I've been debating this since I raced a BMW 335i from a roll with my 2006 Cobb stage II STI. I was surprised that the BMW was very slowly pulling away from me, when I thought I would walk on him. The car still had the stickers on the windows, so I'm guessing it was stock. The 335 is a little out of my price range and "too common" inho, so I never gave it much thought. But when I saw the 135 it sparked my interest.
Well today I went down to the BMW dealership and they had one, it was a black 6 speed auto. I have no interest in an auto, but I wanted to see how it handled and how the 6 cylinder twin turbo felt. I have to say I was very impressed! The motor has absolutely no turbo lag, something that I'm not used to at all. Although it doesn't have the surge of power like my STI, it was deceptively fast. The powerband felt perfectly linear. It felt like a buttery smooth V-8, it was fairly quiet and had decent sound. But no turbo sounds could be heard what so ever. But it's a BMW, not a rally car. I also asked the dealer about performance upgrades, they said they don't kow what is offered yet for it, but they said they have Dinan packages for the 335, that bump it up to 378 hp. I bet a package like that in a 135 would walk an STI and give a M3 a run for its money.
It handled very nice, firm but forgiving, I felt a very slight wavering (jaunce?), while going over an wavy surface while turning, that I don't think my STI would do. The steering was precise, but not as communicative as the STI, it was slightly numb, but still very good. The car just felt very "planted." It had 18" rims with the conti-sport tires and they hooked up good, I did not get any wheelspin what so ever, but it was an auto... I would love to try a manual, but they didn't know when they might get one.
The brakes are amazing! It has 6 piston Brembo's in the front and 2 piston in the rear. They bit so hard, it startled me at first. I was very impressed. I definitely think it would outperform my STI in braking.
The interior was very nice, the power seats are uber comfortable and supportive. The interior is a little tighter them my 06, the back seats looked cramped, but I did not try them out so I can't say for sure how they compare. Legroom is a little better then the STI (I'm 6' 2") and that is one complaint I have about my scooby. Another nice thing is the rear seats fold down, I hate that I can't fold down my seats! It had climate control and the compass in the mirror, pretty much the same features as the STI, but also had a sunroof.
So my dilemma is this, my car just hit 60k miles and i have no warranty. The car runs fine, but I hate not having that piece of mind. I love my STI and the new design is growing on me, however the magazine reviews I've read make the 2008 sound like less of a performer. I was at the Subie dealership a few weeks ago and the 2008 STi with upgraded rims and NAV (which I wouldn't get) was almost 39k! My current STI was 38k out the door with a 60k Gold warranty. I built a 135 online and it came out to $36,745, close to the price as the STI w/o nav.
I just wanted to share my experience and see if others are considering the same. Of course I love Subaru's and AWD, but here in NV, it's not an necessity. Please don't turn this into a RWD vs. AWD fight , because that's what killed the last thread on this topic.