Of all the cars in BMW’s current lineup, the BMW M235i Gran Coupe might be the most controversial. That might all change with the introduction of the upcoming 4 Series and M3/M4, thanks to their massive grilles, but as it stands now it’s the 2er that frustrates fans the most. There are a few reasons why, including everything from its chassis layout to its design. So, naturally, I couldn’t wait to get my paws on it and give it a proper test drive to if the malice is warranted.
My test car for the week was an Alpine White BMW M235i Gran Coupe and I learned a lot during my week with it. Having previously driven it on both road and track, albeit briefly, I actually went into the test optimistic. Last I’d driven it, I was surprisingly happy with its playfulness on track and acceleration on road. So I figured that it would only continue to surprise me. Turns out, I was a bit wrong.
It’s not that the M235i is a bad car, because it isn’t, but it’s certainly not a proper BMW. When I last drove it, I said that it could be performance BMW, if you just opened up your mind to what a performance BMW could be. However, after driving it for a week and living with it, I felt less and less of its Bavarian DNA. Close your eyes and it doesn’t feel like the same brand that builds the 3 Series. In fact, close your eyes and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was any other high-performance front-wheel drive-based car.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some good things about the BMW M235i Gran Coupe. For starters, it’s fast as hell. Seriously. Its little 2.0 liter turbo-four gets it from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds and it feels every bit as quick as that. It makes cars flat-out disappear on highway on-ramps and dices through traffic like a scalpel. It’s also damped well and has a great interior.
Where the M Performance 2er falls down is in the way it makes you feel. It feels generic and very front-driven. It pulls itself through corners, with little of the back-end rotation you’re used to feeling in BMWs. That makes it sort of boring, even with all of that speed and performance.
It’s also far too expensive. My test car stickered at a surprisingly high $50,000, give or take a few hundred dollars. That’s a lot of cheddar for a front-wheel drive-based sedan whose base model is BMW’s cheapest car in America and it never felt that expensive, nor worth that sort of money.
All of this is in my video review, so give it a watch. The BMW M235i Gran Coupe isn’t a bad car, it’s just a flawed one and one that doesn’t feel in keeping with the rest of BMW’s lineup. However, if has good bones and, with tweaking, could be very good down the line. There’s potential in it but it’s not quite there yet.