This is my first BMW and I don't know that I'll ever go back. The car is firm, responsive, and powerful despite it being the low-man on the totem pole compared to the 335i and M3. Plenty of room (I'm 6'4") and an achievable purchase at slightly less than $30k.
I love the power, limited slip, sound system, lack of maintenance (and cost), heated seats are a must, bluetooth, and Assist.
Bluetooth is a must-have especially for the manual, not many cubbies but plenty of trunk room, stock run-flats lack good all-weather traction, cup holders stink.
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