Got to be a Bonanza A36.
I agonised over the choices for ages. I wanted a reasonably fast (faster than my 182) 6 seater that could carry 6 adults or more often 2 adults and four kids.
I tried a C210 and liked it and it was happy at 160 Kts but I couldnt help feeling it was just a 182 with two seats crammed in the back. I did like it though.
I then tried a 2001 Bonanza but was put off by the cost. I thought they looked dreamy and were fantastic inside. Like a proper modern aeroplane cockpit but didnt seem to have too much baggage room.
I then tried a P210 which I thought would be ideal with a 200Kts cruise speed and pressurization but I realised that they were ridiculously cramped inside and not practical to use as a six seater. Passengers have to climb over each other.
I then decided to have another look at an A36 but a bit older than the first one and started looking around the 1984 onwards models but with low hours. They were all in the U.S. so I was going to organise a trip when somebody showed me a 1993 model with extremely low hours and 2 garmin 430's, Stormscope and loads more and although it was way over my budget I went to see it in Berlin and fell in love. I came back trying to work out how my budget could stretch and tried to haggle with the owner. It ended up with me having to do loads of stretching and a lot of explaining to my good lady but I can safely say it was worth it.
The A36 is a wondeful aeroplane and once you have flown one and appreciated the quality you would not want a Cessna although I acknowledge they are still very good. All A36's from 1984 are essentially the same as that was when they last updated them.
They feel very solid compared to a Cessna (or Piper) and are made out of better materials. The switches clunk and the controls are oh so smooth. The plane lands itself and looks so good on the ground.
Outside of pressurised cabin class planes the A36 has to be king for me.
This is my plane. If you want any more info on Bonanzas or indeed what I know about Cessna 210's just PM me and I will give you my phone number. If you are still interested in a 210 I have a buyers guide.
A36 Beech Bonanza