I purchased an 86 16v in august, and have been very happy thus far. I believe the 0-60 is approx 8.4 in stock condition, and the handling has been praised by people who are far more knowledgable than I.
If possible, purchase a car with the timing chain tensioner update already done by a reputable shop. This is a 1k+ fix, but if not done the timing chain is prone to failure, and all of those 16 valves will probably be toasted, making it a 5k+ job. Do a search on this site, you'll find alot of good info concerning the 16v.
About the automatic vs. stick...why would you get a performance car without a manual tranny? Perhaps this is a Zen thing, but I wouldn't trade mine for the world.