Well, if you compare the 135i with a 2001/2002 E36 M-Coupe (which can be had for well under 30k) then the pricing isn't an issue.
Therefore, it makes it a valid comparison in terms of power figures and overall size.
Personally, I love the E36 M-coupes. However, I know all too well that it won't be practical for my needs. So the 135i still holds the top spot for my next car.