I've always been a Porsche guy & even tried an 08 Vette for a while but a baby meant I needed a 4 door or I was sentenced to driving the wife's car all the time. I looked at the IS-F, E55, & C63 before buying the E90 M3. One drive and you'll understand. The feel, sounds, handling etc are all unbelievable. When you are done driving like you stole it, it is a very civilized cruising car for the whole family. None of the competitors come close. I honestly didn't think I'd like the M3 from reading about it as I thought it wouldn't have the torque to make me happy. I couldn't stop grinning on the test drive. Drive one and you will understand. The M3 is the best all around car on the market.
Then you need to get this car. The engine sounds phenomenal and I'm still in the break-in period. The DCT transmission makes this car and I highly recommend getting it. The car's fit and finish is perfect. Everything is flush no creaks or rattles. The interior would use a bit more distinction from the regular 3 series but at the price we're paying compared to other countries it's acceptable.
I love this car. I have two young children which means that I need a car with 4 doors. I have owned a '98 E36 M3 sedan - which was fun and a '02 E39 M5 - which was fantastic (apart from the oil leaks & quirky electronic failures) both of which made me an avid M fan. However, when it came time to replace the M5 there was no 4 door M series available. So, I switched to Audi's S4. I was very surprised at how good the Audi was but it did not give me the same driving enjoyment as a BMW. When it came time to change the Audi I looked at the M5 and the M3 sedan. I liked the M5 but I could not see what I was getting for the extra $30K. The M3 is a perfect solution for me and my family... we love it!
Dependable and comfortable. Fun to drive. Brakes great, handles well. But, built to keep you out of trouble. Underpowered as can be for the real enthusiast your better off building an American v8 in a muscle car. These are tame in comparison. IMO BMW built these for folks that really don't know what real power is. They are very tame. Stomp the gas and wait. Ya for yuppies it may be a little impressive but for real men its a disappointment on a high level. Forgettable power, lame. I will not buy another 1 unless they trust me not to crash it, they don't. Needs much more torque and or turbocharging.