The testing took place inside BMW M grounds in Leipzig, Germany. BMW M flew the 12 winners over from various parts of the world and treated them all to an exclusive dinner. The next day, on November 17, the enthusiasts finally received what they had been long awaiting. The keys.
No images were allowed to be taken during the entire drive which started off on public roads around Leipzig. The prototype's interiors were reportedly in an unfinished state, sharing little in controls and layout of the eventual production version. BMW engineers said the engine and drivetrain was at a "high level of production maturity" though, featuring the 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight six, offering 254kW of power.
The drivers then took the vehicles into BMW's engineering centre. This allowed the drivers to thread the cars through a slalom course to test the grip and agility, and give it the beans on the facility's access road. All of the participants noted the engine's 'snappy' response and 'sharp' steering and handling.
BMW M may have simply conducted this test for publicity, but they claim it was done to provoke a response as to what fans thought of the new M car, to see if it was worthy of joining the exclusive M family. BMW, and motoring experts who have driven the car, link the personality and overall package to the very first E30 BMW M3 of the late-80s.
Some other interesting details were uncovered in the report on the M-Power website. Apparently, official images of the BMW 1 Series M Coupe will be revealed in "another couple of weeks". We'll be sure to bring them straight to you.
In other areas of the site, an interview with Albert Biermann - Head of Development at BMW M GmbH - revealed some pricing details of the new car. Biermann said,
"The price has not been fixed yet. However, I’m sure that it will lie somewhere between the 135i Coupé and the M3 Coupé, with a clear tendency towards the 135i."
Speaking about the running gear of the car, Biermann said the model would only be available with a six-speed manual transmission. He added,
"A closer look at the prototypes will reveal many similarities to the chassis, brakes, and rear differential of the BMW M3."
Biermann also said the BMW 1 Series M Coupe will share many elements with the E46 BMW M3 in terms of weight and power. He expects weight to be around the 1500kg mark, but says the car could be around ten seconds faster around the Nurburgring than the E46 M3.
The anticipation just keeps building and building doesn't it? The next step will be those first official images. We'll bring them to you as soon as possible.