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2014 BMW M235i Coupe: Detroit Auto Show

author photo by Josh Sadlier January 2014

What Is It?

Debuting at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show alongside the 228i coupe, the 2014 BMW M235i is the outlaw of the redesigned 2 Series family. Thanks to a twin-scroll turbocharger, its 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder serves up 322 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, which is good for a 0-to-60 miles per hour sprint of just 4.8 seconds with the 8-speed automatic (5.0 seconds with the optional 6-speed manual). But straight-line acceleration is just the beginning. As the heir to the outgoing 135is model's throne, the M235i packs maximum performance into the pint-sized 2 Series platform, including numerous handling enhancements that should make it a force to contend with on the track. 

Compared to the 4-cylinder 228i, the 2014 BMW M235i adds an exterior body kit, 18-inch M wheels (19s are available) with wider rear tires, variable-ratio sport steering, an M Sport braking system, an adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers, sport seats and an exclusive instrument cluster. Additionally, an M Performance mechanical limited-slip differential will be offered as an accessory, making the M235i a drift fanatic's dream. Although the M235i is much more expensive than the old 135i, its track-ready hardware makes it more comparable to the 135is, which was only $475 less in 2013. 

Like the 228i, the M235i puts the 1 Series' interior cost-cutting measures in its rearview, featuring upgraded materials fully worthy of the BMW badge. Rear-seat space has also improved, rendering the larger 2 Series a viable alternative to the pricier, heavier 4 Series. The formerly optional iDrive infotainment system is now standard, though if you don't like the entry-level 6.5-in screen, the 8.8-in widescreen is available only with the optional navigation system. As with the 228i, other technology features include a self-parking system and full smartphone integration with Facebook and Twitter compatibility. 

How Much?

The M235i will start at $44,950, with options expected to punt it past the $50,000 threshold. 

When Can You Get It?

First quarter 2014 

Add It to Your Shopping List Because...

You like the idea of M3-grade performance without the M3 price tag. The 2014 BMW M235i has the added advantage of compact dimensions, which make it feel more nimble -- and thus more exploitable -- on tight roads. 

Other Cars to Consider

Audi S3 -- The high-performance version of the A3 sedan isn't quite as wild as the M235i, but it may be more refined.

Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG -- The 355-hp CLA 45 delivers truly bonkers acceleration if that's what you're after, though its front-wheel-drive chassis makes it less capable for experienced drivers. 

Volkswagen GTI-- The 2015 GTI is fast enough to make M235i shoppers think twice, particularly with its superior hatchback versatility at barely half the price. Check out the higher-performance Golf R, as well. 

Used BMW 135i -- A certified pre-owned 135i (or 135is, if you can find one) provides largely the same performance at a big discount.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2014 BMW M235i Coupe: Detroit Auto Show - Autotrader