Hello there JB.
I can say from experience with at least 1000 models for sheet metal that solidworks can adequately handle most sheet metal applictions quite nicely.
It's great strength is configuration management which allows you to show the part in ANY of it's manufacturing stages and show it in multiple states from a single model. It can do incremental unfolding, meaning it can unfold any 1 of 4 given bends.
For example if you wanted to, you could unfold only the bends needed and easily make an accurate drawing with dimensions that the brake operator can inspect to for each step in the bending sequence. You can also make a bending sequence drawing if that helps.
It is very robust, easy to use, easy to control bend allowances and will let you create very clean 2D geometry for your turret/laser CAM applications.
It will not in any way develop drawn features automatically or allow you to unfold something with anisotropic (2 direction) deformation. This is it's main limitation in sheet metal. Personally I suspect ANY software that claims to do this accurately as (from my experience), draw development is a refinement process and not 100 per cent emperically predictable.
In my former life, we used SolidWorks for part development side by side with autocad R14 & LT which we used for tooling design and CAM pre-prep. The 2D "speedy" capabilities for autocad outweighed (and still does in my opinion) what solidworks can deliver in 2D. Undoubtedly SolidWorks 2D surpasses autocad for accuracy, ease of view creation and general use, but you do not have the kind of direct control over EVERY entity in a drawing like autocad, and the layering and block management is not as strong.
With that said, each tool has virtue and together, for a fabrication environment, you will have absolutely everything you need to get parts made quickly and efficiently. It is possible that autocad may still be useful to you, but hopefully not as a "crutch".
In my experience, moving to 3D will reduce your error rate on part development by 80 percent easily. After using solidworks for a few years at my present position, I can remember only a few models out of hundreds that we got drastically wrong. It helped us overcome the wrong material thickness side, the mirrored part problem that comes up, etc.
If you take in 3D models from outside vendors, you will have many cases where you can unfold and decrypt their files directly. If this is the case, look into featureworks, which is a solidworks "add-in" that will let you make "dumb" imported geometry "smart" and therefore changeable, but don't feel compelled to buy a copy for each seat. One will usually do.
If I were buying today, I would look very closely at SolidWorks, followed by SolidEdge which had a really strong sheet metal module included, next by the Pro-e Wild Thingee or whatever its called today followed by Inventor, but in that order (also alibre, ironcad, think3, but perhaps consider these are "upstarts" - still getting established userbase etc.).
Price is semi-irrelivent in this range generally when weighed against the labor wasted on unproductive software - I.e. get the best product that will help, not simply the cheapest, which is not always the least expensive. Don't forget to ask about yearly maintenence and companion products which mostly all of these systems require depending on your needs. The upgrade scheme is more like yearly payements than the periodic autocad upgrade concept.
Sorry for the long winded response - I hope this helps a bit.