Read the 2015 BMW M235i Convertible's introduction to our long-term fleet.
See all of the 2015 BMW M235i Convertible's long-term updates.
What We Got
It had been a while since we'd had a convertible in our long-term test fleet, and 2015 marked the first year you could get a drop-top version of the BMW 2 Series. Its place as the entry-level model means that the two-door 2 Series could be the first option for buyers who are looking to step up to a luxury brand.
The 2 Series convertible offers a base four-cylinder engine and a six-cylinder upgrade. We chose the upgraded M235i, which features the 320-horsepower six-cylinder. It goes from zero to 60 mph in only 4.8 seconds and only surrenders about 2 mpg compared to the standard four-cylinder engine.
The M235i's list of standard features is generous and includes dual-zone automatic climate control, leatherette upholstery, BMW's iDrive infotainment interface and a 10-speaker audio system, 18-inch wheels with summer tires, an adaptive suspension, variable-ratio steering, upgraded brakes, a sport exhaust, an aerodynamic body kit. power-adjustable sport seats, a sport steering wheel and ambient lighting.
Our car was also equipped with 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). Add in the Glacier Silver Metallic paint, Dakota Red leather upholstery, automatic parking system, enhanced Bluetooth connectivity and BMW Concierge Services and the grand total came to $56,600. There was no negotiating on the price since the car was loaned to us by BMW.
At that level, the M235i is well past an entry-level convertible. With that in mind, we drove it with the expectation that this convertible should deliver everything you could possibly want. Does it fulfill that promise? Here's what we learned.
"I feel safer in our M235i because its drivetrain gives me more control over traffic. I can make more decisions about where I want to be and situations I want to avoid. Oh, and it's fun." — Carlos Lago
"The four-cylinder turbos in current Audis and BMWs are excellent engines, and I'd have no problem driving them on a daily basis. Still, all things being equal, I'd probably opt for the larger engine." — Ronald Montoya
"I couldn't resist lighting up the inline-6 as we exited the fruit stand's dirt lot. The exhaust crackled, my kids squealed, the transmission snapped off some impressively quick upshifts, and I had a big grin on my face. This car is fun." — Brent Romans
"In the end, almost every vehicle I found among our recent testing history had a faster folding cloth roof than the M235i, confirming my suspicion that the top is complicated and that it moves way too slowly. I'll be sure to add that one to my list of reasons to buy the better-looking, hardtop version instead." — Travis Langness
"You almost expect a luxury coupe or convertible to have a small backseat. Many of them are ridiculously tight, in fact. By comparison, I'd say the rear quarters of the 2 Series are actually pretty decent. But really, what are you doing hauling around adults in your M235i anyway? Going golfing? Good luck trying to fit golf bags in the trunk. Frisbee golf, maybe. Try the 4 Series instead." — Brent Romans
"As for its performance, the wind deflector successfully eliminates the breeze that swirls from behind, preventing annoying ear wind and unfortunate cowlicks. Raising the side windows (there is a button that can raise or lower all at once) further reduces the side wind, leaving the desired light breeze even at highway speeds. Female companions may not even need that otherwise requisite hair tie." — James Riswick
"These seats don't breathe. Neither air nor sweat can enter or escape. Any bit of skin is instantly spot-welded to the Dakota Red leather, only to be released and leave a pool of sweat deep enough to slightly float you above the material." — Mike Magrath
"Compared to a typical workaday family sedan, yeah, the M235i rides a bit stiff, even with the standard adaptive suspension dampers set to the Comfort driving mode. But considering what kind of car this is, I don't find it to be too much. I like the stable, buttoned-down feel, and many road bumps are smoothed out." — Brent Romans
"So what would it take for us to bring our M235i's lifetime fuel economy up to the sticker's 25 mpg combined rating? Glad you asked. Let's assume that, from this point on, we consistently achieved our best observed single-fill fuel economy of 29.7 mpg for the rest of the car's time with us. We'd have to drive it in that sissy-pants manner for the next 15,000 miles. Then we'd hit 25 mpg observed. Yeah, that just ain't gonna happen in this rig." —Jason Kavanagh
"As its name implies, Eco Pro gets real miserly with gas consumption. Powering the air-conditioning costs engine power, so using it less saves fuel. Lower engine speeds also mean lower fuel consumption, so the engine de-clutches when you're coasting and drops to idle speeds. Reapplying the gas pedal or touching the brake pedal re-clutches it back together.... Don't think I'll be using this mode too often." — Carlos Lago
"I had assumed the folding fabric top, mechanism and tonneau cover would significantly eat into trunk space when the top was down. It does, but it's all so neatly hidden away and centered over the top of the trunk that it's not the space-eater you'd think." — Dan Frio
