My Dealer was kind enough to let me know that an M235 just rolled off the truck and if I wanted, I could come over and be the first customer to driver her. It didn't take long to wrap up what I was doing and do the deed.
When you first see the car it depends on which angle you see it from from the front 3/4 is nice. If you look at it from a dead profile it looks a little strange. As if somebody chopped off the back and the front. But, from an angle, the car looks quite nice. It's definitely a descendant of the 1 series. It's a little bit more modern and it has more of a slope to its roof-line.
In person, the wheels don't look half bad. Yes 19in wheels would definitely look better but these will hold you over until either some good aftermarkets wheels come along, or by the time you're ready to order hopefully BMW will offer some reasonably priced 19in wheels from the factory.
The interior is definitely more refined than the 1 series. However, it's not as plush as the 435i. One very cool feature that I was very happy about was that the center armrest actually slides forward, allowing you to comfortably rest your elbow and forearm while holding the shift lever. Seating position is very good and you feel a part of the cockpit.
This particular car did not have LSD. At least it did not say on the paperwork, but it did spin both tires nicely from a standstill. The Michelin pilot super sports are unbelievable, giving some of the most tenacious grip ever. I couldn't even imagine sliding this car on the street unless it was quite damp out or you're driving like a complete hooligan. And even then, it would be damn hard.
This car is a pocket rocket no doubt...
The M235i reminds me a lot of my old 2008 M3 E92. It's no M3 (maybe 7/10 - mostly because of DCT and the V8 and the other Electro goodies), but you can definitely grab this car by the scruff and it will do pretty much whatever you want it to do. She leaps hard and strong out of every corner. The eight speed really behaves nicely and has fantastic shifts with that brap and fart sound like on the M5.
- Great Sound. They copied the previous gen M3. Funny thing, if you want to hear the natural sound just roll both of the window all the way down. It appears to turn off the synthetic sound system. (Even at low speeds).
- Great Power. This car has a nice amount of thrust and with the 8 speed it is truly entertaining. Sorry guys, but the manual may provide a little more control on the track but you will be giving up on a great pairing of engine and transmission for the street. Like I mentioned above, the car has a lot of previous M3 DNA. Not all the bells and whistles but enough to be very interesting on the street.
- Good Visibility. Still has the new higher hood but not too bad.
- Trunk is a good size with easy access.
- Rear entry and exit were easier than the 1 series.
- Solid Car. Everything feels more solid than the 3 series. No other way to say it. A lot of car in a small package.
- Stubbed Front and Rear. Looks chopped from the side view.
- Feels like you are sitting higher up than you really are.
- Wheels could be larger and I am not a big fan of the grey wheels.
- Side Mirrors look out of place. The silver makes them look a bit like dumbo ears (my little one is going to kill me for that).
- Didn't get on the freeway but it may have more wind noise than the 3-4 series.
What I like most, is that when you dive into a corner and click the shifter down a few gears it actually does it. Not like the old 6 speed auto from the E90. It really lets you place the car and it just hugs the line like hell and blasts out of the corner. Mix in some awesome sound and you really have a nice recipe.
I, like all of you, read the reviews from all the guys that went to LV to test the car. Most bagged on the steering and the body roll. As I mentioned above you're going to have to be driving like an @$$ to feel too much body roll and to worry about a few pounds here and there. If you're going to track the car, like most track cars - make a few modifications.
For me it is coming down to looks and size. But that's me.
I will try and answer any questions and if I find I forgot something I will be sure to add it. Call your dealer they should be receiving these any day now. It will be nice to get some other opinions.