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BMW M235i review
The M235i Coupe is one of the high points of the entire BMW range. It isn’t billed as a full M-car – instead, it’s part of BMW’s new M Performance range, which is intended to be a gateway between the high-performance cars and the standard models.
Nonetheless, the M235i is a compelling mix of dynamic ability, performance and affordability, with the styling to go with it. The chassis is agile and well balanced, with all the rear-wheel drive adjustability that you’d expect of a performance BMW. The turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine is strong and responsive, while both gearbox options – six-speed manual and eight-speed torque converter auto – work effectively and suit the car well
By the time a few boxes have been ticked on the options list the price of an M235i creeps up to £40,000, which puts it in direct competition with the brilliant Porsche Cayman. The BMW might lack that car’s outright dynamic brilliance, but it does offer the extra practicality of rear seats.
The Convertible version may hold a certain appeal, but with much more weight to shift and a more flexible body shell it’s also significantly less enjoyable to drive on the limit.
The most enthusiastic drivers should consider specifying the optional limited-slip differential. It may add around £1500, but the gain in traction and adjustability under power make it worth the money.
The automatic gearbox (£1685) works cleanly and quickly, but we’d save a chunk of cash and stick with the manual, which is just more satisfying in a sporting car like the M235i.
BMW M235i video
‘The M235i is a very sweetly balanced car with none of the traction issues that hamper the more powerful M3 and M4. Like many modern BMWs it does lack a degree of body control over an undulating road, but that’s really the only criticism we could make of the chassis.
‘There is untapped potential in this car – the forthcoming M2 should be even quicker and sharper to drive – but the M235i is a very appealing car and offers good value for money, too.’ Dan Prosser, road test editor.