The N55-equipped 335i (2011+ except 335is) has identical performance stock-for-stock as your N54 unless your 335i is tuned/modified. xDrive could have been a factor for the exhaust note (and power for that matter); the standard 335i w/ N55 sounds great IMO but the xDrive models are restricted since they have secondary cats.
Several different decorative trims are offered in the 3 series coupe - www.bmwusa.com
You can buy alternative trim and install it if not. Maybe post pics of your dark trim because nobody that's posted so far, myself included has seen it.
Yes they did get rid of the regular sport package a while back; the M package is about twice as expensive by comparison. The newer bumper without the M package looks lame, agreed.
Hard to go wrong with the 335is if you're interested in a new 3.
2011 BMW E92 335i, 6MT, Le Mans blue - Quaife LSD, JRZ RS Pro, JRZ camber plates, Eibach ERS, full M3 susp, custom toe arms, Powergrid end-links, SS brake lines, brake ducting, Michelin PSS, UUC SSK, ETS FMIC, ER CP, Perf. Exhaust, VAC RSIK, Sparcos; work by VAC Motorsports in Philadelphia