BMW: 1 Series M Coupe's main competitor is... a used M3?

2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 1 Series M Coupe is a car capable of turbocharging the dreams of many an enthusiast, BMW or otherwise – but the question many have is whether it can it turn the dreams of M3 buyers into something less... dreamy. During this week's Detroit Auto Show press days, we spoke to Dr. Kay Segler, president of BMW M GmbH, about what 1 Series M Coupe means for Bimmer's performance brand and the M3.

Dr. Segler responded to those worried about the 1 Series M Coupe being better than the M3 with "the M3 is the car of M, the icon, playing in another league. The best feeling is still in an M3." So even though BMW's product and technology PR rep Matthew Russell described the 1 Series M as "an M3 in a 1 Series body," the 1 M is distanced from the M3 by its limited options, including the fact that the M button on the steering wheel only adjusts throttle response, nothing else.

On the other hand, when discussing concerns that the 1 M was engineered so as not to step on the M3's toes, Segler said "It was never held back at any stage. It is as good as it can be, this was exactly the car to build." When we asked how much one would have to spend in order to make it better than an M3, we were told that it would make more sense to buy an M3. "It is not a replacement for the M3," he also said. Russell added, "The M3 is in the middle of its life, it has a long way to go."

And finally, our favorite answer came when we asked what is the competition for the 1 Series M Coupe, and Russell amusingly remarked, "A certified pre-owned M3."

What say you? Is BMW just being cocky or does the auto industry offer a true direct competitor for the 1 Series M Coupe?

Click past the break for a comparison chart between the 2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe and the current BMW M3.

2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe
2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe
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Live photos copyright ©2011 Jeremy Korzeniewski / AOL

1 Series M Coupé BMW M3
Engine 3.0-liter twin turbo inline six 4.0-liter V8
Transmission 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
Horsepower 335 hp @5,900 hp 414 hp @8,300 rpm
Torque 369 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm 295 lb-ft @ 3,900 rpm
Redline 8,400 rpm
Front suspension Macpherson struts Macpherson struts
Rear suspension Five-arm multilink Five-arm multilink
Weight 3,462 pounds 3,704 pounds
Weight distribution 51/49
Length 172.4 in 181.8 in
Height 56.1 in 55.8 in
Track F/R 60.7/60.7 60.6/60.6
Wheelbase 104.7 in 108.7 in
0-to-60 4.9 seconds 4.7 seconds
Top speed 155 mph 155 mph
Quarter-mile 12.5 seconds
Price $47,010 $59,775

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