Dial M for performance: BMW’s killer new M235i

New 2-series range of M Performance cars are the epitome of driving pleasure

Make: BMW

Model: 2-Series

Year: 2014

Fuel: Petrol

Date Reviewed: January 21, 2014

Wed, Jan 22, 2014, 06:00


Increasing the digit on the first number has had a more profound change to the diminutive coupe, but it’s only for the better. On a relatively short spurt in the 326bhp star version of the new model, the only gripe was a rather harsher ride, but that’s largely down to the stiffer suspension settings in Sport mode on the M version.

There are a host of BMWs carrying the M moniker these days, and most of them feature little more than extra bodywork. In this instance the incredible M235i is an M Performance car rather than a fully-fledged M car, but this is nitpicking on BMW’s behalf. This car epitomises what M cars are all about: tight, nimble handling, an hypnotic engine note and an instantaneous throttle response.

The test car featured the optional eight-speed automatic transmission with Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus modes that make significant changes to the ride and handling characteristics of the car. As is the beauty of many sports models, the more you drive it the more confidence it instils in its ability to stick to its line.

In looks the new 2-Series range encapsulates the tight lines of the outgoing 1-Series coupe, but with a little more room. It’s 72mm longer overall and 32mm wider, giving the car a better stance on the road and a little more room inside.

The boot also gets a 20-litre upgrade to 390 litres. The beauty of the previous 1-Series was that it reflected the heritage of the legendary 2002 in its size and driving fun. This car matches that with bags of performance in the M235i version.

Of course, at €56,810 it will have a very limited appeal in Ireland, but you can’t help feeling that it’s a much better buy than many similarly priced coupes on the market. Some may be a little larger, a little more appealing in the status stakes, but it’s hard to think of any others in this price range that offers as much driving fun.

And for those who want the look but at a more realistic price, there is a 184bhp 220d version starting at €37,630 and a 184bhp 220i at €38,320.

While this car garners a four-star rating for now, that’s because of the relatively short time we spent in the car. In all likelihood this is a five-star car, epitomising what BMW means when it talks of “driving pleasure”.

Tight, nimble handling, bags of performance and seriously fun to drive.