2015 BMW M235i Convertible Long-Term Road Test - New Updates

2015 BMW M235i Convertible Long-Term Road Test

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2015 BMW M235i: Taking a Bow

by Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor on May 9, 2016

 2015 BMW M235i

Twelve months and 20,000 miles later, it's time to say goodbye to our long-term 2015 BMW M235i convertible. In sun-drenched Southern California, the fabric top certainly got a workout but hasn't given us a hint of trouble. Save for a flat tire, the entire test has been trouble free.

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2015 BMW M235i: 1,300 Miles in Three Days

by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on May 5, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

So I recently drove our 2015 BMW M235i on a three-day road trip spanning 1,300 miles. Take the jump for a recap of driving impressions and a lot of pictures.

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2015 BMW M235i: 20,000-Mile Update

by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on April 27, 2016

 2015 BMW M235i

Our long-term 2015 BMW M235i has been quite busy since I wrote the 15K-mile update. We realized that our time with the car was coming to a close and wanted to make one last push to cross over 20,000 miles.

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2015 BMW M235i: Road Trip Preview

by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on April 21, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

Until a couple of months ago, we spent the majority our time with the 2015 BMW M235i convertible in city driving situations. Doing so skewed our fuel economy results in that direction and failed to give us true, long distance driving impressions. So we made an effort to level the scales.

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2015 BMW M235i: A Spare Tire Would Have Made All the Difference

by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on April 18, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

Oh boy.

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2015 BMW M235i: Road Trips Help Fuel Economy

by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on April 13, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

Our time with the 2015 BMW M235i convertible is coming to an end soon. But until March it was without many long distance road trips. That was about the time Cameron came up with an idea to drive the BMW to Zion National Park in Utah, an 870 mile round-trip. In the process he broke multiple existing fuel economy records.

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2015 BMW M235i: Setting Records on its First Road Trip, Part 2

by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on March 23, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

We just arrived at Zion National Park in our 2015 BMW M235i. The park ranger at the front gate warned us that the roads would be a bit crowded through Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. An early-morning half-marathon was scheduled for the next day, and the park was lousy with runners and their families.

Even so, the road was long enough that vehicles were spread out, which made for plenty of traffic-less photos.

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2015 BMW M235i: Setting Records on its First Road Trip, Part 1

by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on March 21, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

To my knowledge, our 2015 BMW M235i had never been on a road trip in the 11 months it's been a part of our fleet. A lack of long-distance trips affects overall fuel economy and Best Range and Best Fill MPG records. It also makes it difficult to hit the 20,000-mile goal we set for long-term cars.

To make everything a little more balanced, I decided to take it on a road trip to Zion National Park in Utah. Here's how the drop-top sports car fared on the 900-mile round trip.

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2015 BMW M235i: Zion Bound

by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on March 11, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

By the time you read this, I'll be driving the 2015 BMW M235i to Zion National Park in southwest Utah. I've had the idea of going on a road trip in the BMW since I wrote its January fuel economy update. At the end of January, the odometer was just about to turn over 14,000 miles, and it hit the 15,000 milestone at the beginning of March.

We try to get every year-long test vehicle to the 20,000-mile mark, which works out to about 1,700 miles per month. The M235i has hit this mark only twice since it's been with us. The current odometer reading is 15,764, and it's due to go back to BMW at the beginning of April.

It's time to make up for lost ground.

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2015 BMW M235i: Fuel Economy Update For February - Slight Boost in Lifetime Efficiency

by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on March 10, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

Our long-term 2015 BMW M235i saw its electron-related features under the microscope during February. Its keyless ignition sans entry, leisurely power-folding top and chicken-little-ing parking alerts came under heavy scrutiny.

In between these ruminations, the BMW also saw a decent chunk of road time during February — 1,215 miles, to be exact. It managed 23.3 mpg for the month, bringing its rolling lifetime fuel economy to 20.9 mpg. This lines up with its EPA city rating of 21 mpg.

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2015 BMW M235i: Still a Top Pick After 15,000 Miles

by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on March 7, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

These update pictures are never easy to take. The odometer always seems to roll over at the most inconvenient times, like when I was merging from Interstate 5 onto Interstate 10 this morning in our long-term 2015 BMW M235i.

