BMW has long been known for building the “Ultimate Driving Machine,” but now a division of the Munich-based automaker is taking “Ultimate” in an entirely new direction, designing what may be the pinnacle of computer gaming mice.

We didn’t know there was a market for such a product either, but apparently the world of  professional computer gaming has grown lucrative for top contenders. Sponsors like Nike and Pepsi-Cola help ensure that the top gamers earn winnings of up to $250,000 per year, justifying the 6 to 10 hours per day spent in training.

That kind of income requires investing in equipment, too, making the gaming mouse as important as the proper shoe, glove, helmet or bat is to other sports. In fact, one industry insider calls the mouse, “an extension of the player’s soul.”

Enter the Thermaltake Level 10 M electronic gaming mouse, designed by BMW’s DesignworksUSA in cooperation with computer hardware and accessory manufacturer Thermaltake. One look is all it takes to realize that this isn’t your ordinary Microsoft mouse replacement.

The height-adjustable hand rest, for example, seems to float above the aluminum-alloy base. The sides are open and the top is vented for comfort, and no less than seven keys can be custom-programmed for a specific function with a game. As you’d expect, the mouse’s 3D steering axis allows for maximum precision of movement.

As for pricing, the Thermaltake Level 10 M is less expensive than you might think. With an expected retail price in the $99 range, it’s no more costly than a decent pair of cross-trainers.  In fact, unless you’re already running a sub-four-minute mile, the mouse may be a better investment in your future. There’s serious prize money to be had in computer gaming, after all.