To the reviewer of 6 August, thanks for the idea. I actually tried the Opel Coupé, and was impressed with the acceleration, quite happy with handling despite a slightly less "solid" feel on the road. Problem for me was, the interior finishings were a bit disappointing (e.g. naked foam if you fold forward the back seats). I have tried today a used Audi S4; that idea is now at the top of my list -- but 10% more cost for a 3 year old, 81KM Audi S4 than for a NEW Impreza. Annoying, but perhaps necessary, for a "grownup" such as myself...
... any more bright ideas would be welcome!
The rear spoiler on the WRX sedan is an option, so you can get one without the spoiler and save money as well. I originally got mine without the spoiler and the car looks a lot more subtle without it. It looks a lot more classy.
Now, if you buy the WRX in silver or black without the rear spoiler, I think you will find the car is not quite as ugly as you currently think.
Remember this, the looks of the WRX often quickly grow on a person. I think you need to take a second look, I would hate for you to miss out on such an incredible car.
Another option is the Lancer EvoII, Mitsubishi. All wheel drive, 276bhp/6500rpm, 383Nm at 3500rpm, Something that could catch up with a WRX. Test drive it before you make up your mind.
Audi S3, Golf V6 4motion, or BMW 330 will all satisfy the image, but may break the bank.
Honda Integra Type-R, Nissan 200SX, Renault Clio Sport (oops that is probably uglier than a WRX, sorry!) will satisfy the performance.
I reckon the S3, it has a BOSE stereo so you can listen to your concert on the way home! If an S3 is too small, then bugger it, lash out and get an S4. Or be really wild and get an RS4. That will blow the doors of the WRX, yeah OK it might also be three times the price and a wagon, but you are discovering there is no perfect car! Well, unless you have the perfect wallet.
Thanks for all the ideas. I ended up deciding on the used Audi S4, and am awaiting delivery in 1 week (some minor body work is needed). I will try to put in a review on it once I have had it for a while.
I think that the new Impreza looks much better than most of the cars nowadays, at least better than most "family" cars. If you think that Impreza stands out too much, then you were looking for a wrong kind of car. You should have bought a VW Polo or something, and tuned it. But do what you want...
Okay! Let me get this right. You bought an Audi instead of a WRX?
Let me suggest that after you drive the S4 for a month take another test drive of the WRX and tell us if you are still satisfied. If you don't like the headlights you could have had them replaced with the rally car style lamps.
I originally started out test driving BMW's and Mercedes, and drove the Subaru on a whim because I kept seeing articles on it. I took my girlfriend with me on the test drives, and lets face it the Subaru was just the hands down winner in the performance category--it was hard to stop grinning during the test drive. I was lukewarm about the looks when I first got it, but they do grow on you, as someone else said, and I've actually received quite a few compliments on it.
Some people prefer a 'classy look' of a more sophisticated car like an Audi or a Mercedes. They have an image about them and that is what this guy was looking for, but at the same time he appreciated the WRX for what it was - a sports car.
The new ones though look really bad and it wasn't necessary to change the image if that was going to be the result.
The Subaru Impreza does come from the factory without the rear spoiler... the rear spoiler is an additional cost of about 200 dollars. If the hood scoop must go, then so must the WRX, as the hood scoop is not a fakie like the one on the new Ford Mustangs. The hood scoop runs an intercooler, which is where that blast of power originates from. If you don't want the hood scoop, then the RS model may please you, although it doesn't have the get up and go that the WRX has. Personally, I love the looks of this car, and trust me, girls like it too.