Cruelly underrated bruiser. Once you accept it's never going to have 21st century levels of refinement or dynamics, you end up with a cracking all-rounder that's available for peanuts (this cost me £1795 from a dealer last year!)
The last Sport models got an extra 20PS (224 in total) and thoroughly reworked suspension, and actually became very fast and capable cross country machines. The motor magazines had long since written the car off and as a consequence, this was never really publicised. It will match a BMW 330 in any accelerative situation, and said BMW will need to be very well driven to lose it in the twisties. As for hot hatches, well it's not even fair to mention them!
T16 turbo engine is a peach. It actually feels like a bigger naturally aspirated engine with virtually no turbo lag and a thumping midrange that squeezes you firmly into the seat. There's a bit of torque steer to betray the age of the chassis, but you soon get used to it. Overall it feels sharp and very agile for such a big car.
The interior is dated, but well built and well equipped. Seats are up to the usual unbeatable Recaro standard, and the driving position is good. It's a great car for long distances. I put 1400 miles on it one week whilst touring France and it lapped them up easily.
Reliability has been good. The heated rear window stopped working last winter and needed only a relay swap to get it going. There's a slight oil weep from the cam cover as well which apparently is pretty standard on these engines and not worth doing anything about until it gets worse. It's an easy and cheap DIY job when the time comes. Other than that it's as reliable as clockwork and at 25 mpg, not bank-breakingly thirsty.
The best value used car on the market today? Gotta be a contender, surely.