by Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor on May 9, 2016
Twelve months and 20,000 miles later, it's time to say goodbye to our long-term 2015 BMW M235i convertible. In sun-drenched Southern California, the fabric top certainly got a workout but hasn't given us a hint of trouble. Save for a flat tire, the entire test has been trouble free.
by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on May 5, 2016
So I recently drove our 2015 BMW M235i on a three-day road trip spanning 1,300 miles. Take the jump for a recap of driving impressions and a lot of pictures.
by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on April 21, 2016
Until a couple of months ago, we spent the majority our time with the 2015 BMW M235i convertible in city driving situations. Doing so skewed our fuel economy results in that direction and failed to give us true, long distance driving impressions. So we made an effort to level the scales.
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on April 18, 2016
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.
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.
by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on March 11, 2016
By the time you read this, I'll be driving the 2015 BMW M235i to Zion National Park in southwest Utah. I've had the idea of going on a road trip in the BMW since I wrote its January fuel economy update. At the end of January, the odometer was just about to turn over 14,000 miles, and it hit the 15,000 milestone at the beginning of March.
We try to get every year-long test vehicle to the 20,000-mile mark, which works out to about 1,700 miles per month. The M235i has hit this mark only twice since it's been with us. The current odometer reading is 15,764, and it's due to go back to BMW at the beginning of April.
It's time to make up for lost ground.
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on March 10, 2016
Our long-term 2015 BMW M235i saw its electron-related features under the microscope during February. Its keyless ignition sans entry, leisurely power-folding top and chicken-little-ing parking alerts came under heavy scrutiny.
In between these ruminations, the BMW also saw a decent chunk of road time during February — 1,215 miles, to be exact. It managed 23.3 mpg for the month, bringing its rolling lifetime fuel economy to 20.9 mpg. This lines up with its EPA city rating of 21 mpg.
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on March 7, 2016
These update pictures are never easy to take. The odometer always seems to roll over at the most inconvenient times, like when I was merging from Interstate 5 onto Interstate 10 this morning in our long-term 2015 BMW M235i.
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on February 29, 2016
It's nice to have parking sensors in any car, especially as outward visibility suffers from the design yoke of stricter crash safety standards and parking (and reversing) increasingly becomes an exercise in feel and intuition.
Our 2015 BMW M235i has a pretty sensitive set of sensors, and that, combined with a crisp backup camera display, is not a bad thing when reversing. As we've noted, the M235i convertible has a pretty a severe blind spot.
But there's a difference between being sensitive and being, well, totally, wildly uncalibrated or just plain nervous and jumpy. Click through for a look.
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on February 12, 2016
Our 2015 BMW M235i features keyless push-button start. It's a nice convenience, a nice slice of buyer satisfaction. Many cars offer this feature in tandem with keyless entry, so you can stick that keyfob in your pocket or bag when you leave the house and not worry about it again until you get home.
Except you can't with our M235i. When you approach it and grab the door handle, there's no soft confirmation beep that it's unlocked for you. No swift sequence of approach, open, slide into driver seat, close door, go. No, if you want keyless entry on our M235i, you're on the hook for another two grand to get the Premium package.
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on February 2, 2016
Maybe it's just that I've spent a lot of time in our long-term Mazda Miata lately and it has a top that goes down quicker than the car can accelerate to 60 mph. But when I'm in our long-term 2015 BMW M235i and I deploy the convertible top, it feels like an eternity passes before the process completes.
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on January 25, 2016
Whether it's going up driveways, avoiding small rodents in the road or pulling in to parking spots at the grocery store, I'm always worried about scraping the front bumpers on our long-term cars. It's a fear that sticks with me after years of driving lowered cars.
by Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief on January 20, 2016
This would be easy to blame on the car. But this was our fault.
After 10 months and 13,000 miles of use, some of the material on the driver's door panel of our long-term 2015 BMW M235i looks like it went a few rounds with a wolverine.
I just noticed it the other day and at first I did blame the car. At first blush it simply looked like the material began to disintegrate, which was surprising because in my experience BMW interiors are some of the most durable around.
