I for one think that BMWs are extremely overpriced brand new, but can be bargains gently used. Honestly, my goal was to get an M3, but given the sky high prices and the fact that I'm nowhere near the 1%, I'd have to get a 4 or 5 year old M3 for it to be affordable. Heck, it's not even feasible for me to afford a 1 or 2 year old 335i.
Then, there's the competition. For the price of a loaded new 335i, I could buy a Camaro ZL1. Now, I personally wouldn't buy a Camaro (mainly for aesthetic reasons), but it does point out that the gap between the competition and BMW is rapidly shrinking. However, BMW knows that people are willing to pay almost any sum of money simply for the privilege of saying they own one, and there's nothing wrong with that.
The Boss 302 also has compelling performance for a lot less money, and is due for a redesign along with the entire model range (this time with a IRS) for 2014.
The Infiniti G is also due for a major redesign, a car recognized by Car and Driver just a couple of months ago for the best steering (even compared to the BMW).
You have the new lightweight ATS, although most eyes are on the inevitably-planned ATS-V.
Then there's the car I'm looking at .. the new Chevy SS that will be the new flagship for the Chevy brand. Available with two V8 options (no V6) and a manual transmission. All for about $40K.
It's a crowded market. The M3 must have the goods to be worthy of its premium price tag. If not, there will be cheaper alternatives that will provide 90% of the performance for 25% less money. That's certainly a scenario I can live with.