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2015 BMW M235i: Fuel Economy Update for January — Commuting Takes its Toll

by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on March 1, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

Although it was in the hands of one of our editors nearly every night in January, the odometer of our 2015 BMW M235i moved little. In fact, its 1031.6 logged miles were just half-a-mile less than the distance we drove it in December.

We consumed a touch more fuel, so monthly fuel economy in January was 19.23 mpg compared to December's 19.46 mpg. Overall economy also fell slightly from 20.9 mpg to 20.7 mpg.

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2015 BMW M235i: Sensitive Sensors

by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on February 29, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

It's nice to have parking sensors in any car, especially as outward visibility suffers from the design yoke of stricter crash safety standards and parking (and reversing) increasingly becomes an exercise in feel and intuition.

Our 2015 BMW M235i has a pretty sensitive set of sensors, and that, combined with a crisp backup camera display, is not a bad thing when reversing. As we've noted, the M235i convertible has a pretty a severe blind spot.

But there's a difference between being sensitive and being, well, totally, wildly uncalibrated or just plain nervous and jumpy. Click through for a look.

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2015 BMW M235i: Mixed Opinion on Bluetooth Audio

by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on February 17, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

I've been carrying my phone's data/charging cable with me more often since the phone is aging and the battery doesn't hold a charge like it used to. Somehow I haven't managed to buy a charging adapter yet and still use the USB port and data cable to keep the phone juiced or top it up. Unfortunately this causes all kinds of confusion with phone and audio integration in cars like our 2015 BMW M235i.

When presented with a simultaneous Bluetooth phone connection and a wired data connection, the system seems to ask itself: "from which channel shall I play music?" Usually you can choose the audio source yourself, but many cars still have trouble remembering this arrangement (especially after a power cycle), and often trip over themselves trying to perform two tasks at once.

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2015 BMW M235i: Keyless, Pointless

by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on February 12, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

Our 2015 BMW M235i features keyless push-button start. It's a nice convenience, a nice slice of buyer satisfaction. Many cars offer this feature in tandem with keyless entry, so you can stick that keyfob in your pocket or bag when you leave the house and not worry about it again until you get home. 

Except you can't with our M235i. When you approach it and grab the door handle, there's no soft confirmation beep that it's unlocked for you. No swift sequence of approach, open, slide into driver seat, close door, go. No, if you want keyless entry on our M235i, you're on the hook for another two grand to get the Premium package.

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2015 BMW M235i: Top-Down Takes a While

by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on February 2, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

Maybe it's just that I've spent a lot of time in our long-term Mazda Miata lately and it has a top that goes down quicker than the car can accelerate to 60 mph. But when I'm in our long-term 2015 BMW M235i and I deploy the convertible top, it feels like an eternity passes before the process completes.

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2015 BMW M235i: Great Rearview Camera Screen

by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on January 27, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

Dark parking lots, tight parallel parking spaces and bumper-to-bumper tandem parking spots: None of them are a match for the rearview camera in our long-term 2015 BMW M235i.

Much like the 2014 BMW i3 that just left our fleet, the M235i beams the image from its rearview camera through a sharp, high-resolution display. It makes backing up easy.

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2015 BMW M235i: No Need to Fear the Front Bumper Scrape

by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on January 25, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

Whether it's going up driveways, avoiding small rodents in the road or pulling in to parking spots at the grocery store, I'm always worried about scraping the front bumpers on our long-term cars. It's a fear that sticks with me after years of driving lowered cars.

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2015 BMW M235i: Door Panel Disintegration

by Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief on January 20, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

This would be easy to blame on the car. But this was our fault.

After 10 months and 13,000 miles of use, some of the material on the driver's door panel of our long-term 2015 BMW M235i looks like it went a few rounds with a wolverine.

I just noticed it the other day and at first I did blame the car. At first blush it simply looked like the material began to disintegrate, which was surprising because in my experience BMW interiors are some of the most durable around.

Nope, this was us.

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2015 BMW M235i: Not So Hot Concept, But Excellent Execution

by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on January 14, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

Yes, we're going to talk even more about BMW's M Division.

