the 3 is a car that on paper, you would never consider, but end up falling in love with it anyway. there isn't a single owner of a 3 that doesn't absolutely love it.
the interior was such a refreshing change from the WRX: very Audi-like in fit, finish, and feel. the ride/handling compromise is BMW-like. Even when I had 225/45-17's on my WRX, I can go the exact same speed around corners in the 3, yet the ride is infinitely smoother. Handling wise, I feel like I got ripped off with the WRX.
Power is merely adequate, but I love being able to cruise at 1500rpm. It has variable valve timing, and you can actually pass someone at 1500rpm, where the WRX is simply a dog. basically the only time the WRX felt faster was when I was flooring it.
I also love the styling of my 5-door. much sexier than WRX wagons.
The 5-speed is simply *awesome*. snickety snick, short throws, precise, don't have to worry about it blowing up, and butter smooth. much, much, better than the clunky 5 speed in the WRX. you'll never need a short shifter in this car. The steering wheel is straight out of the RX-8 and kicks major ass.
The only thing I miss from the WRX is the added security of AWD, and that boxer rumble. otherwise, the 3 kicks major ass.