In 2001 BMW raised the boost of the E46's steering, but they soon de-boosted it in response to complaints.
The point that should be taken from this is that feel is being lost with each generation. The F30 just seems to be where a lot of enthusiasts are drawing the line. It isn't some conspiracy by the car mags to sell copies.
And really the E46's steering isn't that heavy (at least compared to the E90), but it does have more feel.
F30 owners: If you enjoy your car don't let others ruin it for you, but allow them to voice their concerns, because they have every right to.