BMW M235i Review
Being the first example of the all new BMW 2 Series, and yielding the equally new BMW’s M Performance badge, was going to rest a lot of hope and expectation on the M235i’s shoulders. The new range of spec position themselves between BMW’s core vehicle range and the full blown hell-for-leather M range with the idea being to offer the consumer an aesthetically pleasing and more accessible performance vehicle for less-than-M money.
As a replacement for the outgoing BMW 1 Series Coupe, the number 2 comes to BMW for the very first time, and with the added benefit of that M badge, and M must stand for Mischief as why else would you put a 326bhp 3.0 litre turbocharged engine under the hood of the new BMW 2 series Coupe. Well in a word – Fun.
The 3.0 litre straight-six offers-up 6hp more than the outgoing 135i and is assisted in the delivery of this power to the rear wheels by a 6 speed manual or 8 speed sports automatic paddle-shift gearbox. It isnt just good on paper either – It feels mischievous when you put your foot down too. When you kick it into second, and fire up the mischief, the twin exhausts growl at you like a Rottweiller, with a deep tembre rising in pitch until you momentarily silence the growl with your left foot on the clutch, and with the customary punch of torque and the feeling of your back hitting the seat behind you – you’re in third and silence ceases and the growling continues. The engine block kicks out 320 bhp and tops out at an exciting yet limited 155mph, taking just 5.0 to get to the 62mph milestone, with the auto a shade quicker at 4.8.
M235i On the Road
We gave it a good going over on the motorways and roads of southern Spain. The M235i handled extremely well on the winding mountain lanes above Malaga, taking dips, hairpins, and overtaking in its stride remaining composed with the Dynamic Traction Control, Dynamic stability control+ and the Cornering Brake Control all working overtime to keep you going in the direction you desire, essentially acting like the reigns over your small but perfectly formed throughbread steed. You can just sense this is one of those tamed beasts that you need to work alongside – and respect to get the best out of them, lest you forget and be reminded of its wild M-Badge heritage.
In terms of styling, the 2 Series has had a bit of an overhaul as it takes over from the 1 Series Coupe, and it’s instantly noticeable. The previously awful front end has been completely reworked, with the removal of the old headlights which made the old 1 series look a bit, well, terrified, with the much more pleasing replacements taking the eye down from the crease in the bonnet edge towards the signature BMW grill. The 2 Series is a model all of its own, being 72 mm longer and 26 mm wider than the 1 Series Coupe, and the track is 41 mm wider at the front and 43 mm wider at the back, with the overall wheelbase 30 mm longer than its predecessor giving it a stronger and more confident road stance. To the Average Joe, this means that the vehicle has a more curvaceous appearance from both the front and the rear (before it was Kate Moss, now its a bit more Beyonce). The core BMW feel remains however, with a long wheelbase vs short overhangs and sweeping character line above the door seal taking the eye from the front wheel arches towards the accentuated flared rear arches, each hiding its own 18” M Sport light-alloy wheel. The grey mirror caps, M badge work and M aerodynamic bodystyling complete the exterior.
Inside the M235i, the upholstery is typical BMW, simple and refined, with Dakota leather interior coming as a standard option for all the vehicles in the 2 series range. There are flashes of brushed aluminium on the glovebox, centre console and on trim throughout the dash and door cards all adding a contemporary yet sophisticated feel to the interior. A series of layers make up the entertainment and navigation system which sort of leans towards you making it easier to press buttons and fiddle with things generally. Its not fussy, just functional and there are buttons and handles where you need them and nothing where you don’t. The controller on the centre console is easy to use as you navigate your way through sat nav, and media, so all in all, with subtle style hinting at sports-meets-comfort – it works.
BMW M235i Review Verdict
This car embodies all the things great about a sports coupe, it is frisky and forthcoming when you touch the throttle, yet stiff and secure when you throw it into an apex leaving you exhilarated yet confident enough to keep doing it, and offering you the perfect middle ground between a core range vehicle and a full blown M Series monster. It provides performance alongside comfort encased in a visually impressive package which although remaining true to its BMW design DNA, is a unique vehicle in its own right – differentiating itself from the outgoing 1 Series Coupe, as well as its big brother the 4 Series Coupe. The small and unassuming package, which although bigger than a 1 Series hatch, feels much more playful and agile than a 3 or 4 Series and as a result makes it the most accessible genuine boys (and girls) toy in the BMW range; reflecting very well on BMW’s plans for the M Performance range.
In summary – The M235i is not looking for a driver, it’s looking for an accomplice, and it doesn’t take much to lead us astray.
Review Models Stats:
BMW M235i Coupe. £42,020; 0-60mph 5.0 secs; Top Speed Limited to 155mph; Economy 34.9 mpg; CO2 189g/km, Engine 2979cc BMW TwinPower In-line 6-Cylinder 24-Valve Petrol; Power 320BHP