Tag Links: BMW, 135i, M Coupe, E30


We've always been a fan of the BMW 135i coupe. How could you not when it packs such a terrific engine, delivers such enthralling rear-wheel-drive handling and boasts the sort of quality expected of a car wearing the sought-after blue-and-white propeller badge?

But at the same time we've always felt the compact two-door, introduced in the North American market in 2007, could offer a little bit more on the performance front. We partially took this into our hands when we chipped our long-term 135i. Now, after taking a long time to carefully think it over, BMW's board of management has apparently come to the very same conclusion. The result? The harder, faster and more focused 2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe, driven here in prototype form for the very first time.

Set to debut at the Detroit auto show in January, BMW M division's new entry-level model has been conceived to broaden its reach and appeal among a younger group of customers than the existing M3, X5 M and X6 M as well as the upcoming M5 and M6 — the latter two due out in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

The company's boss, Kay Segler, is quick to talk up the similarities between the 2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe and the original M3 — the classic E30 model used to homologate BMW's 1987 World Touring Car Championship contender. Truth is, though, there is little other than compact dimensions linking the two. If it has to be compared, the 135i coupe is clearly the only real yardstick.

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Inside Line: 2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe Prototype First Drive

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