My wife spent a lot of time researching and test driving a lot of small to medium SUVs for the past few months, and finally after 13 vehicles narrowed it down to Audi Q5 or the newly revised Acura RDX. I drove both, and liked the Acura quite a bit more. Factor in better reliability, and that's what she bought.
While she was looking at Mercedes GLK in an auto mall, I went across the street and looked at Audi A5 and S5, which are very pretty cars. I really liked the S5 and was thoroughly impressed with some of the electronic features, so even though I wasn't intending to buy a new car, I decided to check out a couple other all-wheel drive coupes that I like, the Infinity G37 and BMW 335i. I was able to arrange extended drives in the three of them, and these were the characteristics that I thought were outstanding:
Audi - looks, electronics (inc. driver adjustable steering, suspension, throttle response, all together or individually, very impressive)
Infinity - exhaust note (seriously, this car growls)
BMW - just handles extremely well, feels completely solid and predictable, more rear seat headroom than the other two (I don't need 4 doors any more, but still have to drive 2 or 3 other people sometimes)
I ordered a 2013 335i Xdrive, without the stiff M-sport package but with everything else. I like the more compliant ride, and am willing to give up some extreme handling abilities for greater comfort. I just picked it up on Monday, and will head out of town in it this weekend. So far, my only disappointment is an unnecessarily complicated nav system. The i-drive controller that I heard so many complaints about is not at all hard to get used to.