I traded a 2008 Mercedes CLK550 coupe. Nice car, but with its massive power, rear-wheel drive and giant tires zero traction in Seattle weather. Also kind of uninvolving from the driver's perspective. The Mazdaspeed is a lot of fun. Plenty of power, comfortable, good handling, most creature comforts, unbelievably practical. A real driver's car. So far I have driven about 2000 miles and getting consistent 25 mpg. in mix of freeway and suburban driving. I cannot believe they can produce this vehicle for the price! It is definitely better value than competitive offerings like Subaru and VW.
Power, handling, brakes ... mostly the fact that the car always seems to make people smile.
Maybe AWD option. Mazda: please don't pork up the car with useless additions like power seats etc.