Re: SR Vs XR6 NA
We had this same dilemma early this year, though with a second hand car, the AU series.
Do we chase an XR, or save 8k and go for the 'poverty pack' or save 5k and go for an 'S'?
As you rightly point our, there isn't a significant difference between them, and even less with the BA series. There is nothing you can't achieve with a XR that you couldn't do for less money with a lesser model.
The biggy is resale value and the looks - suspension, wheels, diff ratio, etc, can easily be sorted out, and at a significant saving. In the suspension department, you can mostly end up with a better handling car anyway, as the XR's whilst pretty decent, are still typical factory compromise between comfort and handling. BA's all have the same I6, so that isn't an issue.
In the end we went for the 'S', and have since upgraded the suspension, fitted exhaust/extractors, fitted 3.45:1 gears, and it had 18" wheels anyway, so in most ways it's is every bit as good as an XR, but with plain vanilla looks.
I doubt I'd buy a NA BA XR, as the differences are all too minimal, though I'm not worried about the 'image' surrounding XR's either.
4L I6, naturally aspirated producing 173.5rwkw.
14.410 @ 96.49mph with street radials.
What's that?..... Did I hear you say TQE power?