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Sonic SuperDork
5/29/14 7:54 p.m.

My beloved Z4M coupe seems as though it may have been totaled by last week's hailstorm here in PA. We had golf ball sized hail for about 3 minutes, which was enough to completely pummel the cars if everyone here at work and within a couple miles of us, but it was worst within a half mile circle of our building. Great.

So my wonderful car, that I searched for 6 months to find (about 2.5 years ago), has gone from this:

To this

I was actually in better shape than most co-workers who also had their back windows and sunroofs break out to fill the car with water.

So today the insurance adjuster came and looked and it, and though he hadn't finished his eval, "it doesn't look promising". Dammit. No need to bash insurance companies in this thread, I work for one and have done most jobs in the auto line, so I know how to deal with it.

So if the worst happens, and the car is totaled, what do I get now?

Things I liked about the Z4M: -Looked and drove great -Unique -Nearly no depreciation in the 2.5 years I've owned it -2 seater -Good cargo capacity -Good grand touring car that can also tear up a mountain road -Killer motor, steering and brakes.

So why not get another one? Well, the only brought 1800 to the US, and they are getting more and more scarce. What was a pretty good value 2.5 years ago is less so now that the fleet of them are that much older with more miles, they really haven't depreciated at all. It's in the cards, but I know it will be tough to get another one.

So I'm looking for something that is:
-Basically a 2 seater, 2+2 OK. I like smaller cars over bigger ones for a variety of reasons
-Lithe handling: I prefer great handling over epic power
-Enough power to be "fast", but I don't need a hammer like a CTS-V
-I have to really like how it looks
-Reliable enough: the Z4M was durable and its limited flaws are well documented and fixable easily.
-Cargo space: we use the car for week long + trips, and it needs to fit enough for the 2 of us.
-Nice interior to spend time in
-Good for long distance driving (comfortable enough, 20-25MPG highway, quiet)
-Proper manual transmission, with a clutch

Budget: $45k or so. Less is obviously fine. It will be partially financed, so new enough to finance is good (2007+), so unfortunately no NSXs. Other cars in the fleet are the 07 Mazda 3 and Suburban 2500, so looking for a complementary 3 car fleet.

Short list that I have come up with:

  1. Lotus Evora. It hits most of the buttons quite well. I like the Toyota drivetrain for simple reliability and parts, but the rest of it is a bit suspect, and support is lacking. 2010 and 2011 models, non S, are in my price range. It has the looks, is supposedly quite nice inside with a nice ride, handling is superb, big enough trunk, etc.

  2. Porsche 997. As much as I would prefer a 997.2 to avoid the IMS issues, they seem to be priced out of my budget. The 997.1 is just a slightly better 996, which has a number of issues and has mostly depreciated quite heavily. If the IMS and other issues were solved, this would be an easier top pick, because it hits all the buttons other than I'm afraid of blowing a $20k engine. IMS is not easily fixable on this generation.

  3. 2008+ M3. I've had BMW M cars before and always thought they were great. Great ride/handling balance, well put together, but they are getting pretty big, and they just seem pretty common. They are priced reasonably, probably won't depreciate a dramatic amount, and I'd probably like it, but it just doesn't seem "special" enough, if that makes any sense.

Other thoughts: Corvette is too big and the interior isn't great, no VW/Audi products, no Nissan/Inifiniti products.

Any experience with these three or anything else I've forgotten about?

mndsm MegaDork
5/29/14 7:58 p.m.


confuZion3 UltraDork
5/29/14 8:06 p.m.

I like the Evora a lot. They're wonderful cars. Just the right balance of power, handling, and looks. Oh, and they're super-fun to drive. I might get one after the Viper, but that is hopefully a long time down the road.

Mitchell UltraDork
5/29/14 8:07 p.m.

I think that the Cayman S is well within that price range.

aussiesmg MegaDork
5/29/14 8:16 p.m.

Aston Martin manual fits and the V12 cars are in the price range, I have been drooling over them lately

Woody MegaDork
5/29/14 8:18 p.m.

What's the buyout?

