What is it?
Four-door coupes - so hot right now. The problem is, not even all the Blue Steel in the world would help BMW’s new M235i Gran Coupe do a convincing impression of “attractive”, were it to find itself staring down the barrel of some super-hip, on-trend automotive beauty pageant.
Perhaps it’ll be one of those cars that everyone comes round to 10 years or so further down the line. Perhaps it won’t. All I can say for now is that, next to the really rather attractive Mercedes-AMG CLA 35, the BMW’s styling is a bit off. Of course, this is all totally subjective and you’re welcome to disagree, but personally I can’t help but think the front end is doing a rather convincing impression of a snarling beaver.
Right, that’s out of my system, so let’s move right along. You will of course know by now that this new hot 2 Series - like its 1 Series relative - is based on BMW’s new FAAR architecture. So in the case of this pumped up M235i, there’s now a transversely-mounted, heavily turbocharged 2.0-litre four-pot at its nose, which develops 302bhp and 332lb ft.
Most of the time it drives the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox and a limited-slip differential. But when things get particularly slippery, an electronically-actuated clutch pack can send up to 50% of the engine’s fairly considerable poke rearwards. How things have changed since the last M235i arrived on the scene.
As we found out on a drive in Portugal a few weeks ago, this new £37,255 addition to BMW’s M Performance family makes for a fairly rapid cross country transport. Now, it’s time to see how it fares on some of Oxfordshire’s narrow, and questionably maintained B-roads on standard M Sport suspension and passive dampers.