Even though the BMW i8, i3 and M3/M4 were the starts of the BMW stand (in that order), I was more interested in the upcoming 2-Series. Unlike the Mercedes-Benz CLA and the Audi A3, the 2-Series is rear wheel drive, as the future 1-Series moves to a front-drive platform shared with Mini.
The 2-Series looks to be about the size of the E46 coupe, with better proportions than the too-tall 1-Series. In this case, model bloat appears to work in its favor. Not only is it a more elegant design, but smaller adults may actually fit in the rear seats.
A BMW representative raved to me about the M235i, the fully loaded baby Bimmer with monobloc calipers, M fender badges, a twin-turbo I6 and, oddly enough, an automatic gearbox for the display model. Sitting to its left was a 228i, with the N20 four-banger and sliding piston calipers. The M235i, he told me, will hit 60 mph in about 4.8 seconds.
And the 228i? “About 5.1 is what we estimate.” So, inconsequential in the real world, but great for advertising and forum-bragging purposes. “But,” he countered, “by the time you option up a 228i, you may as well just get an M235i.”
I shrugged. Give me a plain jane 228i with the 6-speed manual. At roughly 3300 lbs and 240 horsepower, it’s enough grunt for me.