Hi, welcome to everybody--this is my first post. I love owner forums, by the way, always a wealth of information.
For the last 2 years I have enjoyed driving a 2004 BMW Z4 3.0, but it was time to trade it in for something different, i.e., more practical.
I went with a 2012 Subaru WRX premium sedan (unmodded) from CarMax here in Omaha. I would have bought new but the style and color I wanted was extremely hard to find, and I knew I couldn't get much off the MRSP for one if/when it became available. It has 16K miles, runs great, and is in almost-perfect condition.
I had the Z (nicknamed Zed) for 2 years and drove 30,000 miles with it, mostly with the top down. It was a fun ride - one of the purest expressions of driving around, in my opinion, at least for under $50k. I found the handling to be the most accurate of any car I've ever driven, and the peppiness and linear acceleration to be more than acceptable for daily driving. And I liked the styling both interior and exterior. But, it had 110k miles, would only seat 2, and winter is coming - shades of Game of Thrones!
First impressions of the WRX: great engine and handling. There's a bit of turbo lag, but when it kicks in at 3-4000 rpm it's like a rocket taking off - accelerates much faster than the Z's 3.0. However, 5th gear (for various reasons I decided the WRX Premium would do the trick, no need to shell out $9-10 extra for the STI, plus harder to find anyway) is pretty useless for anything but highway cruising, unlike the Z4 which would go from 60-100 in 6th gear in a coupla seconds. The Z4 acceleration is more linear, while the WRX is more like an oxygen saturation curve--a steep ascent which plateaus.
The steering in the WRX, which I've nicknamed T Rex, is great in the corners, possibly the equal to the Z4, but on straightaways it has a bit of drift or slop that I am getting used to. Better than my fiancee's truck though. It's actually pretty low to the ground, so the handling feel is on a par with the Z4.
The cockpit is not nearly as nice as the Z4, but it's roomier, has iPhone integration, Bluetooth, a decent stereo, a moonroof, kick*ss climate control, heated seats, garage door opener, etc. And of course a functional backseat and huge trunk with fold down seats. The exterior - dark gray - has a slightly edgy, all-business appeal to it - I realize it won't turn girl's heads like the Z4. Though I did have a guy in an Accord want to race me at the light when I was driving it home.
So for now, I think I've got a great all-around car that will get me through winter as I put on the miles between hospitals here in the Midwest, and drive to Minneapolis and Madison and Boulder to visit my kids. And will go from 0-60 in ~5 seconds.