If my M3 was to be my only car, I would have gone with DCT and 4-doors. Since my DD is my Porsche Cayenne which is an automatic, 4-door SUV, I went with the 6-speed coupe for my play toy.
I am curious to see the breakdown by age. I am 45. I grew up when manuals were by far the performance kings. Even though this is no longer the case, for me it is still about the involvement and physical action of using the clutch and shifter that gives you a sensory connection to the car that no form of automatic ever will.
Of course one could argue that technologies like stability control, anti-lock brakes, power-everything also detract from the "pure" and more sensory driving experience. Where one chooses to draw the line is an individual decision.
One thing is certain in my mind.....as cars get more and more powerful, you need more and more technology to make the car perform safely and competently. I don't think I would want a RWD manual transmission car that has much more power than the M3. That much power is just too hard to easily control and get to the ground. Even driving the M3 without the DSC can get a little wild at times. If I were to get the new M5, for example, I would certainly get DCT and AWD (which may be available).
Still, as a pure toy, there is nothing more classic than a V8 with RWD and a manual transmission.
Audi S6 * Audi S3 * Porsche Cayman GTS
--Former BMW M3 owner
Last edited by LarThaL; 09-21-2011 at 08:13 PM.