After mulling it over for about 2 months I took the plunge and traded my 2008 Mazda 3 5 door hatch for a 2009 Mazda speed 3. My only concern initially was the exhaust sound, but I like it now. I previously had a 318ti, 325i and a minicooper, so I am a tough sell for sporty car. I was blown away with the steering feel, brakes, suspension, and very linear power delivery. I was already used to and liked the Mazda 3, but the speed 3 just makes you want to step on it every chance you get. I think the 18 inch wheels are a bit overkill, especially when you consider the weight of them. I got this car for $20,000 after some serious haggling, what bang for the buck.
turbo, steering, brakes, suspension, climate control, seats (although a bit short), roomy interior, practical as a daily driver.
A bit quieter (yeah, I know - the exhaust note/droning is part and parcel of this monster... I guess I am a geezer at 40 to own this car - shifter is a bit particular from 2 to 3, but you get used to it