Cracker of a Coupe: The New 2014 BMW M235i Review
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The 2014 BMW M235i is a cracker of a coupe that represents the top of the 2 Series Coupe range. The result is a middle ground between the standard series models and the M Series. So how about it- Is this the sports car that does it all?
The first thing to note about this car is that BMW have stressed that it isn’t actually an M Series model, but rather an ‘M performance’ car that fills the gap between high spec standard models and the powerful M Series range. Think of this as the ‘M class light’. That being said, although the Coupe size, there is something about this model that is much more reminiscent of the raw, muscly feeling of the original M Series cars from the 80’s. Something that the super refined, highly engineered, ultra-teched M models of today can’t really claim anymore. However it still harnesses the benefits of modern technology to enhance its appeal further. Did I also mention that it’s a super sexy, explosively powered, hot handling, practicality abundant, deliciously priced bit of kit? No? Well… I guess I just did.
It definitely looks the part with beautiful M aerodynamic body styling, blade air intakes, twin chrome exhaust, M spoiler and M double spoke alloy wheels. Inside, you find yourself sitting in the perfectly positioned pilot-like sports seat with a comfy and high quality cabin. It’s a plush space to be in, but the biggest sensation you get out of it is that it is very driver focused. In general though, you’ll be in very familiar territory if you’re in any way familiar with BMW interiors. There are some nice little touches and lots of lovely M235i branding about the place to remind you what car you’re driving should you get a terrible attack of amnesia. The engineers have also been very selective when it came to buttons and switches, keeping only what’s necessary on display, while making everything else accessible through the class leading iDrive infotainment screen. Going into the back, you’ll actually find the rear seats to be more spacious and comfortable than you imagine a sporty coupe to allow, although the leg room could do with being a smidgeon more. When you open the boot, you’ll discover something quite unexpected – absolutely loads of cargo space! Here it actually holds more than a 5 door 1 Series Sports Hatch, a Ford Focus or a VW Golf family hatchback. It’s absolutely fantastic to see such good practicality in a sporty Coupe.
There’s something about driving this car that just feels right. When you turn it through corners, you have a distinct feeling of being in complete control. The perfect 50/50 weight distribution, optimized aerodynamics, long wheelbase, low centre of gravity and rear wheel drive setup provide the ideal ingredients for superior handling dynamics. Everything is incredibly well thought out and integrated. The clever Drive Performance Control system allows you to tweak all aspects of the drive such as steering, throttle response and stability control systems to whichever mode you select from Comfort, Eco Pro, Sports and Sports +. When you flip the switch up to sport mode, allows M Series enthusiasts to see the best this high functioning car has to give. Sports + enhances this by turning off various systems to give you a bit more of a ‘flying by the seat of your pants’ drive. That brings us to the driving performance. The 2014 BMW M235i sports a 3ltr 6 cylinder turbo charged engine which boasts 326bhp (that’s 1bhp more than a Porsche Cayman S for the record) rocketing off the line to 62mph in a supercar-like 5 seconds flat using manual transmission or just under if you’ve got an automatic. It tops out at an electronically limited 155mph, but if this was to be turned off it could reach 170mph easily. That’s one hell of a lot of power for such a small Coupe.
So all in all, what have we got here with 2014 BMW M235i? This is first and foremost- a driver’s car. Compact and reasonably light weight with explosive power and exceptional handling, all while retaining that pure old school driving feel. It doesn’t actually have any direct competitors as its performance is significantly higher than the likes of the Seat Leon Cupra, the Vauxhall VXR or the Renaultsport Megane; all of which might prove to be a tiny bit cheaper, but for what you get in the package of this truly phenomenal car… well the answer is easy isn’t it?