Around the time that the 1-series M Coupé was introduced, BMW's most recent acts were to find space for two leviathan SUVs in its line-up while simultaneously canning its two-seat sports car.

It was inevitable that some would ask questions about the direction in which BMW’s fabled M division was heading. Cars such as the X5M and X6M are about as far from our idea of what an M-car should be as Homer Simpson is an ideal role model for our children.

But almost as if BMW had sensed the disquiet, its next move was to introduce this tortuously entitled but pleasingly back-to-basics 1-series M Coupé.

It may look like a car that’s been screwed up into a ball and left to find its own shape again, but beneath that challenging appearance lies the most simple, straightforward M-car of the past decade. 

And better still, it's priced to excite, and in particular relative to its closest rivals from Audi and Porsche. 

So the formula looks good. The question is, can it be made to work when applied to the 1-series coupé, a car whose hatchback parent is already seven years old and due for replacement?

Top 5 Sport coupes

  • The stated criteria for the GT86 read like a purist's manifesto: rear-drive, no turbo, ordinary tyres

    Toyota GT86

    1
  • BMW M235i
    The BMW M235i is a rear-wheel-drive turbocharged coupé which rivals the likes of the Porsche Cayman

    BMW M235i

    2
  • Peugeot RCZ R
    The front-drive RCZ R packs a 266bhp turbocharged engine

    Peugeot RCZ R

    3
  • The hot Scirocco that blurs the line between coupé and hot hatch

    Volkswagen Scirocco R

    4
  • Latest TT dares to shake the dust from the memory of the mighty five-cylinder Quattro

    Audi TT RS

    5

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