Car and Driver’s 2015 10Best Cars: BMW M235i

2 Series | November 30th, 2014 by 3
BMW M235i 2002tii 12 750x500

One BMW made its way onto the annual 10Best Cars list by Car and Driver. The BMW M235i was included on the selective list along …

One BMW made its way onto the annual 10Best Cars list by Car and Driver. The BMW M235i was included on the selective list along with the Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Ford Mustang GT, Honda Accord, Mazda 3, Mazda 6, Porsche Boxter/Cayman, Tesla Model S 60 and VW Golf GTI.

BMW M235i Coupe went on sale this summer as the first M Performance Automobile to come to the U.S. and has a base price of $43,1000.

Here is what C&D says about the car:

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The M235i is within an inch and a half of the 2003 M3 in almost every exterior dimension. The M235i carries an inline six-cylinder engine pushing out 320 horsepower, compared with the M3’s 333. Of course, the new car uses a turbocharger to maximize horsepower, where the old engine used stratospheric revs to achieve its numbers. The M235i wears staggered tires on its 18-inch wheels, just like the old M3’s standard setup. When both are equipped with six-speed manual transmissions, the M235i trails the M3 to 60 mph by a tenth of a second (4.9 seconds to 4.8) but is two-tenths quicker through the quarter-mile (13.4 seconds to 13.6). Because automatic transmissions have improved so much over the last decade or so, the M235i with its eight-speed automatic sprints to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and covers the quarter in 12.9. The M235i also stops shorter and corners harder than the old M car; tire technology has also advanced.

As its convoluted name implies, the M235i is neither a fully aggro M car nor just a day-to-day standard sports coupe. Its character is in between the two. And that’s . . . well, that’s perfect. The M235i is easy to drive slowly and rewarding to drive quickly. It is, in fact, just about everything we want a modern 3-series to be: quick, confident, and sexy, with decent fuel economy, a close-coupled cockpit, and an eagerness to romp that’s been suppressed in the current 3. And like BMWs of old, the tall greenhouse allows for excellent outward visibility. The car is a manifestation of nostalgic impulses.

The M235i proves that BMW still has the code to driving excellence. This makes us both relieved and slightly annoyed that it’s not used on a broader range of the company’s products. The M235i might be a throwback, but it’s also a decidedly positive step up the evolutionary ladder. Long live the tail.

BMW M235i Coupe specifications

  • Six-cylinder in-line gasoline engine with M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology (twin-scroll turbocharger, High Precision Direct Injection, Valvetronic variable valve timing, Double-Vanos)
  • Capacity: 2,979 cc
  • Output: 315 hp at 5,800 – 6,000 rpm
  • Max. torque 332 lb-ft at 1,300 – 4,500 rpm
  • Acceleration [0 – 60 mph]: 4.8 seconds with 8-speed sport automatic transmission
  • Top speed: 250 km/h / 155 mph
  • Preliminary EPA Mileage Estimates (mpg) – 22 city/32 highway/25 combined for the 8-speed sport automatic. 19 city/28 highway/22 combined for the 6-speed manual

Length: 4,432 millimeters / 174.4 in

Width 1,774 millimeters / 69.8 in

Height: 1,418 millimeters / 55.2 in

Wheelbase: 2,690 millimeters / 105.9 in

Front Track: 1,521 millimeters / 59.8 in

Rear Track: 1,556 millimeters / 61.2 in

Trunk Capacity: 390 liters