2015 BMW M235i: The Bad Kind of Loud
by Mike Magrath, Features Editor on September 30, 2015
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.
Unfortunately, the noisiness isn't the good kind. It's not engine roar. This engine doesn't roar; it kind of whirs and whistles. It's not an unpleasant noise, but it's not the type of noise we're talking about here so we'll leave this alone.
The next kind of noise that it isn't is wind/road/tire noise. There's some of that, sure, as this thing rides on sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires and cars make a little noise on the highway, even with the top up, so that's totally tolerable.
What isn't tolerable is the overwhelming amount of ambient noise that storms into the cabin at any speed. From Los Angeles's stupid-loud busses to construction sites to particularly loud songbirds to emergency vehicles to other cars simply idling in traffic, every sound is allowed nearly unfettered access to your ear canal.
At some point during my last four days with the thing, I just stopped putting the top up. If I'm going to be deafened by every passing vehicle, I might as well get a little sun at the same time.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor