BMW has long considered themselves as the Ultimate Driving Machine, and they have a ton of support from their loyal drivers, enthusiasts, and journalists. More recently however, it seems that they have taken up more of a stance of “Let’s see how much we can get our customers to pay for our ‘Ultimate Driving Machines.’” Having not driven a ton of BMW’s before, and of course seeing the normal BMW drivers mentality on the road, I have always often wondered why these drivers act like they own the road, and the 2014 BMW M235i has given me somewhat of an answer.
It’s very fun; quick; handles great; ride is comfortable when you want it to be; suspension feels really well sorted; one of the best BMWs of recent that I’ve driven; pricey at $46,575, but comes with no NAV, back-up camera, or blind spot detection; engine sounds nice when in sport mode, but starts to drone at highway speeds, engine sound pumping through speakers gets annoying, comfort mode is much better to live with while cruising; for most fun keep it in sport and transmission in sport mode; shifts are very quick for an automatic, one of the best ones I’ve driven, even better than CLA45′s dual clutch, shifts seem faster too; worried about the durability of the automatic though, seems that if you push the car hard for an extended period of time, it will eventually have problems, still wish this one had a manual, but its a no-cost option, which makes me feel like you should be given an extra set of rims if you choose that, I remember when the automatic was a $1500 option, now its standard, give me back my manual and option of an automatic, i’ll gladly take that $1500 back; seats are very comfortable; no non-sense interior, aside from iDrive, which is a lot better than older generations, but still a little cumbersome until you’re used to it; some neat features like cruise control indicators, if shifter is in manual mode and you press park button, it moves it over automatically; lots of M badges; now I understand why BMW drivers get such a bad rap about driving aggressively and not using turn signals, this car makes you feel you can drive aggressively due to the confidence and handling it provides, and the turn signal stalks are annoying to use, press it all the way down and it stays on, but it moves back up, so sometimes you end up clicking it the opposite way to turn it off, making you look like a jackass; after a week of rain, I still couldn’t figure out how to get the intermittent wipers to work, it was either fast, faster, automatic(which sometimes didn’t want to come on until you’re literally blinded by rain), or manual, I ended up preferring manual; is it a true M car, no, but its pretty good for what it is, definitely at the top of my most fun cars list.
Expensive price tag; around 27mpg; ride is comfortable and compliant; steering is completely numb, feels like nothing at low speed situations, tightens up at higher speeds, don’t mind that, but the lack of feeling is unsettling; wanders a little on highway at speed; wouldn’t think 170hp in this size vehicle would be enough, but it does surprisingly well accelerating at highway speeds, getting onto the highway from standstill is a different story; still don’t like cvt’s, but it helps keep rpms low, even at higher speeds(less than 3000rpm at 80mph); seats are comfortable, but wish it had a tiny bit more lateral support; gauges are nice and elegant looking; wish the center lcd would display speed though; interior is very nice for a vehicle in this class, soft touches; quality materials, don’t like the fake carbon fiber plastic though, and the steering wheel could use a little more girth; sun visors so big they flop down and dont stay all the way up; looks much, much better than previous generation, less frumpy and more aggressive; miss when Nissan’s had soul, hard to find in today’s Nissan’s.
Ride is nice and comfortable, especially on dirt trails; can feel the extra weight of the battery in the back, going over bumps mid-turn will bump the rear out a tiny bit, which you can feel especially on wet roads; engine restart is rough, first time it did it I though I was hit from behind; not worth it over the regular, non-hybrid version, doesn’t get much better fuel mileage, I averaged around 30mpg, which isn’t great for a hybrid; overall it’s a good first effort by Subaru for a hybrid, they just need to work out some kinks, get some better MPG’s and keep the capabilities, and they’ll surely have a winner on their hands; could be a perfect fit for those outdoorsy Subaru fans who want to help save the Earth.
Terrible; brakes are really bad, at least an inch until you feel any stopping, sometimes scared if the car was actually going to stop, no pedal feel; steering numb, return to center was not good, all over the road, going over bumps induced hopping while steering; feel the car lean in turns; when going over wavy bumps the car strangely will pull to one side or the other, almost like the suspension travel couldn’t handle it; ride was somewhat comfortable given its short wheelbase; 3-cylinder engine is bad, shakes noticeably at a standstill, noisy, feels like you’re torturing it when trying to accelerate, when trying to accelerate it feels like its slowly losing a battle against drag and friction; at highway speeds and getting onto highways you need to plan how you’re going to get up to speed; plastic everywhere; dash was so plasticky and shiny the glare from the sun was very bright; for such a small car visibility wasn’t great, giant blind spot in rear 3/4; ugly; push button start and keyless entry!?!?, tacky looking keyless entry button, only on driver and trunk, keyhole access on passenger side.