Thanks all for the suggestions - sorry about the "post and ghost", It's pretty busy around here!
I did like the look of the Mark X's, but only the later models which look nice, however the trim levels are not so great - No leather interior! :( Given the money being spent, would have picked a vehicle in this price range would almost automatically come with Leather, but apparently not.
CVT gearboxes are definitely not an option - I'd much rather walk. (not really, but I really don't want to own one either)
I think I'm still on the same track for my options..
- Lexus IS350
- BMW 330i (preferably e90 with the N52).. I have found a 325 I am keeping an eye on with the new generation 3.0litre in it.
- and a late comer which really is not what I was detailing in my OP... maybe, just maybe, stretching the budget even more and going for a 135i. (Though, I know there are a number of issues with the N54 engine)
Does anyone know a friend or personally own a BMW 135i? Preferably of the N54 generation? I would love to hear a bit more about their reliability.
I'm really stuck between the more reasonable and affordable option of the IS350 (which has full leather etc.)... but I'd love a 135i.. I know it's quite a bit above what I was wanting to spend, but the potential maintenance costs scare me a little and I've always tried to avoid turbos, though, that's getting a little hard to do more and more these days.
One of the big downsides to the IS350 is it's very difficult to bring it up to NZ spec for the radio etc., which is where all the euro stuff is great, because it's easily converted (plus I have all the software and cables ready for Diagnostics and coding E series)
Gahh.. Tempted to just stick with the Z a while longer and deal with the pain of having only 2 seats, haha.