Thanks for all the compliments guys!
Yes, the paint is sorta "semi-metallic" -- it definitely has a nice gloss and reflectivity, but not necessarily flakes like in other paints. From some angles it looks almost matte.
In terms of driving, I am still taking it a little easy on the engine during the "break in period" -- however I did get to push pretty hard in the test drive, which I thought was really great! The handling is very crisp (in the sport mode) and you can tell the torque is there, giving you plenty of power even at the low end of the RPMs. I had only ever driven one mini from back in the mid-2000s, and I would say that this still drives like a "mini" even though it is a little bigger. It is so easy to whip around, and the clutch/shifter on the manual is very forgiving and an absolute breeze. It rev-matches for you on downshifts, which is a bit of a cheat, and hard to get used to if it is in your muscle memory like me, but once you get used to it, it is really nice. What was perhaps the biggest surprise compared to the old ones is how refined it feels both driving and on the interior. It feels a lot like a BMW in that way. In sum, I love it.
I am so pumped to finally be a part of this awesome community!