When we bought our 718 Boxster last year, we didn't bother cross-shopping anything else. I'd loved the look of the Boxster since 2012, and we'd always talked about one. I was so clueless, I didn't even know the Boxster had been redesigned and renamed the 718 when I showed up at the dealer and got a test drive. As far as I was concerned, we were buying a Boxster, unless a test drive revealed a glaring flaw.
For our next car, though, it was a different story. Initially we wanted a four-door sports sedan with significant power, but nothing too ridiculous, ideally $70K or less out the door. We looked hard at, and test-drove:
• BMW M2 Competition (went like a scalded cat, but the interior felt cheap and the handling felt rough.
• Mercedes AMG C43: Fantastic power, lovely interior, but felt like I was driving a very fast boat.
• Mazda 3: Don't laugh. We have a 2012 Mazda 3 and it's almost as fun on a windy road as the Boxster. The new 3 is even better, with an interior that puts $50K Audis to shame. However, when you step on the gas...a whole lot of nothing happens. That said, it's a delightfully tossable sedan.
• Audi S4: I loved the interior, loved the acceleration, but every curve made it obvious that I was driving a large sedan.
• Audi S3: We almost bought this. It was the closest thing to a 4-door 718 I'd ever driven. Great power, excellent handling. We flogged it on a road near our house that I drive every day, and in the S3 I'm confident I could almost have kept up with our 718. However, I couldn't get past the anodyne exterior styling and the very inexpensive-feeling interior. (We considered the RS3 but those are very hard to find, I think there are 2 for sale in the whole country right now.)
So anyhow, after driving all these, we settled on a 718 Cayman S
I'm curious to know what cars you all cross-shopped before taking the plunge...