Yep our trusty Saab finally bought the farm, run over by some careless woman driving here huge, planet destroying Suburban. That poor car had been in 3 accidents in so many years, it just wasn't meant to be I guess. The good news (sorta) means we get to go car shopping, well I'll give you the Readers Digest version of all this. We tried a handfull of cars, we are somewhat limited because neither of us drive automatics, just wont happen so no domestics, and virtualy no asian cars, that leaves european. Car #1 was a used Audi A4, not bad,#2 was a new Mini Cooper, loaded but non- S ,nimble and very cool but way underpowered and a lousy highway car (very loud exhaust boom, engine was screaming @ 70mph)..oh and super expensive $21k!Our 3rd car was an 01 GTI 1.8t, ok but vague steering, not much power, no head room, screems on the highway [email protected] 70-80mph, no thanks#4 was an 01 Audi S4 twin turbo rocket..yes it was very nice, very impressive build quality overall very good#5 was a 98 BMW 540i, 6spd, 4.4 literv8, very nice engine with lusty v8 sound effects, after moderate beating decided it just handly too poorly, tons of lean through the corners, equally soft and vague steering ( the steering wheel was gigantic looked as though it was ripped from a school bus)#6 was an 02 Mercedes c230 Kompressor coupe, well made with good attention to detail, but it had very little interior room, I could not sit up straight and I did not care for the seats, supercharged engine was peppy and smooth ,6spd tranny was very good but the car was just not as solid as the Audi. When we were all done we made a startling discovery, my humble 01 ZX3 was superior in most ways to almost all of these cars!!! I kid you not, we would drive to each car in the Focus and then after trying it would get back in and say " Wow, that car wasn't any better than this cheap thing, huh." I won't get into all the details just suffice to say the Ford Focus, especially the ZX3 is an increadable bargain, I have owned over 25 different european cars over the past 15 years and I believe the focus is just about the finest car I have ever owned, I think its only weakness is its build quality which is just so-so and will probably become more of a factor as the car gets older but for now I love it! BTW the only reason we did not consider another focus was because of the cheesy cutness factor (his & hers foci) I did not have a problem but my fiance did, yeeesh, oh and we decided to go with the Audi S4, how could we pass on one of the fastest production sedans in the world, 0-60= 5.9 secounds.!