While up in New Hamster, I was left Robin's brand spankin' new Subaru Forester in which to motor about. As someone who's been toying with the idea of a "crossover" SUV, but hasn't spent more than test-drive time with one, it was enlightening.
First, it was obviously superior in every way on dirt and rough pavement. With the Zed Drei, the optional sport suspension and 35-series tires make it ride like a Conestoga wagon on even the smoothest gravel or dirt roads; exceed twenty miles an hour off pavement and your vision will be so blurred by the jouncing and vibration that you won't see the parts that fall off every time a wheel crashes over the minutest of surface imperfections. Conversely, the Forester is so serene and composed on dirt that "I honestly had no idea I was going that fast, officer," becomes a very real conversational possibility.
On the flip side, over a decade of driving a sports car has me used to control inputs that are acted on with alacrity. For instance, to change lanes on the interstate in the Bimmer, you don't so much steer as merely apply pressure in the direction you wish to go. By comparison, the same act in the Forester involved enough action, from the wheel through the steering gear to the tall-'n'-wobbly front tire sidewalls, that it felt like I was ringing down to the helm for rudder changes. Don't get me wrong, compared to the average passenger sedan there's hardly any difference at all, and compared to a truck-based SUV it feels like Handling By Lotus, but it still took some getting used to for me. (And don't get me started on how weird automatics feel, without any direct correlation between engine noise, the tach needle, and how fast the car is going; that's witchcraft and deviltry right there...)
The thing that most delighted me, however, was the modern stereo that takes over your iPod when you plug it in like a lancet liver fluke does to a hapless ant. I may just wind up keeping the Z3 after all and resign myself to another ten years of wind noise on roadtrips and slithery winter driving, but I'm getting one of those fancy dashboard Victrolas.