Yeah, I guess we see it differently. I assume your 135i and S4 (and GTI) are/were manuals? I just find heavy cars with flat torque curves to be sort of transmission agnostic. Meaning the auto/dsg option is usually as much or more fun than the manuals.
Give me a light, peaky rwd car with a manual, but I'm sort of mixed on heavier, awd, flat torque curved cars. Note that CTS-V is quicker with an automatic than a manual (as are the N54/N55 cars), not that I'd prefer the auto, but the advance of automatic transmissions, especially in conjunction with torque everywhere, is sort of making manuals look silly on most cars, even, sadly, the 991.
My 73 year old dad still drives a manual FD RX7 and has a Miata, and my mom had a manual Trooper until a few years ago.