My 328i is an auto and it changes gears smoothly, kicks down beautifully and pulls hard. I wanted my car and a stance/cruiser so I actually wanted an auto. 328’s have M3 gearboxes too, auto and manual, ZF I believe.
But yeah if you want a track car go with manual but for city/cruising auto is fine.
If you are in UK (I dunno about rest of Europe) you can get obd 1 328’s too, my 96 is, I dunno if it is a one year thing, but go for that if you can.