I am in the $70-80k category with two cars, my M3 and my RS4 before that. My Cayenne was bought used with only 8600 miles on it for $67k, but new the price was $92k, so that is technically the most expensive vehicle I have owned before mods, however I didn't spend that much on it.
That aside, with regards to the sweet spot comment, here is something that I had written a short time ago and was going to post, but forgot......
It is Thanksgiving weekend, 2012, as I write this. I am up at our vacation home on the coast of Maine, having some complete relaxation. So…..I have just spent the better part of the last two hours reading a slew of reviews on the e9x M3. There is nothing but universal praise for this car. My 2011 M3 is my first M3, and my first BMW. Every time I drive it, I fall in love with it. After over 25 years in production, the M3 has an established heritage. It is also the benchmark of its class. I will even go so far as to say that for any driving enthusiast, it sits smack dead center in the sweet spot of car ownership, relative to ANY other car.
It looks are sportingly aggressive and yet not overtly flamboyant. It is a bodybuilder in a tuxedo. You can see all the muscles, but it isn't in your face. The ride/handling balance is absolute perfection. A million bucks could not buy better. The way the engine revs and sounds creates an almost narcotic-like addiction. You just want it and need it, more and more, and more. The steering is so perfectly dialed in. Super precise, and yet just a hint of muting for the street so as to not be in the least bit twitchy. The size is perfect. Large enough to feel solid and planted. Small enough to maintain agility. You can break it loose for some hooligan fun and yet it remains so controllable and predictable even when over the edge. When needed, you can utilize it as real transportation, and in the blink of an eye it can become a thrilling hot date. It also sits in the sweet spot of value. You simply will not find a better blend of performance, style, practicality, refinement and prestige at its price.
Ultimately, I will leave you all with this one idea to ponder over. If you try to reach out from the sweet spot in which the M3 sits, and try to obtain a car that is better in any one way, you will, with certainty, have to compromise on something else.
Everything considered, my friends, this is as good as it gets.
Audi S6 * Audi S3 * Porsche Cayman GTS
--Former BMW M3 owner