First Drive: 2012 BMW 1-series M Coupe

The interior of our prototypes was (mostly) standard-issue 135i. However, I was told to expect lots of goodies there, too. One of the cars had aggressively-bolstered M seats, so you can count on those, as well as the usual M jewelry treatment -- dead pedal, steering wheel, shift knob, gauges, etc. I was also told to expect a few surprises that we don't usually see on M cars -- nothing functional, just visual candy. Getting this particular candy out of the engineers was like taking candy from a fat kid. A strong, hungry one. Damn. We'll have to wait and see.

Likewise for the final specs and for the final exterior styling. And the price -- though BMW says it'll slot between the 135i and the M3. Duh, obviously. Think $45,000.

We'll drive the final-specification 1/MCoupe in May 2011, right before it arrives in U.S. dealerships. If there's not a waiting list already, it's because y'all haven't driven one yet. (In other words, place your order now.)

M-boss Dr. Kay Segler told me a few days before the drive that "the 1-Series M Coupe's goal is to be young. fresh, and attainable." Had those been the goals of the M3, I imagine we wouldn't have the 1/MCoupe now. And we also wouldn't have the awesome, outrageous, and fabulously unattainable M3 GTS. (It isn't coming to America, and if it did, we couldn't afford it anyway.) But if 40 is the new 30 and Gaga is the new Madonna, then 1-Series M Coupe is the new M3. And that's just fine.

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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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