In terms of the very reasonable USD $15,890.00 I paid for this car, I think I am in possession of the best performance buy in this price range.
Generally speaking, I pull far ahead of other traffic from traffic lights without even breaking a sweat.
Handling is very good and predictable, with great response from the steering and awesome grip from the Michelin Pilot Sport tires. Torque steer is minimal.
Brakes are probably the best I have ever used (and I have driven some serious performance cars before). They were a bit touchy when the car was still new, but after a few miles they become more linear.
The suspension is on the stiff side, so you do feel every little bump and hole in the road. Also, due to the relatively low ground clearance, the car bottoms out rather easily, so you have to be very careful over speed bumps.
The standard equipment list is very long, with leather/alcantra seats, 6-CD Alpine CD changer, Xenon lights, front and side airbags for front passengers, 5 adjustable head rests (with the fronts being adjustable for both height and angle), five 3-point seat belts, automatic air conditioning (which works very well against the typical 40C+ temperatures we have here in Qatar), power mirrors, remote control for key-less entry, alloy wheels with 195/50R15 V-rated tires, Anti lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, assisted by an electronic stability program that can be switched off, etc.
Long distance cruises are always nice in this car. However, driving in crowded city streets is a different story, mainly due to the stiff clutch that engages rather quickly, so smooth bumper to bumper driving is really difficult.
Engine sound is smooth and deep when driving gently, and turns into an angry, loud growl beyond 4,000RPM, with the most beautiful and musical sounds right around 5,000RPM, however it turns a bit abnoxious past 6,000RPM.
The gear shift is easy to use. In fact, I have never missed a gear so far. However the throws are too long for a sporty car, and the action is a bit too rubbery (drive a Honda then drive a VW and you'll know what I am talking about).
I have driven this car with 4 passengers with me. The front passenger is naturally the king of the hill, with very decent comfort levels, however the three in the back where a bit squeezed. Realistically speaking, the back seat is too tight for anyone taller than 5'7" (170cm), because taller people will hit their heads against the roof over bumps.
In terms of performance at the limits (let's say near the limits, because I have not yet reached the limits of this car, which is probably a good thing) as very confidence inspiring. You will be having 325's, A3/A4's and many other cars for lunch, and you will keep up with a 530 if it has manual transmission (up to about 120km/hr) and you will pull ahead of a 530 with automatic. You need to look very hard to see a car that's faster than you or can handle better. Mini type S cannot keep up with me, nor can a 206GTI (typical competitors).