The 1-series, as sold in the U.S., will come only in coupe form, but will have the option of two different six-cylinder engines. The base 128i model will have 230hp, while the 135i will share a motor with the 335i boasting a conservatively-specified 300hp. Expect 0-60mph to come in 5.1s in the 135i, and 6.1s in the 128i. Aimed at a younger demographic, BMW is mum on projected sales volume, but expects the 1-series to play a "big role" in the U.S.

The most ground-breaking statistic, however, is not the performance, but the price: the base 128i will start under $30,000, with the hotted-up 135i starting in the mid-$30,000s, reports Automotive News. BMW assures us that the 1-series will be on par with the quality of the 3- and 5-series as well - no cost-cutting here. Compare this with Lexus' statement that breaking below the $30,000 mark is not an option.

As Mercedes has gone down-market with its U.S. offerings and budget-oriented marques like Mazda are offering serious sports cars at cut-rate prices, BMW is finally yielding to pressure to break the $30,000 psychological barrier. One thing it's impossible to argue with: BMW quality for sub-Lexus price. The U.S. sport-luxury market just got a lot more interesting.