2015 BMW M235i: Setting Records on its First Road Trip, Part 1
by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on March 21, 2016
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.
I didn't know it at the time I planned the trip, but our departure date of March 11 was fortuitous. As commenter bobinsepa noted, Zion Canyon Scenic Drive closed to personal vehicles on March 12. After that, Zion gets swamped with tourists and the main thoroughfare is only open to shuttle buses to keep the road clear.
My girlfriend and I left home at 6:00 a.m., stopped to get gas and set tire pressures, and headed north. We didn't run into any traffic on the way up Interstate 15, although we got bogged down by road construction at the Cajon Pass, which delayed us for about 20 minutes. It took us 4.75 hours to get from home to Pink Box Donuts in Summerlin, about 10 miles from the I-15/Route 95 interchange in downtown Las Vegas.
As it turns out, I like the M235i much more on the open road than just puttering around town. At low speeds, it feels a bit stiff-legged. The suspension transmits almost all road surface irregularities, which is common for sports cars. At highway speeds, however, everything feels perfect. It strikes a nice balance between being comfortable and letting you know that you are connected to the road. It's far more engaging but just as pleasant to drive to Vegas as the 2015 Acura TLX I took last time.
It's also plenty quiet. Road, wind and tire noise were all kept at reasonable levels, and my girlfriend and I never had to raise our voices to talk to each other. If you're interested in the numbers, at the Edmunds test track our M235i convertible was only 2 dB louder than a comparable coupe at a 70 mph cruising speed.
After a road trip breakfast of coffee and donuts (a traditional cronut for her and, for me, the Fat Elvis: stuffed with peanut butter, topped with chocolate and a caramelized banana slice), we headed further up the 15. We snapped a few photos along the way, notably on the road to Nellis Air Force Base and Mesquite, the last town in Nevada before the Arizona border. It wasn't long until we were in St. George, Utah.
Because people who take a break from their diets tend to fall off the wagon in a wholly self-destructive way, we chased our donut breakfast with a lunch of sourdough pizza at Pier 49. We traveled further on the 15 before we took State Route 9 to the front gates of Zion.
Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor @ 16,642 miles