Originally Posted by swansong
Good insight from a former MS3 owner, thanks!
Like the OP, I'm starting to consider my next-car purchase. Current plan is to buy a new Focus ST in a few years and keep the SVT as a winter car, but I'm really tempted to get a 07-09 MS3 for a year round DD. It would save a hell of a lot of money over the ST, and I have always had a thing for the Gen-1 MS3. Had a chance to drive the new ST and came away as impressed as I thought I would be, but haven't driven an MS3 yet.
To the OP, St. Louis doesn't get a whole lot of snow in winter does it? I bet a RWD car with a good set of winters, or possibly even all-seasons, may get you by. Also worth noting is that the Focus (and other hatchbacks) obviously offer more interior and cargo space, and while that may not be a necessity in a daily manner, having the ability to occasionally haul a large amount or awkwardly-shaped crap is very valuable. That said, good list! I'd take any one of those cars, (if they were given to me!)
I'd second this. I lived in a very snowy place and had a 5 series with no functional traction control and snow tires. RWD is not the major liability it was in the past. With traction control, it is actually a lot better in many snow situations and has the advantage of being a hell of a lot more fun to drive in non-snowy conditions.
But that's my .02. If I live in a place where it snows, I invest in snow tires because my life is precious to me. If you invest in snow tires, FWD vs RWD in a car with traction, stability and ABS becomes almost entirely irrelevant.
AWD is better in the snow though, so in my list, if snow performance was important I'd make RWD and FWD both black and AWD green.