Ten years ago, the S4 would top the list for me, now it is the M3. Simpler and more reliable.
I'd love the Saab for the quirky factory and my addiction to torque steer.
...The Merc never had any appeal. Soulless German speed appliance with the visual appeal of a Buick.
I remember driving the Viggen...and how awful that torque steer was. It reminded me of the torque steer in the old Chevy X11.
Adjusted for inflation, the prices of these cars have pretty much stayed the same but performance have improved leaps and bounds.
To put it in perspective, the 1999 M3 was $43k, which is about $60k in 2012 adjusted for inflation - about the same price as 2012 M3. But performance wise, the 2012 F30 328i is about equal match to the 1999 M3 (actually, it is faster and better handling than the 1999 M3...)
Something I noticed in this test that I miss: body colored seats. The S4 has them in the test, and they were available in the Saab(in blue AND yellow as I remember). BMW offers red leather now, but that's nowhere near as mental as yellow and blue!
Also, just for curiosity, I'd like to see a Viggen with Abbott Racing's Viggen Rescue Kit tested. Owners love the kit, and I wonder what it does for the drivetrain lash and lap times.
1998 VW Golf Mk.III 5dr/1989 Saab 900 Sedan/1960 Porsche 356B T5/1980 Honda CM400E