We had a chance to sit down with Oliver Ganser, Product Strategy and Market Intelligence Manager at BMW, to discuss the M235i and 228i Coupes [Official Thread
], which are having their world public debuts at Detroit this week and next. See our M235i/228i photos
from the show.
Q: Does the M235i share the same electric power steering (EPS) system as the F20 M135i?
A: It's the same system as the M135i, but different than the new M3/M4's EPS. The EPS in the M3/M4 received a lot of structural improvements.
Q: What improvements were made to the N55 engine for the M235i application, if any?
A: It's a normal N55 engine, but receives an enforced crankshaft (cast iron was replaced by steel), adjusted software engine mapping, and improved cooling system.
Q: Does the M235i manual transmission feature rev matching?
A: Not yet.
Q: Does the M235i feature active sound design like the M135i?
Q: Are the M Sport brakes better than the 6 piston brakes from the E82 135i?
A: The 4 piston fixed caliper together with the tires gets you better braking performance than the 6 piston E82 135i brakes. The brakes on the M235i are very similar to the standard M3/M4 brakes. The biggest difference is that the M3 has a larger brake disc. The M235i was tuned by the M division afterall.
Q: How do the different available suspension compare?
A: The 228i has four suspension levels - standard, M Sport (which gives a lower ride but no adaptive function), Adaptive M (discussed below), and M Performance.
The M235i in the US has no optional suspension, except the upcoming M Performance Suspension. The M235i comes standard with Adaptive M Suspension. But, even if you were to equip a 228i with Adaptive M Suspension, it's a different system than in the M235i. They share everything except that there are electronic valves on the dampers of the M235i, which help it stick even better to the road and react better, as well as providing a smoother and less bumpy ride. This is something unique that you can only get on the M235i (and no other 2 Series).
[BIMMERPOST: For information on the M Performance Suspension for the M235i/228i, we will speak to M Performance Product Specialists at a later time].
Q: Does the M Adaptive Suspension behave differently in Sport and Comfort modes?
A: The suspension remains adaptive in both modes, but differs in stiffness between the two modes.
Q: Will there be Individual options for the 2 Series?
A: Not at this time. Leipzig is not an Individual-capable plant right now.
Q: What is the timeframe for the convertible 2 Series?
A: We stopped the 1 Series convertible production already. If there was a successor [BIMMERPOST: which, of course has already been spied
], we don't want to have 2-3 years in between cars.
Q: Can the US expect xDrive models?
A: I think we learned our lesson on not having xDrive. In the Northern and Eastern parts of the country, xDrive is one of the main elements to sell cars. There's a good chance the cars will offered with xDrive.
Q: When will the M Performance Parts for the 2 Series be available?
A: Those responsible for them are trying to get these parts out as soon as possible, but I think we have to talk about the parts individually when talking about availability dates. They could become available piecemeal - at different times. The limited slip differential (LSD) is one of the popular parts people are waiting for. BMW itself is producing these; they're not bought off the shelf. And the demand for it is far exceeding our initial estimates. We were scaling production for x amount, but now the demand looks much higher. So the question is how do we get these parts out. [BMW is working hard on it.]
Q: Will M Performance Parts be factory, port or dealer installed?
A: They will be port or dealer installed. That is the current plan.
Q: Any plans for diesel models?
A: There are no plans currently for diesel models for the US.
Q: Should we expect an gran coupe or M2 model?
A: Everything is possible. We will not let our folks down. We will have something that is really exciting.
Interesting tidbit that came up during our interview: "What we have seen on our tracks is that this car [M235i] is faster than a 1M Coupe."
This backs up what Klaus Froehlich, Senior Vice President Brand and Product Strategies at BMW, said in an interview
last year - that the M235i will beat the 1M Coupe around the Nurburgring.
Also see: 2014 BMW M235i and 228i Pricing Guide (U.S.)