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      03-20-2014, 04:40 PM   #1
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Post BMW M235i Reviewed Against CLA45 AMG and WRX STI (Motor Trend)

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BMW M235i Reviewed Against CLA45 AMG and WRX STI
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Motor Trend has just published a comparison of a trio of hot turbocharged cars - the BMW M235i, Mercedes CLA45 AMG and Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition.

You can catch the full review at Motor Trend, but here are some M235i highlights and results.

The Bavarian Ballerina

Comprehending the M's character took little effort when hustling among the canyons: a few degrees tilt of the thick helm, a stab of the attentive throttle, one snappy downshift from the eight-speed automatic. Everything's tuned for dynamism. You feel it. You hear it. The rear 245/35R18 Michelin Pilot SuperSports dug in feverishly, tidily converting the 3.0-liter inline-six's 330 lb-ft into a smooth surge. The M235i meticulously sliced through the bends, with variable steering that served up an ideal weightiness, albeit with little tactility. "This is a solid-driving car," Lago opined. "Good fundamentals: powerful engine, rear drive. It's the basics."

The M put down numbers that would make an extinct 335-horse 1 Series M nervous. Sixty mph came in just 4.4 seconds (the 1M did it in 4.2), and the quarter mile in 13.0 seconds at 106.6 mph (the 1M did 12.8 seconds at 110.2 mph). It ran our figure eight in 24.9 seconds at an average 0.78 g -- the 1M did it in 24.7 seconds at an average 0.81 g. The two posted identical lateral acceleration of 0.97 g. Among its two rivals, the M235i was a mid-packer, equaling the STI's and CLA's skidpad performances and barely edging out the STI in acceleration. Its brake pedal took some getting used to (too mushy when charging at 10/10ths), but fade was never an issue and its 60-0 braking was the group's best at 103 feet. We had mixed feelings about its real-world ride quality. "I think it has the worst ride of this group," said Lieberman. "It's sprung softer than the STI and AMG, but it just doesn't eat up bumps as well. Too many secondary motions."

We couldn't help but think that in a near-luxury car, some, if not all, of the absent amenities—satellite radio, navigation, rearview camera, heated seats -- should come standard. And you'd expect that, as an M Performance car, oil and coolant temperature gauges -- or even a mechanical limited-slip differential (optional) and bigger brakes (optional) -- would be included. Then again, those upgrades will likely be standard weapons in the forthcoming M2's arsenal.

The M235i is two notches above the CLA45 AMG when fun is factored in, mostly for its sublime balance and smooth moves. It's a superb rear-drive coupe that boosts your heart rate and puts a grin under your nose -- just not as hastily as a $38,000 Subaru with gold shoes.

Randy's Notes: "This is the best-handling production BMW I've driven in 10 years. This car is well-balanced. What a pleasure!"


Streets of Willow Lap: 1:26.37 (compared to CLA45 @ 1:26.20 and WRX STI @ 1:26.12)

3rd Place: Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG
Big on speed, style, and price; small on emotion.

2nd Place: BMW M235i
A well-balanced rear-driver in need of options for pizzazz.

1st Place: Subaru WRX STI
Launch Edition: Loud, fast, surefooted, amenity-packed—it typifies fun.

Full review @ Motor Trend.


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      03-20-2014, 05:13 PM   #2
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0.2 secs less than the M1 in 0 to 60, 1/4 mile and their figure 8 track. Not too shabby. This is the best review 0 to 60 time I have seen so far at 4.4.
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      03-20-2014, 05:27 PM   #3
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MT always has the bar set very high for BMWs, IMO the advantage of the STi is it's weight but otherwise they forgot to mention it has relatively bad warranty, no free maintenance and its ugly
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      03-20-2014, 05:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Powaup View Post
MT always has the bar set very high for BMWs, IMO the advantage of the STi is it's weight but otherwise they forgot to mention it has relatively bad warranty, no free maintenance and its ugly
+1... There is just no comparing these cars from a design standpoint. Look at the cover photo! Not even the same realm.
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      03-20-2014, 05:34 PM   #5
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awesome article
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      03-20-2014, 05:41 PM   #6
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Part of that article rings so true. The STI doesn't have a bigger brother to play coy for. At its price point, the M235i really should have LSD standard, but BMW plays it down to keep the die-hards with enough cash in the more expensive cars. Subaru has the STI, the car either speaks to you with its performance or it doesn't. For many it does and they save quite a bit in the process without sacrificing fun factor and performance.
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      03-20-2014, 05:46 PM   #7
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Nice. Its good to see STI stepping up the game.
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      03-20-2014, 05:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golf_234 View Post
+1... There is just no comparing these cars from a design standpoint. Look at the cover photo! Not even the same realm.
They complain that the M235i does not have Nav standard but Sti doesn't either
at least in the M235i you get the Nav screen standard

