The superficial "crushing" indeed does not appear to be a big deal. There is road rash on the chassis plate from whatever the PO was running over that is worse than the saddle imprint from the floor jack. Having said that, definitely, each must chose for themselves and go with what they feel comfortable doing - no argument there.Might read again?
Pretty clear not all BMWs have center jack point. Not sure what else I might say. It's your car, do as you choose. However, if using as center jack point don't be surprised if crushes. But doesn't appear to be big deal. Or spend extra minutes to jack as noted above - which works just fine. Your call
About the alternate method, though, I am curious how high you can lift the front if you need a decent amount of clearance to do say an oil pan or refill a transmission? That's the big issue I have. The practicality of that method just seems limited, although to be fair I haven't tried it.
As for the newtis page, I'm not sure if it clarifies or confuses:
The first diagram/picture purports to show a center front jack point at the area labeled #1, which looks alot like the rectangular area on the aluminum reinforcement plate we are talking about. Basically, that page says some vehicles dont have a center jack point and then the only visual representation of a front center jack point it shows (on a non-e46 awd?) actually kind of looks like what is on the e46 aluminum chassis plate. The references to E67s further down the page also suggests that the information is not e46 specific necessarily. I had the impression that there was similar info in the Bentley, but couldn't find anything except page 010-4, which is mainly about using the emergency jack to change a flat.
Also, bmw's self-serving "lifetime transmission fluid" assertions come to mind when I hear things like no center jack point (or no oil dipstick needed, etc) despite real world experience suggesting otherwise.