2015 BMW M235i Coupe Review

if you find BMWs naming scheme just a little bit complicated than fear not you’re not alone today we’re taking a look at the 2015 BMW m235i m2 35 sin Chi replaces the BMW 135 is the previous BMW 1-series was code designed with the 2006 BMW 3-series they shared some very similar design components and similar suspension styles etc the BMW 2 Series however is more closely

related to the current generation BMW 3-series and BMW 4-series and as such it has grown rather significantly over the 1 Series up front you’ll notice that the 2 Series is a little bit wider than the 1 Series that helps give it a little bit more elegant look it also makes it look a little bit wider a little bit lower to the ground even though the height off the ground hasn’t really changed that much there three different front end looks for the 2 Series the 2 28i has a choice between all three of them and the 2 35i gets only this look at we’re seeing right here now that’s largely because the 235 comes

only as the m235i and that M is important at just over 170 4 inches long the 2 Series has grown about 3 inches versus the 1 Series that helps give it a little bit less of a cartoonish side profile I’m told although I actually thought the 1 Series Coupe was fairly attractive because the 2 Series in the 4 Series are so closely related the weight is very similar this is actually only about a hundred pounds

less than a 435i BMW is slicing their performance sausage very very finely these days and as a result we have is we have M Sport we have M performance then we have regular old M M Sport is probably the easiest to explain it’s essentially an appearance and handling package that you can get on a wide variety of BMW models sometimes it’s also called the M Sport line big thing to know

with M Sport is that you don’t get any extra power out of the engine the next step up is the is where we get some additional power under the hood and that’s what the 135 is was it’s also what you’ll

see in the BMW z4 because there is a z4 is package we get something different when we start putting the M in front of the number rather than after the number this is the three digit line so this is an m235i that means that this gets more power under the hood we also get braking improvements with M brakes we get better handling and a different appearance to the outside and the inside of the vehicle we also get the M adaptive suspension in this vehicle but we do not have the em dual-clutch transmission that you find in true em models and we don’t really have any substitute

changes to the body so you won’t find a carbon-fiber roof or anything like that when you put the m in front of the three digits that of course leaves room for the m2 which will have yet more power yet more handling performance and likely some changes to the body as well like some carbon-fiber bits or possibly some aluminum bits out back we see a version of the same BMW style that you

get in the rest of the coupe models we have tail lamps that do not wrap onto the trunk lid importantly however that means that the opening here is a little bit smaller because BMW wanted to give this appearance of a larger tail lamp under the hood we have two engines choose from things start out with a 2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine basically the same one we see in a wide

variety of BMW models it produces 240 horsepower and 255 pound feet of torque the m235i gets this 3 liter single turbo inline 6 engine now some people are a little bit confused because BMW does use the twin power terminology all that really means is that we have a single turbo with two inlets on the exhaust side making that a little bit confusing is the fact that BMW does use a twin-

turbo version of this 3 liter engine in some vehicles in their lineup but this particular model is a single turbo it produces 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque you’ll notice that is a decent upgrade over the 300 horsepower and 300 pound feet of torque tune that you find in most BMW vehicles with the 3 liter engine it’s also a little bit more torque than we got in the 135 is like the 2

liter engine you can get the 3 liter engine with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic you can opt for all-wheel drive for 1,800 extra dollars unless you’re buying two m235i convertible in which case that is only rear-wheel drive at this time you’ll notice this is a little bit different than the m3 the m4 the m5 and the m6 because this has the option of all-wheel drive and BMW considers those true M models other than the SUV’s to be dedicated rear-wheel drive machines even though other manufacturers have started adding all-wheel drive to their lineups if you want

more power we do expect the m2 to get 365 horsepower and it might end up getting BMWs dual-clutch 7-speed automatic instead of this regular old ZF 8-speed automatic when it comes to fuel economy obviously the four-cylinder engine does get better economy than the 6 under Engine but you also get better fuel economy in the real world in the 8-speed automatic rather than 6-speed

