By on June 1, 2015

2015 BMW M235i Exterior1

We’ve talked about BMW’s portfolio expanding faster than an American on a midwest diet before, but I’m going to do it again because it’s the key to understanding the 2-series in general and the M235i in particular.

The M235i is not an M2, it is not a 235i M Sport, and it is more than the former 135is. Are you confused yet? The M235i is the first of BMW’s “M Performance” vehicles which are not to be confused with “M Sport.”

Here’s how BMW’s new four-tier system works:

Things start with M Sport which is a “looks fast/handles well” package, then we get “is” which adds a dollop of performance, followed by the new M Performance where we put M in front of a three digit model number (M235i) denoting increased power, improved handling, improved braking and suspension tweaks, before going full-on-M.

In theory, the full treatment includes body modifications like wheel well enlargements, carbon fiber bits and a dual-clutch transmission. If you’re not totally confused yet, continue reading.

OK, so we have an M that’s not an M, but there’s more you should know. The only “35” version of the 2-Series is the M235i. While the other sport variants exist in BMW’s lineup, they don’t all exist in the same model, so there is no 235i M Sport and no 235is. The other thing to know is the 2-Series is very closely related to the current generation BMW 3-Series and 4-Series, sharing crash structures, large portions of the engine bay, suspension design themes and even interior components. In some ways you could even say BMW now has two different coupé and two different convertible versions of the 3-Series. That last part is important because the M235i weighs 3,535 pounds, just 100 pounds less than the 435i. More amazing is the four-door 335i is just 60 pounds heavier.

2015 BMW M235i Exterior-005

The Competition
The 2-Series lacks natural competition, but this time it’s not part of BMW’s diabolical plan. By shrinking the 3-Series and removing two doors, the 2-Series is the only RWD entry in a sea of European front drivers. While that’s not too much of a problem if you are buying a car for weekend wine tasting, it is a big differentiator when we’re talking performance metal. Therefore, I put the CLA45 AMG, Audi S3 and Euro-only RS3 in a different category. The forthcoming Mercedes C-Class coupé will compete with the 4-Series and the Porsche Cayman and Cayman S lack rear seats. If you want a small RWD luxury coupé with a back seat, this is it.

If you don’t like my re-categorization of the CLA45, ponder this: it’s the same size as the Volvo S60 Polestar, delivers similar horsepower and is based on a FWD vehicle just like the Volvo. Would you stick the S60 in the M235i mash-up? I thought not.

2015 BMW M235i Exterior.CR2-003

Exterior
Although related to the 335i and weighing about the same, the M235i is notably more compact. At 175.9 inches long, our tester was nearly eight inches shorter than a 3-Series sedan or 4-Series coupé. Think of the 2-Series as the modern 318i. The lower, wider, longer look of the 2-Series certainly looks more elegant and refined than the older 1-Series, but I always thought the cartoonish proportions of the 1 were part of the charm.

Like the 318i, the 2-Series is the discount entry point for traditional BMW shoppers. We have the familiar kidney grille up front and the classic BMW side profile with a long hood and a perky trunk. The biggest clue to the 228i’s low starting price is out back where we get one-piece tail lamps that are part of the body instead of the split design where half of the lamp is on the trunk. This design change reduces costs while simultaneously reducing the dimensions of the trunk opening.

2015 BMW M235i Interior-001

Interior
At $32,100, the 2-Series is one of the least expensive BMWs in the USA, so you shouldn’t be surprised that it also has one of the least luxurious BMW interiors. That said, the 2-Series’ interior is closer to the 4-Series than you’d think in overall materials quality and fit-and-finish despite being $8,200 less expensive. (What does that say about the 4-Seires?) Compared to your average mass market vehicle around $30,000, the 2-Series’ interior looks better put together, but the luxury move toward pleather in base models still strikes me as a false economy.

M235i models get BMW’s comfortable sport seats as standard with power adjustable side bolsters, 4-way lumbar and a manually extending thigh cushion for both the driver and front passenger. Taller drivers will want to consider deleting the sunroof as seat comfort is epic but headroom is limited. Surprisingly, there’s almost as much space in the back seat as you’ll find in the 4-Series despite the wheelbase shrinking a few inches vs its bigger cousin. In fact, the 435i’s spec sheet claims just 7/10ths of an inch more room. Although the size difference between the 2 and the 4 can be explained by the smaller trunk, it’s only about one cube smaller leaving me to wonder where the eight-inch-stretch goes.