In large part I agree with Jason Kavanagh's thoughts on the many M badges adorning our 2015 BMW M235i convertible. Like many who enjoy driving, I wince at the concept of a convertible variant of a car that wasn't wholly intended to be one from the outset, like a Miata or Boxster.

What's the best way to lessen rigidity and add weight to a car? Take off the roof and Band-Aid the chassis with additional structure. What's worse is adding an M badge to it.

As Kavanagh points out, the similarity in price between the M235i and a Shelby GT350 is uncomfortable. The disparity between prices of the Ford and the M4 are more troubling still.

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2015 BMW M235i: The Satisfaction of Cleaning Up Brake Dust

by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on January 12, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

Brake dust, that grey soot-like stuff that accumulates on your wheels, is the bane of any car enthusiast who likes things looking nice. Unfortunately, our 2015 BMW M235i makes a fair amount of the stuff.

Before we go further, I must stress that I don't consider this a problem or a defect, but the mere byproduct of brakes working. I know of others who feel otherwise, and strongly so. Yet the dust seems more prevalent on the BMWs I've tested. Perhaps it's true what an engineer at a major automaker once told me: Europeans tend to be more accepting of brake dust than U.S. consumers.

In any event, I don't mind cleaning the dust. In fact, I like seeing the fruits of my labor, which brings us to the above image of the driver-side wheel.

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2015 BMW M235i: Fuel Economy Update for December - Achieving Combined MPG Requires the Improbable

by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on January 11, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

Our long-term 2015 BMW M235i continues to win us over with its lusty, turbocharged silken propulsion device. It begs the driver to open the taps and twist the tach needle to the five-o'clock region of its gauge.

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2015 BMW M235i: Heated Seats and Steering Wheel Are Smart, Lifesaving

by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on January 8, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

Living in Los Angeles, I get real spooked when the temperature drops below 60 degrees. What is this? Antarctica? The Apocalypse? I can't wear flip-flops in either.

I checked for the Four Horsemen while fleeing the cold and jumping into our 2015 BMW M235i. Once inside, I remembered a crucial item on the Monroney sticker: The Cold Weather Package.

The $700 option adds heating to the front seats and steering wheel. The additions might sound strange for a convertible, but some of my most enjoyable drives have been in cool weather with the top down and heat blowing at full blast. I put the seat heater on full boogie and looked for the button that would do the same for the steering wheel. After a moment of thumbing around, I found it.

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2015 BMW M235i: Clever Secondary Turn-By-Turn Display

by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on January 6, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

Like most everyone, my preferences for setting up a car's navigation system is 100 percent The Right Way To Do It. In our 2015 BMW M235i, that means map orientated to the north and muted audio turn-by-turn prompts.

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2015 BMW M235i: Thanks for Remembering

by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on January 1, 2016

2015 BMW M235i

Regardless of where you sit on the gradient of stop-start acceptance, our 2015 BMW M235i does something everyone can appreciate. It remembers if you've turned the feature off.

Stop-start, where the engine automatically turns off when you come to a stop and restarts when you move again, makes appreciable differences in fuel economy, especially in stop-and-go traffic. But it can also come with an annoying delay when it's not calibrated properly and a shudder when the engine starts.

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2015 BMW M235i: Split Screen Gives You Options

by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on December 25, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

As far as infotainment systems go, iDrive in our 2015 BMW M235i is one of the best (that is, if you're not counting Android Auto or Apple CarPlay). The controls are responsive and mostly intuitive, and you can use most features without taking your eyes off the road once you learn it.

One thing I like, and that I've yet to see replicated elsewhere, is the configuration that the display allows. Here's the screen showing the navigation alone:

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2015 BMW M235i: Like It, But I'd Buy a 228i Coupe and Pocket the Difference

by Cameron Rogers, Vehicle Testing Assistant on December 23, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

There's no doubt that our 2015 BMW M235i is a seriously impressive machine. It may not be a pure M-car, but if you doubt its performance, consider that its 0-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds equals that of a last-generation M3 convertible with a dual-clutch transmission.

It's also easy to live with everyday. Peruse any of the articles below and you'll be reading awhile before you find a complaint from our staff. But at $56,600, it's not cheap, and the upcoming M2 will be even more savage to your wallet. That's why if it were my money, I'd go for the lesser 228i coupe and enjoy the (comparatively) cheap thrills it provides.

