2015 BMW M235i xDrive Coupe
The darling of enthusiasts, now with more traction!
One of the most compelling cars we Road Tested this past summer was BMW’s renowned M235i. You remember that one; finished in Estoril Blue, it was optioned pretty much how we would have asked- a few niceties on the inside, yes, but most importantly an honest to goodness manual transmission. By now, you’ve heard how the M235i approaches the vaunted E36 M3 in terms of sheer joy to drive, and it’s muscled enough to post performance numbers that nip at the heels of one of our other all-time favourites, the V8-powered E92 M3. Enthusiasts take note- cars like this don’t come around too often, and this one’s made for you.
PROS: Peerless driving dynamics, four season usability, an automatic transmission that adds to the fun instead of taking away from it.
CONS: Options can put the car into expensive territory, stability aids cannot be fully shut off.
THE VERDICT: If you cursed BMW for not offering an AWD E36 M3, here’s your chance to right that wrong.
I don’t want to say we were despaired that our tester had an automatic, but when you’ve drank from the cup of a properly outfitted M235i it’s hard to get that taste out of your mouth. Still, automatics are damn good these days (especially BMW’s own 8-speed unit) but this is threatening to mess with near perfection. There facts brought us comfort at the circumstance- one, that a manual isn’t even offered when you check the xDrive option box and two, with quick acting paddle shifters nestled behind the chunky steering wheel at least the whole experience isn’t going to be a total letdown. The basic 2 series goodness remains, and you get a wholly rewarding daily driver that can genuinely be used in all four seasons, but as the kilometers roll by you will be heard presses to begrudge the almost-as-good-as-a-Jaguar-F-Type slushbox.
All of BMW’s efforts to fit their AWD system to the little M235i paid off when I was given a few days of decent snowfall to see what’s what. It isn’t any different than any other Bimmer fitted with xDrive, including the rearward power bias that lets you have a little fun, and one that operates in transparent fashion. You simply feel the car lose grip, and then as the system surmises which wheels have the most grip and should therefore get the most power- you can get back to neatly negotiating the corner/off-ramp/sudden need to swerve to avoid projectile pieces of ice shed by passing 18 wheelers. In the really deep stuff, I shut off all the traction aids to allow a bit of wheelspin so I could maintain momentum. Strangely, it still intervened a bit on a slippery off-camber corner- not a big deal but something new from BMW- usually for them, stability control “off” means just that.
As with the any version of the 2 series, there are some flaws- it isn’t cheap, the rear styling profile isn’t going to win any beauty contests and although cleverly packaged, rear seat passengers won’t share in any joy where long trips are concerned. You can reign in the price by being particular at the options buffet (or take a look at the almost-as-good 228i xDrive for thousands less), you don’t have to look at the rear of the car when you’re driving it and only take people you don’t care for much on lengthy jaunts in the backseat of your 2. Easily solved, and honestly, if you place driving gratification in the highest regard you’ll find this car just about perfect.
2015 BMW M235i xDrive Coupe— Specifications
- Price as tested: $54,350
- Body Type: 2-door, 4 passenger coupe
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
- Engine: 3.0-litre inline-six turbo, DOHC, 24 valves
- Horsepower: 322 @ 5,800-6,000 rpm
- Torque (lbs-ft): 332 @ 1,400-4,500 rpm
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Curb weight: 1,600 kg (3,530 lbs)
- Observed Fuel consumption: 12.7L/100km (19 mpg)