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BMW M235i vs. Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG vs. Subaru WRX STI

2 Series | March 21st, 2014 by 1
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MotorTrend compares the new BMW M235i against the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG and Subaru WRX STI. Let’s start with the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG. The high-selling four-door …

MotorTrend compares the new BMW M235i against the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG and Subaru WRX STI.

Let’s start with the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG. The high-selling four-door coupe is powered by a 2.0 liter four-cylinder pumping out an impressive 355 hp and 332 ft-lbs of torque. 0-60 time is just 4.5 seconds. This motor is rated at 178 hp per liter and Mercedes states that this is the most powerful four-cylinder production engine.

Subaru WRX STI comes with a 2.5 liter turbocharged flat-4 producing 305 hp at 6000 rpm and 290 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm. It takes 4.6 seconds to run from 0 to 60 mph.

BMW M235i vs. Mercedes Benz CLA45 AMG vs. Subaru WRX STI

Last but not least, the BMW M235i, latest addition to the M Performance Automobiles family, which uses a 3.0 liter turbocharged six-inline producing 322 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. The M235i is capable of 0-60 in 4.8 seconds when optioned with the 8-speed sport automatic, even though MotorTrend reports 4.4 seconds.

Here is an excerpt from their review:

Comprehending the M’s character took little effort when hustling among the canyons: a few degrees tilt of the thick helm, a stab of the attentive throttle, one snappy downshift from the eight-speed automatic. Everything’s tuned for dynamism. You feel it. You hear it. The rear 245/35R18 Michelin Pilot SuperSports dug in feverishly, tidily converting the 3.0-liter inline-six’s 330 lb-ft into a smooth surge. The M235i meticulously sliced through the bends, with variable steering that served up an ideal weightiness, albeit with little tactility. “This is a solid-driving car,” Lago opined. “Good fundamentals: powerful engine, rear drive. It’s the basics.”

The M put down numbers that would make an extinct 335-horse 1 Series M nervous. Sixty mph came in just 4.4 seconds (the 1M did it in 4.2), and the quarter mile in 13.0 seconds at 106.6 mph (the 1M did 12.8 seconds at 110.2 mph). It ran our figure eight in 24.9 seconds at an average 0.78 g — the 1M did it in 24.7 seconds at an average 0.81 g. The two posted identical lateral acceleration of 0.97 g. Among its two rivals, the M235i was a mid-packer, equaling the STI’s and CLA’s skidpad performances and barely edging out the STI in acceleration. Its brake pedal took some getting used to (too mushy when charging at 10/10ths), but fade was never an issue and its 60-0 braking was the group’s best at 103 feet. We had mixed feelings about its real-world ride quality. “I think it has the worst ride of this group,” said Lieberman. “It’s sprung softer than the STI and AMG, but it just doesn’t eat up bumps as well. Too many secondary motions.”

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