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2015 BMW M235i: First Service at 12,000 Miles

by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on December 11, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Our 2015 BMW M235i requested its first service just shy of 12,000 miles. This ranked as one of the easiest dealer visits we've experienced. We called Sterling BMW in Newport Beach on a Wednesday and scheduled an appointment for the next morning at 7:30 a.m.

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2015 BMW M235i: The Other Benefits Of a Powerful Engine

by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on December 4, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Who doesn't love a powerful engine? They're fun. It's one of the many reasons I'm eager to sign out our 2015 BMW M235i when I see it open for the night. Jason Kavanagh already explained why its turbo 3.0-liter is so sweet, and I'll add that it's the linear response between how hard you hit the gas and how hard you get pushed in the seat.

Yet, it isn't just the joy of a powerful engine alone that's so satisfying. It also makes driving in traffic safer and easier.

A powerful engine gives you more options. Think of it as opening an entirely different set of tools for dealing with the problems you face in traffic.

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2015 BMW M235i: BMW Controls And The Human Brain

by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on December 2, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Road Test Editor Carlos Lago expounded on the smart design of the 2015 BMW M235i shifter some weeks ago, but stopped short of explaining the logic behind the manual shift orientation. I'll pick it up from here in a second.

There is also a small debate in our office regarding the most intuitive approach to navigation system control knobs. This critical issue must be resolved before society can move forward, so maybe you, good citizen, can help.

But first, back to the shifter.

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2015 BMW M235i: Going Eco Pro

by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on November 25, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Press up on the rocker switch next to the shifter in our 2015 BMW M235i and you go into Sport mode. All is good in the world.

But what happens when you press back? While spending two hours in stop-and-go traffic this week, I decided to find out and explored the decidedly less fun world of Eco Pro.

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2015 BMW M235i: Tire Pressure Monitors Do More Than Monitor Pressures

by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on November 23, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Like several of the cars in our fleet lately, our long-term 2015 BMW M235i flashed up a low tire pressure warning the other day. Not all that surprising given the drop in ambient temperature lately.

But what I observed next shocked me.

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2015 BMW M235i: The Case for a Practical Sports Car

by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on November 18, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

They aren't designed for adults with legs, but our long-term 2015 BMW M235i definitely has rear seats. It also has doors that open wide, a relatively quiet ride at idle and a windshield you can see out of. Combined with overall drivability, these practical bits make the M235i a pretty practical sports car.

It's not a hardcore racecar like our long-term Dodge Viper and that's a good thing.  

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2015 BMW M235i: Low Oil, Handy Manual

by Mike Magrath, Features Editor on November 16, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Sometime in the next 125 miles, our long-term 2015 BMW M235i needs a quart of BMW High Performance SAE 5W-30. Or BMW Longlife-01. Or BMW Longlife-01 FE.

And if none of these are available, "up to 1 US quart/liter of an oil with the following specification can be added: SAE 0W-40, SAE0W-30, SAE 5W-40 or SAE 5W-30."

I know this because it told me so, spoon-feeding me the relevant portions of the owner's manual at the relevant time.

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2015 BMW M235i: The One Button Every Car Needs

by Mike Magrath, Features Editor on November 13, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Our long-term 2015 BMW M235i has a switch every car needs and you won't believe what it is.

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2015 BMW M235i: I'll Take the Audi Instead

by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on November 11, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

I like our 2015 BMW M235i. But I'd rather have our former Audi A3.

This may sound like apples to oranges, but think of it more like Fuji to Red Delicious.

On paper these two don't really compete. One's a four door, the other isn't. The Audi is built for four humans, the BMW for two humans and two laptop bags. Maybe two other very small humans. The Audi has two fewer cylinders.

For about the price of the Audi as tested ($39,745), you can get a lightly optioned 228i coupe, or a base all-wheel-drive 228i convertible. As spec'd, our M235i costs about $17,000 more than the A3, which included options like a sport suspension, sport seats, shift paddles, navigation and WiFi connectivity.

Pegged to the dollar, these cars aren't the same.

