FIRST DRIVE

Call it what you will, the small­estM­car is BMW’s best

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Inside - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@cars­guide.com.au

It is the M1 in all but name and the best thing with aBMW badge. Cars­guide punts the uber-coupe over Italy’s famed Stelvio Pass

THE Stelvio Pass in the Ital­ian Alps sped to the top of the driv­ers’ bucket list a few years ago af­ter Bri­tain’s Top Gear crew judged it the best road in the world. Based on the bits shown on TV, Clark­son and co must have been in­hal­ing ex­haust fumes at the time.

Cars­guide re­traced the route in what is prob­a­bly the best four-seater yet built to tackle the lust-wor­thy drive, BMW’s new 1 Se­ries M. The stop-start shots be­tween hair­pins that Top Gear showed on TV look good in pic­tures but they aren’t the rea­son the Stelvio draws car and bike en­thu­si­asts from across Europe. To the north, the pass opens up into a phe­nom­e­nal flow­ing road with hum­blingly stun­ning scenery.

VALUE

This is the best bang-for-your- buck car ever to wear anM badge and the Bavar­ian maker’s re­fusal to call it an M1 in def­er­ence to the 1970s mi­dengined su­per­car won’t mat­ter a damn to any­one who drives it. A rose by any other name.

About $100,000 buys a twodoor coupe that out­per­forms the $55,000-dear­erBMWM3 in roll-on ac­cel­er­a­tion and is eas­ier to toss through turns than any coupe this side of a Lo­tus Ex­ige.

It is about $25,000 dearer

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