Jason first drove the BMW M235i on a track at the beginning of the year, and now we have one for a week's worth of testing. Expect a full review soon.
Also, in a strange and unprecedented coincidence, Matt and Travis in New York have one too, and it's spec'd exactly the same as mine, right down to the color. So weird.
I don't know what they'll be doing with theirs, but I'll be taking mine to The Vintage, the classic BMW show in North Carolina this weekend. Will any Jalops be there too?
Anyway, the M235i is a hell of a lot of fun to drive. It will succeed in putting a smile on your face. It's not a real M car, it's an "M Sport," and as such it doesn't feel nearly as balls to the wall as M cars I've driven. But that's fine for now because an M2 is coming, and in the meantime this will make most people happy.
Things I like: It's an attractive car and a visual improvement over the old 1-Series; it's a great size for a small coupe; handling is excellent, with ridiculously sharp and direct steering and a general tendency towards getting the rear end out; power from the turbo 3.0-liter inline six is abundant and makes the car very quick; 8-speed ZF gearbox is quick-shifting and responsive in automatic mode.
Things I don't like as much: Engine noise is fake and is piped in through the speakers; doesn't feel as crazy as it should with all these M badges; I wish it had a manual gearbox; electric steering is extremely direct but still feels way too artificial; at $46,500, it lacks navigation and Bluetooth audio, which is annoying.
Anyway, I like it so far, and I'm looking forward to taking it on a road trip and parking it next to a bunch of old 2002s and stuff. If you have questions about the M235i, drop them in the comments and I'll get to them as I can.