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2015 BMW M235i: Fuel Economy Update for October: Quiet Month, Incremental Gains

by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on November 10, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

We added only 1,200 miles to the 2015 BMW M235i's odometer in October, but we still managed to bump the convertible's lifetime average fuel economy from 21.0 mpg to 21.2 mpg. The majority of the fill-ups hovered around the 21 mpg mark, which is also the M235i's estimated fuel economy in city driving.

A couple of trips that Dan Edmunds took to Auto Club Speedway (averaging 26.2 mpg) are responsible for the marginal uptick in fuel economy.

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2015 BMW M235i: M Designation Ruminations

by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on November 6, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

You don't have to look long at our 2015 BMW M235i to find the "M" logos. They're on the deck lid, door sills, steering wheel, brake calipers and engine cover. And I have to admit that seeing these M badges smattered so gleefully on a motorized softtop-havin' convertible packing an automatic transmission gives me twinge of sadness.

This is not how I want the storied M Division to go down.

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2015 BMW M235i: Feels Like a Luxury Car Should

by Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor on November 2, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

I used to think there was a clearly defined hierarchy in the automotive world. Everyday passenger cars had small four-cylinder engines and luxury cars had V6s or V8s. Most Acura, BMW, Lexus, or Mercedes I encountered had a larger engine. I'd eventually learn that this wasn't always the case, but a small part of that perceived "natural order" sort of stayed with me.

This is why I love driving our 2015 BMW M235i so much. It feels like a luxury car should drive. The throttle is responsive, the engine pulls with authority and the stop-start system is not intrusive. Having 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque doesn't hurt, but I'd feel the same even if it had the old 200-horsepower, inline-six, from the last generation 128i.

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2015 BMW M235i: Busy Weekend Highlights Impressive Engine, Pushes Odometer Past 10,000 Miles

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on October 23, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Last weekend was a busy one and I put some decent miles on our 2015 BMW M235i without actually leaving town on anything I would call a road trip. I shuttled my daughter around some and ran a few errands, but at least half of the miles came from two round-trips between my home and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, where I helped officiate at a Cal Club SCCA race weekend.

I love the BMW's power. It gets the car up to speed with little apparent effort and the feeling of torque is expansive. It feels like it could go on forever. I need to sign this one out more often.

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2015 BMW M235i: A Quiet One Among Performance Cars

by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on October 15, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Recently there's been some discussion as to how quiet our 2015 BMW M235i is, or is not, during everyday conditions. James complimented its interior sound levels at highway speeds and Mike felt the cabin was too loud at idle.

It seemed like a good opportunity to dust off some test data and compare the M235i with other recently tested convertibles.

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2015 BMW M235i: Sensitive Tire Nanny

by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on October 7, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

The same message you see in the photo above is the same warning I received from our
2015 BMW M235i the night before, about halfway between the office and home. Of course, the warning lit up on a section of freeway about four miles from the next exit where I could pull off and have a look in relative safety.

I heard no pops, I felt no jolt as if I'd run over something, so I was fairly sure it wasn't substantial damage. Had I picked up a screw earlier in the drive? Had someone else before me? The steering felt fine and balanced, but given the minimal sidewall of our non-run-flat Michelin Pilot Super Sports, was I now rolling on the rim? Had the Germans designed this as an urgent do-this-now warning, or more of a lax get-to-it-when-you-can suggestion?

I had four miles until the Seal Beach exit to think about it.

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2015 BMW M235i: The Bad Kind of Loud

by Mike Magrath, Features Editor on September 30, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Convertibles have inherent sacrifices. They're heavier, less stiff, and fabric isn't as good at insulating you from sound as are layers of metal and sound dampening.

I'm usually okay with sacrifices in the first two categories. I like convertibles and I like cruising with the top down more than I like the fractional benefit that lightness and stiffness give to my cruising.

It's the third item — quietness — where our 2015 BMW M235i makes me question our decision to get the droptop.

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2015 BMW M235i: There Should Be a Door Grab Here

by James Riswick, New and Used Car Editor on September 25, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Our 2015 BMW M235i needs a second door grab, or perhaps even its only door grab, positioned where that disembodied hand is in the photo above.

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2015 BMW M235i: Swampy Seats

by Mike Magrath, Features Editor on September 23, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

A few months ago, I called out our 2015 BMW M235i as having the best seats in the fleet. Not only did it rhyme, but it was true. These things are great. Well-bolstered, lots of adjustment, great position — love 'em.

