There are a couple of rules to this little game. First, the car chosen must be no more than 10 years old. Second, the cars must remain stock after the hypothetical purchase. And last but not least, you aren't allowed to say you will buy one and then sell it later.
With that, I give you my choice, the 2009 BMW 535xi. It comes equipped with a 6 cylinder twin turbo good for 300HP, an optional 6-speed manual transmission, and an all-wheel-drive platform. Kelly Blue Book says its valued around $28,500. So that means it falls just under the 30k mark that I've set for myself. Perfect.
The specs on the car seem conservative to say the least, but keep in mind that the car you choose is meant to be used on a daily basis. So having decent gas mileage while still being fun (and comfortable) to drive is an accomplishment that not many AWD cars can tout. Luckily BMW has always maintained the best sound system contracts, and the Logic7 premium sound is no exception.
The ride quality is fantastic in the 535xi, and the road noise is almost non-existent, which is impressive for a BMW. Most of the time, the tires and suspension noise are so irritating, the only respite comes from the sound system. That being said, this is an excellent example of what luxury and sport should be when thrown together. An attractive car, with decent gas mileage, and practicality of a Subaru. What more could one need in a car?
Let us know what your choice would be for under 30 grand. You can also come down and take a look at one of these bad boys in person, here at Wheels and Deals.