Steve, this is why it appears I've purchased my last BMW. I live in a northern climate (Seattle) and all-wheel drive is a huge asset. I also *love* driving manual. My 2006 BMW X3 3.0i (manual, m-sport, premium, xenons, pdc, servotronic, premium stereo) better last me a very long time, because there's no way to replace it. No X1, X3, or 328xi manual going forward.
Back in 2006 I bought my first BMW, a 330Cic. Why did I get a BMW over an Audi? Because the Audi A4 cabrio was tiptronic only. (Hear that BMW and Audi??)
Now, years later, I find myself in the same situation but with the brands reversed. If I can't get a manual all-wheel drive car (let alone the X1 that I really like!), I'll end up in an A4 or S4. Go figure...
Alternatively, if I'm going to settle for a two-wheel drive manual, then the new Mark 7 VW GTI looks really compelling. In snow I'd rather have front-wheel drive than rear-wheel drive. I expect the GTI will have 90% of the BMW's driving feel but at 60% of the price comparably optioned.
I hear you, Steve. It was a sad day when BMW threw us overboard. But by limiting the drivetrain options on the xDrive cars, BMW can now afford to bring the 320i to the US. Isn't that great?