The introduction of BMW?s 2002 launched the concept of a sub-compact yet powerful, rear-wheel drive sports coupe engineered and built with German precision. That 45-year-old concept of driving pleasure times 2 was perpetuated last year with the premiere of the all-new BMW 2-Series Coupe lineup. Enter the 2015 BMW 2-Series Coupe lineup consisting of the BMW 228i, BMW 235i and BMW M235i Coupe.
The latest example of a sub-compact sports coupe series to emerge from Bayerische Motoren Werke AG in 2014 replaced the BMW 1-Series Coupe here in the U.S. marketplace. The 1-Series Coupe established a standout position among its class rivals with its rear-wheel drive concept and potent engines featuring BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, blended with a fetching premium aura.
The BMW 2-Series Coupe raises the bar in the premium sub-compact segment in terms of its dynamic driving ability, aesthetic and emotional appeal. It represents a distinctive vehicle concept unique in its segment, with a typical BMW Coupe two-door body in a classic three-box design, with seating for four, rear-wheel drive and a pair of engines and chassis set-up with the focus squarely on sporting ability.
The newly designed BMW 2-Series Coupe featured significantly larger dimensions than its predecessor, the BMW 1 Series Coupe, with the length increased by 2.8 inches to 174.5 inches, the width by 1.3 inches to 69.8 inches, the wheelbase by 1.3 inches to 105.9 inches, front track width by 1.6 inches to 59.9 inches and rear track width by 1.7 inches to 61.3 inches. Interior space was also improved, including 0. 7 inches of extra front headroom and 0.8 inches of additional rear legroom. Trunk capacity increased by 0.7 cu. ft. to 13.8 cu. ft., based on EU measures, and aerodynamics were optimized, resulting in a low Cd of just 0.29 for the 228i Coupe.
The only changes from 2014 to 2015 willl be the availability of xDrive, BMW?s intelligent all-wheel drive system, for both 228i and M235i and a new Track Handling Package for the 228i. The Track Handling Package lowers the stance of the vehicle by 10 millimeters,and includes the Adaptive M Suspension, Variable Sport Steering, M Sport Brake and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires on 18? wheels. The Track Handling Package may be ordered on all 6-speed manual and 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission equipped BMW 228i Coupe models (including the newly available 228i xDrive). The Track Handling Package has a cost of $2,200 for models without M Sport or Sport Line and $1,600 for M Sport or Sport Line models.
The new BMW 2-Series Coupe lineup will include: the BMW 228i; and the BMW M Performance Automobile ? the BMW M235i. The BMW 228i Coupe was the first sub-compact BMW model to be powered by the 240 hp version of the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which also develops 255 pound feet of torque. The BMW M235i, is the most powerful gasoline-driven BMW M Performance Automobile, with its motive force delivered by a unique M Performance 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder with TwinPower Turbo technology (twin-scroll turbocharger, High Precision Direct Injection, Valvetronic, Double-VANOS) that cranks out 320 horses in a range from 5,800-6,000 rpm, while generating 330 lb-ft of torque from 1,300-4,500 rpm. The M235i also features M-specific chassis tuning, which, for the U.S. will include standard M Adaptive suspension, M Sport Braking system, variable sport steering and Michelin Pilot Super Sports tires. The exhaust has even been specifically tuned for the M235i.
Both models of the BMW 2-Seres Coupe will be available with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or an 8-speed automatic transmission, with the M235i offering a Sport version. The M235i is capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds with the 8-speed Sport automatic and a top speed of 155 mph. Preliminary EPA Estimates are ? 22-mpg city/32-mpg highway for the 8-speed sport automatic, and 19-mpg city/28-mpg highway for the 6-speed manual. The 228i Coupe Accelerates from 0 ? 60 mph in 5.4 seconds with 8-speed sport automatic, with a top speed of 130 mph (155 mph with Sport Line or M Sport). Preliminary EPA Mileage Estimates are: 23-mpg city/35-mpg highway.
Efficiency is further increased through BMW EfficientDynamics technology, which includes Air Curtains and the Auto Start/Stop function in conjunction with both manual and automatic transmissions; ECO PRO mode is activated via the standard Driving Experience Control switch and includes a coasting function with the 8-speed automatic transmission.
All versions of the BMW 2-Series Coupe display a sporting presence, athletic agility combined with an evocative and emotional exterior design. The defining elements of its interior, meanwhile, include a driver-focused cockpit design with a contemporary brand of functionality. The car?s distinguished design identity illustrates its forward progress, reflecting the Ultimate Driving mantra in a more concentrated and intense form than ever before. There is a clear distinction between the roofline and trunk, with side swage lines that wrap around into the tail that pick up on characteristic styling elements of the BMW 2002, drawing a link between the new car and the brand?s long tradition of sporting and agile sub-compact models.