manual especially if you do a lot of highway driving because it really drops the RPMs at highway speed front seat comfort comes in at nine out of ten points these are very comfortable seats in the m235i I have a four-way adjustable lumbar support to position seat memory and an extending thigh cushion which makes it a lot easier for taller drivers and shorter drivers to find a comfortable

driving position we also have a tilt telescopic steering column with a large range of motion because we are in an M performance model we also get inflatable side bolsters on the seat and the passenger seat has the same range of motion as the driver’s seat including that four-way adjustable lumbar support the inflatable bolsters and the extending thigh cushion like most B&W coupes

getting into the back is very easy we have a little handle right here to lean the seat forward if you want to move the seat forward further than that it’s an electric adjusting mechanism so we just press this button on the seat right there it moves forward that retains your seat memory position because if we press the back button it will go right back to that memory position now the two series is not an enormous vehicle and it is a strict four seater so there’s no center seatbelt now if I move this front seat back to the position I headed in comfortable for driving I still have about an inch of

legroom left back here which is a little bit surprising the limiting factor really is the Headroom I do have to my head to one side in order to sit up straight but I could slouch a little bit for an extended period of time because I do get adequate legroom the surprising thing in this back seat is that this is not that much smaller than the BMW 4 Series aiding in cargo carrying practicality we

do get a split 60/40 folding rear bench seat with a very large pass-through to the trunk so why pacster for the 4 Series well it gets a much bigger trunk this trunk is about one cubic foot larger than the BMW 1-series but it is still fairly small since the four series was designed to be a hardtop convertible as well they had to have somewhere for that massive hardtop to go and as a result it has a fairly sizable trunk you’ll notice that the opening to this trunk is also a little bit small that means this 26 inch roller bag can’t go in the trunk in that direction we do have to lay it on its side and then

tip it up if we want it to stay in the trunk that makes a little bit less convenient in some of the other vehicles you should also know that this is as far back in the trunk as you can jam that 26 inch roller bag as with many European vehicles lifting up the cargo load floor reveals no sign of a spare tire we do get a tire inflator kit right there on that side you’ll find the battery and some sound deadening material because of the size of this trunk and the small opening I’m going to have to give this six out of ten points when it comes to my exclusive trunk comfort index although we do get

very convenient helper handles on either side of the trunk lid to help you close it taking a quick spin around the interior we do have fixed position seat belts with the driver and the front passenger and two-way adjustable headrests the m235i is less expensive than a 435i so we get interior parts quality that is a little bit lower we still have a lot of soft touch plastics but we don’t have quite as soft of an armrest and we do find more hard touch plastics lower in the door we also find more hard plastic trim lower in the dashboard and a slightly smaller glovebox in the center of the dash we

have a style that is very similar to the three and four series with the iDrive screen perched high up in the dashboard sort of this little tablet grafted onto the dashboard look you have a center channel speaker right behind that if you get I drive with navigation we get a slightly larger screen in the center as well as a slightly different control dial two large air vents a single lock and unlock

button right there single slot optical disc player with preset buttons right across the front like the up level versions of I Drive these preset buttons can be assigned to various system functions so they’re not just radio presets and they are touch controls as you can see that display changes a little bit when I run my finger across it moving down for that you can see that we have two zone climate control and very large cup holders right there easily able to accommodate large take out sodas 12-volt power outlet right there also have a small storage cubby right behind all that since we

are in the EM model we of course get an M shifter reverse is to the left and up which is not necessarily my preference I do prefer it to the right and down but it is a very nice short throw shifter over here we have the drive mode selector button we can choose between Sport Plus Sport comfort and eco pro this change is not just the way the transmission and engine behave if you get the