BoxheadTim PowerDork
5/29/14 8:19 p.m.

Is a 996 turbo in your budget? That would avoid most of the engine related issues like IMS bearings.

Brett_Murphy UberDork
5/29/14 8:19 p.m.

Buy back the Z4, drive the snot out of it. The hail didn't affect how it runs or drives, did it?

mad_machine MegaDork
5/29/14 8:25 p.m.

you know the bodies are easy to fix? the biggest panels come off. Trunk, hood, and roof.. not to mention front fenders. That leaves you to get the lights replaced and repairs on the rear fenders. Keep it and a cheque for the difference and buy the parts and paint you need to make her look as good as new.

Also, make sure you adjuster knows the roof can be replaced

turtl631 New Reader
5/29/14 8:27 p.m.

Cayman S seems like it nails your requirements, and you could get a nice one with that scratch.

666csi New Reader
5/29/14 8:31 p.m.

Buy it back. Hail is likely going to be a recurring feature of global warming. Last year I experienced more hail than I have in the rest of my life and it has hailed twice this year already. I plan on just getting used to driving a dented golf ball.

Maroon92 MegaDork
5/29/14 8:58 p.m.

Hell, I'll buy it...

Do this -

oldtin UltraDork
5/29/14 9:09 p.m.

My thought went straight to cayman a with pdk

Feedyurhed Dork
5/29/14 9:13 p.m.

I don't know all the different models of each but how about a Jaguar, Mercedes AMG product or dare I say it......a Viper? Of course if the Corvette is too big, the Viper will be too. Otherwise the three that you picked out seem to be the best choices. That Z4M looked awesome and yes, hail is the dreaded nightmare of car guys. You can go on Youtube and watch videos or cars being literally destroyed in seconds from large hail.

nicksta43 UltraDork
5/29/14 9:23 p.m.

I lost my beloved GTP CompG to hail several years ago. While they didn't total it, it made me sick to look at it. I had to get rid of it. The crazy thing is the place we traded it in for my wifes new car actually gave me $6500 for it, hail damage and all. I couldn't believe it because the car only booked for 8k in good condition. Anyway I hate to hear this happened to you. That was a beautiful car.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn PowerDork
5/29/14 9:25 p.m.

Wait and see what the insurance guy says. As mentioned above it may be fixable.

JtspellS Dork
5/29/14 9:28 p.m.

Doing a quick autotrader search it seems at least in the Mid Atlantic area a 911, Cayman, or boxter will be low hanging fruit.

BMW wise a few M3s and M6s (and some high as berkeley sellers of 335is's) are in the mix.



EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
5/29/14 9:28 p.m.

Man, that's a beautiful car. Sorry to hear about this.

Streetwiseguy UberDork
5/29/14 9:39 p.m.

Buy it back. Golf balls go better covered with dimples.

92dxman Dork
5/29/14 9:46 p.m.

S2000 with a hardtop?

Cotton UltraDork
5/29/14 10:43 p.m.

Buy it back then sell it to me. It would be fun to kick around in.

bgkast SuperDork
5/29/14 10:50 p.m.

Dimples are better for aerodynamics.

Sine_Qua_Non HalfDork
5/29/14 10:54 p.m.
92dxman wrote: S2000 with a hardtop?


dean1484 UltimaDork
5/29/14 11:22 p.m.

If they are getting that scarce and the value has held up I would think that it would not be that hard to get fair replacement value for it (not book). Like you said you are in the business so I would think that it would not be all that much of an issue for you to make that happen. Then fix that car as others have noted. That really seems to be a fixable car to me. All you really will have to deal with are the rear fenders. The rest is glass and bolt on panels and paint. Your baby will be better than new.

oldeskewltoy SuperDork
5/29/14 11:41 p.m.

my one Pa hailstorm story goes back to 1990. I was driving the 1800S on my way to Jim Thorpe. The storm hit hard and fast.. the noise inside the car was like being in a steel drum.

That was also the track day for the NJ exotics Lambos, Ferraris, Maseratis were all outside in the storm

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