2015 BMW M235i: Why You'll Want the Premium Package
July 22, 2015
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.
This largely has to do with us not getting the $2,150 Premium package. With it, the M235i also comes with keyless ignition and entry ("Comfort Access"), auto-dimming mirrors, satellite radio and a universal garage door opener. For a lot of luxury car buyers, you might say this package could be renamed the Essential package.
The 2 Series still has push-button engine start though, so that means when you're approaching the car and want to unlock it, you'll likely need to fish the remote out of your pocket/purse/bag first. And once you're inside, you then need to either put the remote back or find a place somewhere in the car to stow it. It's just an inconvenience, but one that stands out nonetheless.
That also goes for the lack of the auto-dimming mirrors and garage door opener on a luxury-branded car. Who expects to do manual nighttime rearview mirror tilting on his or her new BMW, even if it is an entry-level one? No satellite radio isn't quite so dramatic as there are so many audio sources these days. But I've noticed that the quality of the base sound system is pretty average. Maybe it would have been nice to also get the stand-alone Harman/Kardon premium sound system for $875?
Other cars in our long-term fleet have lacked features we'd expect (like our 328i xDrive Gran Turismo or Audi A3, for instance), so I'm not singling out the M235i. But I will use it to show how important it is to research what comes standard and what is optional when you're reviewing inventory on Edmunds.com or looking at window stickers on dealer lots. That way you'll have the best chance of getting the features you truly want without paying too much.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 4,625 miles