I think the EVO is the best all-around car in that list. Everything else is over-hyped or not nearly as much car for the money. I don't own an EVO yet, and my wishlist looks very similar to yours. Also, most of those cars can be had for much cheaper than the listed retail prices.
because, at least in Southern California, the STi carries a MUCH larger premium than the EVO does, and its a lot less negotiable.
I know plenty of people that paid MSRP on their EVO's, and not one on their STi's. This is partially because the Sti is actually a limited edition car.
The Evo is not nearly as limited.
But as for the comparison, you need to ask yourself what criteria you value. For sure, the Z and the RX offer more luxury than the EVO. I personally could not care less. My last car was a 323i that was nice and comfy, but weak to the core...just like the IS300.
In my opinion, it shouldn't even be in the running.
But the Z...thats a hard one..its a great car, great engine, but its not as pure a sports car as the EVO. Its heavy (and i believe heavier than the curb weight you have down). With the EVO, at LEAST you get AWD included in that weight.
The WRX is something to consider, b/c with packages like the ones that VISHNU is offering, you can make it easily faster than the EVO with a couple grand. It really depends on what you think about the car aesthetically.
The RX worries me a bit. Rotary techonology hasn't exactly proven to be the most reliable...and whether or not that's improved since the old rx-7 13B is questionable. But its still a nice car.
Your top 3 were actually my top 3 when I was shopping for the Evo. The STI was not out yet and it was unknown when they were actually going to start seeing the pavement. Otherwise, the STI would have been right up there. The RX-8 wasn't out yet, so it actually wasn't on the list officially either. Here is what made my decision for me:
I really wanted AWD. I had driven a couple of WRX's and measuring against my torque monster daily driver (98 Camaro SS) they felt really anemic. I drove the Evo and with it's monster mid-range it felt really powerful. The 350Z felt REALLY awesome I have to say. I was VERY impressed. Extremely fun to drive, good feel. But, it was a lateral move. No trunk, no interior room, RWD. Also, I looked around at mods for the 350. Yikes! Rediculous prices for LOW gains. If I had to do it over again, the Evo or the STI would be the only choices right now. I would still end up with the Evo over the STI though. The overall race feel combined with the history of the 4G63 would win me over again.
That IS300 is kinda out of place in that list...Anyway, EVO all the way, best all around value IMO Drive everything else first, then drive the EVO and you'll see what we're all talking about. Happy shopping
"The facts of life are conservative."
At the end of the day, it's down to your own preference and decision. I would strongly recommend you to test drive them all before you make your purchase and make sure your finance is in good shape with the car that you're going to buy.
I have seen too many friends of mine buying the "best car" and ended up selling it within a year just because they underestimated the car payment/insurance toll.
BTW, it would be very unlikely to get the IS300 MT for test drive since they're rare and will be gone once it reach the dealership. I wanted one, but the sales can only let me test drive the loaner IS300, which is an AT