BMW (BAMXY.PK) has had some uncharacteristic lackluster attempts at passenger cars recently — think the 5- or 3-Series GT, or the odd-looking and expensive (but overall quirky and fun) i3. But when it comes to tight, agile performance cars, few companies, if any, do it better. Remember the super-limited 1M? Top Gear called it one of BMW’s best, and it was made from the parts bin: a conglomeration of several other BMW M models morphed into a gloriously small and potent package. If the M3 or M5 is coffee, the 1M is an espresso.
Fortunately, the Munich-based company is at it again with the M235i. It has 320 horsepower, BMW’s legendary 3.0-liter inline six, gaping front air intakes, and power sent to the rear wheels. It checks all of the right BMW boxes and adheres to the brand’s winning formula in every way. And while the M235i is largely designed to take on the Audi S3 or Mercedes CLA45 AMG, its recent marks from Consumer Reports puts it in a league with some other more unlikely performance rivals.
On the surface, the BMW M235i and the Chevrolet (NYSE:GM) Corvette don’t look like direct competitors — and they likely are not, as the two cars are different enough to cater to two different demographics. But at the end of the day, the two are competing for performance car dollars, and despite their very different attitudes, they do pose some similarities, mainly in price, capability, and impressive ratings over at Consumer Reports.
At $43,100, the BMW falls about $10,000 short of the Corvette’s lowest point of entry (though with options, the BMW can soar past $50,000). It’s also understandably down on horsepower by about 140. But when it comes to their ratings, the two were much closer: at 98 points, the BMW M235i is the highest-rated car the brand has ever produced. The Corvette put up a 92, which is still an exceptional score. The Porsche 911, long considered a gold standard of performance cars, scored a 95.