BMW M235i faces off with the MB CLA45 AMG and Subaru WRX STI
BMW has made it in to another Motor Trend comparison, this one being for 300 plus horsepower turbocharged cars, geared toward the enthusiast. This time, it was BMW's M235i that got called upon to show its stuff. The other two cars in the comparison were the 2014 Mercedes Benz CLA45 AMG and the 2015 Subaru WRX STI (Launch Edition).
Obviously there are some differences between these cars, take power for example, the CLA45 puts out a staggering 355 horses from its 2.0 liter engine and utilizes a front biased all-wheel-drive system. The BMW sits in the middle of the three, producing 320 horsepower funneled to the rear wheels. Subaru's STI checks in with the least power of the group at 305, being sent to all four wheels. This wasn't the usual, connect all sorts of measuring devices to the cars and go with the data test, it was how the car actually made them feel. Which really got the heart racing and which was the most fun to drive?
Check out some key points from the comparison:
Plain and simple, straight-line speed is the CLA45's signature move. It's classic AMG. However, it's this uncanny, technologically drenched athleticism that makes the front-drive-biased Benz the least emotive -- and least comfortable, thanks to an extra-firm suspension -- on a winding road.
It's sporty, not mesmerizing. You'll have to option it for glitz. The M's lack of internal fanfare is offset by its clean, handsome physique.
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 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."
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 60-0 braking was the group's best at 103 feet.
"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."
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.
I unbuckled happy, chortling even, for I'd just been flogging a sedan that offers more amenities, equal performance, and, most important, more fun than its pricier German rivals. And, oh, yeah, it has that glorious wing bolted to its trunk. For all this, the WRX STI is our number-one fabricator of fun.
In the end:
3rd: Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG
2nd: BMW M235i
1st: Subaru WRX STI
Check out the full comparison from Motor Trend here!
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