If the 2 and 4 are similarly sized inside, why get the 4? It’s all about features. BMW doesn’t offer heads up displays, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping systems or radar cruise control on the M235i for any price. 2-Series models also lack the range of color and trim options and the optional all-around camera you find on the 4. Also, while BMW describes the leather the same way on both models, the leather on a dealer provided 428i felt softer.

2015 BMW M235i Interior-005

Infotainment
The 2-Series gets essentially the same infotainment options as the 3-series and 4-series. Like the 3 and 4, basic Bluetooth and USB/iDevice support is standard. For $500 BMW adds the ability to pair two phones at the same time, browse your Bluetooth media library, voice command contacts and music, and use the BMW Mobile Office software. (Calendars, voice memos, emails, tasks, etc.) This “Enhanced USB” package used to be bundled with BMW’s navigation software, but not for 2015. If you want all that functionality and navigation, add that to the $2,150 navigation package that also adds smartphone app integration. The current app suite allows you to Facebook, tweet and stream internet radio from your iPhone to the car’s radio. Although iDrive is the most expensive infotainment system in this small segment, the tasteful high-res graphics, fast interface and superior phone integration also make this the system to beat – if you can afford it.

Because of the 2-Series’ entry-level position in the BMW line-up, the up-level sound system delivers 360-watts and 12-speakers instead of 600-watts and 16 speakers as in the 4-Series.

2015 BMW M235i Engine.CR2-001

Drivetrain
228i models use BMW’s familiar 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder tuned to 240 horsepower and 255 lb-ft while M235i models get a tweaked version of BMW’s single-turbo inline six. The 320 horsepower is the same as the outgoing 135is while torque bumps up to 330 lb-ft. If you opt for rear wheel drive, both engines are mated to your choice of a 6-speed manual transmission or a ZF 8-speed automatic. Sadly, selecting BMW’s xDrive system nixes the manual.

The availability of xDrive in M Performance models can be seen as a way to placate all-wheel drive fans while keeping “true” M models pure. Purity aside, driving all four wheels is the fastest way to speed with the M235i xDrive scooting to 60 mph 2/10ths faster than the RWD model. Purists will likely want to wait for the M2 which should be tuned to between 360 and 370 ponies.

2015 BMW M235i Exterior.CR2-002

Drive
The M235i offers an interesting dilemma for the driving enthusiast. If you want the fastest model, that’s the one with an automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The slowest is the rear wheel drive model with the manual. My how times have changed. What hasn’t changed is the most fun is had in the row-it-yourself rear driver. Our tester scooted to 60 in 5.0 seconds, which is a hair behind BMW’s quoted 4.8 seconds, mainly because traction is an issue and I wasn’t as willing to roast the clutch as some. Get the 8-speed auto and the sprint drops to 4.6 seconds. The AWD M235i xDrive will accomplish the task in 4.4. That’s faster than the S3 and, depending on the transmission, a hair faster than Mercedes’ CLA45 AMG. Thanks to the 200 pounds gained compared to the outgoing 135is, the M235i’s extra twist doesn’t compensate and it’ll be a hair slower. Want a Cayman that fast? Be prepared to shell out for a Cayman S, GTS or GT4.

Although the M235i weighs about the same as the 335i and the 435i, BMW manages to make it feel different out on the road. The quick steering rack, slightly shorter wheelbase and tweaked suspension design make the M235i feel more nimble. You’ll notice I said feel. If you put the same rubber on a 435i that our M235i wore, it’d likely post identical skidpad numbers. Anyway you slice it, the old 1M will out-handle the M235i. The combination of electric power steering and BMW’s variable gear ratio steering rack (dubbed Variable Sport Steering) can make the M235i twitchy and a hair lifeless at highway speeds. That said, the RWD M235i has more steering feedback and better poise than the front-heavy CLA45 or S3 can ever hope for. Adding AWD to the M235i doesn’t make it feel like a CLA45 or S3. The CLA45 and S3 have to keep the center coupling locked most of the time in order to avoid FWD dynamics, while the M235i xDrive keeps the power to the rear unless its needed up front.