Nope, this was us.
by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on January 14, 2016
Yes, we're going to talk even more about BMW's M Division.
In large part I agree with Jason Kavanagh's thoughts on the many M badges adorning our 2015 BMW M235i convertible. Like many who enjoy driving, I wince at the concept of a convertible variant of a car that wasn't wholly intended to be one from the outset, like a Miata or Boxster.
What's the best way to lessen rigidity and add weight to a car? Take off the roof and Band-Aid the chassis with additional structure. What's worse is adding an M badge to it.
As Kavanagh points out, the similarity in price between the M235i and a Shelby GT350 is uncomfortable. The disparity between prices of the Ford and the M4 are more troubling still.
by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on January 12, 2016
Brake dust, that grey soot-like stuff that accumulates on your wheels, is the bane of any car enthusiast who likes things looking nice. Unfortunately, our 2015 BMW M235i makes a fair amount of the stuff.
Before we go further, I must stress that I don't consider this a problem or a defect, but the mere byproduct of brakes working. I know of others who feel otherwise, and strongly so. Yet the dust seems more prevalent on the BMWs I've tested. Perhaps it's true what an engineer at a major automaker once told me: Europeans tend to be more accepting of brake dust than U.S. consumers.
In any event, I don't mind cleaning the dust. In fact, I like seeing the fruits of my labor, which brings us to the above image of the driver-side wheel.
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on January 11, 2016
Our long-term 2015 BMW M235i continues to win us over with its lusty, turbocharged silken propulsion device. It begs the driver to open the taps and twist the tach needle to the five-o'clock region of its gauge.
by Cameron Rogers, Vehicle Testing Assistant on December 23, 2015
There's no doubt that our 2015 BMW M235i is a seriously impressive machine. It may not be a pure M-car, but if you doubt its performance, consider that its 0-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds equals that of a last-generation M3 convertible with a dual-clutch transmission.
It's also easy to live with everyday. Peruse any of the articles below and you'll be reading awhile before you find a complaint from our staff. But at $56,600, it's not cheap, and the upcoming M2 will be even more savage to your wallet. That's why if it were my money, I'd go for the lesser 228i coupe and enjoy the (comparatively) cheap thrills it provides.
by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on December 4, 2015
Who doesn't love a powerful engine? They're fun. It's one of the many reasons I'm eager to sign out our 2015 BMW M235i when I see it open for the night. Jason Kavanagh already explained why its turbo 3.0-liter is so sweet, and I'll add that it's the linear response between how hard you hit the gas and how hard you get pushed in the seat.
Yet, it isn't just the joy of a powerful engine alone that's so satisfying. It also makes driving in traffic safer and easier.
A powerful engine gives you more options. Think of it as opening an entirely different set of tools for dealing with the problems you face in traffic.
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on December 2, 2015
Road Test Editor Carlos Lago expounded on the smart design of the 2015 BMW M235i shifter some weeks ago, but stopped short of explaining the logic behind the manual shift orientation. I'll pick it up from here in a second.
There is also a small debate in our office regarding the most intuitive approach to navigation system control knobs. This critical issue must be resolved before society can move forward, so maybe you, good citizen, can help.
But first, back to the shifter.
by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on November 25, 2015
Press up on the rocker switch next to the shifter in our 2015 BMW M235i and you go into Sport mode. All is good in the world.
But what happens when you press back? While spending two hours in stop-and-go traffic this week, I decided to find out and explored the decidedly less fun world of Eco Pro.
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on November 23, 2015
Like several of the cars in our fleet lately, our long-term 2015 BMW M235i flashed up a low tire pressure warning the other day. Not all that surprising given the drop in ambient temperature lately.
But what I observed next shocked me.
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on November 11, 2015
I like our 2015 BMW M235i. But I'd rather have our former Audi A3.
This may sound like apples to oranges, but think of it more like Fuji to Red Delicious.
On paper these two don't really compete. One's a four door, the other isn't. The Audi is built for four humans, the BMW for two humans and two laptop bags. Maybe two other very small humans. The Audi has two fewer cylinders.