Until the mercury rises above 90. Then there are some issues.

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2015 BMW M235i: Six-Cylinder Smooths Out Auto Stop/Start

by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on September 21, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Our 2015 BMW M235i comes with an engine stop/start feature. To help save fuel, auto stop/start turns off the engine when you come to a stop (at a stoplight, for instance), then automatically fires it right back up as soon as you take your foot off the brake. We've had a few cars in our fleet with this feature now, including our last BMW, the 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. It received fairly positive commentary back then and it seems to work more inconspicuously on our 235i.

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2015 BMW M235i: Well-Insulated and Impressive Soft Top

by James Riswick, New and Used Car Editor on September 17, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

While Josh Sadlier and Company were driving the Yugo to Monterey Car Week in what can only be described as an exercise in automotive self-flagellation, I accompanied them in my 1998 BMW Z3 2.8 roadster. Needless to say, my experience was exponentially more pleasant.

However, my old Z3 has only a single-layer soft top, producing intrusive wind noise at 65 mph or higher. Strong winds that weekend made it even worse. After an hour of roar and the odd high-pitched whistle, "tiresome" would be an insufficient adjective.

I share this story to illustrate just how far soft-top convertibles have come, and specifically, BMW's. The one in our 2015 BMW M235i is truly impressive.

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2015 BMW M235i: Fuel Economy Update for August - Best Tank Yet Still Falls Short of Highway Rating

by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on September 14 2015

2015 BMW M235i

One of the fuel fill-ups scrawled into our long-term 2015 BMW M235i's log book sometime in August was the car's highest-recorded fuel economy to date: 28.6 mpg. Still, this is short of the car's EPA highway rating of 32 mpg.

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2015 BMW M235i: Smart Shifter Improves Driving Experience

August 26, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Our 2015 BMW M235i has a great shifter. You'll find this design in most new BMWs, but a recent drive in our long-termer provided a good reminder of why I like it: It improves the driving experience without needless reinvention.

Though different, the operation is more of an evolution of current shifter designs. The shift pattern is familiar: up for reverse, down for drive, move left for Sport, and press the P for park. There's no stepped path you have to navigate it through; just push a direction.

While you have to thumb a button on the side to go from park to a gear, you don't need to do so when going from drive to reverse or vice versa. This helps make three-point turns or parking in a tight spot easy to navigate.

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2015 BMW M235i: Gaining Traction with DTC

August 20, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

I quickly settled into a startup process with our long-term 2015 BMW M235i. One: Start car. Two: Tap the stability control off button. This activates Dynamic Traction Control, or what you can call The Go Faster Mode.

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2015 BMW M235i: Fuel Economy Update for July — New Record

August 14, 2015

2014 Mini Cooper

Our 2015 BMW M235i proves to be a popular car, as it sat in the Edmunds garage only two nights in July. Most of those nights, however, it went home with editors who live in the immediate vicinity of the office. This accounted for 1,322 miles, slightly off pace from our 1,700-mile goal. Something tells me a sunny, top-down road trip is not far off in our convertible's future.

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2015 BMW M235i: Trades Small Rear Seat for Bigger Trunk

August 10, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

That the 2015 BMW M235i should be able to handle some grocery-getting and other details of the day-to-day shouldn't be surprising, even if it is a convertible. This is, after all, a $50,000 car. And even if it's main purpose is to be a tightly-wound little carving machine that can dress down when the sun is up, you should expect some measure of daily utility for fifty large.

The flipside of the M235i's stingy rear seat room, well-documented in our travels, is that it enables a trunk shape and volume that's fairly useful for resupplying the pantry. Although it tapers closer to the rear seat backs, the trunk is surprisingly deep, if narrow

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2015 BMW M235i: Stiff Structure Doesn't Ruin the Ride

August 5, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

In Edmunds testing, our 2015 BMW M235i long-termer accelerated from 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds, zipped around the slalom course at 71.3 mph and held on around the skid pad at 0.93 g. Even if it's not a traditional M division car, the M235i has very respectable sporting cred.

And just like BMW's best cars, the M235i still has enough comfort baked in to make it suitable for driving every day.

