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      01-22-2014, 11:14 PM   #1
Needsdecaf
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EVO reviews the M235i (by Henry Catchpole)

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....They like it. Henry Catchpole, no less.

http://www.evo.co.uk/carreviews/evoc...nd_prices.html

I have the full review on my Evo app. It's better, as he really does like it a lot.

Sorry if repost, didn't see it here.


What is it?

The new BMW M235i, or put simply, the coupe version of the M135i hatchback that has shaken up the hot hatch market with its bargain performance credentials. In the same way that 4-series is the new name for the 3-series coupe, 2-series is the new name for the 1-series coupe. With 321bhp, 332lb ft of torque and a claimed 0-62mph time of 4.8 seconds (if you’ve got the eight-speed auto gearbox), at £34,250 the new coupe offers a similarly impressive amount of performance for your money.

Technical highlights

It’s 72mm longer (with 30mm of that in the wheelbase), and the front and rear tracks have been widened by 41 and 43mm respectively. What’s more, while the 1-series coupe shared its front end with the hatchback, the 2-series gets a face all of its own, complete with more prominent kidney grilles and lights that appear to have heavy eyebrows.

BMW has listened to the feedback on the M135i and will be offering a mechanical limited-slip diff (sourced from Drexler and tuned by BMW) as an option. We’ll have to wait until the car lands in the UK to try it, howvever, as this launch-spec car is fitted with the standard diff.

How does it drive?

As I was lucky enough to run an M135i as a long-termer and took it on a few trackdays, I’m hopefully in a fairly good position to appreciate any changes – for better or worse.

The first obvious difference is that there’s less roll. On track, the 235i is noticeably flatter both into and through the corner. With 15 per cent stiffer springs and firmer bumps stops, this is to be expected, but the 235i feels lower and smaller too. Turn in too aggressively and your only reward will be the front tyres letting go and the nose running wide of the apex. But take a more considered approach, learn where the grip levels lie, and you find a beautifully balanced car that is very rewarding to string a lap together in.

The newly recalibrated DSC will let you have much bigger slides, too, and when it does rein everything back it does so much more smoothly, so you feel much happier leaving it on. If you turn it all off then there is of course the potential for even more fun. With the standard rear axle set-up, the only help comes from something called Active Differential Brake, a sort of pseudo LSD that brakes a spinning driven wheel under acceleration. Although ABD doesn’t give you the satisfying control of a proper LSD, the M235i is still a huge amount of fun over the limit.

As standard the M235i gets a fantastic six-speed manual with a short shift, and BMW’s optional eight-speed automatic is a particularly good one. The paddles are attached to the steering wheel and have a lovely curve so that you can hook the tips of your fingers onto them. The shifts are not as ruthless as a dual-clutch automated manual's, but they are extremely good nonetheless and give you a real sense of connection when batting between gears. The short ratios also serve to make the most of the fantastic 3.0-litre straight-six with its single twin-scroll turbocharger. It might seem crazy having eight forward gears, but when you’re just listening to the revs and changing on instinct it feels incredibly easy to keep the engine permanently on the boil.

The steering isn’t wriggling with feedback sadly (how many cars’ helms are these days?) but it is accurate and well weighted in Sport mode so that it gives you confidence to push on. Small and medium-sized bumps are dispatched with aplomb, and although just occasionally a bigger lump or compression can make the rear dampers struggle slightly under rebound it is never enough to make you back off like it would have been in some previous small BMWs.

How does it compare?

Despite a price increase of almost ten per cent over the equivalent hatchback 135i, the M235i still looks like an incredible performance bargain, with little on the market to challenge its performance for the money. Audi’s TTS comes in at £36,045 and offers significantly less power and performance, while the slightly less mainstream Nissan 370Z has the raw power to put up a fight, but not the BMW’s practicality or overall appeal.

It’s obviously not a full M-car, but ‘mini M4’ allusions are inevitable and seem entirely valid given that both have a turbocharged straight-six under the bonnet. No doubt the M4 will feel like a step up in grip, grunt and drama when we drive it later this year, but we also know that it will be a chunk longer and wider, and there is something extremely appealing about this small, wieldy 2-series package. It makes me think that (especially with the optional LSD) it could be all the M performance you actually need.
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      01-22-2014, 11:49 PM   #2
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So, everyone gets the limited slip differential except North America, or am I just not seeing it on BMW's U.S. website?