But I guess the STi has full LED taillights...
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      03-20-2014, 05:49 PM   #9
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If the M235i can hang with the CLA45 AMG, is there really a need for a M2? LOL
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      03-20-2014, 05:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Randy's Notes: "This is the best-handling production BMW I've driven in 10 years. This car is well-balanced. What a pleasure!"
I've heard this so many times from BMW's engineers.

One person told me it even drives/handles better than the i8.
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      03-20-2014, 05:58 PM   #11
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Solid performance of the M235i. Too bad the M2 will take its time before showing up.
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      03-20-2014, 06:00 PM   #12
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I wish Motor Trend turned this into a Head2Head video. I enjoy watching those but they are about as consistent with their video schedule as someone without a calender.
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      03-20-2014, 06:02 PM   #13
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Different strokes

STi is a 30K drivetrain in a 35K rattlebox. No doubt it's a fun ride and the AWD system is legit. But the EJ motor is a overtuned 4 banger with glass pistons. That car is perilously close to its max potential right out if the box. Suby fans can only dream of 30-60 bhp from just a piggyback tune. Plus, you look like like an ass with your gold wheels and park bench on the trunk. The fact that these cars are relatively small and turbo charged is pretty much the only thing they have in common.
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      03-20-2014, 06:16 PM   #14
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Wow, the STI gets crappy gas mileage, especially for a 4-cylinder
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      03-20-2014, 06:18 PM   #15
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Yikes. A BMW should never lose to a Subaru at that price point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PDX1er View Post
STi is a 30K drivetrain in a 35K rattlebox. No doubt it's a fun ride and the AWD system is legit. But the EJ motor is a overtuned 4 banger with glass pistons. That car is perilously close to its max potential right out if the box. Suby fans can only dream of 30-60 bhp from just a piggyback tune. Plus, you look like like an ass with your gold wheels and park bench on the trunk. The fact that these cars are relatively small and turbo charged is pretty much the only thing they have in common.
Yep. There's a reason that the EJ architecture has not produced more than 300hp safely since 2002. It's maxed out. Lubrication in corners at high RPM is a major problem that only intensifies with these piggyback OTS tunes. My friends and I often buy them with blown rings and flip them. They are very easy to fix and extremely rudimentary and simplistic in design. But they blow up quite often, especially Stage 2's.
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      03-20-2014, 06:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason

Randy's Notes: "This is the best-handling production BMW I've driven in 10 years. This car is well-balanced..."
Really??? But it's still "too softly sprung with too many secondary motions"?? What an idiot

Hey Randy... Use your single brain cell and think of the cars BMW has produced over the last ten years (e46, e86, e92 etc), and then correct your statement.

Fool
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      03-20-2014, 06:42 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scutts
Nice. Its good to see STI stepping up the game.
+1
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      03-20-2014, 06:43 PM   #18
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STi is impressive, but I would never pay nearly $40k for an economy car with a nice drivetrain when I can buy a real near lux car that also has a nice drivetrain for just a bit more coin
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      03-20-2014, 06:49 PM   #19
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$60k for the CLA as tested, bahahah ok Mercedes
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      03-20-2014, 06:50 PM   #20
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Oh don't be such sore losers. The new STI is a very formidable competitor. At least it didn't lose to the CLA. Besides, motor trend were never BMW people anyways. And Liberman is a flat out BMW hater and Mercedes Benz fanboy. If he had any say in the results, it would be AMG, STI, BMW.
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      03-20-2014, 06:58 PM   #21
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Am I the only one that things the new STI's look like civics? It's the only thing I can think when I see them.
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      03-20-2014, 06:58 PM   #22
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Honestly, I'd take the sti over all of them...60k for cla45 no!
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