Good questions and good answers: I'll add that I bought a first year '97 Ford Expedition, which I still own 11 years later. Haven't had any first year teething problems at all. And like Greg, my dad has a first year 2001 E46 M3 with SMG and hasn't had any problems at all.
I beleive my M3 was built on the very first day of DCT production, I'm not even concerned.
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