2015 BMW M235i Shifter

All M235i models get BMW’s adaptive M suspension tuned more towards the daily driver side of things than I expected. Drop the suspension into Sport mode and things firm up, but no mode in this suspension will make it as hard as the M4, something I’m grateful for. While this also means a hair more tip, dive and body roll than a “true M car,” it means the M235i xDrive is a 4.4 second daily driver – rain or shine.

Because BMW has been slowly morphing into the new Mercedes, none of what I have said so far surprised me. What did surprise me was the M235i’s price tag. Priced between $43,100 for a base RWD model with either transmission and $55,825 for a fully loaded AWD model, the BMW seriously undercuts the spendy CLA45 AMG and is just $2,000 more than the slower Audi S3. The Porsche Cayman is almost as different from the M235i as the CLA45 AMG is, but be prepared to spend at least $20,000 more on a Cayman if you want similar performance figures.

2015 BMW M235i Exterior

BMW has created one of the best performance buys around with the M235i. But, if you’re looking for a light, “chuckable” BMW, you will need to keep waiting. The M235i is a hoot, but like most modern BMWs, it’s more grand tourer than sports car.

After a week with the M235i, one thought came to my mind: this is the perfect Mercedes SLK. It’s faster and more fun than an SLK 350, significantly less expensive without feeling that much cheaper, and has a usable back seat. This isn’t the raw and direct coupé BMW enthusiasts are longing for, and that’s exactly why I like it. As much as I appreciated my time with the 6-speed rear wheel drive M235i, I have to admit if my money were on the line I would buy the M235i xDrive. I still think that the myriad of BMW performance trims is insane and confusing, yet I have to wonder what a 500 horsepower M550i xDrive would be like.

BMW provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.3 Seconds

0-60: 5.0 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 13.8 Seconds @ 106 MPH

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84 Comments on “2015 BMW M235i Review (With Video)...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    “If you want a small RWD luxury coupé with a back seat, this is it.”

    Cue the sad trombone sound for the ATS coupe.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    The children will enjoy this but have you had a full week with the HR-V yet?

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I don’t care how nice the materials are, but that interior is a sad place to be for $55k.

    • 0 avatar
      Marone

      I’ve sat in this car. The interior is great. It’s very configurable too. Multiple leather, trim and color options. Black and silver isn’t my favorite though.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        *pleather.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          For 2016, two colors of pleather, five of leather for the M235i. Since the pleather is available in my color choice, I am perfectly happy with it, and saved $1450. Dead cow skin is a terrible thing to use inside a car.

          Of course, what I would REALLY want is the cloth/Alcantara interior that is the *base* option in Europe. Wankers.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Thanks for the correction. I was under the impression from what Alex said that real leather was N/A on this car.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            The pictured car has pleather (Sensatec). It looks to be a completely base car with no options at all, other than technically the automatic is standard equipment and the 6spd stick is an option.

            If Alex was comparing THIS car to a 435i with leather, I can understand his thinking the materials felt different. But to me, there is absolutely no difference in the leather used in the 2,3 or 4. And not MUCH difference between the fake stuff and real leather, other than the fake stuff lasts longer with a lot less work.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Since I’m sure you’ve had both – what’s your opinion of MB-Tex vs. Sensatek?

            I’ve been in an old 190E or two where the MB-Tex still was like brand new. But sort of vinyl-y.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            After the nuclear Armageddon, the surviving cockroaches will be building their houses out of MB-Tex. The stuff is absolutely indestructible. But also very obviously an unnatural material. Hard and slippery.

            Sensatec is a more leather like, and a lot softer than MBTex. A bit rubbery. Also seems holds up really, really well. This will be my first car with Sensatec, I have owned much older BMWs with the vinyl they used 25+ years ago, that was very different stuff. Much thinner, and prone to cracking with age. It was thin with a fabric backing. Sensatec seems much thicker.

