By on January 13, 2014

bmw-m235i-main

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.

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55 Comments on “NAIAS 2014: BMW 2-Series Is The Only Thing With A Roundel On It That I’m Interested In...”


  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    Shades of 2002 Turbo!

  • avatar
    imag

    The two series is the only BMW that appeals to me as well.

    But I would absolutely spring for the M. Aside from the brakes and a better motor, it will likely have better suspension and steering tuning. Well worth it.

    I am curious to see if they do a full-bore M2. It has the potential to be better than the M4, which is why it likely presents a problem for them.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      As an owner of two of non-”2″ BMW’s, I am beginning to think that, yes, they have a good driving “feel”, but a lot of cars are coming close to that.

      Since BMW spent $3B on Project i, and has thereby forsaken real dazzle with a completely new ICE line, — well, this sort of stuff looks “old”, like the “badge engineering” of the old GM era. Different lengths of sausages with minor changes/improvements. Probably done this way because there’s little $$$ left over for R&D on the Big Win in ICE..

      Even the new M3/M4 twins are so evolutionary that I am asking, why bother? Where’s the “slam dunk?” 425 HP and a turbo 6? Why not 525HP and a turbo V-8? …..and let it get 30 MPG.

      If Tadge did that with the C7 Z06 Corvette, it would not attract anyone’s admiration…

      ——————

      • 0 avatar
        Jim123

        Totally agree! I’m a BMW owner myself and it seems like BMW designers are as lazy as Porsche 911 designers as of late. I find the domestics are much more interesting (which is great). As BMW continues to introduce new models as often as I take a piss, you would think they would try something new with the design language? I think I have a pretty good idea what the new 2015 8.5 coupe and 9 sedan will look like…

  • avatar
    ajla

    No 220i?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Derek, the best option would be a straight 6 without the fiddly turbos. I suspect the 4 will lack low end torque.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      From all the tests I’ve read, the 4 has much better low end torque than the old NA six, and runs out of breath beyond 6K rpm. That’s the reason for all these new turbos, low end grunt, the BMW peaks at 1250 rpm.

      It is not an invigorating engine though, based on the X1 I drove, and it’s mechanically noisy.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        But listed torque peaks are for full throttle full load. This is especially true in a turbo car. Floor a NA engine at 1500 rpm and you will almost instantaneously get max torque at that rpm. Floor a FI engine at 1500 rpm and you need to wait for the turbo to spool before you see listed torque at that rpm. Engine designs are getting much much better to the point where it may not matter that much, but full load engine stats does not provide one with engine character during normal driving situations.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Doesn’t work that way with modern turbos. “Peak” torque is across something like 1200-5000 rpm on the BMW. Tiny turbo + variable valve timing for the win. Even with my ’08 Saab, peak torque was 2K-5.5K. Lag was basically non-existant. The BMW motor is significantly more sophisticated, being direct-injection, throttle-less, and fully variable valve timing equipped.

          I own an e91 328i with the n/a I6, the 2.0T in the F3x cars (same engine as in the 2-series) absolutely trounces it at any engine speed. The I6 is basically gutless under 4K rpm, though Valvetronic does mean that it too makes its peak torque across a wide rpm range. But the peak is a lot lower, and max hp is at the redline. The I6 sounds nice, but the turbo 4 is a whole bunch faster. Heck, the new 328d is barely slower than the old 328i automatic.

          And BMW does not seem to be exaggerating the fuel economy of the 2.0T – folks are getting some pretty impressive figures out of them.

          • 0 avatar
            See 7 up

            No it does work that way, but like I said modern FI engines have largely overcome those traits and having driven BMw’s latest, they are very very good. They still have lag though – but it is miniscule.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            @krhodes – I disagree on the BMW I6 being “gutless” below 4k. I will concede that the N20 is certainly quicker, but I rarely have to rev my 330i beyond 4k in normal driving. Normally, if I’ve got the rpms above 3-3.5k, it’s because I’ve decided that I want a pace quicker than the flow of traffic.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            This might be a matter of perspective. I had become used to the torque in a 540, so in that context I agree that the n/a I6 I have now (E46 330) is pretty gutless at low rpm. By 4k it can get out of its own way, and things do become entertaining by 5k.

            Over 3k does get a faster pace than most traffic, but then again it does in most cars. Even in its old age, the 540 could make quick work of most highway passes. The E46 takes more careful planning and the element of surprise in some cases.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Well, even if it’s better at the low end than the 6, it’s still fiddly.

        Excuse me, but I need to chase some kids off my lawn.

  • avatar
    Apollo

    But have they found a way to make the N20 sound good yet?

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    Still waiting for that four door RWD two series to be announced! Then we’ll see if I trade the E46 in. Or just buy it and turn the E46 into a project!

