This is my first new car after graduating college. Before this I drove a 2002 E46 330i on occasion, but my own car was a 1986 BMW 635CSi. As a BMW gearhead, I never saw myself in a Volvo, but the car represents an excellent value. There is a lot of performance (I have 5-sp manual), style, comfort, and feature content for the money. I have similar features as a BMW 328i for $10k less, and I actually enjoy the unique style, as a 3-series are a dime a dozen today. The ride is very smooth while still delivering road-hugging performance. As my first front-wheel-drive car, I appreciate the all-weather abilities as well.
Select package - Satellite radio with text display is excellent. Cold weather package - heated seats are a must. 5-M gearbox - small displacement non-turbo needs the stick to keep the revs up. Excellent seats. Balanced ride - good mix of sporty handling and passenger-pleasing ride softness.
Fit-and-finish of plastic parts in center consol near the handbrake lever. Wish Xenon lights were available on 2.4i.