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      04-15-2014, 03:06 AM   #1
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My thoughts on the M235i at the track (with photos)

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Just got back from a track day at Buttonwillow Raceway in California with another member on here (JustinCredibleM - also owner of an M235i) and some other friends. Overall, we were both happy with the performance of the car as it was quite fun to drive on the track!

Both of our cars had the 8spd auto, which was superb considering it isn't a DCT. Very quick upshifts and just a bit slower on downshifts. Steering feel was great and very accurate - you don't lose much feel with the steering system on this car.

In Sport+, the car lets you get loose a bit more, which adds to the fun of driving it, but it definitely does a good job of keeping you in check when/if you mess up. It is more intrusive than the MDM in the E92 M3, but then again, this isn't really a true "M" car either, so I wasn't expecting much there. I couldn't find out how to completely disable the traction control systems, so there was no chance for me to play with that.

One thing we found out was that if your tire pressures are detected to be low (we lowered the tire pressures before getting on the track), the car would force you into Comfort mode and won't let you change from it. I had to do a TPMS reset while the tires were hot for it to detect the higher PSI.

Both Justin and I agreed on a couple things though: The car was much too quiet and shifted too smoothly at times. There were some cases where we couldn't tell what gear we were in (the gear indicator is too small for a quick glance) because we couldn't feel or hear the car downshifting (the auto is very smooth sometimes) even with the Evolution Raceworks catless 4" downpipe, aFe intake, and BMW M Performance exhaust (on Justin's car - mine was bone stock). The gearing was really short as well, so we were always shifting gears all over the place.

Additionally, putting the car in Sport+ with the ZF8 transmission left in auto would actually do a pretty good job of keeping it in gear through the turns and put the car in a usable gear. It was only an issue in some cases where it would shift up when I didn't want it to. I also found that if you drove the car all the way up to the rev limiter or shift near the rev limit (about 100-200 RPMs), the transmission would be *extremely* slow to upshift. There is probably a 1-2 second delay from when you click the paddles to when it actually shifts when this happens, so I had to get used to shifting early, otherwise I would lose speed.

Overall, the car was fun to drive and handled great (especially with the PSS tires). It is nothing like my GT3 or GTR, but I like the M235i a lot more as it is much better at being a great all around car. I always dreaded driving to and from the track with the GT3 and GTR as ride comfort is not really a priority for those cars, but the ride in the M235i was compliant, yet it handled well enough on the track for it to be fun. Now BMW just needs to make this car with wider fenders to actually fit wider tires/wheels.

Sorry, I don't have any photos of the cars on the track. The track photographer wasn't out that day! Shame.

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      04-15-2014, 03:09 AM   #2
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My girlfriend gave my car lovely eyelashes .
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      04-15-2014, 08:23 AM   #3
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The eyelashes make the car. Thanks for the write-up, and nice stable of rides!
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      04-15-2014, 09:20 AM   #4
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How were the brakes?
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      04-15-2014, 09:22 AM   #5
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It's great to get feedback from the track. I'm sure you guys had a great time!
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      04-15-2014, 09:45 AM   #6
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Great writeup, and you have some great cars my man.

For the traction control, it is pretty easy to disable the whole thing. Put it into Sport +, hold down the DSC button for a few seconds, and you will see the following confirmation messages.
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      04-15-2014, 10:13 AM   #7
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What wheels are those on the White M235i? Are they Sport Edition KM11?
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      04-15-2014, 01:42 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone! The car is definitely a blast to drive!

hyperzulu - The brakes were good for the first two laps, then I got some really bad fade after that. It seems the cooling is adequate since it the bumper channels air directly to the front brakes, but the pads may not be up to the task. The track is large, being over two miles per lap so getting some different pads and brake fluid should do the trick.

bman6074 - I have the VMR v705 rims .
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      04-15-2014, 02:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustinCredibleM View Post
Thanks everyone! The car is definitely a blast to drive!

bman6074 - I have the VMR v705 rims .
Ok, was curious to know as i use the KM11 for my winter setup on my 135i and i have heard they don't fit the new M235i because the caliper is too big. Your rims look very similar to the KM11 simple 5 spoke.
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      04-15-2014, 03:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmboone25 View Post
Great writeup, and you have some great cars my man.

For the traction control, it is pretty easy to disable the whole thing. Put it into Sport +, hold down the DSC button for a few seconds, and you will see the following confirmation messages.
Thanks, I'll keep that in mind for next time!