    • 0 avatar
      johnny_5.0

      Would that exist as a “Gran Coupe” 4 door two series? BMW’s new naming scheme made sense to me when I thought it was a simple split of ‘evens have 2 doors, odds have 4′. Now it’s just a clusterf$%*.

    • 0 avatar
      Chris FOM

      Give me a 4 door Gran Coupe (I have little kids with car seats, the extra doors are not optional) M2 at this size and that may be the last car I ever buy.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        If the steering is good (as in, like it used to be, not like the current 3/4-series), then I’d settle for a 228i 4-door as the perfect car.

        But, being a bit cynical, it won’t happen, as there isn’t enough potential ROI to warrant such a car.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    240 horsepower: Same as the North American E36 M3. Coincidence?

    …Probably.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The tuning crowd will like the turbo. If the car is as large as an E46, then it could be a winner.

  • avatar
    johnny_5.0

    I like the general proportions and the styling is much better than the 1 series it replaces. But I don’t care much about badges, and there’s no way I’d drop $43K+ when a well equipped Premium/Brembo 2015 GT should sticker for at least $5k less. And for once I think the Ford is the better looking 2+2 coupe (which I wouldn’t have said during the E46/E90 generations). I know few will cross shop them, but even bimmer addict friends are leaning away from the roundel for their next coupe.

    • 0 avatar

      As an actual cross-shopper (my short list is currently eight cars long), I have to agree. I have not had a car from the Detroit 3 since 1981 but the next Mustang looks impressive. The other car I have put on my potential list is the ATS Coupe just unveiled in Detroit. Really pretty and with a six speed manual if you take the 2.0 l turbo version. It is nice to have choices!

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        I cross shopped the two. The only real reason why the Mustang was “inferior” was it rear axle. That is being taken care of and the new GT will be a great competitor to the M3 for those that are focusing on driving. Now BMW will other things that may be nicer (maybe?) but you pay a lot for it.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    Proof that finding a final year E90/92 with 6-speed and no nav is still the better way to go. Only one mod necessary: mechanical LSD.

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      Yup, we’re going to hang on to the E92 in the garage for as long as the cost to operate is less than replacing it.

      No nav, a manual shift and sport package is just the ticket for us.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    Does this mean there’s a chance the I6 will return for the rest of us? (Non “M” drivers) Gee, I loved that engine in my 535.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The new European fuel economy regulations aren’t very hospitable to budget-priced six-cylinder cars. I would expect the engines to be available but the price tag won’t be modest (M or otherwise).

  • avatar
    daviel

    Give me a plain jane 228i with the 6-speed manual, AC and a stereo and I’m good to go/

  • avatar
    mike978

    It seems a very fast 0-60 time for a 3300lb car with “only” 240hp. If the difference is only 0.3s then that will hurt M sales.

    • 0 avatar
      Chris FOM

      BMW’s listed 0-60 times are always extremely conservative, ie numbers anyone with two brain cells and a right foot can achieve, and they’ve been underrating their engines for quite some time.

  • avatar
    darkwing

    The improved proportions are a nice change; the 1 far too closely resembles a rolling Bavarian bathtub. I just wish it came with xDrive and some of the better gadgets.

    Then again, I’m probably the only person seriously attempting to cross-shop the X1 xDrive 35i and the 550xi.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I think I like it (well, I’ve only seen this one image…) even if I dread the usual consequences of actually owning a BMW, besides looking good, it will drive well, and it’s a new reasonably sized BMW coupe that doesn’t weigh more than my CRV :) I’m also one of the few that wouldn’t mind a screaming 4 banger, like the original M3.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    You can spec one out on BMW’s US site. As much as I’d love the M235, I’ll never need that much oomph so I’ll gladly take a 228 6MT in either sport or M-Sport trim. That tips the scales at about $36k.

    Word on the street is that we should see a 228 Gran Coupe within the next year. That should make for a perfect package considering a coupe isn’t in the cards for me.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    a RWD 2-Series… Well that is good news, make mine a Touring.

    Pricing? Near CLA?

    Just drove an ‘M’ coupe, yesterday. Pretty sweet, and I still like that little pugnacious coupe.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Ick 3300 lbs??? So much for the rumored sub 3000 lb curb weight for the 228i. There goes my interest. As an FR-S with class, this thing is acceptable. But at that weight and size, if it’s chasing the e46, a true e46 successor MUST have the normally aspirated straight six. Not to mention while light weight can help disguise crappy EPS, at that weight, you know it’s going to be the numb dull experience we’ve come to expect from BMW. yawn. guess I’m keeping the e46.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Definitely a contender for position of my next toy car. The new Mustang with turbo-4 being the other one. Need to drive both and see. Ultimately I expect it to come down to save some cash vs. get to do European delivery again. And the price break for Euro delivery for the 2-series is pretty nice, which is likely to narrow the gap. I think a sport line 228i will be sufficient for me.