"We dropped the BMW's top and tossed the tires inside. It was really the easiest way to do this. Our only concern was the tires rubbing on the red seat leather. But we loaded them carefully and drove cautiously for 1.5 miles to the office. Everything was fine. We may have just found a new test fleet tire hauler." — Mike Schmidt
Audio and Technology
"As far as infotainment systems go, iDrive in our 2015 BMW M235i is one of the best (that is, if you're not counting Android Auto or Apple CarPlay). The controls are responsive and mostly intuitive, and you can use most features without taking your eyes off the road once you learn it." — Carlos Lago
"Quickly, I forgot about the aesthetics of the screen's placement and its function won me over. Look long enough at hundreds of these displays and it's clear that this camera and its accompanying display are one of the best in the business." — Travis Langness
"Our 2015 BMW M235i requested its first service just shy of 12,000 miles. This ranked as one of the easiest dealer visits we've experienced.... Routine stops like this fall under BMW's four-year/50,000-mile free maintenance plan. We paid nothing. Based on this visit, I wouldn't hesitate to use this dealership again." — Mike Schmidt
"Smarter systems will tell you how low you are. The BMW not only tells you how low you are, but also lets you know what kind of oil you need and offers some handy alternatives in case you're not within spitting distance of a BMW dealer." — Mike Magrath
"In Santa Maria, a tire pressure warning popped up on the M235i's screen. It was a steady deflation event: the right rear tire losing a couple of psi every 10 seconds or so. All of this rigmarole could have been avoided if our M235i had been equipped with a spare tire." — Jason Kavanagh
"That isn't to say that we don't enjoy the car. On the contrary, the M235i rarely sits idle for more than a night. The car is more practical than some of our other sport-minded vehicles while still being just as enjoyable. The M235i is a popular and extremely rewarding car that, despite some flaws, is extremely well-executed." — Reese Counts
Maintenance & Repairs
BMW gains an advantage over rivals when it comes to ownership. Included with the purchase of any model in the lineup is a free scheduled maintenance plan for the first four years or 50,000 miles. The first and only service request came at 12,000 miles and amounted to just an hour out of our day for an oil and filter change, as well as a wash.
Our M235i fell under one recall notice and amounted to nothing more than a new engine oil label.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
The EPA estimates fuel economy for our M235i at 25 mpg combined (21 city/32 highway). In its time with us, we averaged 22.4 mpg, with a best fill result of 34.2 mpg and a worst of 12.5 mpg. The best range on a single tank came to 403.7 miles.
Considering that the M235i is a performance-oriented convertible, our results are pretty respectable. Obviously, if we were more narrowly focused on fuel efficiency we could probably meet or beat the EPA estimates, but where's the fun in that?
Resale and Depreciation:
Our M235i convertible had an as-tested MSRP of $56,600. After one year and 20,589 miles on the odometer, our Edmunds TMV® Calculator adjusted the price to $40,759 based on a private-party sale. That's a 28 percent depreciation if we were to try and sell it ourselves.
Whether you prefer quick acceleration away from a light or predictable handling around corners, the 2 Series won't disappoint; during daily driving, the suspension delivers a comfortable ride that won't rattle your teeth; its broad range of features are easily accessible thanks to the well-designed iDrive user interface; free scheduled maintenance makes for hassle-free dealer visits; as convertibles go, this drop top has decent rear passenger room.
Seat material in our test car did not breathe well in warm weather; convertible top isn't particularly quick so stoplight change-overs aren't recommended; mileage falls well below EPA estimates when you drive it with enthusiasm.
Are you looking for a fun-to-drive convertible that offers all the features and performance of a true luxury car? The BMW M235i has all that and more. You'll look forward to driving it whether it's on a weekend road trip or your daily commute thanks to the way it smoothes out rough roads and fits into tight spaces with ease. And no matter how many features you add, they're all easily accessible through its easy-to-use technology interface.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||None|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||None|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||$340.28|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||1|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||1|
|Days Out of Service:||None|
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||None|
|Best Fuel Economy:||34.2 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||12.5 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy:||22.4 mpg|
|True Market Value at service end:||$40,759|
|What it Sold for:||N/A|
|Final Odometer Reading:||20,589 miles|
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.