Lines that taper down toward the BMW kidney grille lend the front end a forward-surging presence, and the modified contours of the headlight units, which narrow at their inner extremes, with a standard accent strip (or an LED accent light, if the Adaptive Xenon lights are fitted) cuts across the top of the hallmark BMW twin circular lights. The BMW kidney grille, is separated from the headlights by narrow strips on either side, and protrude clearly from the front of the car, slanting forward at a slight angle. The grille?s three-dimensional surround design and its 11 vertical bars reinforce the car?s bold look. The lower air intake is split into three sections. The two outer elements are particularly large, with their outlines replicating the headlight unit form. Air Curtains are integrated into an additional section at the outer edges of the front apron, channeling the air behind the front fenders, hanging over the wheels like a curtain. In profile, the BMW 2 Series Coupe displays signature brand features such as a long hood, short overhangs, set-back passenger compartment, Hofmeister kink and door handles integrated into the swage line that blend with coupe-specific design elements. A prominent character line above the doorsill sweeps up rearwards of the B-pillar into the rear wheel arch. The dynamic wedge shape is emphasized by the door sill line itself, which rises up to the rear. The doors feature frameless windows and turn signal indicators are integrated into the side mirrors.
The rear finishes with a broad and powerful stance, reinforced by the single-piece light units reaching into the car?s flanks in a familiar BMW L-shape. An unmistakable night design is provided by the likewise L-shaped LED rear light strips within the units. The third LED brake light is positioned at the upper edge of the rear window. The lines along the trunk lid sides taper slightly downwards. This styling cue, along with the additional crease and suggested diffuser element in the rear apron, accentuates the Coupe?s road focus and low center of gravity, and yet it also has a wider trunk opening than its predecessor.
Inside, the Coupe is fitted with the BMW iDrive operating system, featuring a freestanding onboard monitor in flat screen design. The Control Display comes in 6.5 or 8.8-inch form, with Navigation, while the Controller on the center console has a touch-sensitive surface which allows the driver to input characters (if equipped with the Navigation system).
My test BMW 2-Series coupe was the M235i with the 6-speed manual gearbox which sported an Alpine White exterior finish and a Black interior with brushed aluminum trim accents.. The base price was set at $43,100, while the as tested price came to $44,050. After adding the Destination charge. There was no navigation system, XM/Sirius radio or backup camera ? this car was totally about driving.
SUMMARY: During the international media launch based in Las Vegas, Nevada, last year, journalists from around the globe were afforded the opportunity to put the 2014 BMW M235i Coupe through its paces in normal, everyday driving scenarios, as well as on both the Road course and high-speed banked oval of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
It goes almost without saying that the 3.0-liter, M turbocharged, inline six cylinder engine is an incredible force ? a potent motor in a sub-compact, rear-wheel drive vehicle that is indeed indicative of BMW?s ?Ultimate Driving Machine? slogan.
The M235i is truly a driver?s car that may be piloted in either a normal, docile around town cruising mode, or in all out ?pedal to the metal? fashion. The 8-speed Sport automatic transmission may be operated in a normal comfort mode, a Sport mode, or in an invigorating Sport Plus mode. It may be operated in a fully automatic state, or gears may be selected manually via either steering wheel mounted shift paddles or the console positioned stalk, but it is pleasing in either format and every mode. The Sport and Sport Plus modes deliver elevated performance and response levels as well as more pleasing engine and exhaust notes. For purists, the 6-speed manual gearbox is the way to go.
Traction and stability aiding systems may be switched off for highly spirited driving maneuvers by highly skilled drivers, for a thrill ride, drifting experience on track. Acceleration is stellar, handling characteristics are superb, and the ride quality may be adjusted to suit boulevard cruising or hot lapping. The high speed oval offered a rare chance to drive on an extremely banked track, where we were limited to following a lead instructor vehicle and a top speed of 125 mph, but the M235i clearly had more to give, without even breathing hard. Far less exhilarating was the freeway and Las Vegas Boulevard test segments.
Bottom-line, the BMW M235i Coupe displays a highly emotional, bold and muscular image (better looking than the 3-Series in my opinion- except for maybe the M version), with power and performance to spare in spades along with a reasonable operational efficiency capability and more attainable price range. It is definitely a top player on the sub-compact performance coupe field, and its somewhat lesser stablemate, the 228i should prove to be no slouch either, though it was not tested during the International media program.
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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 BMW M235i Coupe [/wptabtitle]
|Price as Tested:
|Engine Type and Size:
|3.0-liter DOHC, 24-valve, inline six-cylinder M TwinPower Turbo technology with twin-scroll turbocharger, high precision Direct Injection, VALVETRONIC and double-VANOS variable camshaft control.
|320 @ 5,800-6,000 rpm
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):
|330 @ 1,300-4,500 rpm
|Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear-wheel drive.
Front – Aluminum double-joint spring strut axle
Rear – Five-link axle in lightweight steel construction with double elastic bearing.
|Power-assisted four wheel discs with DSC incl. ABS, ASC and DTC, CBC, DBC, Dry Braking function, Fading Compensation, and Start-Off Assistant.
|Michelin Super Sport 3 – 225/40 R18 88Y front / 245/35 R18 92Y XL mounted on 7.5×18 front / 8×18 rear 5 fluted dual – spoke light alloy wheels.
|EPA Mileage Estimates:
|19 mpg city / 28 mpg highway
|0 – 60 mph:
|5.4 seconds / Top speed = 155.3 mph
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.