I wanted to update my previous posts on this thread. I took my '09 328xi in for service two weeks ago and received a '12 328i loaner car that I drove the entire day. The difference was, this time, I was equipped with the knowledge of how to use the transmission settings. All I can say is, this is a completely different driving experience when set to 'sport' mode.
I wasn't fond of the way the engine stopped at red lights, but I loved the performance of the car. Based on auto Trans in sport mode, I need to completely retract my previous negative posts on the car. I loved it and would have been extremely happy to make this my next new car, if cost were no issue. My '09 is leased and I'm within 5 months of end of term.
After looking again at the price tag of the new 328 equipped as desired ($47K), I opted to start perusing used models and settled on either an E36 M3, or an E46 ZHP. I figured I should start looking, because good examples are somewhat rare, and thought it might take months to find the right one. Surprisingly, I found 'the car' immediately on cars.com and purchased a 2004 330i ZHP sedan in Imola Red. To say I love the ZHP is a vast understatement. Best of all, it's cost was less than a third of the new, similarly equipped 328i.
My '09 328xi hasn't been driven much since, and my driveway is getting a bit crowded.