Perhaps a lot of folks lease because they like the payment.
That said, for long-term buyers, it also makes sense to lease with an eventual plan to purchase. There are two reasons behind this logic: 1) If the car turns out to be a dud or you wreak it, you can unload it at the end of the lease and 2) if the car is worth less than the residual, you can often negotiate a lower buyout price -- effectively giving you another bite at the apple. The downside to the lease is that the cost of money (the effective APR) is often a little higher.
2014 535d, M Sport, Space Gray/Mocha Nappa
2007 530i, White/Black, 6MT
2001 530i, Orient Blue/Beige, 5MT
1994 325is, White/Black 5MT
1984 325e, White/Black 5MT
1983 318i, Delphin/Beige 4MT