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BMW M235i review

March 20, 2015 | By | In Reviews
BMW M235i review

 

The BMW 2 Series is the sporty Coupe and Convertible sister model to the brand’s popular 1 Series hatchback. This upmarket model takes on rivals including the Audi TT and VW Scirocco, along with the affordable Toyota GT86 and the pricier Porsche Cayman.

A wide range of 2 Series models are available, from frugal petrol and diesel models that start from £22,355 to the range-topping turbocharged M235i tested here, which pumps out a hefty 322bhp.

What is it?

The 2 Series Coupe is BMW’s smallest coupe, which slots below the 4 Series in the German company’s range. This four-seater boasts sharper styling than the 1 Series hatchback on which it’s based and is available with a number of BMW’s potent but economical turbocharged petrol and diesel engines.

The range kicks off with the 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol 218i and the 2.0-litre diesel 218d, followed by more powerful 220i and 220d models. Rounding off the diesels is the rapid 225d, which can accelerate to 62mph in 6.3 seconds but is still capable of returning more than 60mpg. Petrol buyers can also opt for the speedy 228i and the top-of-the-range M235i, which will features a potent 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit under the bonnet.

What is it like to drive?

That muscular engine dominates the driving experience of the M235i, with its rich, sporty sound and huge reserves of power. Even when allied to the eight-speed automatic gearbox fitted to our test car this motor launches the car down the road with real enthusiasm.

Gearchanges are smooth and quick, while the engine pulls strongly even at low engine speeds, which means that the M235i picks up speed quickly whatever gear you’re in. Switch to Sport mode and the engine note hardens and the gearbox is more eager to change down gears, while EcoPro mode keeps the car in a higher gear for maximum efficiency.

Thankfully the M235i is just as capable when it comes to negotiating corners, with weighty steering giving the driver a good sense of confidence and the brakes proving up to the task of slowing this speedy machine. The suspension is also more than smooth enough for longer journeys, while refinement levels are very high – though the engine gets noticeably louder when you select Sport mode.

What is it like inside?

The 2 Series shares much of its interior with the 1 Series hatchback. With its oversized centre console, and super-chunky steering wheel, the design of the interior is an acquired taste, lacking the simple design of the 1 Series Coupe that preceded it.

However, the layout of controls is very easy to get used to, with BMW’s media system being controlled by an easy to use rotary dial in front of the gearstick. Thanks to its large, clear screen, this media system is particularly easy to use, with commands like setting the sat nav address proving very simple.

Is it practical?

The 2 Series Coupe offers a reasonable amount of room for those in the front seats, while the boot is a useful size. However, the level of space on offer in the rear seats isn’t great.

Anyone taller than around five foot eight may find themselves very tight on headroom if they sit up straight, though leg room levels are reasonable. Loading larger items into the boot may prove a little tricky too, as the opening is somewhat narrow.

Should I buy one?

The 2 Series Coupe is an attractive sporty compact coupe, offering strong performance and economy and impressive roadholding. These attributes come across even more strongly in range-topping M235i form, as the 3.0-litre petrol motor snarls away under the bonnet while providing impressive acceleration, making it a wise buy for those after a stylish, fast, fun to drive coupe.

The £36,000 needed to buy this automatic model may seem like a high price to pay, but not many rivals can match the M235i for its blend of speed, handling, style and reasonable practicality.

Don’t want to buy new? You can browse for a used BMW 2 Series in our classifieds here.

The facts

BMW M235i automatic

List price: £36,080
Engine: 3.0-litre, six cylinder turbocharged petrol
Power: 322bhp
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 4.8 seconds
Fuel economy: 27.4mpg (urban), 47.9mpg (extra-urban) 37.2mpg (combined)
Emissions: 176g/km CO2
Euro NCAP rating: Not yet tested

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