As to the OP...I think that the car is going to lose a bit of sportiness that the E46 had and add a little bit of luxury (looks wise) But overall I dont think that it will be a step back in anything (except for big brother idiot driver systems, eg; DSC)
I have been doing some hard thinking lately and I realized that I would be paying $1.8-2K a month with insurance on this car. (Im 20, so im looking at $450-500 for this car insured) I think that what I am *Godwilling* going to do is pick up a used '06 E46 ZCP, and go with an AA S2 SC. And invest accordingly...if it all works out I could have A faster more trackable/afforable car. $45K for car $20K for mods.
I really don't know anymore.
But these two videos of this guys car, make me think twice.