Well, mine has the HID and cold package which was not a must-have consideration, more of a bonus. The auto dimming mirror, rain sensing wipers, auto heat, auto headlights, electric everything were at first viewed as a "more to break" fear. But now I consider these luxuries a treat and they don't break. The problem with any of these forums (and I've been a member of many) is, they all read as endless problems and fixes. Sometimes enthusiastic comments show up but mostly you'll find troubles and remedies. That doesn't mean they're a problematic car, look at any fan forum - you'll see the same thing.
These cars are now becoming cheap enough to attract the younger buyer. They want to make 'em race cars, slam the suspension and stuff fat tires under rolled fenders. I guess that's fine but there are limitations. I suggest you look at your budget realistically and plan to spend maintenance cash going forward. To convert an XI into an M3 rocket is not realistic. Making it look like one may be some owners desire but there are concerns. First, the forged bottom end with twin cams with a timing chain based engine is factory maxed out. 180+ HP is all you're gonna get out of this baby. Is it fast? Well, fast enough for most of us. No chips or headers will wake up hidden ponies, you're basically stuck. Now look at the benefit of a 50/50 weight distributed car with all wheel drive that's rear drive biased. This yields summer fun tossing it around and winter safety and reliability. The thing goes like a snow cat in the slippery goo and ice. I'm a bit of a fuddy-duddy and leave the factory engineering intact as not to toy with what I contend is a well engineered car. Personalizing it is something I enjoy as the car is worthy to spend a little to make it unique. The auto trans is made by GM, is rock solid where the die-hard, 3-pedal guys will argue it's a bad option. I like the auto, really don't miss shifting all the time and don't really care about the die-hards.
It's all about what you desire and knowing the facts. With your interest in being a BMW mechanic you have spotted a great platform to play with. Should you become displeased later, you can always get out from under it without too much drama. To each his own and I hope you'll seek your choice through information not emotion.
Anything made can be made Better