For about the price of the Audi as tested ($39,745), you can get a lightly optioned 228i coupe, or a base all-wheel-drive 228i convertible. As spec'd, our M235i costs about $17,000 more than the A3, which included options like a sport suspension, sport seats, shift paddles, navigation and WiFi connectivity.
Pegged to the dollar, these cars aren't the same.
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on November 6, 2015
You don't have to look long at our 2015 BMW M235i to find the "M" logos. They're on the deck lid, door sills, steering wheel, brake calipers and engine cover. And I have to admit that seeing these M badges smattered so gleefully on a motorized softtop-havin' convertible packing an automatic transmission gives me twinge of sadness.
This is not how I want the storied M Division to go down.
by Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor on November 2, 2015
I used to think there was a clearly defined hierarchy in the automotive world. Everyday passenger cars had small four-cylinder engines and luxury cars had V6s or V8s. Most Acura, BMW, Lexus, or Mercedes I encountered had a larger engine. I'd eventually learn that this wasn't always the case, but a small part of that perceived "natural order" sort of stayed with me.
This is why I love driving our 2015 BMW M235i so much. It feels like a luxury car should drive. The throttle is responsive, the engine pulls with authority and the stop-start system is not intrusive. Having 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque doesn't hurt, but I'd feel the same even if it had the old 200-horsepower, inline-six, from the last generation 128i.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on October 23, 2015
Last weekend was a busy one and I put some decent miles on our 2015 BMW M235i without actually leaving town on anything I would call a road trip. I shuttled my daughter around some and ran a few errands, but at least half of the miles came from two round-trips between my home and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, where I helped officiate at a Cal Club SCCA race weekend.
I love the BMW's power. It gets the car up to speed with little apparent effort and the feeling of torque is expansive. It feels like it could go on forever. I need to sign this one out more often.
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on October 7, 2015
The same message you see in the photo above is the same warning I received from our
2015 BMW M235i the night before, about halfway between the office and home. Of course, the warning lit up on a section of freeway about four miles from the next exit where I could pull off and have a look in relative safety.
I heard no pops, I felt no jolt as if I'd run over something, so I was fairly sure it wasn't substantial damage. Had I picked up a screw earlier in the drive? Had someone else before me? The steering felt fine and balanced, but given the minimal sidewall of our non-run-flat Michelin Pilot Super Sports, was I now rolling on the rim? Had the Germans designed this as an urgent do-this-now warning, or more of a lax get-to-it-when-you-can suggestion?
I had four miles until the Seal Beach exit to think about it.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on September 21, 2015
Our 2015 BMW M235i comes with an engine stop/start feature. To help save fuel, auto stop/start turns off the engine when you come to a stop (at a stoplight, for instance), then automatically fires it right back up as soon as you take your foot off the brake. We've had a few cars in our fleet with this feature now, including our last BMW, the 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. It received fairly positive commentary back then and it seems to work more inconspicuously on our 235i.
by James Riswick, New and Used Car Editor on September 17, 2015
While Josh Sadlier and Company were driving the Yugo to Monterey Car Week in what can only be described as an exercise in automotive self-flagellation, I accompanied them in my 1998 BMW Z3 2.8 roadster. Needless to say, my experience was exponentially more pleasant.
However, my old Z3 has only a single-layer soft top, producing intrusive wind noise at 65 mph or higher. Strong winds that weekend made it even worse. After an hour of roar and the odd high-pitched whistle, "tiresome" would be an insufficient adjective.
I share this story to illustrate just how far soft-top convertibles have come, and specifically, BMW's. The one in our 2015 BMW M235i is truly impressive.
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on September 14 2015
One of the fuel fill-ups scrawled into our long-term 2015 BMW M235i's log book sometime in August was the car's highest-recorded fuel economy to date: 28.6 mpg. Still, this is short of the car's EPA highway rating of 32 mpg.
by Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor on September 10, 2015
Can I just say that I love driving our long-term 2015 BMW M235i? It's the perfect car for getting around Los Angeles, whether picking your way through the city streets or sitting in traffic. I usually hate, hate, hate rush-hour traffic, but when I had this car for the night, I jumped into that slow-moving slog home with gusto. I had no trouble pointing and squirting around cars on Interstate 10. That power. That nimbleness.