            I’m actually in a quandary. When I signed the papers yesterday, they had an M235i on the lot that had just arrived. Has the Coral Red leather. LOVED the look, it’s not as bright as it looks in pictures. But is it worth $1500? And losing the so very cool Estoril Blue stripe inside the car? At this point I am sticking with Estoril on Oyster, but the mind keeps wandering… I have about two weeks to change my mind on my order.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’ve seen the red on some 6-Series cars driving around. Go for the red!

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      That is something that afflicts all M cars. The extra money just buys more performance but never nicer interiors. The interior of a $70K M3 is much the same as a $35K 320i. If you’re looking to impress your passengers, the C300 is a better choice for your $50K. However, if you enjoy driving then the BMW is hard to beat.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    “BMW has created one of the best performance buys around with the M235i.”

    You forgot an important word here, you should have included “German”. Compared to a Mustang or a 370Z, the M235i sounds rather expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The GT350 starts under $50K…

      That would be a better buy. Not that those buyers necessarily overlap.

      • 0 avatar
        johnny_5.0

        I have a feeling limited quantities and ADM will rain on the parade, but I’d take a GT350 all day every day at $48k vs this at $43. It doesn’t hurt that I think even a perf pack GT premium is a far better looking car. That said, the badge and dealership experience make these an easy choice for anyone interested in the M235i. I actually wish they would make an M335i for a decent price…because kids.

        • 0 avatar
          skeeter44

          Dealership experience ? Have you been to a BMW dealer ? The crappy dealers are the reason BMW starting giving away 2 free oil changes or Inspections II’s with their new cars.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    Aww this BMW is so cute even the NAV screen is too little to fill out its bezel.

    Adorable.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s because this example doesn’t have navigation. It just has the base iDrive system. Since at least 2004 with the debut of the E60 5-Series—and maybe the E63/E64 6-Series, though I believe those always had nav standard—BMW has been doing the narrow screen for vehicles with iDrive w/o nav, and that practice has extended into their recent iPad-on-dash school of design. If it had iDrive with navigation, it would have a wider screen and bezel, like so:

      http://1-photos4.ebizautos.com/7551/13520452/13520452_13_400.jpg

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    So this little “piglett” comes to market. Pretty high price bacon in my mind, with all that weight you should be getting a free Golds Gym membership. Another in the long links of same sausage.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I’ve always been a fan of this car. The feedback I get from those that own this car is very positive. Cars like this give me hope that BMW is not entirely disconnected from its enthusiast roots. Looking forward to more news on the M2.

  • avatar
    daver277

    My E32 7 series was lighter.
    After 25 years I would have thought BMW would have turned the weight gain tide around.

    • 0 avatar

      The expectations of a modern vehicle sort of make it difficult to cut weight. After all, when every third person has a Suburban or lifted F-150, do you really want to be driving something too lightweight if it means that you have a smaller chance for survival in a collision?

      That said, I am surprised that it’s so close dimensionally and weight-wise to the 4-Series. But it wasn’t engineered as a small car. It was designed as a sawn-off 3/4-Series, using that same structure, so it makes sense.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        This is somewhat fallacious reasoning that I am attempting to rectify. First, regardless of how large your personal vehicle is, you will share the roads with tractor-trailers, various working trucks, and busses, all of which have the potential to make any personal vehicle “unsafe”. Second, most collsions involve braking, steering, or otherwise mitigating actions, reducing the potential lethality of a collision. Third, most vehicles/drivers will never be involved in an accident. Fourth, and most significant but least understood, the additional risk of dying assumed by driving a lighter car is one or two orders of magnitude less than being 20 lbs overweight. It is an extremely small risk.

        If you understand that buying 100 lottery tickets does not significantly improve your chances of winning, understand that the assumed risk of driving a smaller/lighter car is somewhat analagous. There is a numeric change in risk, but the real result is effectively no change.

        If the world was as so many people think, no one would drive small cars because they would either be dead or avoiding the risk. Lots of people drive small cars without dying.

        • 0 avatar

          Hmm. Well put. And you have a point.

          I myself was involved in a collision with my 2015 Golf SportWagen TDI on Saturday. A 2013 F-150 pulled out in front of me from the parking lot of a shopping center. Fortunately, I saw it and was able to slow down significantly from the 40-45 MPH that I’d been traveling, so that mitigated the damage and kept everyone from getting seriously hurt.

