I bought this car new 7 1/2 years ago, and have thoroughly enjoyed it. The handling is very neutral, and spirited driving is always fun--never "scary." I've never had any major issues with this car. Onramps are great fun, and I get about 28 mpg on the highway. 18 mpg City. It has started every morning and has never left me stranded. I have replaced the battery, the front brakes (rotors and pads), an AC module, and the water pump (as a precaution). While I have left it completely stock, this is a great platform for suspension upgrades and engine mods (CAI, Exhaust, Chip, etc.). I would definitely buy this car again.
Confidence-inspiring handling: I just don't think you can get "out of shape" on a dry road! Build quality is excellent. Sports package improves performance w/o compromising comfort. 500-miles trips are no problem. Accepts modifications very well: it's a "blank palette" for tuners.
Well, BMW has updated this platform twice (e46 and e90), but have they "improved" it? The '06 E90 is bigger and 400 pounds heavier and the styling is, at best, controversial. BUT, if I had to pick something, it would be touch more power. Also the OEM Conti's weren't that great.