By on June 30, 2014

BMW M235i HR 04

BMW’s M235i has earned the highest marks ever bestowed upon the German automaker’s lineup from Consumer Reports, while also besting the Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette in road tests whose results were recently released online.

Bloomberg reports the coupe earned a 98 out of 100 in its road test, falling one point short of the all-time leaders, the Tesla Model S and Lexus LS460L. The 911 and Corvette, packing more firepower with less comfort than the M235i, earned 95 and 92 out of 100 in their respective road tests.

Deputy editor Jon Linkov proclaimed the M235i a “dual-purpose car” that anyone “could drive to work every day of the week” without leaving the driver in pain, followed by a weekend at the track taking on the likes of the 911 and Corvette. He added that this particular BMW “has almost a direct lineage” to BMWs of the past that lived up to the marketing of “Ultimate Driving Machine.”

Neither of the trio were recommended by the publication, however, as the BMW and the Corvette were too new for reliability reports, while the 911 has below average reliability according to those surveyed.

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33 Comments on “BMW M235i Bests Corvette, 911 In Consumer Reports Road Testing...”

  • avatar

    This car taking on a C7 or 911 at the track? My sides are sore from laughing…..

    • 0 avatar

      I’d have a confidence issue with the C7. After you get your insufficiently welded suspension fixed, you have to wonder what’s next. You don’t want to be the discoverer of the next issue while pushing you car hard into a turn.

    • 0 avatar

      I trust CR’s car reviews as much as TTAC’s toaster reviews.

      • 0 avatar

        I never understood the people that talk smack about Consumer Reports. They buy their cars independently and anonymously, they don’t go on nice paid press junkets to Italy and other nice places and have a large staff with huge testing facilities including a track. Do you have access to the stuff they have? You trust the opinion of the guy that was flown to France and put up in a 4 star hotel by the company of the car he is reviewing and drives it a handful of times for a few days or a week but somehow the guys that own the cars and drive them for months and test the living crap out of them are somehow not reputable?

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t trust either one of them. I am perfectly capable of making up my own mind about a vehicle. In general, what Consumer Reports looks for in a car is not what I look for in a car. Though in this case, we seem to be oddly in-sync, since a 2-series (probably a Track Package 228i) will be my next new car purchase. But I certainly did not need CR to validate that.

          And certainly comparing an M235i to Corvettes and 911s is a bit silly.

      • 0 avatar

        I trust CR’s reviews. I understand from the beginning that their metrics don’t exactly align with mine, but they’re a great resource. I’ll put more faith in CR’s long-term reliability reporting than JD Power’s “Initial Quality” survey.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    But what about the steering feel?

    But seriously, it looks like a great car, destined to be abused by designated contemptible social groups on a freeway near you, soon.

  • avatar

    When I subscribed to CR they seemed to value proven reliability above all else. So, if it wasn’t a Toyota or Honda, it was pretty much never recommended regardless of what other merits the car had. Looks like this is the case here. Maybe things have changed in the past couple of years?

    I also got tired of the political rant the editor in chief had at the start of every issue. Just couldn’t get past seeing his face at the top of the column staring at me with those Wee Beady Eyes!

    • 0 avatar

      People don’t read CR’s rankings. This bothers me: people make comments about cupholders and carseats and bias without actually looking at how CR ranks cars.

      First off, it’s ranking/s/. With an “s”. Plural.

      CR has two lists: performance and reliability. You can be top of the former (like the 235i is) and/or top of the latter (like, say, the Toyota Yaris).

      Both these roll up into a “Recommended” list.

      To get “Recommended” status, the car has to perform well, be safe in a crash, and be reasonably reliable (and, of of PedalGate, not have any outstanding safety recalls). It also can’t be too “new”, unless there’s a strong record of past-model reliability at launch.

      This is why the Yaris and Insight aren’t recommended: they’re rock-reliable, but also pretty poor cars. The 235i isn’t recommended because it’s too new. The 911 (as well as a BRX/FT-86) aren’t recommended because their reliability is below-par, despite all three performing very well.

      • 0 avatar

        Though my understanding is that ratings are based on self-reporting by CR members. Self reporting by a self selected population set is pretty much a recipe for error.

        Apparently (again, from what I’ve read), even the categories of problems (severe, etc) are not plainly defined–so whether severe meant dangerous, expensive, or simply annoying is not consistent)

        • 0 avatar

          ^ This. The 2013 Accord V6s as “Not Recommended” and getting the dreaded black dot, IIRC, simply because the touch-screen stereo was half-baked, and which is found in all V6 models. The available and widely-known software update should have fixed it.

  • avatar

    I suspect the main criteria used my CR, was how easy it was to install a child seat. And the winner is…..

  • avatar

    CR really liked the 135i (and honestly, so did I, so I can see their point) so this isn’t a surprise. From what I’ve read—I haven’t driven the car—the 2-Series is one car that BMW didn’t screw up. At all.

    They liked the RX-8 a lot, too.

    If they have a fault, it’s that they tend to lump sporty cars into a single category. This means that well-rounders like the 1/2-Series, WRX STi and RX-8 tend to do better than one-trick ponies like the 911. This isn’t a bad thing: sometimes it helps to know that you can get a sporty car and don’t have to hate the compromises (trunk space, hard ride) such a car might normally entail.

    Personally, unless I had a Jay Leno-style garage, I’d get a 235i over a 911 and Corvette, too.

