Automotive evolution can be cruel, as the survival of the fittest doesn't necessarily guarantee that our nostalgic memories of yesteryear will be preserved in the pursuit of ever-widening profit margins and market share. Over the course of the past decade BMW has been willing to move away from the connected and direct sport-infused models of its past in favor of the cushy, and extremely popular luxury rides that now populate its showrooms. Still fast, and offering better-than-average handling poise, these cars - along with most of the rest of the premium segment - have seen their sharper edges dulled by heavier, feature-laden platforms and fuel-saving technologies such as electric power steering.
Enter the 2014 BMW M235i. This compact, rear-wheel drive coupe attempts, as best it can, to channel the more frenetic aspects of the brand's history and deliver the kind of sporty experience that was once part and parcel of almost every BMW model. For the most part, it's a success, and the BMW M235i stands tall above lesser entry-level lights such as the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. It's not without its shortcomings - and it's far from a carbon copy of what we all remember as being BMW's heritage - but the M235i will satisfy anyone willing to put aside the past and move forward into the future of luxury performance.