automatic transmission but also the way the suspension behaves because the m235i does get an adaptive suspension system because we don’t have navigation in our particular model we get a slightly different iDrive controller it only moves left and right and rotates around does not move up and down we don’t get the finger writing recognition pad up top behind that we have a softly padded center armrest it does slide forward and backward it also opens to reveal a small storage cubby have a wallet in there it’s also where you’ll find the USB and auxiliary input over on the

driver’s side we have a very compact instrument cluster with only three dials you’ll notice that we do not get a temperature gauge in the m235i we have our tachometer on the right speedometer

over on the left and a very small multifunction display below that if you get the optional navigation system then we do get a larger multifunction display which does cover the bottom portion of the tachometer area and gives you a little bit more information because we are in the m235i we do get BMWs M steering wheels is essentially the same steering wheel we find and other M models except we don’t get the M Sport programming mode buttons right over here on either side of the cruise control we have dedicated phone button down here voice command button volume up/down track forward backward scroll dial right there you can see that does act at that little screen in the center we have our cruise control buttons right over here speed up down resume on this side when

it comes to acceleration I’m going to give the m235i 9 out of 10 points I do expect the M 2 obviously to be faster since it’s going to get more power under the hood but most importantly the CLA 45 AMG is faster than this it’s about 4 to 5 tenths of a second faster 0 to 60 happened very repeatedly in about 5 seconds in this vehicle keep in mind that we do have the six-speed manual

transmission you’ll actually go faster you can get the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission it has more advantageous low years when it comes to handling the 2 Series feels larger than the 1 Series it is pretty obvious out on the road you’ll notice this does have a more substantial feel to it very much like the BMW 3-series and the forest series but it actually feels more direct than either the three or the four part of that’s down to the quick steering ratio this is only 2.2 turns lock to lock which is a very very quick steering rack it can make the two series feel a hair twitchy on certain roads but

overall I like that feel it’s kind of go car D with 245 with tires in the back and 225 with tires up front at 3,500 pounds of kerb weight the 235 can feel a little bit under tired at times so the handling is still because the weight balance is excellent in this vehicle but I would prefer larger tires obviously again something you can’t expect with the m2 when it comes to handling I mean to give this 9

out of 10 points mercedes-benz CLA 45 AMG again handles a little bit better in certain circumstances but it doesn’t feel the same as this vehicle this feels an awful lot more connected to the driver especially in rear-wheel drive form that really is what’s unique about this compared to the Mercedes or the Audi competition is that those two vehicles are all-wheel-drive and this is a rear-wheel drive vehicle even when you get all-wheel-drive of this vehicle it actually tends to send most of the power to the back unless it’s needed up front it’s really obvious out on these sweeping corners on

the road that we’re on right here this has a very nimble feel out in the road that you just don’t get in an all-wheel-drive car the other thing that we get in this vehicle that we don’t get in the Mercedes or the Audi is a real manual transmission and that gives us a much more direct feel out on the road part of the m235i adaptive damping system and that helps us get nine out of ten

points when it comes to the ride I can put this in the Sport and Sport Plus mode which really firms up the ride but even in those modes this is still a relatively compliant sport vehicle you can tell this is a really well designed suspension because even when rocking the steering wheel back and forth like that we get very minimal body roll being a very little pitch and dive when accelerating or when braking but even so the adaptive suspension system soaks up the potholes on broken pavement very very well and it really improves the overall suspension feel versus the BMW 135 is the 135

is sometimes felt very upset especially in the rear over broken pavement and that does not happen in the m235i comes time to stop the large M breaks help give us nine out of ten points when it comes to breaking fade resistance is absolutely excellent but stopping distances could be a little bit shorter in my estimation again that has more to do with the tire size and the actual brakes

themselves I would expect the m2 to be better than that of course if you got some really sticky rubber all the way around or up to your tire size especially in the front you’d probably get better braking distances 3,500 pounds isn’t exactly heavy and it’s about the same weight as a number of BMWs other products but this feels a little bit lighter a little bit more nimble than them when it comes to cabin noise I’m going to give this eight out of ten points you’ll notice the engine sounds a little bit noisy right now but if I put it in comfort or Eco Pro Mode it gets a decent amount quieter

