What to replace her with? - Carmad 10000
Right - as you can see the M3's going as we need something more practical due to us selling our Scenic for a new astra convertible! Therefore we are in need of either a small/medium hatchback capable of putting 2 border collies in the back every now and then OR an estate car!

Im hoping that you car experts can think of a few ideas?

we went and looked at the New A3 the other day in 3.2 quattro guise however felt the styling was too bland.

The requirements are:

It must be under £30,000
It must produce a 0-60mph time of around 6.5 seconds or under
It must have street cred - i.e. good looks, good badge, etc..
Ideally, it should have 4 seats, however 2 if necessary
It must be a hatchback or an estate of a reasonable size

Cars we have ruled out are:

Mercedes E55 AMG estate - Too big unfortunately
All Saabs
BMW MINI Cooper S - due to also owning a MINI ONE in the family
All Fords
Japanese cars - just dont like them, sorry :D

Thanks a lot!

What to replace her with? - SprinterJK
Audi RS4 Avant. Slightly over budget at £30k - £40k but worth every penny...
What to replace her with? - Hugo {P}
How about the new MG ZT tourer.

Or the top of the range C5 or C8 (Citroen) - don't know what the acceleration is though.

What to replace her with? - Hawesy1982
How about the 2.8litre V6 4Motion Golf? 7.1secs to 60 and you get 4 wheel drive too.

Or one of the hottest Alfa 147's? I think theres a quick 3.2litre V6 out.

Hope this helps
What to replace her with? - Burnout2
Surprised there are any 3.2 quattros at dealers yet - it's not out until September, I think (maybe you were looking at FSI or diesel Sports?)

Given that you find the new A3 bland, I'm not sure if the RS4 Avant or a Golf R32 - both of which came to mind - would suit. How about a 330i Touring?

What to replace her with? - apm
How's about a Seat Leon Cupra R?
210 bhp, 0-60 in low 6's. As quick as the S3, better to drive (according to autocar, September 11 2002) and about 8k cheaper. And HJ has a Leon (20vt).
All for £17k.

Dr Alex Mears
Seat ibiza Cupra
Mazda MX-5 1.8iS
Yamaha RD350YPVS
What to replace her with? - Dynamic Dave
And HJ has a Leon (20vt).

Actually he has one for sale.
What to replace her with? - tunacat
Are you talking new, or used? Because the E55 AMG is £56k, not 30! Also something of a difference in size from another potential-but-failure on your list- the Mini!

New, it looks to me something like:

Alfa 147 GTA, 156 sportwagon GTA;
Audi A4 3.0 Avant; -but surely as bland as the A3
BMW 330i Touring;
206 GTi 180; -bigger than a Mini
Clio 172; -ditto
Leon Cupra R;
Octavia vRS; -insufficient street cred?
(Vauxhalls I assume are out, on the same grounds as Fords)
Golf R32; -but if you've ruled-out the A3...
V70 T5

What to replace her with? - robZilla
Quick is not the word - the 3.2 V6 chugs out 250bhp..
What to replace her with? - Carmad 10000

Thanks a lot for all the excellent suggestions. I particularly like:

The BMW 330 touring
Alfa GTA's - 147 and 156 sportwagon

The Audi A3 i saw at the dealer was a 2.0fsi in grey in their showroom. The woman gave me some info on the 3.2 and said it will look identical to the car on show - this was the sport model i believe. To be quite honest, the car looked very sedate and generally bland. The interior wasnt much better being all black. Also, the saleswoman was very uninterested and quite clearly wanted to get back to finishing the crossword in 'Hello' magazine. This was what put me off it.

Any other suggestions are welcomed.

On a seperate note, I did see a beautiful M5 at my bmw dealer too on a 00/W with 47k miles for £27k. The M5 has always been one of my favourite cars and i am very tempted by it, however its simply not practical is it? maybe i could buy a van with the change from my budget? :-)
What to replace her with? - Burnout2
Why not? It's a large four door saloon; every bit as practical as any other 5-series. Doesn't meet your hatch/estate criteria, but it's reasonably spacious. Good age and mileage on that example (assuming f/BMW/sh of course...) Given the age and ubiquity of the design, this might be considered no less visually bland than the A3, but that M-Power badge has it's own allure.

