Feedbacks for a new (to me) Modern Daily Driver

I've made my daily commute to school in a 1987 BMW e30 for the past two years. Before that was a '99.5 B5 A4. The e30 has been stellar on almost all accounts as it's small, fair enough on gas, fun, and most importantly not a beige-mobile. It's reliable, solidly built, and seemingly becoming more sought after. I've done mechanical work on the engine, replaced wear items throughout the suspension system, and installed new springs & shocks. It feels great in those twisties, and makes me smile still. At times, though, I find myself missing the modern amenities and comforts of the A4 (sadly).

Thus, here we are. I've caught the bug and I want something newer once again. Something with heated seats, and with a gross weight that's more than 2500 pounds. Ohio winters are not ideal here. So here is where your feedback comes in.

I'd enjoyed my B5 A4 as far as the feel of the interior, and would like something at least as nice (fit & finish). I'm looking to get something fun/interesting and Ideally under &10,000. Here are the vehicles I've considered thus far (manual transmission is a must, 6 speed gets bonus points):

  • BMW e46 3 series Sedan, ideally a later example, NOT SILVER, have huge support community and many mature modifications that can be done.
  • Audi A4 B6 Avant (wagon), nicely appointed interior, more wheels drive
  • 05(ish) Subaru Legacy Outback XT , I've always been dubious of build quality, but they are cool and 250hp!
  • First generation Mazda 3 hatcback 2.3l, nice looks, and zoom zoom applies

These are all 4-door, because I often make trips that require carrying a bit of gear. I'm looking for something thats not built like an Altoids tin. All said in done if i pull the metaphorical trigger on a newer car, I'll want to keep the old chariot for a weekend project. What does the oppo crowd make the daily drive in? Anything I may have have overlooked/suggestions?