2014 BMW M235i

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.

2014 BMW 335i xDrive Gran Turismo

First let’s start with the price tag. This car was priced out to be $60,250. Thats a pretty penny for a 3 series. Thats getting into 5 series territory. There are two big things that this car did not have that I feel should be standard when buying a premium luxury car, especially at this price. The rear backup camera and blind spot alert systems are not found on this particular version, which I found to be very surprising, and a little insulted considering cars that cost half as much come with them. Perhaps on a regular 3 series sedan you could get away without these, but on this car and the enormous rump it has you pretty much need both of those features. Blind spots were pretty bad in this car, and trying to back out of parking spaces proved to be a challenge, especially at night. The rear visibility was nothing short of bad.

“The Ultimate Driving Machine” is a tagline that BMW has been using for over 30 years and has proven worthy of that name time and time again. While it may still be true for some of their cars, this particular model left me wondering if it fits the bill. It handled well, acceleration was good, ride comfort was nice, but I honestly didn’t feel like I was driving in an ultimate driving machine. When I hear that tagline it makes me want to drive whatever car it pertains to. It makes me think the car I’ll be driving will be giving me great feedback, not to just my senses, but to my soul. This is where this BMW falls short.

To me the steering felt particularly numb, and had some play from dead on center. Not very characteristic of an ultimate driving machine. I didn’t feel connected to the road whatsoever, or to the car really at all. It was a comfortable ride, and sure, it would handle nicely around turns, but it didn’t give me anything to be excited over. If you go by the speedometer, the acceleration was plenty fast, but measured by the good old butt dyno, and it just didn’t feel as quick as the speedo says, which was a little disappointing.

I’ll admit that it is a good car, and most people will enjoy it for whatever purpose it serves, although these GT cars have me confused as to the demographic they are targeting. Its half wagon/half hatchback, and full ugly, I personally would rather have a proper wagon to get the full use of the boot, as well as get rid of some of the hatch’s blind spots. Although, since it does have that weird hatchback style, it has a pretty cool aerodynamic wing that engages automatically above 70mph, or if you just like having it up, there’s a button for that.


Now, it could be that the added weight to the 3 series chassis is causing all the numbness and lack of excitement, but that still doesn’t excuse it from being an Ultimate Driving Machine. It is more along the lines of an adequate driving machine. It’s got all the comforts of a BMW, but lacks the spirit and soul you expect.

P.S. Sorry for the bad photos, weather did not cooperate…..