Hatch configuration aside, I don't really see "147", GTA" and "practicality" as sitting comfortably in the same sentence!

Interested in your perception of the new A3 - the 3.2 quattro is on my mental shortlist for next March (compact, practical, fast, relatively discreet, less likely to spontaneously combust than a 147GTA).

I know that some people don't "get" the Audi thing - and gloomy interiors, restrained styling and unflashy Teutonic efficiency is all very Audi - but I reckon it depends what you're changing out of. Coming from my four-wheeled prozac Accord, the A3 will probably seem like a cross between a TVR Tusan S and a Bentley Mulsanne Turbo!

What to replace her with? - PR {P}
Yep I would recommend the Alfa 156 GTA or sportwagon GTA. Ive had mine nearly 6 months now and is brill!
What to replace her with? - Carmad 10000
My biggest problem with alfa as a brand is their reliability. Also, their residuals flop i have noticed - unlike bmw and audi's which are rock solid
What to replace her with? - PR {P}
The thing with the residuals is that you always get very good discounts off them, so what appears to be bad depreciation isnt half as bad as is widely perceived, (since depreciation is worked out on list price). You may not get much discount off a GTA but this may help their residuals? Time will tell. As to build quality, mine has been brilliant (touch wood)!
What to replace her with? - Carmad 10000
I just wonder if the GTA will follow in the footsteps of the Fiat Coupe special edition - this was a car released with loads of kit, slightly quicker and was a limited production - anyway, it was more expensive than the standard coupe obviously but the trade in values after 2 years was terrible even though it was a 'special'. I suppose its like it with many vehicles but i dont think i would buy an Alfa for that reason.

Also, the Selespeed gearbox (optional) which is one of the cars main attractions is extremely unreliable and can cost £1000's to put right, so ive heard.

I think unfortunately, the Alfa's off the list.
What to replace her with? - Andy P
Good idea. Alfas may have brilliant engines, but the dealer network is reputed to be the worst around.

What about the following?

Ford Focus RS (don't know how bad the front differential is)
VW Passat 4.0 W8 Estate (0-60 in 6.8secs, 275bhp, £31K list)
Volvo T5SE Estate (0-60 in 7.1secs, 250bhp, £30k list)
BMW 330i Touring (0-60 in 6.7secs, 231bhp, £28 lisk, £30k for Sport)

Non of the Mercedes estates meet your acceleration/price.


What to replace her with? - DavidHM
Obvious choice but it has to be the 330i touring.

Unless of course... 330d loses out badly on your acceleration criteria 0-60 but in the mid range, real world, it's a damn fast car, much more economical and even a bit of a Q car.

T5 would be okay but if you find the E Class too big I doubt you'll love that. The RS is probably not ideal as a practical everyday car unless your commute is three miles of country lanes in under three minutes. The less said about the Passat W8 the better... why not buy a one year old one and get a Renault Avantime with the change? :-)

Of course you could get a Scoobydoo but my personal preference would be for something a little more refinded and capable in situations beyond the back roads blast.
What to replace her with? - teabelly
On a completely different angle how about a mitsubishi vr4 estate? There is one around stoke one year old for 20k. I know you don't like japanese cars but this one is a bit different and rare as hen's teeth. It has the under pinnings of the mitsubishi evo with all the trick differentials and wotnot but it has a sensible estate car body. You're biggest enemy would be depreciation as they are 30k new and this one at one year old is on at 20k.
What to replace her with? - Carmad 10000
Well at the moment it is looking like a BMW M5 :-) - Have seen a lovely example down the road at my bmw dealership however,i want to sell the M3 privately. I am currently in the process of tidying the car - i.e. cleaning the leather thoroughly, blackening the tyres, etc..and will let you know how i get on.

Value my car