2014 BMW M235i: Around The Block

#BMW, #M

The question of what is an M car is one that vexes BMW fetishists. For a long time, the answer was simple: The M3 and M5 were M cars. They were soup-to-nuts high-performance specials, created by BMW’s go-faster M division. Then things got murky, with M versions of SUVs, look-faster M Sport trim packages, and go-somewhat-faster M Performance models.

The 2014 BMW M235i is technically an example of the latter, but take a turn behind the wheel and the hairsplitting between what is and isn’t an M car quickly disappears. The 2014 BMW M235i drives like an M car, through and through.

The 2014 BMW M235i is much more than merely the six-cylinder version of the new 2 Series coupe. Besides BMW’s familiar 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six -- here making an extra-spicy 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque -- the M235i includes M adaptive suspension, M sport brakes, variable sport steering, and ultra-sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. Just as important, the M235i exhibits the kind of focus that is too often missing from modern BMWs that try to please an ever-wider audience.

Yes, BMW’s drive mode selector is present, but the difference between the default Comfort mode and Sport is thankfully quite narrow -- good thing since the car returns to Comfort mode with each engine start. No matter the mode, the 2014 BMW M235i turns like an M car, with meaty, direct, responsive steering. It handles like an M car, its body motions tightly coiled (although suffering a bit too much rebound), its turn-in energetic, and its cornering secure but with rear-wheel-drive attitude available to the brave. It also goes like an M car. BMW’s advertised 4.8-second 0-60 time -- with the eight-speed automatic -- seems awfully conservative the first time you boot the throttle of the sweet-sounding, free-revving six and experience the instantaneous sling-shot acceleration. (A six-speed stick adds a couple tenths to that 0-60 time as the cost of its extra purity.)

The only downside, really, is that the M235i is also priced like an M car. The base sticker of the 2014 BMW M235i is $44,025, and my test example topped the $50,000 mark. At that price, one might wonder: Why not just get a 435i (for $47,050)? But the 435i isn’t just larger, it’s a very different car -- more relaxed, more comfortable, more luxurious. The M235i may be expensive for a small BMW, but it’s something more -- a highly focused, high-performance driving machine. And besides, when were M cars ever cheap?

2014 BMW M235i Specifications

Base price $44,025 (with destination)
Price as tested $50,675
Engine 3.0L I-6 turbo
Power 320 hp
Torque 330 lb-ft
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Drive Rear-wheel
Fuel economy 22/32 mpg (city/highway)
Marc Hamady
No. A real M car should at least come with a V8
John Engelman
NO!....and it's fugly!
hans wee
435 is not "cheaper".   if you spec a 435 with dynamic handling package,  m sport brakes,  m-sport package to make it the same as a base m235i has standard,  the price is $7500 more.  and you still have a 20hp deficit (which you can make up for with the mppk add on package which is... another $1500).
so potentially $9000 more for a barely larger car,  that weighs more.   no thanks.  m235i is actually quite a good value.
The M235 is an awesome drive.  I suspect that most of you negative posters have not driven one. All those suspension, steering and braking goodies can be added to the 228 by opting for the "Track Pack", a $1,600 option available with the 228 Msport or 228 Sport, or $2,200 if you are adding it to the base car. 
Ivan Stanojkovski
This one's mine from a video game.
Ivan Stanojkovski
Nah I like the 135i more.
Francis Jeigger Asarez
Chinese imitation version
Brian Belmont Ckd
Hot car love it
Derrick Mankaruse
Brian Boland
Pedro Peñafiel
You can answer that for yourself.
Derry Prakash
drift ad for this m235i awesome
Lukáš Gruny
Zach Folken
Absolutely is a M
Mattso Samsonite
Its a sum of parts car caught in //M purgatory like ZHP and M635CSi
Robert May
Craig Stishenko
No coolant temp boggles my mind. This car seems like it has M badging for sales purposes only.
Robert May
First off, there will most likely be an "M2". The M3/M4 running gear fits in the 2 series. There's no oil temperature gauge and no coolant temperature gauge. You'll find both of those in a real M car. The M235i also doesn't have the markings around the rev counter to tell you when you can redline it after the engine has been warmed up. A limited slip differential is a $2500 option. Why? This car is along the lines of Audi with its "S-Line"....vamped up regular models positioned lower than true S cars (and to a bigger extent RS cars, even though we don't get RS's here in America.) And lastly, the M235i wasn't developed by the M division.
Lee Klein
Seems so.
Lee Klein
Why not?
Robert May
No, it's not a real M car.
James Brooks
It gets my vote to the point of wanting one
Joshua Pinkston
Pete Fischer
Ross Mazin
id say it is
Cabrera Luis
There was an M535i in 1979 so the number on the rear doesn't matter. The addition of the turbos and the slushbox does.

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