that’s because we’re not getting real engine noise in this cabin we’re actually getting digital engine noise through the audio system speakers at 65 miles an hour this engine is spinning about 2500 rpm that’s a decent amount faster than in the automatic transmission version that’s why we get much better highway fuel economy over there in the automatic it’s not really that difficult to get about 30 miles per gallon on the highway if you’re treating it very gently I’ve been averaging about nineteen point nine obviously a fuel economy was your thing you’d get the 2 liter turbocharged

version of the two series that actually is a very nice package it feels a little bit less front heavy than the m235i the electric power steering in the 2 Series is definitely a little bit numb but this is still a very engaging car out on the road awful lot of fun to fling on your favorite winding Mountain Road and fling it you certainly can because this vehicle is incredibly quick in the corners illustrates

pretty much everywhere and this engine revs up to 7000 rpm it has a excellent exhaust note too in fact I think we’re just going to slow down just so we can listen to that exhaust note yet again absolutely glorious it also has a very soft rev limiter so if you’re for instance as we were before in second gear and we’re flooring it has a very soft red limiters doesn’t sound too weird everything

really comes together for the two series out on very small winding mountain roads like we’re on right here this is where the really quick steering ratio the two series has some excellent benefit get that solid rear wheel drive feel there in the corners the stability control system is very well programmed so it kicks in early but it kicks in very smoothly and almost imperceptibly unless you’re doing something really wrong it really makes easy work out of these really tight corners on the road that we’re on here and the dynamic suspension system even though we’re in sport mode means

that it’s soaking up these bumps and giving us maximum adhesion with the tires without really feeling rough or overly harsh the two series really is the ultimate 3-series coupe this does not feel quite like the BMW 3-series that some people wax poetic about but it is as close as you can get in today’s market pricing for 2015 starts at thirty two thousand one hundred dollars for the 228 I

making it one of the least expensive BMWs in the United States if you want to add all wheel drive that will cost $1,800 and we’ll take one tenth of a second off your zero to 60 time if you want to be

able to drop your top they will sell you the convertible version for thirty seven thousand nine hundred dollars all wheel drives also available on that if you want the m235i that we’ve been taking a look at here that starts at forty three thousand one hundred dollars now you do get some additional feature content in addition to that engine most notably we get the adaptive suspension we get the upgraded brakes we get the different looks all the way around and the variable ratio steering you can add all-wheel drive to your m235i for another eighteen hundred dollars and that will

reduce the zero to sixty time on this vehicle by two tenths of a second which is a notable improvement like the 228 I the m235i also comes in a convertible version but that’s rear-wheel drive only and will set you back forty seven thousand seven hundred dollars my realistic based price is a little bit higher because I would recommend getting the Harman Kardon sound system with this the base sound system isn’t too bad but it doesn’t have the same range as that optional sound system now you will find slightly nicer sound systems in some of the compet I also highly recommend the

leather interior over the sensotec interior it breeze a little bit better making the seats a little bit more comfortable that navigation system will set you back over two thousand dollars but we do get some of those smartphone integration services and the online features bundled with it comparisons are a little bit tricky with the two series in general and very specifically with the m235i because there really isn’t anything else out there like this other than perhaps a Porsche Cayman Mercedes cla45 AMG is often compared to the m235i but they’re quite different animals now the CLA 45