  • avatar

    As someone who owns a 235i and who thinks little of CR car reviews (since I value performance over safety), I am not that concerned about the CR positive review. What I will tell you is that all reviews have been very positive and they are well reserved. Car is fast, nimble, fun to drive, comfortable, and is 8/10ths of a true M (I have owned 2-E46Ms, 2-E93Ms, and two M Roadsters, Z3 and Z4). The electric steering issue and the fake sound is overblown.

  • avatar

    So is this actually an M vehicle, or is it an M package on a regular car? Their naming scheme is so messed up now, I can’t tell.

    It does look good though. I’ll give it that. I think it’d be especially nice in electric blue to match the brake calipers.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s their stupid naming scheme.

      BMW presently has FOUR levels of the letter “M” in their cars. Only one is true M GMBH.

      1. M-sport – mostly a look and feel difference. Cars have more aggressive styling and have some or no handling enhancers.
      2. M+3 numbers such as M235 – Car has performance and handling over the non M version. This one is a little funky as the primary entrant right now is the M235i, which isn’t offered as a 235i. I think that this is a replacement for the old “is” moniker (as in 335is). My understanding is that these cars are built “in partnership” with M, but not actually from them.
      3. series number+M – Very similar to the M and I think possibly on its way out. Example – 1M Coupe. I think they only did this as to not confuse people by calling a slightly souped up 1-Series an M1.
      4. M+series number as in M3, M4, M5 – Car built by M GMBH that has dramatic differences from the line itself. These are the famous performance beasts that people ogle over. Most (or all…) of these cars have completely different engines that may share no parts with their series. Example – my 550’s 4.4L V8 TT comes off a different assembly line as the 4.4L V8 TT in the M5. If my memory from the tour last year is true, the M5’s engine uses 80% different parts (though I’m confident someone could google and prove me wrong).

      BMW is creating M-letter dilution for the same reason that they adopting additional model lines: pursuit of sales growths as they compete with Audi as the largest Lux car Manu.

      Clear as mud?

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks that’s a nice explanation. Now I know this is fake M, and would not give it any special looks in traffic.

        • 0 avatar

          Who actually gives a flying care if it’s a “Real M” or not? The designation is generally only given credence by the fourth owners of creaky $8000 M3s, and hardcore BMW enthusiasts which make up a dwindling percentage of their customer base. I bet buyers would line up for the M5 even if it was called the “M550is,” as long as it performed at par.

          Either the car drives well or it doesn’t, and by all accounts, this one does. I would not be surprised by a more “exclusive” M2 arriving if this does sell well, but “fake” or not it seems like a hell of a car to lease for a year.

        • 0 avatar

          Please keep your special looks to your self.

      • 0 avatar

        The 1M was a real M car. The only reason “M1” was not used is that every hyperventilating BMW purist with a keyboard would have yammered that it desecrated the sacred memory of the late-’70s M1 supercar.

        The problem with BMW names isn’t the naming scheme, it’s that the lineup itself is too broad and not very coherent.

      • 0 avatar

        Great post! Thank you

      • 0 avatar

        No only 3 levels…M Sport, add-ons for non-m cars, think Audi s line. M Performance cars, like the old is, think Audi SX, and true M cars, including the 1m Coupe (M engine, M suspension, Quad Pipes). This is to better compete with Audi.

  • avatar

    “the 911 has below average reliability according to those surveyed”

    I thought that Porsches were the most reliable cars sold in America, according to CR. Weren’t they the “most likely to last 200k miles” according to some really bad math?

    • 0 avatar

      Most likely because they’re largely put into garages and babied, and never GET to 200k miles. Even old Targas from 1984 only have 65k miles on them now.

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      I remember an old used car classic article in R&T that made the case for the old 901 911s being insanely cheap long-term ownership propositions, with proper maintenance. But air- and water-cooled 911s need to be treated as different species.

  • avatar

    How reliable is M235i engine?
    (it is the same engine as one in 335i)

    • 0 avatar

      Same as the 335is (30 more ft lbs of torque, 20 more hp over 335i)

    • 0 avatar

      I’m pretty certain the engine is the same N55 “twin-charged” engine used in the 335i since 2011 with an available BMW “tune” (ecu re-flash) that ups the hp to 320hp and 332 lb/ft. You can buy this factory sold “tune” from any BMW dealer for $800 – $2,000. The 335is was using the old N54 true twin turbo set up that originally had so many problems with the fuel pumps. The N55 has been generally reliable but currently has a recall out for defective/loosening VANOS bolts. To BMW’s credit they extended the warranty on all N54 fuel pump issues to 10 years 120k miles. BMW will using inline 6’s for the new M3’s tuned to 425hp.

  • avatar

    Considering the criteria of the test, I’m not surprised. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this, the latest spiritual successor to the 2002.

    But I’d still rather have a 2002.

    • 0 avatar

      I doubt it if you actually had to drive a 2002 every day. I LOVE 2002s, and I have a far higher tolerance for old car shenanigans than the average Joe, and there is no way in heck I would want one as a daily driver. As a nice addition to the garage for pleasure driving, sure.

  • avatar

    I really liked the 128i’s I drove when I was working for BMW. The 135i in a city with roads as crappy as they are here, nawww. The suspension too hard.

    The 128 just felt nice, balanced, and fun.

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