When it initially arrived, the BMW M235i Gran Coupe was certainly one of the most frequently criticized Bimmers of the contemporary period. Its divisive appearance, front-wheel-drive chassis, and mediocre handling made it an instant target for BMW fans. While it’s not as horrible as many fans make it out to be, it’s still one of BMW’s poorer products. To make matters worse, the starting price is a whopping $45,500. Which brings me to my next point: should you purchase an Acura Integra instead?
Without a doubt, the compact premium sedan class is quite popular in the United States. Suburbanites like sub-$40,000 badge-engineered cars that make them seem wealthy without requiring them to spend a fortune. That’s why the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, Audi A3, and Mercedes-Benz A-Class are so popular. The new Acura Integra, on the other hand, has a genuine possibility of upsetting all of those German manufacturers.
Designed after the Honda Civic Si
The new 2023 Acura Integra, which revives the legendary moniker, does the same thing as the aforementioned Germans: it takes a less costly, front-wheel-drive vehicle, adds some luxury taste to it, makes a few tweaks, and calls it a day. Nonetheless, the Integra seems to be a much more appealing vehicle than any of those little Germans, particularly the expensive M235i Gran Coupe. But why is that?
For starters, the Integra is based on a vehicle that is more enjoyable to drive than most German basic models, the 2017 Honda Civic Si. The 2017 Civic Si is a huge success with enthusiasts because to its excellent chassis and handling, punchy engine, and quick six-speed manual gearbox. Acura takes the same formula, adds its own style, a more luxurious interior, tweaks the steering and suspension, gives its engine a special software tune, and upgrades it to include adaptive dampers, something the Civic Si lacks.
The Integra’s cabin looks remarkably similar to the Civic Si’s, although with finer materials, and its interior may become a little loud on the highway since it isn’t as well insulated as its more expensive German rivals. But that’s the cost of having a truly sporty small vehicle.
A 1.5-liter turbocharged engine
The Acura Integra has much less power than the BMW M235i Gran Coupe. The BMW has a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that produces 302 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. The Civic Si’s 1.5-liter turbo-four engine produces 200 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque in the Integra. It accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, over two seconds slower than the M235i. The Integra, on the other hand, possesses something the M235i can only wish for: the ability to make its driver grin.
The Integra is several hundred pounds less than the M235i, weighing just 3,100 pounds, and its six-speed manual will thrill enthusiasts more than the M235i’s Aisin eight-speed auto.
The real kicker, though, is the price. The Acura Integra begins at $31,895, which is almost $13,000 less than the M235i. Despite this, it boasts a luxurious interior, current electronics, and is much more practical thanks to its 4 Series Gran Coupe-style hatchback. While the Integra is more costly than the BMW 228i Gran Coupe, its attraction is strong enough to compete the more expensive M235i.
While I can’t tell if you should purchase an Acura Integra over an M235i Gran Coupe or whether the former is better to drive without actually driving it, the Acura team seems to have a lot more attractive package than BMW. The Integra fills a fantastic small niche that many enthusiasts may find appealing.
There are probably a lot of car fans out there who want to acquire a Honda Civic Si because of its outstanding handling, smooth manual gearbox, economical engine, and decent aesthetics, but it’s just not premium enough. The BMW M235i Gran Coupe, like the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class, is a luxury vehicle, but it lacks the fun aspect that the Civic Si seems to offer (judging by drive reviews).
The Acura Integra seems to want to fill that need, giving what is effectively a more premium Civic Si to premium consumers while still keeping customers’ finances happy. We can’t tell one way or the other without actually driving it. However, we can’t wait to find out.