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2015 BMW M235i: Tight Back Seat for Adults, But That's OK

July 31, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

About a month ago, Caroline wrote that the backseat of our long-term 2015 BMW M235i is not all that dog-friendly. You pretty much know that if a back seat isn't comfortable for dogs, it's not going to be all that great for humans.

That didn't stop me from trying it out anyway. If you're sitting in back with the top up and you're taller than 5-foot, 10-inches, your head will rub against the ceiling. Legroom is similarly tight, although you can splay out your legs a bit to give you a bit room for your knees.

If there's another adult sitting next to you, hope that he or she smells nice since you'll be sitting shoulder-to-shoulder (here in the office, I'd personally pick Mike Monticello to sit next to, since he's a bit shorter than me and always smells delightful).

The thing is, though, I'm actually quite fine with our M235i having a small backseat.

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2015 BMW M235i: The Speedy Sunday Driver

July 24, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Convertibles or roadsters show up only occasionally in our long-term fleet, so it's always nice when we're able to test out something like the 2015 BMW M235i. Personally, I'm not a fan of having the top down for everyday driving, mostly because I find the wind and sun tiresome and stares from other motorists intrusive (and no doubt my inopportune nose pick or crotch grab will end up on somebody's smart phone as well).

But on certain occasions, such as heading out for a drive on a relatively cool Sunday morning, there's really not much else than can beat a drop-top for motoring magic. And if your drop-top happens to pack 320 turbocharged horses, that's just all the better.

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2015 BMW M235i: Why You'll Want the Premium Package

July 22, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

In our introduction of the 2015 BMW M235i test, we listed all the great stuff that we got for $56,600 (Yes, this car is a loaner so consider it 56K worth of Monopoly money. You get the idea.) The list includes all the neat go-fast M235i hardware, a navigation system, auto-parking, lane-departure warning, and a concierge service among other things. There were just a few lingering features we didn't get on our M235i.

Yet I'm finding that the absence of those features is obvious.

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2015 BMW M235i: Steering Sells BMWs

July 20, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

What's one of the most oft-used descriptions for BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi cars? Anecdotally, I'll say "solid." Or maybe "vault-like." You hear those little chestnuts all the time from us, the car-geek pressery. And while the car nerds take into account everything from chassis welds to spring rates to door thunk when describing German cars as "solid," I'm convinced that what sells Bimmers like our 2015 BMW M235i to most people is really the steering.

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2015 BMW M235i: Fuel Economy Update for June - Just Getting Started

July 7, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Our 2015 BMW M235i served light-duty commuting duties through most of June. No road trips, no track romps, no long-distance cruising (although we did pull a very good tank comprised of some long highway commutes). Instead we used it for the fairly blue-collar task of hauling new Mustang tires, driving the dog around (Mya was not impressed) and waxing on the really, really nice powertrain.

We still managed to add almost 1,600 miles though, and observed one tank that returned 25.5 mpg after 311 miles. That's our second best-fill so far and maybe a more legitimate result than the standing record of 25.7 mpg, achieved with just 123.6 trip miles back in April.

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2015 BMW M235i Convertible: Dog Report

June 30, 2015

2015 BMW M235i Convertible

Our long-term 2015 BMW M235i isn't ideal for medium-size senior dogs. I learned this when I took my 11-year-old pitbull Mya to my folks' place for Father's Day.

Since Mya is an old girl she's always uncomfortable, always groaning. She can't jump anymore so we bought her a dog ramp to get in and out of tall cars. But since our M235i was low enough, that shouldn't have been an issue.

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2015 BMW M235i: Bluetooth Glitch

June 24, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Our 2015 BMW M235i convertible is displaying a peculiar and intermittent Bluetooth problem. Without warning it disconnects phone calls. Or so it seems.

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2015 BMW M235i: Pony Parts Hauler

June 22, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

We needed to pick up four new tires for our long-term Ford Mustang GT but the only car available at the time was our 2015 BMW M235i. It seemed like a good impromptu test of the BMW's cargo capacity.

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2015 BMW M235i: A Benchmark Powertrain

June 11, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Our long-term 2015 BMW M235i has a powertrain that works. I don't mean "works" as in "is functional," but as in "the operation of which was obviously fussed over by people who know what they're doing."

