I've owned the game for about 4 hours, mainly spent easily driving around in awe of the city and I for one, absolutely LOVE the new driving. It feels a lot more responsive and a lot more realistic. I have no idea what everyone was whinging about. It's easily twice as good as IV, and same goes with the motorbikes. A lot more realistic.
As for the damage, again, a big improvement from IV. Even minor rear-endings will cause your front bumper to hang off or your hood dent up.
Prime example of when people whinge and complain before they have even played the game.
I know the rest of the world will be slowly getting it and I hope you all enjoy it just as much as I am. I am truly blown away by everything I've seen and done so far.