2015 BMW M235i Convertible Long-Term Road Test - Introduction

2015 BMW M235i Convertible Long-Term Road Test

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2015 BMW M235i Convertible Long-Term Road Test: Introduction

April 16, 2015

What Did We Get?
It's been a couple of years since we last had a convertible in the Edmunds long-term test fleet. Now that BMW has released a drop-top version of the compact and lively 2 Series, we figured it's as good a time as any to break out the sunscreen.

2015 BMW 2 Series

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Rather than settle for the 240-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder in the already capable 228i, we opted for the six-cylinder turbo in the M235i and its 320 hp and 330 pound-feet of torque. We stuck with the standard eight-speed automatic transmission instead of the six-speed manual since it's the overwhelming choice among buyers today. Plus, it's actually quicker than the manual. BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive is available on other 2 Series models with the automatic transmission except for our M235i convertible, but we'll be just fine with rear-drive only.

Standard feature highlights for all 2 Series models include dual-zone automatic climate control, leatherette upholstery, BMW's iDrive infotainment interface and a 10-speaker audio system. Our M235i further benefits from a cloth folding roof, pop-up roll hoops, 18-inch wheels with summer tires, an adaptive suspension, variable-ratio steering, upgraded brakes, a sport exhaust and an aerodynamic body kit. Upgrades continue inside with power-adjustable sport seats, a sport steering wheel and ambient lighting.

What Options Does It Have?
Pricing for the base 228i coupe starts at $33,050. Going the convertible route bumps the price another $5,800. Graduating to the M235i Convertible kicks it up to $48,650, and the options piled on top added another $7,950.

For more cash, we added the Cold Weather package (headlight washers and heated seats and steering wheel), the Driver Assistance package (rearview camera and parking sensors), the Driver Assistance Plus package (lane departure warning and speed limit display) and the Technology package (navigation, emergency telematics, real-time traffic, an updated instrument cluster and in-car apps). Stand-alone options include the Glacier Silver Metallic paint, Dakota Red leather upholstery, automatic parking system, enhanced Bluetooth connectivity and BMW Concierge Services.

This brings the as-tested price to a choking $56,600, which is a stone's throw away from a fully loaded price of $58,625. All we're missing is the Premium package (auto-dimming mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, satellite radio and a garage door opener), the Harman Kardon premium audio, an anti-theft alarm and automatic high beams.

Why We Got It
Entry-level luxury cars are hot right now, and the 2 Series is BMW's least expensive model. It'll be a good comparison to our current Audi A3 and previous Mercedes-Benz CLA250. Sure, we could have gone the sensible route with a 228i, but we already have enough experience with that engine thanks to our long-term 328i Gran Turismo. Our generously optioned M235i will also allow us to evaluate all of the bells and whistles.

Why a convertible? Well, with Edmunds headquartered in sunny Santa Monica, California, why not? Some of us are looking a little pale, so this ought to restore our youthful glow. Follow along for the next 12 months to see if the 2015 BMW M235i Convertible meets our expectations and how it holds up against its rivals.

EPA estimated fuel economy: 25 mpg combined (21 city/32 highway)
Best MPG: 17.7
Worst MPG: 16.3
Average MPG over 190 miles: 17.2

The manufacturer provided Edmunds with this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.

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