          Maybe if and when carbon fiber construction becomes economical, modern vehicles will become lighter. BMW certainly has a lead in carbon-fiber technology as it applies to vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          johnny_5.0

          I basically agree with everything you just said. However, that “what if” can be an extremely powerful thought that is hard to ignore. I have an extended family member who was hit by a one ton dually truck towing a large trailer. She was in a fullsize SUV. From pictures, I’m not confident she or her kiddo would have survived in a (sub)compact. The mathematical differences can be tiny, but when it is your family that’s probably all most people will think about.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          How may other people are buying lottery tickets?

          Then there’s always the ‘Bruce Jenner can be distracted and push you into oncoming traffic’ statistical methodology…

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I don’t know what to think. As a BMW owner, in a family of BMW owners spanning 18+ years, the fact that I read this article and think “meh” means that either I have changed or BMW has.

    Just something about weight and twitchy steering and 2.0L turbo 4s, and then the price….

    • 0 avatar

      Okay, but this car should have a turbo straight-six, not a four-cylinder.

      • 0 avatar
        Wintermute

        From the article: “…while M235i models get a tweaked version of BMW’s single-turbo inline six. The 320 horsepower is the same as the outgoing 135is while torque bumps up to 330 lb-ft. …”

    • 0 avatar

      Alex, what was the price as tested? I see this one has the sport seats (which probably came standard with the M-Performance package), as well as HID headlamps, but other than that it doesn’t look like it has any options.

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        This was a base model $43,100

        • 0 avatar

          Hmm. That’s not too bad. I’d probably pay that.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Note that the 2016 price guide is out, and you can’t order a 2015 any more. Base price went up ~$1000, but the $2500 premium package items (other than leather, $1450) are now standard. A couple of the other packages got a little cheaper too, including the Tech pkg that includes navigation. Alarm is now standard.

          I finalized an order for a ’16 M235i on Monday, it ended up ~$2000 cheaper than a mostly equivalent 2015 would have been, because I was very happy to go with oyster Sensatec vinyl instead of oyster leather. My final config is Estoril Blue on Oyster vinyl, Tech Pkg, Cold Weather Pkg, H/K stereo, manual tranny with sunroof delete, for $46.6K out the door, all taxes and fees included. That is a Euro Delivery price, US delivery would be $3K higher.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      As the previous owner of four 3-series coupes I thought the same before the 2 series became available. I bought a M235 earlier this year and am perfectly happy with it. The steering is actually better than my previous E92 335 and the performance is more than you’ll ever need.

      If you consider inflation, then the price is actually lower than the 330 coupe I bought many years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        43k base is a tall order, especially with so many other choices. They look great and sound better, but if you really want a coupe with a back seat, why not get a Mustang GT? You pocket 6 grand, get a snarly V8, GPS, upgraded stereo, upgraded leather and a few other toys.

        I love BMW’s, but the value proposition continues to erode.

        • 0 avatar
          hgrunt

          The other way to look at it is, you’re getting an M235i for the price of a Mustang GT, a car that rarely gets faulted for being expensive.

          Not that it matters too much, but the M235i seems to get the same gas mileage as my old E46 330i. Moreover, the dealership/service experience is likely to be a fair bit better than what you’d get at a ford dealership.

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    I just wish someone would remove those plastic engine covers when taking a picture of the engine bay.May as well cover up the whole thing and do not bother even showing it. I do not expect to see finned valve covers ,but expansive plastic with logo is stupid looking on such a car.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I noticed the 6 raised bits on the engine cover, trying to give it 6-cylinder credit where it’s not due, I suspect.

