The BMW M235. Automotive journalists seem to love this car. It ranks highly in every road test or comparison test. I think Consumer Reports rated it as the best new car you can buy. I've test driven it a few times and scratch my head.
People say is faster than the old E92 M3 and maybe it is, but the joy of driving it is gone. It is a stellar performer. On my last test drive, triple digit speeds were no problem. It handled well, the brakes work well and the auto tranny is great to shift in manual mode. For me, the car did everything too well, but there was no sense of purpose or drama. I love to drive and want a visceral experience every time I'm behind the wheel. While the car is fast and comfortable (The inflatable seat bolsters are a nice touch), it lacks mojo. The engine is too smooth. I want to FEEL THE POWER, but haven't been able to. Honestly, I think the BMW 228 has better power delivery, it just needs more power/ torque. The problem with that car is the small power band. It feels great between 4000-6300 RPM, but feels flat everywhere else in the powerband. Meanwhile, it's better reviewed brother has more power, is faster, but feels less alive. I haven't driven the M2 yet so I can't compare. If BMW made a high-pressure, turbo four cylinder 2 series, that might be better.
As for features- BMW makes one of the best built in nav systems there is. The H&K stereo is just OK. Its not super hi-fi in this BMW. I was able to fit 2 short adults in the backseat without them complaining.
Overall, if you want to go fast and aren't a driving enthusiast I'd say to get the car. If you're a driving enthusiast like me, where speed is good but dynamics are key, I'd skip the car. I think the 228 is the better car and is cheaper then the M235. The slogan is The Ultimate Driving Machine, but ultimately, the M235i was a letdown. It was fast, smooth and comfortable, but it lacked the undefinable quality which is driving pleasure.
Fast car not quite as sporty unless driven in sport mode then much more impressive. Do not like that tires are not runflat and there is no spare.
Still flawless performer. 12k miles lots of fun. Only concern is tires.
I have owned the car for about a month so far. Love it in sport plus with the DSC off. I have had the car sideways a few times and it is fun. The late lock-up of the active differential does sometimes catch me off guard and I have to struggle to keep it under control or can spin out. The car is capable an a hoot to drive with acceleration that will keep you scanning down the road a ways as it gobbles up the pavement. My modified 2007 Scion tC is fun to drive, but this car is the definition of ultimate driving. The title of this review came from the car, the center display actually displayed that message on one of my sideways excursions. Kudos to BMW on bringing driving back.
The car is a great toy for the mid life crisis male without kids to haul around anymore. Great performance without being too flashy, very practical for the day to day use, can be both a regular commute car and the car to have fun with. Hits the sweet spot for me of practicality, comfort and features, power, convenience and fuel economy. I have the manual RWD option, and the car is surprisingly well balanced and stable. All the electronic nannies manage to keep the car jumpy enough to give you good thrills without really putting you in dangerous situations. Want more fun, just disable most nannies and engage the sports driving mode with a couple of button pushes. Want a comfortable commute, just set it in eco pro mode, with a smooth suspension and more sedate engine configuration. The summer tires are an absolute blast to drive on and I got a set of studless winter tires for the cold weather, which worked remarkably well in snow and ice. I was a bit worried about a RWD car this powerful in the snow, but winter tires work wonders, handle better than an AWD with all seasons. Love this car, and got a really good deal purchased late in the year.