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Originally Posted by hyperzulu View Post
How were the brakes?
My brakes were fading after a few hard laps, but they were not that bad for stock.
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      04-15-2014, 08:58 PM   #11
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Excellent post guys, much appreciated.
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      04-16-2014, 01:04 AM   #12
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Great post!
Really thinking about buying an M235i as DD and 2 days a month track car. I am patiently waiting for the availability of the LSD before I pull the trigger...
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      04-16-2014, 12:20 PM   #13
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Did you put the transmission in S mode by pulling the shift lever toward you in addition to using the DDC put in Sport+ mode? If so, it shouldn't have up shifted at all unless you told it to with either the paddles or the shift lever.
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      04-16-2014, 02:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E30M3Driver View Post
Did you put the transmission in S mode by pulling the shift lever toward you in addition to using the DDC put in Sport+ mode? If so, it shouldn't have up shifted at all unless you told it to with either the paddles or the shift lever.
Yep. It's not that it shifted outside of its normal programming - it just shifted when I didn't want it to in that particular part of the track while in part throttle.
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      04-16-2014, 02:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brings View Post
Yep. It's not that it shifted outside of its normal programming - it just shifted when I didn't want it to in that particular part of the track while in part throttle.
It shouldn't shift automatically at all in S mode or unless you tell it to unless you are slowing down but then the rpms have to drop pretty low before it does so it should never do it at the track.
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      04-16-2014, 03:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E30M3Driver View Post
It shouldn't shift automatically at all in S mode or unless you tell it to unless you are slowing down but then the rpms have to drop pretty low before it does so it should never do it at the track.
Weird. It always shifts automatically for me when I use it on the street, it just does it more aggressively.
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      04-16-2014, 04:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E30M3Driver View Post
It shouldn't shift automatically at all in S mode or unless you tell it to unless you are slowing down but then the rpms have to drop pretty low before it does so it should never do it at the track.
Not sure this is true. My DCT upshifts in Sport Manual mode. I would assume the ZF8 would be programmed to do the same at redline. It will hold the gear up to redline and then shift. It will not allow you to over-rev or under-rev (stall) the vehicle.
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      04-16-2014, 06:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Not sure this is true. My DCT upshifts in Sport Manual mode. I would assume the ZF8 would be programmed to do the same at redline. It will hold the gear up to redline and then shift. It will not allow you to over-rev or under-rev (stall) the vehicle.
From what I've experienced, the ZF8 will shift at redline with a certain amount of throttle applied in Sport+ with the trans in the S auto, but if you're part throttle (maybe under 30%), it will still upshift before redline.
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      04-16-2014, 07:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brings View Post
Weird. It always shifts automatically for me when I use it on the street, it just does it more aggressively.

I'd be curious if you find this to be true, as this functionality is critical for me to ever consider the automatic. From the M235 user's manual:

Sport automatic transmission: prevent
automatic upshifting in M/S manual
mode

For vehicles with Sport automatic transmis‐
sions, automatic shift operations are not per‐
formed, at maximum engine speed for exam‐
ple, if one of the following conditions is met:
▷ DSC deactivated.
▷ TRACTION activated.
▷ SPORT+ activated.
In addition, the kickdown is deactivated.
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      04-16-2014, 07:28 PM   #20
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If I started shifting it manually (after putting it in Sport+ then moving the gear lever to the left for the S mode), then it would be 100% manual (in this case, the S would become an M instead). It would never shift unless I shifted it myself.

However, if all I did was move the gear lever to the left for the S mode and did not do anything else, then it would still shift on its own, just at higher RPMs (or at redline depending on how much throttle I'm giving it). It does hold the gear much longer though, but it won't go all the way to redline if you were only giving it a small amount of throttle (I tested this earlier today).
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      04-16-2014, 07:45 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brings View Post
If I started shifting it manually (after putting it in Sport+ then moving the gear lever to the left for the S mode), then it would be 100% manual (in this case, the S would become an M instead). It would never shift unless I shifted it myself.

However, if all I did was move the gear lever to the left for the S mode and did not do anything else, then it would still shift on its own, just at higher RPMs (or at redline depending on how much throttle I'm giving it). It does hold the gear much longer though, but it won't go all the way to redline if you were only giving it a small amount of throttle (I tested this earlier today).

Cool, that is as it should be then and a great design feature for track driving! You might try turning it to Sport+ and putting it and leaving it in S mode with automatic shifting and then see if it up shifts. According to the manual, it shouldn't or kickdown. Thanks for confirming!
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      04-16-2014, 07:46 PM   #22
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That's an improvement over their non-M DCT programming then. That was a big limit at the track for the DCT. You could not hold the gear. Nice to know, thx.
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