2008 BMW 1 Series 135i 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M)
It's only a few hundred pounds lighter than the 3-series, but it feels a lot more light and nimble when you drive it. Both manual/auto transmissions are great: the shifting action of the manual is precise and confident; the clutch is predictable and easy to engage. There isn't much sacrifice at all in ride comfort because of its relatively tight dimension and suspension tuning. It truly is a great fun little car to toss around. It's certainly not as edgy or raw as the M3 (E46 or E92), but feels as quick and manuvable if not more (especially when compared to the new portlier E92 M3), and it has better gas mileage.
Very addictive, smooth yet powerful linear lag-free twin turbo engine. Great transmission and clutch feels. World class suspension/chassis that blend in high performance and day-to- day comfort just so perfectly. Nice BMW-typical luxurious interior.
Beauty is subjective, but this is one of the ugliest bimmers ever, with the disproportionally big headlights and amber side markers reminding of bad eye disease. However, if that is not an issue for you, it truly is a great car to own, well deserving the "Ulimate Driving Machine" claim.