Prices, specs and rivals
BMW M235i pricing begins at £34,535 with the manual transmission. That maintains the M135i's reputation as a great value performance car – you'll struggle to find a car with better performance potential for similar money, with the 235i's closest rivals from Audi and Mercedes-Benz costing significantly more.
In reality, the M235i doesn't have direct rivals from those two German brands - both Audi and Mercedes' equivalent offerings are available only as hatchbacks or four-door saloons, and both RS3 and A45 (or CLA 45) AMGs are all-wheel drive.
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Read our Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG review here
A left-field option is Porsche's Cayman. Just under £40,000 secures a Cayman 2.7. It's a little slower to 62mph at 5.7sec for the manual, but its sleek shape and Porsche's disinterest in the usual 155mph speed limiter adopted by German marques ensures a 165mph top speed is within reach. With a naturally-aspirated flat-six it doesn't have the instant urge of the BMW and its gearing is yawningly long, but no other coupe currently touches the Cayman for driver feedback.
The M235i Convertible is a little more expensive than the coupe at £37,710 for the manual and £39,255 for the sport auto transmission variant.
The BMW M2 is a big step up over the M235i, but it's also nearly £10,000 more, at £44,070. If you can afford the outlay, it's a fantastic car, receiving the full five stars in our review. The powertrain, chassis and dynamics are simply more exciting and more engaging. It's also quick, very quick. You can see just how fast in our drag battle video against a Ford Mustang here.