Don't worry too much about either model as generally they are really quite reliable and the build quality is certainly very good. In this forum you hear every negative comment that could possibly exist, because this is where everyone comes for advice when things go wrong (always seems to be at the top of google searches as there are so many threads).
The S is a good car, I'm not sure how much of a premium it is going for above the normal model now, but it does come with 19" wheels, sports suspension, different rear exhaust boxes and a sportier interior. However, I don't know whether you're aware of:
1) The S doesn't have any power upgrades - no remap, no sports exhaust, no upgraded induction - it just has different back boxes that sound a bit better (but don't expect noticeable improvements in horse power). The big change is the sports suspension, which will make it feel faster, but it won't be really. It's just that the stock suspension on the SV (normal car) is soft so they don't feel fast (get Eibachs on the SV!).
2) The S does not have the panoramic roof and you cannot retrofit one. To be more specific, actually the glass roof is present on the S, but it is covered by a headliner with no motorised blind mechanism and no housing for the mechanism. Many people on this forum have wanted to retrofit the blind/cut open up the sky view permanently, some have attempted to get quotes from aftermarket suppliers to do this, but I believe that no one has actually done it - (maybe the blind mechanism would be too complicated/expensive to create, and cutting the headliner out permanently would be awful in summer sun and winter cold).
3) The S does not come with Blue and Me(Bluetooth phone preparation and ipod connection). This is a good system for a factory fit. However, if you are likely to upgrade to an aftermarket factory stereo head anyway, ignore this as you can get a good stereo head with Bluetooth and ipod connection for ~£500.
4) The S is only available in 3 colours, black, red or grey, and availability is limited.
5) I think the S may come with bigger front brake calipers??? Or was that just on the Spider LE? Anyway, the standard brakes on the normal (SV) model are really quite good, so don't worry about this either way.
So they are both good cars but in different ways. Depends what's important to you! I would definitely agree with your suggestion of getting the induction, remap and exhaust done on either car.
So the big difference is the suspension. Bear in mind that for motorway cruising, the S may be a bit tiring to drive. The SV with Eibachs comes in between the S and SV in terms or hard/soft balance. (You could of course get an SV and go for fully adjustable suspension but that's probably £1500+)...
Brat Pack no.8
Last edited by Commanderfish; 24-01-11 at 10:11.