First Drive: 2012 BMW 1-series M Coupe

Because we get the 1-series only in coupe form, it's not the most practical car. Small coupes just never are. (The European-market hatch would have fixed that, but American buyers continue to make it clear that hatchbacks don't sell.) If it's not going to be practical, a small car needs to be either incredible looking (the 1-series is cute, but far from incredible) or incredibly fun. And though the 135i sure is an enjoyable car, it's not quite up to the fun levels of, say, a Porsche Cayman, which is better looking to boot. After spending a full year with our Four Seasons 135i, we loved it, but still couldn't decide whether it was a budget Porsche Cayman or just a way-too-expensive a small car.

We now have the answer. Not for the 135i, mind you, but for the forthcoming 1-series M Coupe. Suddenly, this little car makes perfect sense.

For obvious historical reasons, BMW can't call it the M1, but before you deride the name, remember we've also had the Z3 M Coupe and the Z4 M Coupe. It's not an elegant name, but it's at least consistent.

And frankly, after seeing those fender flares, I wouldn't have cared if BMW called it the 1-series M Steaming Pile of Scheisse. And -- like you -- I still haven't seen the Real Thing yet. Even though BMW invited us to Munich to preview the 1-series M Coupe, they didn't actually show it to us. Neither the exterior nor the interior. They also didn't tell us much about it. They basically handed us the keys and smiled.

So here's what we do know: the car is about 3.2 inches wider than a standard 135i -- but it looks like it's a foot wider. The front of the prototypes we drove has some deceptive elements on it making it hard to see what the new front fascia will look like, but there's carbon-fiber in there. And lots of intercoolery and radiatory bits.

Success is everywhere where is a diversification.You do not give a customer a choice of transmissions - forget about catching up with the sales numbers. Honestly, I was a staunch supporter of the manual until I drove the PDK on Cayman. That was a selling point for me and I am very happy driver ever since. My wife is a BMW admirer and drives her 328xi, but wanted something to compete with me so she started looking at M3. The price tag is a repellant the, but M1's would not scare her at all. The only thing, she does not want to deal with constant shifting. Urban driver, alas. So, I think, BMW has already lost her as a potential M1 buyer.What a shame!
Pardon me but someone mistook your nice beamer there for a boxcar and plastered it with that stinkin' graffitio you see spoiling the looks of so many freight trains these days.

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