this was the driving force behind me getting a japanese car. there's no doubt bmw rules the roost in driving dynamics but it's $10k+ more when you factor in add-ons. plus as soon as the bmw warranty runs out, you better sell the car, return the lease, or have a mini fortune stored away just in case b/c repairs are very expensive. oh good to know. i'll have to read up on the reviews from europe to see the general consensus. the mini is the obvious choice for a small urban car but it's a little too common around here.