Originally Posted by Phil3
I am the OP and welcome the many responses. Many were helpful (with a few exceptions). Responses by TTG, ADC, Pharmdphd98, Warranty, and others were good.
The bolded sections above hit home. Yes, the M3 IS special. It may not be needed or ideal for my driving environment, but just driving a car like this, at ANY time, ANYWHERE can be rewarding. Those comments reminded me that I found my old M3 enjoyable ALL the time, whether through a school zone, pulling hard at high rpm, or flinging it down a back road, or just a brisk ride with wife and daughter.
My Porsche Cayman S is more narrowly focused with more compromises for street driving which is what gave me pause on the new M3. Has the focus on constantly increased performance (great!) resulted in compromises in the M3 that are really just too much for a typical urban environment?
Responses so far make it easier now to understand the real question. Of course the 335i (or something far less) is the best sedan for the majority of my driving...if you look at it from a purely practical point of view and exclude passion and lust for fine performance engineering that sits in your garage, ready to devour pavement, straight or winding, with grace, speed, control, precision, luxury, and sound. You may not use all it can offer, but you can still feel and enjoy a lot of the soul of the car at any speed.
Another factor is the transition from a Cayman to either car, unless your keep both. I think Cayman to 335 is a definite downgrade, whereas Cayman to M3 isn't (coming from a former Cayman S 987.1 and 987.2 driver).
I converted to the E92 M3 world after borrowing a E92 M3 instead of my Cayman for a track event, I was blown away by how much more capable the car was at the limit.