I drove my beloved '80 320i for fifteen years (175K miles) until I retired it in a car accident. It was tomato soup red with black vinyl interior, hand-crank windows and sunroof, and only three dials on the dashboard (fan speed, heater, and vent control). I loved the simplicity and pure driving pleasure.
I replaced it with a 1995 Audi 90 Quattro, because I wanted a German sports sedan but with all-wheel drive to brave the snowy roads of the California Sierras. At the time, there was no other option. Now the Audi is getting tired (after only 90K miles), I want to replace it. I don't fit in the A4 (6'5" and 280 lbs), so that leaves Audi out.
I'm comparing the 1994 325xi to the Mercedes C-class (4matic), and can't make up my mind. I would expect the bimmer to be more true to the sports sedan label, but the C-class is very well appointed. Problem is, the 4matic only comes in an automatic transmission. I love my stick, and have heard good things about the smoothness of the 3-series manual gearbox.
Any comments? Is the 325xi underpowered even with a stick? What about the leatherette seats? I've had bad luck with the durability of leather, and don't care about the "status". Any ideas how much above invoice the BMW dealers are dealing? I can get a C-class for $800 over invoice. Sorry for the long post. Help me make a $35K decision. Thanks.