First Drive: 2014 BMW M 235i: At Las Vegas Motor Speedway +VIDEO

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2014 BMW M 235i

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel

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2014 BMW M 235i

LAS VEGAS - January 18, 2014: BMW keeps adding new numbers to its model lines. A week after having been in the passenger seat of an autonomous driving M235i coupe, we returned to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to test the new M235i coupe. Even though we had limited time, I was able to do some laps at the handling course, on the oval, and on the roads around the speedway. At the handling course, the M235i behaved as expected. It is easy to handle, gets around the corners fast and stable and feels a bit gentle in the set up of the chassis, even in Sport +. Pushing it you can get the rear end to sway out, but it is back on track again within a fraction of a second.

      • SEE ALSO: First Ride: Autonomous Driving in a BMW 6 Series and M235i Prototype

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2014 BMW M 235i rear

The self-driving car did a good job and I could get the same feeling when at the steering wheel. Like the test last week, there also was a short slalom integrated in the course, but there was no comparison with respect to lap times. Moreover, like myself, most colleagues are not much tempted to have a timing done, as we are not participating in driving events to prove ourselves. On the oval, we were behind a pace car and I had the feeling we could go much faster than the 90+ mph we were doing. But going faster would have burnt the rubber after each driver’s stint. It was all about the feeling. In that respect, I think there is room for an M2 model. When I asked Dr. Friedrich Nitschke, the president of M GmbH, if the decision had been made already, he said that the M2 was still under consideration: “But when we get the green light, it will not take long before we can introduce it…”

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2014 BMW M 235i

There was also some time to take the M235i on the streets around the race track and I ended up in the neighborhood around Nellis Airforce Base. The fast 2 series gets quick through the traffic and does not feel uncomfortable on the public roads. It confirmed the feeling I had on the handling course that the suspension set up is very firm, but gentle enough not to feel pushed to start racing from traffic light to traffic light.

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2014 BMW M 235i dash

To generate interest and offer young race car drivers an excellent start in the sport, BMW has developed the M235i Racing. Private BMW teams and drivers can buy the new model at a very fair price of 59,500 euros, excluding tax (approx. $80,500). The model meets FIA regulations for VLN Endurance Championship and the 24-hours of the Nürburgring. It has a full cage anti roll bar and a safety tank. It is also equipped with a limited slip differential, which is optional for the M235i street car. With a capacity of 2,979cc of the 6-cylinder engine, the racing version is capable of generating 333hp (245kW).

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2014 BMW M 235i interior

The new 2 Series Coupe is the latest addition to BMW’s model line, which is in line with the strategy to reach younger buyers in the Premium segment. It is the successor of the 1 Series and it is larger than its predecessor. The two-door coupe seats four, has rear wheel drive and a chassis that has been set up for sporty driving. The new ‘2’ will be launched at markets world wide on March 1st and include the M235i, which is a BMW M Performance version (this was the model that was available for the first test drives). The wheel base increased by 1.2 inches, the length by 2.8 inches and the width by 1.3 inches to respectively 106 in., 174. in and 70 inches. Also the width of the front and rear track increased to 59.9 and 61.3 inches respectively Interior space improved slightly with a quarter of an inch head room and nearly one inch of additional legroom for the rear passengers. The volume of the trunk increased by 0.7 cu-ft to 13.8 cu-ft.

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2014 BMW M 235i engine

The 2 Series is the first BMW to get the 184 hp strong 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. The top model is the M235i with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder with M performance TwinPower technology and 240 kW/326 hp and 332 foot-pound of torque. It will accelerate from zero to 60 mp in just under 5 seconds. The top speed is limited to 130 mph. However with the M Sport packages it rises to 155 mph. The BMW 228i with 245 hp is scheduled to arrive in the summer. It is the base model of the 2 Series (prices start at $33,025). The the M235i will leave dealerships for $44,025.

Watch the introduction of the M 235i at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show

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