2015 BMW M235i: Setting Records on its First Road Trip, Part 2
by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on March 23, 2016
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.
We were fortunate to travel through Zion in a convertible. Rolling down the top and windows is the perfect way to take in the park's verticality, especially with the moderate weather. At one point we parked and closed up the BMW. After we returned and headed away from the parking lot, we felt uncomfortable by the seclusion of the enclosed cabin. We didn't even have to pull over to put the top down, because it can be folded and unfolded at speeds up to 30 mph.
Our departure came after we cruised around and walked for an hour and a half. Our car was buffeted by 25 mph winds as we made our way back to Vegas along I-15. Noise in the cabin increased, but only slightly. I was also surprised by how little the winds affected the M235i's placement on the road. There were light lateral movements, but overall the convertible stayed planted. I was relieved not to have to fight wind-induced tugs at the steering wheel at the end of a long day of travel.
We pulled into town exhausted but relieved to finally arrive at our destination. We checked into the Mirage, grabbed burgers and a few pints downstairs at BLT Burger, and passed out at 9:00 p.m. There are no long nights in Vegas when you've driven 600 miles in a day that began before dawn.
The next morning, we took photos on top of the Mirage parking structure, filled the gas tank (with 15 miles of range showing) and jumped on the freeway. The way back was traffic-free and resulted in the best fill of the trip (31.0 mpg), which also turned out to be the best fill we've had in the M235i so far.
The BMW M235i convertible was a perfect road trip car for the two of us. The cabin was reasonably quiet, the seats were supportive and its trunk was big enough for two small suitcases and a couple of large rocks we bought at a rock store near Zion. It was also surprisingly comfortable for a sporty convertible, and was situated between the lively F-Type R and several of the family-friendly sedans I've driven to Vegas over the past two years or so. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
Fuel economy for each stretch of the trip follows. Estimated fuel economy is per the car's onboard calculator:
La Habra to Summerlin:
Distance Traveled: 266.9 miles
Average Speed: 65.7 mph
Estimated Fuel Economy: 29.6 mpg
Actual Fuel Economy: 30.3 mpg
Summerlin to Zion to Las Vegas:
Distance Traveled: 352.1 miles
Average Speed: 54.3 mph
Estimated Fuel Economy: 27.9 mpg
Actual Fuel Economy: 28.6 mpg
Las Vegas to Brea:
Distance Traveled: 251.9 miles
Average Speed: 67.6 mph
Estimated Fuel Economy: 30.5 mpg
Actual fuel economy: 31.0 mpg
Time spent traveling: 14:48
Distance traveled: 871 miles
Average speed: 60.9 mph
Estimated Fuel Economy: 29.1 mpg
Actual Fuel Economy: 29.8 mpg
Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor @ 16,642 miles