I used to be very much against SUVs. I had a purchase and sales agreement all drawn up for a BMW 3 wagon, and then at the last minute I asked the sales person to let me drive a 2007 BMW X3 in a 6 speed manual. WOW, I was 100% sold. Coming out of a Volvo V70 T5 wagon, I needed the practicality of a wagon to haul items for my business. The 3 wagon did this job but was a bit tight. The X3 had more room without sacrificing anything in performance. So far the experience with the vehicle and BMW have been nothing less than superb. Sure, it is not a cheap drive, but the fit, finish is unbelievable. I am getting 23-24 around town and 27 mpg on the highway. I HIGHLY recommend the 6 speed.
6 Speed manual transmission. Engine (great torque and gas mileage). Interior (10+). Handling (wow, handles like a 3 series).
Lower price (would be nice). Bring the diesel over.