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For BMW, Is 2 The New 3?

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On: Tue, Sep 8, 2015 at 7:46AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

For BMW, Is 2 The New 3?

BMW has been changing things up quite a bit in the last few years. They changed their model designations around and took away our two-door M3 and made and M4 out of it. We can still have a four-door M3, but it's not quite the same. But okay fine, Bimmer, the even number model series are coupes and the odd number ones are sedans. Got it. So now we have the 2-Series from BMW.  It's a two-door coupe that is plenty sporty and, specifically, the M235i is essentially what we remember the M3 of yesteryear being, and maybe even better. 

Using BMW's rock-solid 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six, the M235i puts down a matching 320 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque that gets the car going in a hurry. Channeling all that boost to the rear wheels (XDrive is available) is an eight-speed automatic transmission or an optional six-speed manual, and, with only 3,535 pounds to move around, the Bimmer moves out. It rockets to 60 mph in a bristling 4.6 seconds on its way to a quarter mile run of 13.1 seconds @ 107.8 mph. For those keeping score, that beats out the E46 M3, but still comes up short of the wickedly fast E90 M3. Braking for the M235i is equally impressive, stopping from 60mph in only 111.1 feet, while skidpad numbers are solid at 0.88g.

As with any BMW, price can be a bit of a thing. With a base price of $44,025 the M235i is no bargain, and then when you start adding all the usual Bimmer options like leather ($1,500), a cold weather package ($550), a premium package that includes auto-dimming mirror lights, keyless entry, satellite radio, and a garage-door opener ($2,150), or the driver-assistance package ($950), that bottom line starts to climb very steadily closer to that 50k mark.

Historically, the M235i reminds us a lot of the very brief 1-Series from several years ago. What the 1-Series M was is almost exactly what the M235i is now—a compact, powerful, agile introductory M car that isn't quite up to the level of the venerable M4, 5, or 6, but is quick enough to not get embarrassed by all but the fastest cars around. The 1-Series M was essentially an evolved E46 M3, and the M235i seems like an evolved 1-Series M. It's as if BMW has started another sub-lineage with these cars, and, quite honestly, we love it.

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