Would be one of these for me http://www.pistonhea...les/3154883.htm just about in your budget now and knocking on the door of 300 bhp with a good re-map.
I have driven loads different of cars via my job and the S3's always do it for me. Nice place to be, look good, go really well and build quaility is epic.
I will defo get one....one day!
That was one of my choices. i do like them and they are very nippy, just for the price i'm looking at it wouldn't be that great a one.... thanks 
MKV or MKIV. not sure on these, don't think they will really be "quick" comparatively to the golf i currently have. i test drove a MKV R32 DSG and wasn't all that impressed...
1st choice ...... BMW E46 M3 .... very very fast and all round great car
2n choice ....... BMW E46 coupe 330 cd m sport .... 204bhp/300lb-ft
standard .... a remap alone takes them over 250 bhp and over 400 lb-ft
easy ..... the standard BMW clutches can handle the extra ... unlike the
3rd choice .... new shape Audi S3 (starting price around 12k for a good 1 on motorway miles).
BMW E46 M3 FTMFW .... unless you want 40+ mpg then remapped 330 cd m sport FTW.
Odd... those are the exact three cars i have just been looking at today.
i worry about the servicing and other costs for the beemers, what are they really like?
S3 i mentioned above....
cheers for the input/opinions guys. any more?