The M235i's 3.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected inline six-cylinder is not new. This engine family ostensibly started life as the N54, a twin-turbo mill, then transmogrified into the single-turbo, Valvetronic-havin' N55. Yet despite its tooth length, it's just so darned good.

But it's not without some character flaws.

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2015 BMW M235i: Five Reasons We're Psyched On the M2

June 8, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

As may be obvious from the title, this isn't about the 2015 BMW M235i in the Edmunds long-term fleet. Instead this is a musing about the next 2 Series that will join the fleet, or so say some of the staff editors. I sense they're slightly delusional; the beads of drool that collect at the corner of their mouths when they talk about the M2 seems like a dead giveaway.  

But carried along in their rapture, I worked out some reasons why everyone should be excited about the forthcoming M2.

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2015 BMW M235i: Driven Hard at the Ring

June 2, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

The 2015 BMW M235i makes really nice sounds. Its inline-six burble and purr is even better enjoyed with the top down on a bright, warm California day. Haters gonna hate, but I'm glad we got the ragtop. What we lose in structural rigidity, we gain in driving experience. At least that's the story I'm selling myself.

But if you want to hear an M235i driven in all its angry, tenor, production-model glory, with a little turbo whine backing harmony, check out this video:

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2015 BMW M235i: Performance-Tested — Stiff, Sharp and Committed to Going Fast

May 26, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

Our 2015 BMW M235i convertible packs a wallop worthy of the tri-colored M badge. This new model has a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that generates 322 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. It has an eight-speed automatic transmission and is driven by the rear wheels.

The convertible is about 300 pounds heavier than the 2014 coupe we tested last year, but it's just as willing to attack corners and deliver a thrilling driving experience. Read on for our instrumented performance numbers gathered at the test track.

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2015 BMW M235i: One Size Fits All

May 18, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

I am height-challenged in the sense that my gawky, 6-foot 4-inch frame makes it difficult to fit perfectly in many compacts and sports cars. Imagine my delight when I climbed into our 2015 BMW M235i for the first time to find that the small convertible offered plenty of room to stretch my legs. Even better is the ample head room afforded by a tall roof and adjustable seat bottom.

Im not the only one surprised by the M235is unexpected amount of driver space.

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2015 BMW M235i: Best Seats in the Fleet

May 5, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

The seats in our Volvo have received praise here. And they're fine if you like firm seats with minimal adjustments, rigid bolsters, stiff leather, no thigh support and a headrest that's constantly punching you in the brain stem.

The seats in our 2015 BMW M235i have none of these downsides and are my new favorite seats in the fleet. By far.

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2015 BMW M235i: Hair-Saving Wind Deflector

April 24, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

There are definite cons to driving a convertible. One is a sunburn, another is fussed hair. Donning a hat can be a solution to both, but with time can also cause the dreaded hat hair. Or perhaps you'd like the feel of a light breeze in your hair, but would rather not resemble Diana Ross upon arrival. While clouds or the roof can fix the sun issue, our 2015 BMW M235i's wind deflector can take care of the, well, wind.

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2015 BMW M235i: First Chance to Test Sun-Reflecting Leather

April 23, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

We've had a great many long-term BMWs during my eight-plus years at Edmunds, but our 2015 BMW M235i is the first convertible. That means we've never had a chance to try a feature that has intrigued me since it was introduced for the last-generation 3 Series convertible: sun-reflective leather.

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2015 BMW M235i: Break-In Period Requires Many Miles of Restraint

April 21, 2015

2015 BMW M235i

I was genuinely excited when the sign-out sheet came around and our newest long-termer, the 2015 BMW M235i, was still available. I drove a hard-top M235i a while back and truly loved the experience. It had sharp, direct steering and a fantastic feel for the road, both of which I was anxious to experience again. Sadly, I couldn't really put our new convertible through its paces since we're still in the break-in period. It's a long one, too.

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2015 BMW M235i Convertible: Introduction

April 16, 2015

2015 BMW M235i Convertible

It's been a couple of years since we last had a convertible in the Edmunds long-term test fleet. Now that BMW has released a drop-top version of the compact and lively 2 Series, we figured it's as good a time as any to break out the sunscreen.

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Past Long-Term Road Tests