You read that right, folks—Consumer Reports magazine, the purveyor of all things appliance, rated the new BMW M235i higher than the 2014 Corvette Stingray. How does that stuff happen?
The BMW M235i is the former 1-series with M-car aspirations without being an official M2 (which doesn’t exist as a model). The folks at Consumer Reports gave the Bimmer a 98 rating, one short of the current record-holder, the Tesla Model S. Listed for $50,400 as-equipped, The M235i was created in the “classic BMW mold” and offers “tenacious cornering” on the track. The kudos smacks in the face of prevailing wisdom from the buff books, who feel BMW has gotten soft lately. Although CR recognizes that the M235i is closer to “The Ultimate Driving Machine” than recent models, “It seems like it has almost a direct lineage” to BMWs, CR‘s deputy cars editor Jon Linkov said in an interview with Bloomberg.com. “This is just an inspiring, sporty car, plain and simple.”
“This really is a totally dual-purpose car,” added Linkov. “This is a car you could drive to work every day of the week without it killing you. And then you could go take it to the track on the weekend.”
While you’re still scratching your head, we’ll say this: Consumer Reports tests cars as if they’re toasters on wheels, comparing them on drivability, handling, exterior and interior fit and finish, safety, and reliability (although both cars are too new to know past reliability). All cars are subjected to the same battery of tests and are rated against a point system. While the Corvette “packs more punch” than the M235i on the road, the Bimmer car comes close to many other measurements and is more comfortable due to being a four-seater, which explains the higher score.
Of course, this doesn’t make the Bimmer any better than the Corvette—it’s all about what suits your needs.