This truly is the Golden Age for performance cars. Back in the 1980s, the Ferrari 512 TR could do the 0-60 mph sprint in 5.2 seconds. That was very quick, indeed, by the standards of the time but it took a 4.9 liter Flat-12 engine with 390 horsepower to do so. Today, much less engine is needed to do such a quick sprint to 60 mph, and engines that can do so return far better fuel economy. It seems, at least compared to days past, that we’re having our cake and eating it too.

The Underrated BMW

Car and Driver just tested a BMW 228i xDrive Coupe. If you aren’t familiar, the 228i xDrive is a two-door coupe with four seats, all-wheel drive and a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood, making 240 horsepower and getting 35 mpg on the highway. Compared to the Ferrari 512 TR, that sounds positively puny. Until you take a look at the performance figures, that is. The 228i xDrive nailed 60 mph in 5 seconds flat, or faster than the 512 TR. That’s right, a tiny, little coupe which can seat four, achieve over 30 mpg, tackle bad weather and has an automatic gearbox is faster than an ‘80s Ferrari.

Does that mean the 228i xDrive is more fun to drive than a Ferrari 512 TR? No, it doesn’t and it probably isn’t. I’ve never driven a 512TR, but I’ve driven other Ferraris and can only imagine what an old school one with a gated 5-speed manual is like. However, the 228i is no snooze-machine either, and isn’t the penalty box over rough pavement that the Ferrari is. The 228i also has reliable air-con, power windows, won’t overheat and is available with such amenities as heated seats and satellite navigation. So while the Ferrari is going to be more of a pure sports car to drive, the 228i is a better everyday driver while still being fun.

This may seem like an odd choice of cars to compare, but it’s less of a comparison and more of a showcase of how great the 228i really is. Its older brother, the M235i seems to get all of the attention. Hell, in the aforementioned C&D article, the biggest negative comment was that the 228i wasn’t the M235i. The 228i seems like the redheaded stepchild of the BMW lineup. It’s a shame, though, that it’s so overlooked because it really is a great car and great value. The aforementioned Ferrari could cost upwards of $200,000 when new in the 1980’s. However, the starting price of a 228i is $32,100 and it’s faster. Talk about bang for your buck.

Get the RWD BMW 228i Though

Not many other cars in its price range can hit 60 mph in 5 seconds. And, if you get the BMW 228i in its lighter rear-wheel drive form, it can do it in 4.9. A four-cylinder that can do 0-60 in under 5 seconds is impressive, especially considering its economy as well. Combine that Old Ferrari-beating performance with its fuel economy, comfort, practicality and price and the 228i seems like a real winner. So please people, give the little brother 2er some attention, because it really is very good.