I think I've pinpointed what I want. More on Hooniverse early next week.
280 horsepower is nothing nowadays, but this Turbo X is still nonetheless out-of-this-world. At idle, it sounded like a muted F1 car (I'm serious). This one-owner 66k mile example was locally owned and meticulously maintained.
It was by no means perfect to drive. A combination of turbo lag, slow throttle response, and/or indecisive automatic transmission meant that on the freeway, it took a second and a half between flooring the gas pedal and actual acceleration. The brakes, though not spongey, did not inspire confidence.
But it is such a cool car. The 9-3 is the perfect size (the 9-5 I drove on Friday was too big). But I'm really afraid of the scarcity of parts as well as Cooper messing up the pristine black interior. So I'm going to pass. But I think it's a good buy for certain enthusiasts.
This is a packed engine bay. When I opened the hood after a 20 minute drive, I was punched with a wall of heat.
I then test drove this 9-3 2.0T sedan with a manual transmission at an Acura dealership. I didn't want a sedan but I wanted to get a feel for a Saab stick/clutch. It drove really nice and I was tempted to just get a sedan. The only kicker was the color. If it was red, I may have just bought it on the spot.
The dealer couldn't list it for sale for a week because they had a hard time sourcing a rear passenger side window regulator.