Also, it looks like another vote for the ho-hum steering in this car. But, I wonder if this is simply overemphasized, as I'm more-than-satisfied with my Sports Packaged-equipped E90. (Admittedly, it has different steering mechanicals than the new 2-series.)
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      01-23-2014, 02:22 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goody4
So, everyone gets the limited slip differential except North America, or am I just not seeing it on BMW's U.S. website?

Also, it looks like another vote for the ho-hum steering in this car. But, I wonder if this is simply overemphasized, as I'm more-than-satisfied with my Sports Packaged-equipped E90. (Admittedly, it has different steering mechanicals than the new 2-series.)
1) LSD is coming to the US market as an M performance accessory which is be dealer installed and may or may not be offered as port installed. Prices and availability timelines have not been announced
2) E90 = hydraulic power steering, F30 and F22 = Electric power steering hence all the bad feedback (pun intended) and negative reviews
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      01-23-2014, 04:02 PM   #4
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Great review. Can't wait to test drive it, even though I will not be buying one.
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      01-23-2014, 04:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///M235i View Post
Great review. Can't wait to test drive it, even though I will not be buying one.
My second favorite reviewer after Chris Harris. Doesn't have the notoriety of Chris, but gives an excellent review.

As did Harry Metcalfe. Too bad he doesn't do that any more.
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      01-23-2014, 04:05 PM   #6
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Catchpole and Bovingdon are two of my top five favorite editors. Also have this article on my EVO app. They're much better than the typical stat-vomiting editors that use the same redundant expressions and similes.
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      01-23-2014, 05:19 PM   #7
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I knows all relative but when did 40k become a bargain?
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      01-23-2014, 05:21 PM   #8
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What an unfortunate last name.
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      01-23-2014, 06:32 PM   #9
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He likes it....he likes it!
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      01-23-2014, 06:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ybbiz34
What an unfortunate last name.
He's British. They call cigarettes ****. What are you going to do?
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      01-23-2014, 06:41 PM   #11
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Catchpole reminds me a bit of LJK Sethright (sic) who used to write for Automobilemag. I like his writing, and tend to trust his opinion. Still the M235i is a PIG! BMW should spec a light weight version, some secret code that people could check to get manual seats, and everything else stripped out.

Pity.
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      01-23-2014, 06:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///M235i
Great review. Can't wait to test drive it, even though I will not be buying one.
You better change your screen name then lol
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      01-23-2014, 07:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marley71 View Post
Catchpole reminds me a bit of LJK Sethright (sic) who used to write for Automobilemag. I like his writing, and tend to trust his opinion. Still the M235i is a PIG! BMW should spec a light weight version, some secret code that people could check to get manual seats, and everything else stripped out.

Pity.
The order code is "M2" I'm really hanging my hopes on that car in two years time. I think I'm going to do a 36 month lease on an M235i to tide me over.
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      01-23-2014, 08:05 PM   #14
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Nice! Henry Catchpole = one of the best reviewers IMO.
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      01-23-2014, 08:54 PM   #15
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Nice! Henry Catchpole = one of the best reviewers IMO.
Hi, Julie. Still loving the M3?
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      01-23-2014, 09:30 PM   #16
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I just got home from the Detroit auto show, this car is fantastic (altho bmw na could have hired a good detailer like the forum sponsor in nj that a lot of us buy our supplies from to do a quick paint correction/wax to make the cars pop).

I really love the proportions of this car. From the driver's seat, you get outstanding, classic bmw visibility thanks to a substantial greenhouse and the ergonomics, and of course the sport seats seem to fit like a familiar pair of running shoes. Just like every time when I buy a new pair of asics 2100s the new version feels just like the last one, familiar, comfortable and slightly different/better. Just a great job on a no frills driver centric interior.

The exterior looks outstanding as well, great flow and the first car they have made that makes the eu pedestrian crash standards truly seamless into the design (M3 similarly so). I was worried the longer overhangs as compared to the 1er would make the car look lazy and less athletic, just not the case. And that Sedona red really is a great color, I didn't realize it had a subtle metallic. For me, it would be a toss between that and estoril II. The car really does have a modern e46 vibe. I didn't check the dimensions but it might be a touch more narrow than the e46, but it really is a great back to basics bmw that people like us appreciate, just as the 1er was. If I put an M235i next to a 135is (Jesus, just call it a 235is!) next to eachother it would really be a coin toss. The 135is is a tad shorter, with short overhangs and that bulldog stance, but the new car is great too, for different reasons. Neither car a loser, though I would bet the longer wheelbase of the 235i really has to help the dynamics. I dislike all the standard stuff I wouldn't want like nav (I think that's standard and so is the goofy backup cam, its a small car, I don't like costly gimmicks) but it really is a winner.

Or like I've said before a 228i M sport (why not M228i? Remember when bmw nomenclature was so easy and followed logic??!!) with less standard gimmicky bullshit and it's light weight over the nose might truly be the enthusiast car. I'm sure with that non adaptive suspension, the dealer installed lsd, the n20's short gearing, the Michelin PSS rubber and a stick, that would really be the e36/e46ish drivers car that people like us would really appreciate.

Now give us 4 doors!!

(PS what was up with bmw not having a 328i or 335i at the Detroit show???!)
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      01-23-2014, 10:22 PM   #17
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      01-23-2014, 10:23 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealYourFace
I just got home from the Detroit auto show, this car is fantastic (altho bmw na could have hired a good detailer like the forum sponsor in nj that a lot of us buy our supplies from to do a quick paint correction/wax to make the cars pop).

I really love the proportions of this car. From the driver's seat, you get outstanding, classic bmw visibility thanks to a substantial greenhouse and the ergonomics, and of course the sport seats seem to fit like a familiar pair of running shoes. Just like every time when I buy a new pair of asics 2100s the new version feels just like the last one, familiar, comfortable and slightly different/better. Just a great job on a no frills driver centric interior.

The exterior looks outstanding as well, great flow and the first car they have made that makes the eu pedestrian crash standards truly seamless into the design (M3 similarly so). I was worried the longer overhangs as compared to the 1er would make the car look lazy and less athletic, just not the case. And that Sedona red really is a great color, I didn't realize it had a subtle metallic. For me, it would be a toss between that and estoril II. The car really does have a modern e46 vibe. I didn't check the dimensions but it might be a touch more narrow than the e46, but it really is a great back to basics bmw that people like us appreciate, just as the 1er was. If I put an M235i next to a 135is (Jesus, just call it a 235is!) next to eachother it would really be a coin toss. The 135is is a tad shorter, with short overhangs and that bulldog stance, but the new car is great too, for different reasons. Neither car a loser, though I would bet the longer wheelbase of the 235i really has to help the dynamics. I dislike all the standard stuff I wouldn't want like nav (I think that's standard and so is the goofy backup cam, its a small car, I don't like costly gimmicks) but it really is a winner.

Or like I've said before a 228i M sport (why not M228i? Remember when bmw nomenclature was so easy and followed logic??!!) with less standard gimmicky bullshit and it's light weight over the nose might truly be the enthusiast car. I'm sure with that non adaptive suspension, the dealer installed lsd, the n20's short gearing, the Michelin PSS rubber and a stick, that would really be the e36/e46ish drivers car that people like us would really appreciate.

Now give us 4 doors!!

(PS what was up with bmw not having a 328i or 335i at the Detroit show???!)
We already know what the 328i and 335i look like in the flesh.
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      01-23-2014, 11:15 PM   #19
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I think my next coupe from BMW will be m235 or m2
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      01-24-2014, 02:34 AM   #20
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Quote:
The exterior looks outstanding as well, great flow and the first car they have made that makes the eu pedestrian crash standards truly seamless into the design (M3 similarly so).
The one area where BMW failed with respect to adjusting to the crash standards was in moving the hood's front seam rearwards from the front edge of the car - the older Bimmers have the hoodline come right up to the front grill, giving a smoother, less jarring, and more upscale appearance to the front end.
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      01-24-2014, 05:02 AM   #21
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I am glad it has less roll. When I took my first turn on my way home from dealer in the 135i I was surprised at the amount of roll it had even equiped with marketed "M suspension." Yea I was real brave, placed deposit, bought the car without driving one. I will wait for the M2 or hop into a kman.
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      01-24-2014, 12:11 PM   #22
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Saw it today in the flesh. And here are my impression.
Besides we have seen "pics and vids" seeing the car in the flesh is a complete different experience.
The car is muscular.
the car is aggressive.
The rear looks surprisingly better than in pictures.
The Estoril blue color is bright, brighter than it shown in pictures. Very very attractive color indeed.
The interior is first clas. Nothing to do with the 1 series. It goes in pair with the 4 and 5 series components and material wise.
The engine sound is wild wild. Cold start up will waken the neighbors that's granted. It also burks accelerating and daccelareting. That sound is HEAVEN. Dealer told me the sound design BMW did to the M235i mufflers system is unique and new.
The car was indoors but half or hit by sunlight which makes taking pictures of it almost impossible.
Price il Lebanon is "are you seated?" 85000 US$

PS: have you noticed that the one in the picture "review" has no silver strap in the middle of the front bumper air intakes!
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