      • 0 avatar
        Wintermute

        The M235i *is* a 6-cylinder. From the article: “…while M235i models get a tweaked version of BMW’s single-turbo inline six. The 320 horsepower is the same as the outgoing 135is while torque bumps up to 330 lb-ft. …”

  • avatar
    blueflame6

    I haven’t driven either but I’m pretty sure I’d rather have a 228i. Still a lot of performance and significantly less expensive. It feels like the value choice.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      Actually, its more of an option choice. If you adjust the 228i and M235i to match features then the engine upgrade is just over $3K. Given the small difference in mileage and the expected better resale values of the larger engine, they are about the same TCO with equal options. The only benefit of the 228i is that you can get ditch options that are included with the larger engine.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        Deep Sea Metallic is a really gorgeous paint color. Available on the 228, but not the 235. That color is about the only thing that would have me looking at a BMW.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Ultimately, the only reason I went for the M235i over an M-Sport Track Pkg 228i is the sunroof delete option. You can’t get a Premium Pkg 228i without a sunroof, and I wanted the niceties that are in the Premium Pkg. And with Euro Delivery the difference shrinks to only ~$2500 when you equip the cars the same, as the ED discount on the M235i is bigger.

        $2500 for 80hp is not a terrible deal really, not that I have any real use for that after the first week I have the car. But what the heck, you only live once.

  • avatar
    Splorg McGillicuddy

    Well-written review, as it includes some never-mentioned details that matter. I find BMW’s media system to be overwrought and baffling (Seriously, they have too much drama invested in playing media from your iPhone via Bluetooth — the only feature you really need is good A2DP and screw the rest of it.)

    Of course, they don’t make the combination that I’d buy: 435i convertible with a stick. Yes, the take rate was too low on the last model, but la dee freakin’ dah.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Nice review Alex. As the owner of an M235i I would agree with most of your conclusions. Some observations of my own:

    – The car should have been called the 235is – the M designation is confusing as it is not an M car.

    – The price is actually not bad. Inflation adjusted, it is cheaper than 330 coupe was when I bought it. Considering its faster than an E46 M3, the price seems reasonable.

    – The 228i is not really that much cheaper. Adjusted for features, the engine upgrade costs just over $3K.

    – The ZF 8-speed transmission makes this car surprisingly economical. I am getting 32 MPGs on the highway and 21 in town.

    – The interior is nothing to rave about. But that is a problem with all fast BMWs – the extra money buys performance not nicer interior trim.

    – The adjustable drive modes work really well. You can commute in comfort and economy and with push of a button the car transform from Dr Jekyll into Mr. Hyde in a blink of an eye.

    – The seats are very adjustable but narrow. Look elsewhere if you are of larger build.

    • 0 avatar

      I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s really more about the performance than the interior and the gizmos, and in that regard, I think the M235i is very much in the spirit of the earlier BMWs. Which options did you get, if any?

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        Nearly all, except for the alarm and collision warning system. With the brown leather and larger LCD display it nearly looks like a luxury car ;)

      • 0 avatar
        SunnyvaleCA

        I feel that the electronic gizmos will seem very out-of-date in 5 years. Come to think of it most of this gadgetry looks out-of-date even before it ships. Which screen looks as nice, say, as a MacBook Pro Retina display? Are you buying the car as a rolling sofa and entertainment center or as the “ultimate driving machine”?

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          You’re very right. Imagine in 10 years?

          That said, my 2004 9-3 seems downright charmingly archaic compared to my ’13 Outback with its bright dash lights, colors, and Nav. I didn’t purposely WANT Nav etc but it was part of the Special Appearance package, and now after 2 years I wouldn’t get a car without built-in Nav.

          The only color I get on the Saab dash are the trouble lights….

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I assume your Saab trouble lights come on when the fuel it’s producing overfills the tank, and you have to stop to sell some?

            Per Norm.

    • 0 avatar
      johnny_5.0

      I like a lot of things about this car. I do really wish they had used the 8HP70 though. The 8HP45 is basically at max rated torque from the factory. Even the least aggressive JB4 map puts you way over rated torque. I can imagine lots of hard launches in a M235xi doing wonderful things to the tranny.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    Reviews like these, weighing the pros and cons of the M235i, make me await the full-on M2 with greater anticipation. That car should have all of the pros (and more) with much less of the cons, except of course for the higher price tag.

