First Test: 2011 BMW 1-series M coupe

Well, holy Scheisse, just when we thought M was dead forever, we won! The 1-series M coupe is the most badass, coolest, sickest BMW to debut since the 1988 M3. The bar has been raised, the benchmark has been beaten, and we can finally stop begging for another E30 M3. It might lack the racing pedigree, but the 1-series M coupe is clearly the E30 M3 reinterpreted for modern times.

Want proof? Take a 328i owner on a highway ride in the 1M coupe, and his sensitive ears will bleed from the exhaust's drone. Even M3 drivers, spoiled rotten by adaptive dampers, will hand over doctors' notes alleging renal edema from the brutal ride. Best of all, people who don't deserve to drive any M car will ask where the automatic transmission option is. Nothing makes us happier than to report: there is no effing automatic.

These are not flaws. The 1-series M coupe doesn't have any flaws. It's one of those rare cars that's so good that it shrugs off flaws: if there's something about it that you don't like, it's because you don't get it. (That's not entirely true -- the power-mirror controls take a long second to think about whether to grant your request to adjust their position. Highly annoying, yes, but we suspect the pause was programmed in so that the littlest M can remind you who's boss.)

Don't want your car to be in charge? This is not the car for you. No likey feeling the bumpies? Sorry, bud, this is a driver's car -- it's just firm, it never crashes over bumps like a 135i. It's perfect. The noise is too much? It sounds like music to us, especially at full throttle, where you should be most of the time. No automatic? Oh, go buy a 7-series, ya big lazy sap -- this car requires the use of its six closely spaced gears, selected by a delightful short-throw shifter and a long-travel clutch pedal.

This little coupe doesn't tolerate laziness very well. If you turn off the stability control, you had better be playing your A game, because the 1M coupe will bite you. It doesn't do understeer. Nope, not one bit. Stop paying attention to the position of your right foot and it'll do a power slide in the middle of a fifth-gear corner. At 100 mph. In the dry. Closed race course, professional driver. Scratch that -- borderline incontinent driver.

weird how purists clamor for manual shifters. the smart move (for any racer) is lap time. if the manny is faster, great. however, if the DCT will give u p1, then that's all that matters.if u ain't driving for lap time, u're driving casually in my book.

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