2015 BMW M235i: Not So Hot Concept, But Excellent Execution
by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on January 14, 2016
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.
These arguments aim at the M235i convertible in concept. They're good arguments, but they do a disservice to the execution of that concept. Why? Because the execution is pretty freaking sweet.
Our M235i doesn't exhibit traditional convertible traits, like added road noise or the general sense of vagueness that comes with excessive cowl shake. It loses a bit of roof-up visibility, but little else. Most importantly, our M235i remains fun to drive. We praised the drivetrain repeatedly (1, 2, 3, 4), and the steering and handling are equally sharp and enjoyable.
BMW may have strayed from making real motorsports-derived cars (Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge are taking up the slack), but the M235i drives like a sweetheart on the street. Its concept may not be as purebred as some hope, but I find the execution hard to fault.
Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor