Well fellas, I finally took delivery of my M235, late yesterday here in Indiana, and I wanted to provide some initial thoughts to others on the forum.
By way of background, this is my 5th BMW. I had 2 E92s, both 328, and 2 E82 135s. All of those were MT but for the last 135, which has the DCT.
My M235 is BSM with a MT, the premium, and cold weather package, and I have about 70 miles on the clock at this point.
My current 135 is currently riding on Blizzaks, and the M235 is on PSS, just for points of comparison's sake. I drove them back to back today a few times in order to try and provide the most "real world" thoughts that I could.
Also, please remember that a lot of this is subjective.
This is a hands down win for the M235 for me. I always loved the way that the 135 drove, but it was in spite of having a face that only a mother could love - the E82 definitely took some getting used to if you know what I mean.
The M235 definitely has presence - the front facia (IMO) is more aggressive in terms of looks and function. The bumper appears to sit lower and looks more purposeful, with the large vents. It makes an impression from the front for sure. And the lights…thank god they fixed the lights - no more E82 bug eyes. The M235 reminds me of a pissed off bird or something when viewed from the front - it just looks like it wants to eat you. I love that.
The side profile, for me, is a wash - they both look great. The E82 reminds me of my dad's E46, since it is a little taller, and the M235 looks to me like a smaller E92. They both look great from this angle - genuine eye candy. One note for those that are worried about the wheels - they are growing on me - and that's after a day and a half. I really think the chunky PSS has created the "small wheel" illusion. When they are shining and the tire is dressed, they're hot.
The booty…I have to say looks better on the E82. It is more sculpted, like she has been doing the Brazilian Booty Lift or something.
the M235 looks better the further you are away from it - but up close it looks a little too flat, or plain, or something that I can't put my finger on. I might actually go with a diffuser of some kind after all.
The difference here seems to be an evolution more than anything. In full disclosure, I am not an "interior" snob in that it needs to do wild shit like massage my balls in order for me to like it, but I also want to know that I am not in a Subaru or something in that range.
I always considered the E82 to be functional and meeting the minimum standard for me, since I didn't opt for things like i-drive or Navi - and felt like there were places you could tell that BMW definitely was saving some coin. The M235 suffers from this less so I think for sure - everything from "testicle height" up to use Chris Harris' lingo on you, is very nice. Squishy plastics everywhere and high quality materials for sure. It is just a better place to be when compared to my 135…but the difference is more incremental than life-changing. Very nice regardless - feels like a cockpit more than the E82.
The seats, to me, are also a definite improvement. I feel like there is more leg support on the sides than in the E82, and the extension thing goes just a little bit further, allowing it to get to the backs of my knees, which is really nice when you are driving a manual transmission. I felt like I was being held in place more securely, and in a sporty car, that's definitely a plus.
I will say that the instrument cluster is at least more functional on the 135, as you guys know how the lack of an oil or coolant temp gauge on the M235 cluster seems to be an idiot omission on BMW's part. I can't imagine what they thought they were "saving" by leaving that off…is potentially a sign that the accountants are making some headway in the final versions of what is rolled off the line. :roll eyes:
I also got the Hexagonal Aluminum Trim, and I like it a lot. Has a textile feel to it, and doesn't feel cheap at all, at least IMO. The black gloss trim in the M235 is on the same niceness level of the wood trim in my E82 - aka, they both look nice for sure.
The backseat and trunk are noticeably bigger. Especially the trunk - the mouth is bigger and the boot itself is "deeper" towards the back seat if that makes sense. There is also a nice cargo net in the back to hold your important shit down when you're getting nasty on a roundabout (yes, I actually put some 2 liters of Diet Coke back there and did that today).
Drive and Feel
And now to the one that matters…the way this thing drives and feels…
I have to be honest - the M235 doesn't feel that
much quicker than the 135 - bear in mind I have driven it 70 miles and and keeping it under 4K - but it feels very "normal" from what I have come to expect from my 135. Very similar, where the extra weight of the M235 somewhat negates the 21 BHP advantage it has over the 135. I think this thing needs about 40 more BHP, and it would really change the relative "tie" that I describe above. I think a tune would cure all ills.
but for someone coming from a GTI or GLI, this thing will feel like a rocket because it is
fast. I think I am just used to it, and was hoping the 21 BHP extra would make a bigger difference than it does at 4K or below. I would give a very slight edge here to the M235, but that could be more attributable to the MT - not sure yet…
The exhaust note also sounds very nice to me - you can definitely hear it in the cabin with the windows cracked and the radio on at a normal level. With that being said, I would guess that this is something that people upgrade to make a little louder or aggressive - not that you have to have something crazy, but I do wish it were a hair louder. The cold start is roughly equivalent to that of my N55 135 (which has always been noticeably louder than my N54 135). Funny side note - the right pipe is the only one that exhaust comes out of until the butterfly flap closes, then you start to see it out of the left one too. No idea what that means, but my dad and I were laughing about it this morning. The "oh fuck, my left pipe is broken" definitely came out of my mouth...
One thing that I noticed right off the back is that the M235 feels bigger. Bigger all over really - longer bonnet, wider across the lane, just bigger. As a single dude that doesn't even have a dog, bigger doesn't necessarily mean better for me - but I didn't feel like it was a negative thing. Just an obvious difference that I noticed since I picked it up - strangely I didn't notice that in my test drive a couple of weeks ago. I think you need time to yourself without the sale dudes to really figure that out, at least to me.
Brakes are a wash - again here you can tell that the car is bigger than the 135 - but the pedal is firm, has good bite, and you stop with the same level of viciousness that any E82 owner would know and understand. One thing to note - it was in the mid 20s F here today - those PSS really need to be warmed up to feel the grip….which brings me to…
The grip seems to be better on this car. Much better. Now I know, the 135 is on BLizzaks and the M235 is on PSS, but there is a noticeable difference that I am drawing on historical knowledge of here when it comes to the 135. There are several roundabouts in my town, and I was just driving from one to another to feel the grip of the thing, which is truly outstanding. Stupid grin on my face, and a couple of Chevy drivers pissed off at the same time - which is a double win in my book. Where the 135 is a little tail happy for my liking, this thing really doesn't step out until you're driving like a moron. And when it does, it does so in a more predictable manner than either of my 135s. Favorite part of the car so far…which leaves us with…
I wish I had something exciting to say here, but with all due respect to those that disagree, and taking into account that I have never driven a F30…the doomsday view of the EPS is ridiculous. Yes, overall it is lighter than the 135. Is that bad? No - because when I want it to be heavy - aka roundabout hooligan driving in Sport + - it is plenty heavy and gives me plenty of feedback. Those that say it doesn't - well maybe those dudes ran into something while driving fast. I didn't run into anything, and again it felt "normal". No big differences to speak of, except maybe at really low speeds in comfort mode. I won't be spending much time in comfort mode because I like the way the car "feels" in Sport + so much better.
Honestly. This isn't a big deal. And it will just continue to improve. And if BMW wants to change it, my guess is that it could be accomplished in a software upgrade. Good luck doing that with a hydraulic system.
Random side note - if you want a true laugh, drive around town in Eco Mode - the damn thing wants you to shift into 6th @ 38 MPH. I am not making that up.
I think this is similar to how I felt when I went from my last E92 to my first E82. It was like going from a nice sports car to a go-kart, so it was enough of a change that it took some getting used to. I have now had an E82 for the last 5+ years, so it's going to take some time to readjust to something that is closer to an E92 than an E82 in overall size.
With that being said, the car is definitely quick, it is very good looking, has nice amenities, and is quintessential BMW. I think it's going to be a great car for me.
PS - the car arrived on a truck, so it was dusty, and I will wash again when it warms up this week - forgive me for the lack of pictures...