BMW M235i in the super test: is the M2 needed?

Rossen Gargolov
BMW M235i in the super test
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E s really didn't need the many gimmicks, especially they are also not exactly priced at around 4,000 euros. But what is not done today to make an impression, even if the contributions, regardless of color or form, have almost no factual relevance. Accent stripes and decorative foils as well as exhaust trims, mirror caps, rear spoiler, interior trim and sill trims made of carbon: Subsequently applied trim on the vehicle leaves the driver with the smell of not getting it right himself.

Then it might be said: It's actually a shame about the beautiful car. Which in this case would be really regrettable, because with the BMW M235i, especially in the performance version, the scene has been given a tool that, in its technical logic, draws a coherent arc in the BMW history, peppered with sporty highlights. Logically, the near-series BMW M235i has been back in motor racing for some time now, at the Nürburgring.

BMW M235i continues tradition

Compact figuration and practical talents, combined with an inspiring one Engine and - of course - rear-wheel drive: In view of these seemingly traditional framework conditions, who doesn't feel reminded of early 3 Series or, delving deeper into BMW history, of even older BMW icons?

All of them sporty types who have formed the core of the white-blue brand. Does anyone still remember the 170 hp 2002 turbo from 1973? Incidentally, the first sports model made in Europe with an exhaust gas turbocharger. The BMW M235i not only continues the tradition in terms of its character, but also with its notchback in a formally harmonious way. At the same time, it also marks the opposite pole to the act of turning to front-wheel drive, which is sometimes perceived as strange - the new 2 Series Active Tourer sends its regards!

The BMW M235i has succumbed to the constant growth in size if you keep the ideal dimensions below its brother M135i, which is closely related to the body, but to a very manageable size: with a length of almost 4.50 meters and the gem of a six-cylinder engine installed longitudinally at the front, the two-door notchback, dubbed a coupé, has everything to create the legendary BMW spirit to get on the track of earlier decades - today of course with the latest technology,Of course.

Convincing automatic system

The heart of the M-philosophy, but not yet as The original workpiece of the coupés designated by M GmbH - the in-line six-cylinder with so-called twin-turbo technology - has become very dear to our hearts as it already garnered exuberant sympathy as part of the super test carried out with the M135i. The combination of six-cylinder turbo and manual six-speed transmission that was encountered at the time is still considered an exemplary arrangement.

It is possible that the predominant sympathy in the editorial office for drives with conventional manual transmissions is based on precisely this white and blue example. Therefore, to condemn the eight-speed automatic transmission installed in the Supertest candidate would still be completely unfair. Because even in this combination, the six-cylinder drive inspires with a competence and smoothness that really can't be criticized.

If there is one difference to the dual clutch transmission, which works in principle without interruptions in traction, it is that the Gear changes in this eight-speed automatic are even more polished - including a sporty touch and a casual automatic mode. The large number of fans around the earlier 1 Series M Coupé as a savings variant disapproved of in-line sixs with mono instead of - as before - with biturbo charging is also completely resistant to possible reproaches.

BMW M235i has 338 hp the test bench

Although it has a nominal 6 HP more than the M135i (326 HP), the bottom line is that the HP yield is largely identical - with the usual swings up and down. While the engine of the M135i started with 340 HP instead of the promised 320 HP, the technically identical unit of the current BMW M235i pushes 338 HP on the same test bench - 12 HP more than specified.

Accordingly, there is also Correspondence in driving performance: the BMW M235i zooms to 100 km /h in 4.9 seconds and to 200 km /h in 18.5 seconds. In view of the slightly increased overall weight (plus 22 kilograms) compared to the M135i, not a bad idea. However, the powerful 2 Series is on the road with the support of the now optionally available mechanical limited-slip differential, i.e. the efficient traction aid that was sorely lacking in the M135i.

The extrapolation cited at the time, according to which a mechanical lock reduced the traction losses that were noticeable up to now Preventing the cornering limit and would help to make good time on the benchmark 1 Series M Coupé turns out to be wrong - as the lap time only three tenths improved compared to the M135i - unfortunately, but only at first glance.

BMW M235i fails on the15 hurdle

Because the extremely moderate improvement in times has no technical or dynamic reasons, but is simply due to the thermal conditions prevailing on the day of the measurement. In view of the Hockenheim lap (1.15.4 minutes) driven at 30 degrees outside temperature, there is no avoiding another extrapolation that reads: Under more tolerable conditions, the BMW M235i would probably have been able to achieve at least a high 14er time in the super test - and the approach to the tight specifications of the 1 Series M Coupé was successful. It was once in the same place with an outstanding lap time of 1:14.1 minutes.

So it will be up to the future M2 to wipe out this gap, because even with the xDrive version offered at the same time it was not possible to to break the 15 hurdle: 1.15.0 minutes - more was not possible with the BMW M235i with all-wheel drive either. There is no trace of the loss of driveability that is often observed in the M235i when mechanical locks are used: the classic BMW, which is driven by the rear wheels, tends to be among those who drift into understeer when the throttle is carefully applied in the corner entry area, and not, as was the case with the 1-series M. Coupé, among those who like to suddenly fall into oversteer mode at the limit with a loud hurray.

It takes a consciously initiated rear swing to get the BMW, which has a slightly longer wheelbase than the 1-series model Align the M235i strategically at the entrance to the curve. The bottom line is that the compact rear-wheel drive car as a peaceful cross-border commuter rarely tends to provoke moments of shock - especially not when the DSC system is activated.

Turbo engine of the M235i without deficits

Back to the engine of the BMW M235i: With its silky running, smooth power development, the absence of a turbo lag and, last but not least, its high revving power The turbo engine, which has a displacement of three liters, leaves little room for criticism - regardless of the beloved high-speed concept. As far as the power delivery is concerned, especially with the necessary sensitive dosage of the gas in the limit range, the turbo engine is as open-minded as a high-revving vacuum cleaner: Neither sagging nor surprising torque increases disturb the elegance of the power delivery.

So equipped, leaves you Live it up splendidly: In places where high lateral acceleration values ​​are pleasurable, but also in places where it is good form to make presentations with a low frequency of tones and speeds. In any case, the BMW M235i is not looking for a riot, even if the ornamentation applied to the test object might suggest something else at first glance.

This has to do with the arrangement, which is downright flattering to the driver wisesurrounds. An exemplary embedding in the overall system is always guaranteed: The triangle steering wheel - seat - pedals can be shifted so skilfully that every stature can be given a suitable position. Since the BMW M235i is run as a coupé, nobody will seriously want to rub against the more limited space in the rear.

BMW M235i with good handling

The handling of the steering is also perceived as extremely constructive: Your feedback and - even more - your accuracy contribute to the proverbial driving pleasure in everyday life as well as the exploration of the last tenth on the lateral acceleration scale. And while we're at it: With the standard Michelin Pilot Supersport, maximum values ​​of up to 1.25 g are possible - this type of tire, which has been developed for a wide range of performance, does not allow more.

But given that The standard sporty package with an attractive package and the easy drivability that is largely free of pitfalls, the desire for thoroughbred sports tires emerges after just one lap without oncoming traffic in the BMW M235i - true to the motto: If so, then already. Whether an increase in driving dynamics is effective is not the question here - of course it does - but how the increased grip of the semi-clicks could affect the control algorithms of the ABS. In this regard, there have already been some surprises that have not always ended in longer braking distances.

In the course of the M2 development, which is approaching its climax, the subject of sports tires and the adaptation of the control systems will certainly be given due attention again because M GmbH - unlike BMW AG, which is responsible for the M235i - has far fewer reservations when it comes to uncompromisingly designed rubbers. The BMW M235i is fun, but we're really looking forward to the M2!


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