BMW: 2014 M235i Coupe review

BMW: 2014 M235i Coupe review

I stepped out of the BMW M4 (read the review here) and into the M235i expecting a significant downgrade, but I was wrong. The M235i is the swift dagger to the M4’s broadsword; it feels lighter and sharper and less likely to require two hands.

The M4 is capable of wreaking much more havoc, but the M235i is still a weapon wielded in the right hands given that it comes with a three-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine producing 240kW and 450Nm of torque. This means a 4.8-second dash to 100kph and enough overtaking power to give the traction control something to think about at 70kph.

BMW M235i 2014 rear quarterWith BMW’s even-numbered coupe offerings the 2 Series coupe is your entry level but, in the absence of an M2 (which is rumoured to be coming in 2016, you’ve got the choice of a 220i (which is quite a capable car in itself at $71,700), or this M235i which is $104,800. Our test car had sun protection glazing fitted (+$900).

I took it for a drive from Auckland to Whangarei and back which basically just proved to be frustrating. That whole 80kph section near the Brynderwyns seemed like we were crawling along, and the M235i just wanted to go more than BMW M235i 2014 front interior20kph faster. But it was a comfortable ride with aural support from the Harmon/Kardon sound system streaming internet radio via my phone.

There are settings to change the throttle response, drivetrain and suspension. You can drive in Eco mode (which is fine for when you’re trapped in traffic), comfort mode (which will serve almost all your needs), and sport or sport + mode for when you don’t have a passenger and you’re looking to experience the most g-forces on your neck muscles.

The 8-speed gearbox changes swiftly, but if you want to save yourself $3100 you can opt for a 6-speed manual. I’m not sure why you would, though, because you can take full control over the gears using the paddle shifters and having 8 BMW M235i 2014 enginegears means better ratios to save fuel. Quoted fuel consumption is 7.6l/100km if you drive sensibly.

BMWs Efficient Dynamics captures braking energy, storing it to power bits of the car while you need the power of the engine. With the start/stop function, the BMW attempts to save as much fuel as possible while you are stationary. This is the only slightly irritating function in the M235i: it’s far too keen, turning the engine off when I don’t want it to. I even tried being very light on the brake coming up to a stop sign, but as soon as you stop, the engine is off and then it has to start up immediately. I eventually started turning it off.

The best feature of the M235i (well, apart from its ability to put a smile on your face with rapid acceleration) is the BMW M235i 2014 setuplimiter button on the steering wheel to curtail velocity-based over-enthusiasm. I used it a great deal because the BMW drives so smoothly and has so much willingness that it’s easy for your speed to creep up. All you have to do is simply press the button at the speed you want to limit, and you can’t exceed this unless you push the accelerator approximately 2/3 of the way down.

While the driving position is comfortable, interior storage is not up-to-scratch. The central binnacle is compromised by the transmission tunnel (understandably), and the glove box isn’t large. There are two cup holders and a shallow tray, but the whole area around the gear stick could be much better optimised for storage by removing the handbrake lever in favour of a hydraulic handbrake switch.

The coupes get the better looks compared to the other BMW models. The red of our test car played against the blue paint on the brake callipers, which hid behind 18-inch wheels shod in 245/35R18 tyres. A small boot spoiler finishes off the profile which looks sleeker and more balanced than the 1M. I’m not too sure whether I like the silver wing mirrors against the red paint. The best view is the rear three-quarter where the BMW looks like it’s directing you towards the vanishing point.

At $65,000 cheaper than the M4, I could definitely live with an M235i; in fact, it seems like a better deal. It’s unassuming, yet devastating away from the traffic lights. The handling and overall feel is one of lightness and precision.

A few years ago I went through a period of not liking BMWs, but it’s all changed. There’s a consistency across the models I’ve driven (from the 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 Series), and it’s all good.

Price: from $104,800. As tested with sun protection glazing $105,700

Pros

  • Excellent all-round package

Cons

  • Auto start/stop is far too keen to stop
  • Ditch the handbrake lever and make better interior storage

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