Bought this car in 2003 so I could retire my 1987 BMW convertible to preserve it. Interior layout and "look,touch,feel" very similar to BMW, so I was at home right away. Acceleration is zippy, but not faster than the rest of the pack. Handling is really good and suspension is very taut (like performance-oriented European cars). Lifetime average fuel economy has been about 56 mpg and 60+ on the highway is the norm. Tires are the biggest problem with stock setup-the OEM Bridgestone Potenzas stink. Am now using 1+ size Kuhmo Solus so handling is vastly improved esp. under wet/snowy road conditions. Totally reliable car, and outstanding dealer support (way better than Audi/BMW dealers).
It's a hoot to drive, reliable, and great on gas. My preferred "long trip" car. I like the "techno dash" with all the digital readouts. Few others own one--it's unique and a conversation starter at gas stations and other places... I get lots of "it's so cute!!!"
The OEM tires--they ride rough and stink in rain/snow. Bear in mind this car was designed for fuel economy and it delivers--so don't expect it to do everything. While a 2-seater is not for everyone, if you analyze your driving you might realize a 2-seater is all you need 95% of the time.