So let's forget gas mileage, sale price, and resale price for the time being. Let's also talk about the automatic variations.
Let's talk about the true cost of ownership in terms of maintenance. Let's face it, VW's free maintenance is a gimmick, it's really just three oil changes. Also I haven't looked in the owner's manual of my wife's '12 Beetle so I may be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure VW decided all of a sudden that tires don't need rotations until every 10k miles, double what any/all tire manufacturers/dealers (even ones who do free lifetime rotations) recommend as far as I know, but that's an aside.
So far I can see two things going for the 2.5.
1) It has a timing chain to the TDI's belt, which I hear is like an expensive service along with a forced water pump replacement?
2) The DSG needs a spendy flush at or around every 40k miles or so, from what I've heard.
I get the feeling that the 2.5, while the boring volume seller that's down on power, is much the old faithful that Ford's boring SOHC 4.6 V8 that they used in millions of Crown Vics was--not exciting, but dead reliable and dirt cheap to maintain.
So let's talk maintenance, any advantages/disadvantages between the two models?