Well over the last 2 years I have had a honda civic type s 2.2 diesel (horrible car, fantastic engine. in fact possibly the best engine after a remap i have ever had, 215bhp so much torque all through the rev range and mid 40's mpg no matter how you drove it),
an audi a4 2.5 diesel (lovely all rounder, had gearbox problems though),
an audi s4 4.2 petrol (again an incredible engine but if you drove like miss daisy you could squeeze 20mpg out of it, single figures if you drove it properly!! also had problems as well, as soon as you phone a garage and say 'oh its an s4 you can hear them rubbing their hands together....),
and now an alfa 159 1.9 diesel sportwagon, so far trouble free. has been remapped and drives nicely, poor below 1500rpm, but pulls strogly from there on. would have liked a 2.4, but an extra £90 in road tax, higher insurance and poor mpg put me off. imho a great all round performer that looks great and is as well built as its rivals.
We had a week in IOW a while ago. Whatever car you get you should budget for new suspension every couple of years.......... terrible roads