The engine sounds beautiful and I love the high revs. Grip is outstanding with the 19" wheels. Four door practicality is a huge plus as the Cayman was claustrophobic. The stereo is great and the build quality is very high - you pay more than an STi or Evo, but this is a car you'd proudly give the boss a ride in. Xenon lights are terrific and all 3-series should have them standard. The manual gearbox is a bit notchy in 1st and 2nd. The throws are quite long for a sports car, but clutch travel is perfect and soft. These cars should also come with BMW Assist standard in case of a flat tire - No Spare is a huge issue. I had issues with the Tire Pressure Monitor when I took delivery.
I have owned this car for about 4 months. I was extremely excited about he purchase and initially loved the car. I drove as prescribed during the break-in period and never drove it like a M3 should be. After the break-in period, I only put 300 miles on the car (for a total of 1500 miles) before the car started exhibiting problems. The most recent of which occurred this week with loss of power, slow acceleration, etc. Feels like I am driving a Camry. Took it in for service and they cant seem to be able to find the issue. If they cant resolve the issues, I think I may have bought a lemon. Extremely disappointed in BMW and the car at the moment.
Just picked up a mostly base M3 last week. Manual transmission, leather/cloth interior, no Nav, no tech package. I had an Audi S4 on order, and the BMW people basically sold me on the M3. I was hesitant, but after 350 miles, I am SO glad I went M3. The engine is absolutely silly. It just wants to go. And the rest of the car feels like it's carved out of a block of aluminum, just so solid. I'm still in break in period, but even adhering to the rules, this thing is amazing.
Ive had my M3 for a little over a month now--only put on about 500 miles so far, but its a BLAST to drive. With the 414HP, V8 by far the most powerful car I've ever driven/owned--esp coming from my 2007 IS 250. :) 14 mpg in the city no matter how easy you are on the pedals is a bit annoying, but you have to take good with the bad--kind of a "rare" car depending on where you live. I'm in Houston and Ive seen 2 other coupes, and NO sedans so far, so its nice to stand out a bit. :) Had my M3 "stripped"--i.e. speed cloth, 6MT, no navigation, no EDC, but I don't miss a thing. Love every second in this car--hopefully it holds up after warranty!