The only thing holding me back was that huge blind spot over the driver's right shoulder.
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on August 31, 2015
Before driving our long-term 2015 BMW M235i, I'd never been behind the wheel of a convertible. I had a friend that owned a Saab 9-3 convertible, but I never spent any time in it. The idea of a convertible never appealed to me. The summers are hot and humid where I grew up, so air-conditioning was nearly always preferable to leaving the windows rolled down. I rarely even opened the shade of my car's sunroof.
My friend's Saab always had a problem, too.
Well, it had a number of problems, but some of those involved the convertible roof.
July 24, 2015
Convertibles or roadsters show up only occasionally in our long-term fleet, so it's always nice when we're able to test out something like the 2015 BMW M235i. Personally, I'm not a fan of having the top down for everyday driving, mostly because I find the wind and sun tiresome and stares from other motorists intrusive (and no doubt my inopportune nose pick or crotch grab will end up on somebody's smart phone as well).
But on certain occasions, such as heading out for a drive on a relatively cool Sunday morning, there's really not much else than can beat a drop-top for motoring magic. And if your drop-top happens to pack 320 turbocharged horses, that's just all the better.
July 20, 2015
What's one of the most oft-used descriptions for BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi cars? Anecdotally, I'll say "solid." Or maybe "vault-like." You hear those little chestnuts all the time from us, the car-geek pressery. And while the car nerds take into account everything from chassis welds to spring rates to door thunk when describing German cars as "solid," I'm convinced that what sells Bimmers like our 2015 BMW M235i to most people is really the steering.
June 22, 2015
June 11, 2015
Our long-term 2015 BMW M235i has a powertrain that works. I don't mean "works" as in "is functional," but as in "the operation of which was obviously fussed over by people who know what they're doing."
The M235i's 3.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected inline six-cylinder is not new. This engine family ostensibly started life as the N54, a twin-turbo mill, then transmogrified into the single-turbo, Valvetronic-havin' N55. Yet despite its tooth length, it's just so darned good.
But it's not without some character flaws.
June 8, 2015
As may be obvious from the title, this isn't about the 2015 BMW M235i in the Edmunds long-term fleet. Instead this is a musing about the next 2 Series that will join the fleet, or so say some of the staff editors. I sense they're slightly delusional; the beads of drool that collect at the corner of their mouths when they talk about the M2 seems like a dead giveaway.
But carried along in their rapture, I worked out some reasons why everyone should be excited about the forthcoming M2.
June 2, 2015
The 2015 BMW M235i makes really nice sounds. Its inline-six burble and purr is even better enjoyed with the top down on a bright, warm California day. Haters gonna hate, but I'm glad we got the ragtop. What we lose in structural rigidity, we gain in driving experience. At least that's the story I'm selling myself.
But if you want to hear an M235i driven in all its angry, tenor, production-model glory, with a little turbo whine backing harmony, check out this video:
May 18, 2015
I am height-challenged in the sense that my gawky, 6-foot 4-inch frame makes it difficult to fit perfectly in many compacts and sports cars. Imagine my delight when I climbed into our 2015 BMW M235i for the first time to find that the small convertible offered plenty of room to stretch my legs. Even better is the ample head room afforded by a tall roof and adjustable seat bottom.
Im not the only one surprised by the M235is unexpected amount of driver space.
April 24, 2015
There are definite cons to driving a convertible. One is a sunburn, another is fussed hair. Donning a hat can be a solution to both, but with time can also cause the dreaded hat hair. Or perhaps you'd like the feel of a light breeze in your hair, but would rather not resemble Diana Ross upon arrival. While clouds or the roof can fix the sun issue, our 2015 BMW M235i's wind deflector can take care of the, well, wind.
April 16, 2015
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.