WOW! Overwhelming responses guys!! Thanks for all the feedback. I drove the M3 sedan back when it first came out. I was on the list for the first one in Oregon but i had to pass on it since i still had a year left on my E550 lease. I was able to drive it and i dont remember being as impressed as i thought i would be. Then, i just recently drove the 135i. The time frame between test drives was a year so not a good comparison. I'll see if i can go back and drive both back to back. I think that is going to be the real deciding factor.
The thing i keep coming back to is how highly modifiable the 135i is. I love being able to individualize a car. Also, i like how small and agile it is. In no way would my intentions be to make the 135i into a "M3 Killer." As a previous ///M car owner, i appreciate that nothing will compare to the sophistication of the ///M cars. However, i dont like how big the 3 series is getting. The E92 M3 seems almost as big as the E39 M5.