AMG starts higher at forty eight thousand five hundred dollars and it can get four to five thousand dollars more than a comparably equipped BMW 2 Series the Mercedes gets more power out of its two litre turbocharged engine than we get out of this three liter turbocharged engine and also has a dual clutch transmission the dual clutch transmission and the extra power allow it to go from zero to sixty nearly a half second faster than the m235i now on the downside that CLA 45 AMG is only all-wheel drive and it is based on a front wheel drive platform that means it is heavier up

front in this vehicle it also means that there is no rear wheel drive model and then while we’re taking a look at here has very different driving dynamics out on the road in addition even though we get two extra doors in the back we don’t really get much more room than the m235i those back seats are very very cramped on the flipside of course that CLA 45 AMG is very attractive this is

elegant and restrained in terms of styling and the CLA 45 definitely screams look at me of course I’ve said it before but I will say it again that CLA 45 AMG is also incredibly fast 4.2 seconds zero to

60 repeatably with all-wheel-drive essentially a robotized manual transmission is incredibly fast the audi s3 is similar to the Mercedes in that it is a front-wheel drive based vehicle with all-wheel-drive it starts less than this at forty $1100 but also has less power 292 horsepower the only transmission available in the s3 is a 6-speed DSG so it actually has one less speed than the CLA 250 CLA 45 AMG and two less speeds than the automatic version of this vehicle there’s also no manual transmission available zero to sixty times are slightly slower than the m235i and the driving dynamic is very very different at this moment the s3 is also available only as a four-door sedan there is no convertible version of the s3 but I’m a little bit disappointed with although the s3 weighs about the

same as the m235i this definitely handles better than the s3 you can also get the m235i with all-wheel-drive in which case it will accelerate definitely faster than the s3 in addition to being a little bit less expensive the s3 also has more room in the back we get for practical doors and we get an uplevel audio system that does sound better than the uplevel sound system available in the m235i it also has about twice the power capability as well even so the s3 is not nearly as engaging as the m235i if you get the rear wheel drive version a better comparison to the m235i would be the Audi

rs3 but the rs3 is not available in the United States this time and at the moment in Europe it’s only a wagon which is very very different than the two-door coupe that we’re taking a look at here that rs3 uses a turbocharged five cylinder engine which has a very unique sound but most importantly it produces more power and is definitely faster than the m235i it’s a very direct peda tur to that cla45 however like that CLA 45 AMG it is an all wheel drive vehicle only there is no rear wheel drive version because it is based on a front wheel drive platform we’re being told that if the rs3 ever

makes it to the United States it will likely be as the sedan and it will probably be about five to ten thousand dollars more expensive than the m235i Porsches Cayman is an interesting option but we don’t get rear seats in the Porsche like we get in the BMW it also is considerably more expensive the Cayman starts over $53,000 and if you want this level of performance you’re buying the

cayman s at over 64,000 dollars i know i’m going to start an internet storm of activity but the cayman s also has a less advantageous weight balance than the BMW the Cayman and Cayman s are probably the best balanced traditional Porsche models but they still have 54% of their weight in the rear now that is better than a 911 that has over 61 percent of the weight in the rear but it’s not as ideal as the near 50/50 weight balance we get in this model this is ever so slightly front heavy there’s some definite advantages to being a little bit heavier in the back and a little bit lighter up front but for the average driver this vehicle is going to give much more predictable driving dynamics even with the advent of modern stability control systems Cayman is a little bit nicer to drive it

definitely feels smaller than this out on the road the steering is a little bit more direct and it’s just more engaging overall the big question is is it $20,000 more engaging and in my opinion it’s definitely not if I were shopping in a segment I suspect that I would probably get the Audi s3 I would probably just live with the fact that it doesn’t handle quite as well as this vehicle but I value that uplevel audio system a little bit better and I like the 4-door idea the s3 is also a little bit less expensive but of course it doesn’t have the same level of performance or the same level of engagement as we get out of the BMW m235i now again as I say that I don’t really think that the s3 competes that directly with the m235i because it’s a four-door sedan and this is not a four-door

sedan so in that vein if you’re looking at two-door coupes especially around this price range or even up to that $65,000 price range that the Cayman S is priced at it’s really hard to go wrong with the m235i I would get this over at the BMW 435i

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