BMWBLOG just returned from the U.S. press launch at the Monticello race track where we had the unique opportunity to get behind the wheel of one of the most hyped BMWs this year, the new 2011 1 Series M Coupe.

Our own Hugo Becker spent some time with an Alpine White 1M, both on track and back roads and will have a full review for us shortly. In the mean time, we are giving the 1M ultimate photo gallery along with a few short driving impressions that will lead into our full test drive report.

“Much like the difference between the E46 330i ZHP and the E46 M3, the 1M is just that much sharper than the 135i. The use of so much of the competition parts from the M3 on the 1M means that this is scalpel rather than a Bowie knife. But unlike the naturally aspirated M motors of yore, the N54 delivers so much instant torque that you launch off corners like a pro stock drag car. Incredible thrust.

Is it a real M car? Well the M engineers didn’t spend a couple of years on this twiddling their thumbs. It is a superb track day menace with enough civility to convince the significant other that it’s doable.”

More driving impressions coming up…