That's my thoughts on them as well I've been a BMW guy for almost 10 years now because I love the driving experience they offer, but I've driven a few of their newer cars and although they're undoubtedly faster, they feel so much less connected, they're losing their roots :/
For now it seems that it's up to the lower end cars to bring back that excitement... my Mini puts a smile on my face that none of my BMW's did before it. If I were going to buy a brand new car today though it'd be the new Miata, Fiesta ST, Focus RS or Lotus Elise depending on my budget
HTTP response: NOT FOUND | MIME changed to 'image/png' | Redirected to error image by FLICKR
Agree on the lower end cars having a more rewarding driving experience these days. The higher end stuff these days might be faster in a straight line or even handle better on a track....but rarely will you get the opportunity to exploit their potential, and even when you do, much less connected to the car due to all of the electronics and most importantly, the rarity of manual transmissions these days.
If I didn't have to lug kids around all the time, I'd probably get an FR-S purely for the fun factor.
Edit...not sure if you've ever played the games, but your car shots remind me of Forza Horizon. Take that as a compliment hah. I really like the aesthetic of the game.