  • avatar

    Price wise it is awfully close to a 3 series.

    • 0 avatar
      Chris FOM

      There’s a more breathing room, which in theory this is the step down from using BMW’s new nomenclature, but if you’re looking t the 3-series (or are simply more interested in the sedan anyway) then yeah, things get tight pretty quick. The gap between an M235 and a 335 is only $300, although the M235 is more directly equivalent to a 335 M-sport with PPK, which pushes the gap closer to $5k, which is also roughly the differential between a 228 and a 328. But it’s certainly far closer than the gap between a 528 and a 328, or a 535 and a 335.

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    Are there any specs out yet on this 2-series? Despite it being labeled by press as a “mini” or “compact” car, I’m curious what it’s actual length/width/height etc. are in comparison to say an E36 coupe. Often with model bloat, new lower denomenated models end up being as big as or bigger than their forebearers in their prime… basically a 2 series may now be in the sweet spot that the E36 M3 occupied. Perhaps I’ll stumble to NAIAS with a tape measure.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    I’m with 3Deuce. A wagon, or 5-door HB. If they’d ever brought the 1 HB over here, I’d own one, but the 2D 128 went away after two years. Still miss driving it, but not trying to live with two doors and a very short trunk lid.

    Derek, did you guys get the 3- or 5-door HB up there in Canada?

  • avatar
    ccd1

    My understanding is that the 228 will be just under 3,000 lbs and the M235i will be just under 3,300 lbs. I read somewhere that the heavier 6 plus reinforcing are the culprits in the weight gain. I also read that the 2 Series was going to have 50/50 weight distribution. I’m wondering whether that would only apply to the 228, leaving the 235i a tad nose heavy.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      @ccd1 – I hope you’re right. My experience with rental cars is that a lighter car can help mask the ill effects of electric power steering, not sure if it’s because less boost is required or simply because the effects of light weight are still readily noticeable even through the filter of EPS. Hopefully the combo of that low curb weight, near perfect weight distribution, and RWD would deliver a driving experience closer to a Toyobaru or S2000 (both of which had/have EPS) than a F30. As a slightly more refined Toyobaru, this car makes a more compelling case for itself and the N20 is more acceptable. If all it is is an e46 without the driving involvement and the soulful engines, I don’t see a point. Being only available as a two door (at least a sedan or hatch could potentially carve out a nitch), I also fail to see it making a compelling case (other than snob appel) for itself over competition like the Mustang (both V6 and V8) or Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 If my choices are all 3300 lb+ impractical two doors with numb steering and at best average handling (compared to an e46), I’m gonna choose the ones that at least come with entertainment under the hood and affordable repair costs.

      • 0 avatar
        ccd1

        Unfortunately, looks like I am wrong. Checked the BMW site and here is what they list:

        228i

        Curb Weight (CW) (Manual): 3260
        CW (Auto) 3300
        Weight Distribution (Auto): 50.3/49.7
        (Man) : 50/50

        235i:

        CW (Manual): 3505
        CW (Auto): 3505 (probably typo and should be 3545)
        WD (Auto): 52.2/47.8
        WD (Manual):51.9/48.1

        Car is more porky than I would like

        • 0 avatar
          carve

          Wow…so this is basically the replacement for the E90 335i. It’s only about 55 pounds lighter, with about 1% more weight on the front wheels. Being the new E90 is not a bad thing by any means if it drives as well, but an improvement would’ve been nice.

          E90 335i dry weight
          CW (Manual) 3,560 lbs.
          CW (Auto) 3,582 lbs
          WD (Manual)51.2/48.9
          WD (Auto) 51.4/48.6

          The E90 has a CG that’s an inch lower than the F30, too. Hopefully the 235 will have a nice low CG, some well sorted EPS, and the rest of the suspension off the e90.

          That said, I think I’ll be keeping my silver sport E90 with N54. It’s not Toyota reliable…but I just can’t come up with anything I’d rather drive.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          228i is pretty close to an E36 M3 Coupe. E36 M3 specs according to Edmunds:
          (L) 174.5″
          (W) 67.3″
          (H) 52.6″
          Weight: 3,175 lbs

          Same power, though the 228i does it with a bit more torque lower in the rev range. The good news is the 228i gets much better gas mileage and is much better equipped for dramatically less $. I think E36 M3s were around $40k near the end of their run.

          I would like to think the 228i is more reliable too, but who knows with BMW. Probably less reliable now that I think about it.


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