When the August issue of Consumer Reports magazine hits the newsstands on July 1st, it will report that a modest coupe from BMW—with a few M tweaks—outscored two formidable and much more expensive sports cars.
The BMW M235i went up against the iconic Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and Porsche 911 Carrera S, and came out on top. Granted, scores for all three cars were very high and the little 2 Series didn’t beat them by that much, but the results of this test show that the M235i is right where us BMW fans want it—on top, with great performance, and less expensive.
That’s not to say that the 911 and the Corvette were slouches. While the M235i beat the lot with a score of 98, the Porsche tallied 96 while the ‘Vette gathered 92 points. Clearly the BMW won the points per dollar race with a base price around $44,000. The Stingray costs about $23,000 more while the 911 creeps into six figures, $60,000 more than the BMW.
Consumer Reports noted that the test was about performance, not necessarily price, so dollars notwithstanding, how did the cars perform?
You’ll have to read the August Consumer Reports for the details of what tests they ran and how each scored individually. But suffice it to say for now that Consumer Reports engineers found the BMW M235i "taut, quick, and eager." On the track, they praised the BMW’s cornering and balance. Consumer Reports is about nothing if not safety, so it’s no surprise they included an avoidance-maneuver course, where they found the M235i posted a higher maximum speed than the Corvette.
Jake Fisher, CR director of automotive testing, noted what we lovers of BMW coupes have known over the past twenty years, explaining, "While the M235i doesn't quite achieve the same acceleration and braking levels of the top performance cars, it offers just as much fun in a more refined package that you would be happy to drive everyday."
The report also mentioned the M235i's throttle response, clutch, and shifter, as well as a balanced suspension that was taut but not harsh. The BMW achieved a fuel efficiency of 25 miles per gallon overall, and Consumer Reports loves fuel-efficient cars.
On the bright side for lovers of cars from Zuffenhausen and Bowling Green, the Porsche 911 and the Corvette Stingray posted "near-identical acceleration and braking results, topping all other cars in Consumer Report's current ratings." Testers rated the 911 best in handling and smooth power delivery while still getting 23 mpg overall. The Corvette only achieved 20 mpg overall, but traded that off with “fantastic brakes” and the fastest zero to 60 time—4.3 seconds.
Consumer Reports summed up the results by saying that the BMW M235i came out ahead of the 911 and Stingray not only because of price, but for excellent and balanced performance that will serve the owner well on the track or around town.
BMW has obviously done an excellent job tweaking the 2 Series Coupe with some good stuff from the M Division. Good enough to favorably compare with a couple of great sports cars while still carrying a family of four and twenty bags of groceries in the trunk.—Scott Blazey
Watch the Consumer Reports test report video on the BMW M235i below.
[Video: Consumer Reports. Photos courtesy of BMW AG, Porsche, and General Motors.]