The 2.0T is impressive, but that ZF 8AT is something else entirely. I'm a die hard manual person, but was extremely impressed with that 8AT. It's been getting rave reviews in every car it's been in, and it does wonders for acceleration at speed (it can shift directly from 8th gear to 2nd!). It's just a performance/sport program away from competing with the best dual clutches out there.
Otherwise, like yourself, I thought the car was overpriced, cheap feeling materials, especially the faux leather seat covers (a VW Jetta's faux leather feels better), and I couldn't stand that tacked on iDrive screen. For $30K, it might be doable, but not at $40K+. Short of lease deals, BMW would definitely need to make these in RSA or find a way to make them in Latin America to be able to sell them at competitive price.