The performance auto segment has seen some tough rival action for quite a while now, with the likes of Audi, BMW M Series and Mercedes Benz AMG are the primary players in the class. Each of the big three, however, is known to specialize in different areas of car-making, although they do have products that match each other in the range.
2014 BMW M 235i:
BMW has two pretty interesting vehicles up for launch this year, namely the 2014 BMW M 235i and 2015 BMW M2. Talking about the M 235i first, this vehicle is just as confident and poised around a race track, as it is on road, although there are situations when this vehicle actually topples Mercedes Benz’s CLA45 AMG in its own game.
BMW is offering five and six-speed manual / automated transmission on the M 235i and this outclasses the CLA45 AMG in more ways than one. A dual-clutch transmission system has its advantages over a single clutch layout in terms of refinement and responsiveness. BMW has used their ZF transmission in this machine and that has clearly made a difference.
Its interior is quite refined, apart from a whistling noise on the freeway, caused due to wind speeds. This could get irritating at times. The front seats provide sufficient support, even during spirited driving, while the race-prepped steering column provides responsive and precise handling around tight corners.
Stability during high speeds is not surprising, since this vehicle is based on a shorter wheelbase, with greater and more poised body balance. However, you cannot compare this vehicle to BMW’s outgoing 135i, as the M 235i is heavier by 200 pounds, which brings forth a subtle change in handling.
Powered by an inline six-cylinder 3.0 liter turbocharged engine, displacing 320 BHP along with 330 ft lb of torque, BMW has re-tuned this engine for greater fuel efficiency and power. Manual transmission variants are not necessarily more powerful than their automated variants, but displace power in a better manner, which in turn lends a smoother feel in general.
A mechanical slip ring differential is also being provided for additional precision and drivers, who take part in sports activities frequently, can choose to get them fitted from a dealership. Priced at AU$ 79,990 for the base variant, BMW plans on hitting the Australian market hard!
2015 BMW M2 Coupe:
BMW has also promised enthusiasts a more powerful version of their 2 Series Coupe. This vehicle succeeds their 1-Series M Coupe, although BMW plans on giving it more time than its predecessor that was rushed. Hence, we can expect a brushed up package deal, consisting of every luxury and performance package that can be thought of currently.
Exterior differences heavily distinguish the M2 Coupe from the M135i and some of these changes include large air intakes, unique front end treatment, wider rear fender, wider track, quadruple exhausts and a rear spoiler with wings. These surely bring a buffed up image of a vehicle upfront, distinguishing the 2015 BMW M2 from all current-generation models.
These modifications are expected on all future generation BMW M Series Coupes as well, although we do not have any information on a new project for this moment. BMW is set to hit all the right buttons with their rear-wheel-drive coupe with manual transmission. Going by the popularity of their 1-Series Coupe, the M2 Series should fare better, considering a turbocharged powerhouse underneath its bonnet.
There are no major changes to be made on the M2’s platform, as it is based on the current generation rear-wheel-drive platform, which is also used underneath the outgoing 1 Series and current 3 Series vehicles. Technically, all-wheel drive is possible on this platform and we could be witnessing such a change when BMW finally lunches this vehicle next year.
The 2015 BMW M2 is expected to be powered by a straight six cylindered 3.0 liter twin turbo charged petrol engine, based on their current N54 design. However, performance upgrades are, most likely, as this is vehicle features the M badge. A more powerful variant of its straight six cylinder twin turbo charged N55 engine is also possible, although this is currently rumored.
Total power displacement nearing 360 BHP is expected to be available on this engine layout, which will quite easily rival Mercedes Benz’s CLA45 AMG and A45 AMG. However, whichever engine BMW goes ahead with, it will be mated to either a seven-speed automated transmission / a six-speed manual. Top speed should be close to the 155 MPH mark, while acceleration from 0 – 60 MPH should be possible well within 4.5 seconds.
Competitors in Class:
Pricing is yet to be announced, even though we are expecting base prices similar to the Mercedes Benz CLA45 AMG, Audi RS and Volkswagen’s Golf R. Despite BMW launching their 2 Series early this year, they have special plans for the M2, which will be offered during early 2015.