If you’re only keen on fun, I would be looking at a hot hatch, something like a Fiesta ST, or Focus ST if you need something bigger.
It’s going to be a downgrade in quality, ride, comfort and pretty much everything else, but you will find it more fun.
I’m surprised you don’t find the merc fun - I went from a Fiesta Zetec S, which while not powerful, was immense fun to drive, to a 320d, and I’m still able to have fun on twisty roads up and around the South Downs if I’m in sport.
I have had a look at the Focus ST3s, and they are in price range, but a few friends have had them and I never liked them that much.
Surely the sensible option here would be to remap the Merc and save your money. Now is not the time to be buying second hand.
I looked 2 years ago at a remap but the insurance company I was with did not accept any modifications. I may look again but I am still not getting away from the fact that I do not like the diesel anymore.
Some nice options and was about to call up about that Cupra, but then noticed even though its younger than the S3 I am looking at it has 50k more on the clock already. I admit, I would love a Cupra if I could find one with the right mileage.
Much of this depends on your idea of a fun car. I don’t think anyone ever described an Audi 8P S3 as fun. I had an 8V S3 with 306hp from new and being a much better car, was still fairly boring to drive.
As has been said, your budget is the limiting factor here and you aim to lose much in changing to a much older car design (build quality, ride comfort, reliability, etc) and pick up all the unknown risks associated with an old 2nd hand car.
If you just want more speed, I dare say you could chip the Merc and get a reasonably improvement that would make it more ‘fun’ for minimal outlay.
^ damn, beaten to the punchline lol
What did you not like about your 8V?
I am not overly bothered about an older design of car to be honest, and its not like I am buying a mid-ninties car here with AC as the core selling point. It has, as far as I can see, everything my car has including cameras, satnav, heated seats, SD cards for music and Bose speakers...its far more equipped than my brothers 8P.
I understand the risk, and I do accept your point. I think I have more confidence due to my brothers ownership of his and knowing the issues he has had to face.
The ride in my Merc is nothing to write home about either in my opinion. Having 19" alloys on run flats with AMG suspension does make it rather crashy and solid.
tbh i would keep the C class and spend 1500-2000 on a small hatchback for a bit of B road fund as and when the mood takes you,
early Mini Cooper S alongside the C class might be a good shout or a Fiesta ST150?
as it stands the C class (more so with a remap) will do 95% of what the S3 will do in more comfort
My wife has a MY20 Seat Ibiza manual with 115bhp. It is a right hoot to drive on occasion so I do have access to another car where I can have a bit of rag, but I do respect its my wife's car still. No room for another car either.
Remap the merc cost around £150
take it up to 255bhp
Again I may look into this but I still do not get away from the fact I am bored of the diesel noise all the time. Also, 255bhp is far more than I would get. Looking about on forums (not figures that remappers quote) it seems most get a modest 230-235 maximum. Still 25-30bhp more than standard of course but I am unsure if this would actually make a difference. Generally I find the gearbox a limiting factor when i want a blast. Sometimes it is spot on, but other times it just hesitates and gets it all wrong.