Less than six months ahead of the market launch, BMW is ever so more confident that taking the 135i Coupe across the shore will be successful move.

When the first details of a U.S.-spec 1-series BMW emerged soon after the official launch of the gorgeous BMW 135i Coupe back in July, the 1-series was met with great enthusiasm in the U.S. Historically, the German Trio has been reluctant to offer its smallest models on the North American market. For instance, in 2005 Mercedes-Benz pulled back on the launch of its B-series and currently Audi only offers a four-door version of the A3, known to Europeans as the 'A3 Sportback.' But less than six months ahead of the market launch, BMW is ever so more confident that taking the 135i Coupe across the shore will be a successful move.

Falko Radomski, project manager for the BMW 1-series, is keen to point out that it's a promising moment to enter the U.S.-market as rising fuel prices are slowing down sales of gas-guzzlers. "We believe there is a change happening in this market. Increasing gasoline prices mean that customers are becoming more interested in fuel-efficient cars," Radomski says.

Although the 1-series is anticipated to be successful in the U.S., industry analysts argue that entering the North American market is a much needed move, in order to cover the $850 million to $1 billion development costs of the 1-series hatchback. Although BMW delivered 81,486 units of the three- and five-door models in the first eight months of 2007, profit margins are slim in the highly-competitive small car segment.

When production starts next spring, available are two petrol-powered models. The 128i will run on a 3.0 liter inline six, producing 230 hp, while its big brother, the twin-turbocharged 135i will get 306 hp. In the mean time check out the 1-series coupe configurator at BMW.de!

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BMW Hopeful for 1-Series Success in the U.S.