shop found out is was a spun bearing, and supposedly repaired it. However, the same day I got the car back from repairs (on the drive home in fact) the sound came back with an even greater ferocity.
We decided to just replace the whole engine. The shop found a good 1999 420a engine for $1200, and installed it. The new engine runs great, and with slightly higher compression ratios, performs a bit better.
The car is a definite head-turner (an incredible ego booster), the 1997-1999 body styles are some of the best looking cars I know, even if the performance doesn't quite match up. Off the line, you really have to give it some revs to get a good launch (but the tires will spin), and isn't terribly fast, at least when you are alongside other cars. When you are driving alone, the car seems pretty fast and will impress any passengers. With an upgraded air filter or intake, the engine makes a great sound at higher RPMs.
As far as the handling goes, while the turning radius is terrible, at speed, it will out handle just about any car on the road. The amazing grip has saved my life at least once.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd October, 2007