    If the M235i is a very good car, the M2 may well achieve greatness.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    You keep using that word luxury. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “Luxury” means being able to spend money unnecessarily.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        That’s only a part of the definition, and not a necessary part. Spending the money must deliver a state of great comfort and lavish accommodation. This car is just expensive for what you get, and nothing about it is luxurious. This isn’t anything new for BMW. Pretty much ever since the dollar went off the gold standard, they’ve offered models that combined high prices with interiors and feature lists that a luxury car manufacturer would have been ashamed of in the 1920s. The only difference is you no longer get any exceptional underlying qualities to provide a rationale for spending the money other than needing a badge to feel accepted.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          For once CJinSD, I agree with you. These are not in any way luxury cars. They ARE premium cars. MAYBE a loaded 5-series verges on being a luxury car, and the 6s and 7s are in my opinion. A 2 or a 3/4 is not. I can’t get excited about the pricing in a world where you can spend nearly $50K on a minivan or 1/2ton pickup truck. $40-50K is just what a nice vehicle costs today, in any of many different configurations.

          Ultimately cars are like anything else. You can get something perfectly adequate for pretty cheap prices, as long as you don’t mind having exactly what everybody else has. But if you want some individuality and that little bit of extra “nice”, you are going to pay relatively a lot more for it, and the value proposition goes down like the Titanic. Doesn’t matter if it is a car, a watch, a stereo, a computer, or a bicycle.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’m surprised that BMW has diluted the M badge so much. Guess BMW is just milking all the status buyers out there.

    • 0 avatar
      johnny_5.0

      Something like the M550d seems much more diluting to the letter than this IMHO. A diesel, auto-only, all-wheel-drive performance BMW that sounds closer to a school bus than a wailing banshee.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      It’s bad. Ten years ago, they would have immediately shot this idea down, diluting the M purity this way. But times have changed, and that colored badge sells cars, even when they don’t deserve it.

      I foresee a new designation in future, something on the real M cars which indicates they’re real. M-Black or M+ or something.

      M5S
      M6M
      etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Vega

      Hate to rain on your BMW demise parade, but the M badge for non-M cars is not a sign of things getting worse, it’s 30 years old. In 1985 BMW launched the e28 M535i, which was basically a 535i with sports suspension and a body kit. The performance was exactly the same.

  • avatar
    3XC

    What happened to strong US dollar/weaker Euro making European performance cars a relative bargain compared to domestics?

    This car may be competitively priced with a CLA45, but it is most definitely not entry-level performance. Will Europe ever make anything other than the Volkswagen GTI that is marketed to people who are not able to make 1000 dollar a month car payments but want a sporty daily driver?

    • 0 avatar
      johnny_5.0

      There does seem to be a dearth of performance German metal between the GTI’s excellent value $25k base and the ~$40k range, luxuriously badged or otherwise.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    IMHO the 3 series sedans are more visually appealing than either the 2 or 4 series coupes. I don’t see the point in chopping off the back, losing two doors and a practical trunk. For what?

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Outstanding review with a brick of relevant info. Thank you Alex. If love to find out if a Lincoln version of the GT could take a bite out of BMWs lunch and improve the L words credibility, but unless Ford actually plans to keep Lincoln viable we’ll never find out.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree with you, but I don’t see it happening.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Someone has to make me sad every week around here. He’s the thing about a Lincoln Mustang; I’d want it softer than the Mustang with the new 450+ HP version of the 3.5EB. But it won’t happen, and I’ll be sad again next week.

    • 0 avatar
      johnny_5.0

      I think about this mythical car sometimes. The EB 3.5 is probably more befitting a luxury car, but the Coyote doesn’t get so harsh up top they couldn’t make it work. Ford can’t get that 10 speed out soon enough though. And while they are at it, add DI, cylinder deactivation, and start/stop to the 5.0 too. They should be able to hit ~450hp easily, but I’m guessing the economy gains would take some luster off the EB marketing collateral for the F150.

  • avatar
    skeeter44

    I have no major criticisms of this car except for the weight and price.

    My 2008 335i with manual and sport package was $40K otd. This is 50K+. So add another $10-15K for the M2 version. BMW is leaving plenty of room for others to come in with the perfect RWD car at $35-40K.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Just may as well get the 4-Series. It looks so nice and large, and has them long and low lines.

    http://autonationdrive.com/wp-content/uploads/428-1.jpg

    They look much bigger in person than in photos.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      A comparably equipped 435i is more than $8K more expensive, and all you get is a bigger trunk and slightly sleeker looks. And the 2 is a LOT more fun to drive than the 4, even if it is only a little lighter.

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